Review of

 |  Interwebs

Reviewed: Sarah
Site URL:

The first thing I notice when I open my eyes at your site is the text “Welcome” at the top. That’s not a bad thing, it immediately told me it was good to be here – but I get the feeling the attention grabber really should be your beautiful side image. I think the reason why my eyes are drawn from the image is because of the colour (darkness) or size of the “Welcome” text, or maybe because it’s almost dead-center on my screen. Either way, there’s something not right about it. My suggestion would be to lighten the text a little, or give the image a bit more of a kick.

On the topic of your side image; I think it’s really great. I was quite shocked to discover that it is in fact a photograph, and not a coloured sketch. I’m not sure if it’s my laptop’s detail rendering, or whether it’s the actual photograph – but it just doesn’t look real. Don’t take this the wrong way, it doesn’t detract from the beauty of it at all. I compliment you on your photography skill.

I don’t understand the colour scheme. The blue-purple of your text table doesn’t flow with the image as well as I’d hoped it to, which is strange – because it’s the same colour as the photo background. I feel you could have integrated pink-purples into the layout more, to make the whole thing more ‘in tune’ with each component. I also feel you could have used a different shade of purple for your background – lighter, with a little more saturation maybe? At the moment it just doesn’t go.

Your navigation looks randomly placed, and doesn’t seem to fit where you’ve put it, although I can’t see any other alternative – it’s not a flexible layout in that sense. I agree with your choice of displaying the navigation, in a drop down menu, but I keep scrolling up to look for the ‘home’ button – I suggest placing that in your drop down menu too, just for ease-of-use. Loading is almost instantaneous, and everything is well positioned and proportioned.

I noticed on your FAQ you mention your bullet images, and you state “They do line up in Mozilla and Firefox.”. When I checked them in Firefox (and Netscape), they didn’t look complete, as if they’d frozen up while loading – is that supposed to happen? I feel they actually look better in IE, the way they’re subset from the content suits the overall page layout.

Your site is well written, although I’m not surprised, I expected nothing less than perfection from an A grade student. You make excellent use of the English language and although it may be confusing to some, it allows those who know what you’re talking about to nod in silent agreement. I am struggling to find an error in your spelling and grammar to attack you about; even your journal (where most people ‘relax’, myself included) exudes intelligence. Bravo!

I think you have enough content to qualify as catering for the visitor, it’s nothing special though. I had great fun reading through some of your random reads, but not everyone wants to read. I suggest looking for a few more PHP games, or creating something yourself – have you ever thought about learning to create games in Flash? You have the talent to do so. In MSIE, on your “101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that IE cannot.” page, the numbers “100″ and “101″ are covered partly by the actual reason. I shouldn’t worry too much about it though; Mozilla Firefox, Netscape 7.1 and Opera 7.23 all display the page fine. Quite amusing, when you consider what the page is about.

Your personal content got quickly to the point, I was not left asking questions like I am on most so-called ‘personal’ sites because you included so much. I adored the fact your picture on your “About Noir: A Semi Auto-Biography” was not static; kudos to you for adding a little originality there. Your dreams journal is not common, and therefore I was immediately interested. You’ve put a lot of effort into such a simple concept, and it pays off.

I was interested to see that you carry a “Valid HTML 4.01″ button, yet that page doesn’t actually validate. I don’t have much experience with *strict* HTML, however, I assume that the can be fixed by placing “<p> </p>” tags around the piece of coding causing the problem. Check your validation results to see what this is (a name=”top”, etc).

After checking a few of your other pages, I realised that quite a few don’t validate. All because of the original error I noticed, with the exception of your index page. The HTML validator has picked up on a common mistake; you used an “&” in part of a link, instead of the entity “&amp;”. Here’s the piece of coding at fault:

<A href="?load=noir&me=contact" title="email, form, aliases">contact me</A>

Change the “&” for “&amp;”; your link will still work, and will validate too.

I am confused as to why you’re not using XHTML. It’s not a huge step from HTML, and while it is down to personal preference in the end, I think your site would be easy to convert. There are advantages to XHTML which you can find information about here. Even if you decide not to consider XHTML, I’d suggest coding your site in lower case. Just a personal preference of my own, I guess.

Overall, your site was a pleasure to browse. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about you, browsing your photography and generally having fun with your “Visitor” section – Random in particular. It is obvious that you’ve put a lot of hard work into your site to make it yours. You should work on the few points I brought up, and seriously consider XHTML. Best of luck in the future for you.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

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