Review of thundercake.com

Reviewed: Li
Site URL: thundercake.com

I think I might go and make a coffee while I wait for the site to load. My connection has been slow these past few days, so I’m beginning to appreciate the boredom that dial-up users suffer while they wait for larger layouts to load. The 274Kb of top image file isn’t helping. Slicing it hasn’t decreased your load time at all. In fact, it’s will have added to it. Despite popular opinion, slicing your images does NOT decrease your loading time. The size of all slices in total is often around 8Kb (depending on the original file size and amount of slices) more than the un-sliced image. Not only that; more HTML is needed to generate each separate image which adds to the total page size.

Your background didn’t load in Firefox or IE until after I’d visited the file and viewed it separately. I am not sure why, it could just because it is also too big (around 30Kb for a background!) and caused the browser to time out before it loaded. I know you’ve mentioned before that you rarely create such image-intensive layouts, so why not create an alternative (text-only, maybe?) and link to that somewhere on your site. This will mean that those on dial-up can browse more easily.

It is hard to read through your website, because when I try and scroll, it jumps due to the loading time. I then lose my place, and have to spend an extra minute or two searching for where I might have got to in any specific paragraph. Again, this is where a text-only or low-bandwidth version of your website would come very much in handy.

The presentation of your website is a common one; effective all the same. Two-column layouts are often easy on the eyes because they are the least busy. With your large images and background adding so much to look at, I think you’ve made a good style choice here. I don’t feel flooded or overly distracted by the presentation – this is great.

Your navigation is not obvious at all. In fact, during previous visits to your website I have missed it altogether. Only because it is my “duty” to look now have I spotted it. It is hard to read, and therefore I assumed before it was just decorational mumbo jumbo. Now I know what it is, I’m not helped any. You’re using blank alt="" tags, and no title tags. I don’t know where each link leads?

Your “about” page is somewhat brief. Only one paragraph. It may be a long paragraph, but it’s still only one. Although, I guess you could probably get away with splitting it in two – this would make it seem like you actually have more content. Not that I would condone these sort of web design cheats, of course. You tend to write a lot in big paragraphs though, so if you were to split up your “about” page, you’d have to do the rest for consistency. I cannot see you wanting to do that somehow. I will say this though: it is harder to read 300 words in one paragraph than it is to read 300 words in three paragraphs. People like line breaks.

I was amused by your “naked pictures” and “fansign for your site” pages. It’s always nice to see a bit of humour implemented. Your “mini dress up li” page only works in IE, because of the drag and drop script you’re using. There’s another one available which works in all browsers, but I can’t for the life of me remember the link, so you’ll have to look it up yourself I’m afraid (that is, if you’re bothered about other people being able to use it).

I found a few typos littered amongst your content, feel free to correct these at your leisure:

Page Paragraph Typo Correction
about.php (unexpanded) Starts: I’m Li. embarassing embarrassing
about.php (opinions) Starts: abortion fetus foetus
about.php (opinions) Starts: the death penalty ecomonic economic
about.php (opinions) Starts: euthanasia thats requests that requests
about.php (50 facts) fact 5, 19 asian Asian
about.php (50 facts) fact 29 secondhand second-hand
about.php (about nick) Starts: Haha, you knew japan Japan

Your “refer.php” is all out of whack. Some of the referral URLs stretch the page all funny, and most are rude. You might want to consider placing a warning at the top of that page that the content listed there is not edited by yourself, and therefore any offence caused is not intentional. This is your choice, but I highly recommend it. I personally didn’t particularly want to see URLs such as http://www.beast-sex.info, that’s for sure!

Your coding is valid HTML 4.01. I know you do this more to ensure you site is cross-browser compatible, and not because you’re one of the “Mozilla elitists”. Have you ever wondered whether your site works on a PDA, or on a wap-enabled phone? Next time you create a new layout or have a few hours on your hands, try fiddling with XHTML. It’s more compatible, and is definitely the way of the future. I don’t like to push people too hard when they’re already validating, as this is an achievement in itself, but you should think about this. You’ve got the talent, you should show it off.

If you were to go for XHTML, you’d need to turn all of those open <p> tags into <p> </p> tags. You’d also need to replace all of your &s into &amp;s. These things are generally considered good design practise anyway, and are recommended whatever ‘version’ of HTML you’re using.

I did enjoy browsing your website. Although the constant “skipping” while scrolling caused no end of irritation; you really put yourself into your pages, which is thrilling. I love to read your opinions, both listed and written in your blog simply because you’re not afraid to speak your mind. You and your site are full of character, and if you listed your site on a page with hundreds of other blog-sites, yours would stand out a mile. I’d like to see more personal content or opinions (typed in smaller paragraphs), and a less graphic based layout for those on dial-up. Other than that I found your site absolutely delightful, very funky, and I will certainly be visiting again.

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