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Review of distorted-reflections.net

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Reviewed: Ronnie
Site URL: distorted-reflections.net

Vomit coloured content boxes; awesome! I’m not sure which to criticise first: the colours you picked from the top image as your ‘base’ colours, or the image itself. Obviously the distorted effect suits your the domain name and therefore ties in. However, the effect doesn’t suit the photograph. I’d have think you’d have been better going for one of those trendy/retro images and ‘distorting’ that. Flowers usually go well with simplicity and elegance. As for the lovely peachy coloured divs, don’t you think the pale yellow would have tied in much better, as there’s more of it?

Your index page has too much text. As it’s a decent-sized site, you don’t want to flood visitors with too much at once. Introduce them gently to your style of writing. The sentence “You can always hit the back button” makes me cringe – you don’t want users to hit their back button, you want them to stick around. Remove this and add a short sentence or two on what the site is about. The next two paragraphs are unneeded. Feel free to type up a short disclaimer about how you don’t use coloured scrollbars, but there’s no need to get defensive over them. The warning about your personal content/stories etc could be placed on the “Ronnie” page as it is a personal disclaimer.

In terms of ease of use – I’m still trying to find a ‘home’ link to return me to the index page. Even after I’ve read it, it still helps to revisit it so I can get to grips with where I am and continue browsing. Have I missed it, or do you just not have it? While we’re on the topic of navigation – your links are quite difficult to ’see’. As they’re simply black and bold, I may mistake links for emphasised text. I don’t want to hover over every piece of bold text just to see if it’s a link or not. Either an underline or some sort of colour difference would make things much easier.

Your layout is somewhat… strange. The sidebar and tagboard seem to just sit with no particular alignment. There’s nothing specific about where the sidebar is placed and this leaves it looking disorganised. The sidebar is also far too small for your otherwise convenient text-size. Either shrink the text in the sidebar or increase the width. Don’t justify the text in the side bar either – it’s leaves ‘uncomfortable’ gaps between words. The browser logos could be linked back to the correct websites to allow your visitors to find the browser that suits them.

The header on the ‘Ronnie’ page is a silly size and really doesn’t add to the visual effect of the page at all. This is mainly because you’ve just used a simple <font> tag, but I’ll talk more about that later on. The page is generally in the wrong order. Your “things that wouldn’t fit” should be first, followed by your basic details, personality and appearance, then loves, hates and class schedule. The very first paragraph welcomes the person browsing to your page again – you don’t need to do this, they were welcome on the index page. Simply skip right into the content.

Your contact details would look better on an entirely different page or right at the bottom. Why would anyone have reason to contact you before they’ve read your content? It doesn’t make sense to me. Also, instead of writing “name”, “url”, etc above your contact form and then using a line break – you should use the <label for=""> </label> tag. Simple fill in the id (name) of the form element in the “for” section, and then the label you want (Name:, E-mail:, etc) before the closing tag.

I don’t see why you constantly need to tell people to “Deal with it.” It is obvious that you care somewhat about the visitors you get otherwise you wouldn’t offer visitor content. In that case, why are you so hostile towards them? I am aware that being ‘the ultimate bitch’ is one of the trends floating around the web, but it doesn’t do anything for you or your web site. One of the pages where you mention this repetitive phrase is your AIM conversations page – one of very little point. Surely if these are inside jokes that are funny enough to be mentioned to you, they’re funny enough to be remembered without a page for them?

I don’t ‘do’ stories and such, so I’m not going to critique your writings. I am sure you’ll be able to find reviewers who will.

Some of your visitor content may prove useful to the average visitor, such as the chmodding tutorial. I did however notice that both your “Colourizing” and “CHModding” tutorials had the title of “Brush-Making in PSP 7″ – this ought to be corrected to prevent confusion.

Again, as with your “Ronnie” page, “Domain” is not sorted in what I would consider the right order. “Things That Wouldn’t Fit” should be at the top followed by “Site History” and “Why D-R.net”. I would suggest placing the links on an entirely different page – perhaps your “Splash” page. May I just add; “Splash” is rather confusingly named. Not everyone uses a splash page as a place to list links, cliques, etc and therefore I first assumed it would take me back to your first page. Maybe this out to be renamed to something like “Links” or “Listings”? I quickly skimmed through some of the reviews you’ve already received (I didn’t want to get too ‘into’ them and bias this one), but I have noticed that some of the things previously suggested haven’t been fixed/implemented. Do you fix things that reviewers point out. If not, why bother submitting for a review?

Your spelling is generally very good, however I noticed the following spelling mistakes/typing errors while browsing:

Page Typo Correction
index.php alot a lot
me.php defense-mechanism defence mechanism
biography.php sexual-harrassment sexual harassment
biography.php jewelry jewellery
biography.php nextdoor-neighbor next door-neighbor

Onto your coding.. well done for validating both your CSS (although there were two warnings: add ’sans-serif’ to your CSS so the font declarations look like this: font-family : trebuchet ms, sans-serif;) and your HTML. However, it doesn’t stop there. There are quite a few general improvements you could make to your coding to keep it in line and more semantically correct. Things that will also help you move on a step towards XHTML which is the future of web pages. Firstly, everything that contains a style="" attribute in the HTML should be given an id and declared in the stylesheet. Let’s start with your sidebar. The HTML code currently looks like this:

<div style="position: absolute; top: 205px; left: 425px; text-align: justify; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #DCAA79; padding: 4px; width: 97px;">

Just in case you didn’t know (although I’m sure you do): we give things ids if they appear once. If an item appears more than once on a page, give it a class. As the sidebar only appears once on a page, you can give it an id like so: <div id="sidebar"> You can then add the following to your stylesheet:
#sidebar {
position: absolute;
top: 205px;

left: 425px;
text-align: justify;

border: 1px solid #000;
background-color: #DCAA79;
padding: 4px;
width: 97px;
}

Not only does this clear up your HTML, but by removing all of the style specific coding from your HTML documents you can create brand new layouts in the future simply by changing the attributes in your stylesheet. Easy, effective and efficient. A few other things which could be cleaned up include:

Your line breaks
You should be using <p> </p> tags instead. Paragraph tags are handy because they’re easily customiseable with CSS which gives you greater control over presentation. They also appropriately seperate your content.
Your underlined text
The <u> tag has been deprecated. If you’re looking for ways to emphasise your text you can either use <strong> (bold) or <em> (italics) or you can give the text a class (<span class="emphasis">) and then add attributes (such as underlining, different colours, etc) with CSS.
&
Wherever you use & you need to write out the full HTML entity code for it instead of using the keyboard shortcut. That is, you use: &amp;. The same goes for things such as ©; a full list of HTML entities can be found at the W3Schools website.
No to <font>
The <font> tag has also been deprecated. It is considered correct to use the proper headings (<h1>, <h2>, etc) to emphasise headings. These can be customised using CSS.

Maybe I missed something that is stopping me from getting the whole whizz-bang about your site, because at the moment I feel it’s pretty average yet I know you can do better. A poor quality layout with what I consider filler content gives off an amateur feel that could be replaced if you reorganised your pages and put a bit more effort into the kind of design you use. You’re intelligent and although this impression is given off on most of your pages, I think you try too hard to be the generic bitchy teenager. Maybe I’m being overly analytical of my own personality when I was your age (exactly the same as you), but that’s the feeling I get. Next time you get bored, give your site a spring clean and come back to me. I’d love to see what you can do when you really try.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

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