Review of unchained-melody.net

Reviewed: Chelsea
Site URL: unchained-melody.net

The first thing that I saw was your top image, above your content. I enjoyed looking at the details on the leaves – quite a fetching photograph. The only problem is, you’ve covered the main flower with your title text, and I think it defeats the purpose of the image. In my opinion you should have left-aligned the text nearer to the left hand side, and used anti-aliasing to prevent it from looking so rough-edged.

On the topic of your text – I am confused as to why your left hand menu uses a serif font, yet your blog uses a sans-serif font, then the rest of your content is serif again! I don’t mind which style you use (serif or sans-serif – although sans-serif is often easier to read, especially for those with poor eyesight) but keep it static, otherwise you don’t keep your own “house style” and it lets down the consistency of what could otherwise be a very elegant site.

The site itself is well presented. Other than the rough fonts (do you not ever use anti-aliasing, or was it created ‘rough’ on purpose?) the layout is a nice style and two column / top image layouts are often the easiest to use/browse. You’ve got a nice big font which is easy to read, with dark colours on a lighter background so it stands out – this is great.

In your blog (log, whatever) you have used a lighter colour for your header (subject) than you have for your main text. This to me looks wrong – as it’s always the header of a document that is supposed to stand out more than anything, to attract a readers attention. My suggestion is to make the subject/header darker, bigger or more pronounced – do this by underlining or styling it in a slightly different way to the rest of your text.

Your links are hard to spot/use. In your left hand menu they’re the same colour as your text, and don’t have any hover effect which means any potential visitors you receive could miss out on chunks of your website! Also, in your main content you have merely applied bold to the links; I think this just makes them look like darkened/exaggerated text – give them an underline while hovering or something similar to make them stand out from the rest.

Scrolling marquees are bad enough, but a scrolling marquee of images is bound to crash a few browsers for those with bad connections. You have some pretty photography there, so giving them a portfolio/page of their own (as mentioned in your b/log) should be a top priority. While I’m talking about your photos – the thumbnails are linked, but the links don’t actually lead anywhere. If you’re planning on linking to the larger image or a portfolio as mention, I suggest getting the larger images up and running before adding the links to the thumbnails – I was disappointed that I couldn’t see the full range of your photography in full.

You’ve got some great written content under “Her Ladyship” – but you squish it into little pop-ups. It would be really nice if you gave them pages of their own. You could still list them under your sections as you have done, but let them “spread their wings” so to speak. You are an interesting person, don’t squash your potential in a little scroll box.

As I said – some great written content. You are quite brave to voice your opinions and to openly talk about your deafness. I should imagine the internet is great for you – as interaction is visual and not sound? My only problem is your opinion of Lesbians/Bisexuals/Gays. After reading, I was rather tempted to delete the review and your application, but I reminded myself I’m reviewing your site and not you. Are you sure you wish to be reviewed by the daughter of a lesbian though?

Your “Writings” section was another good read – although I’d like to see more there. Again, you should give your writings a page of their own instead of squishing the individual bits into pop-ups. Especially when you consider how many people use pop-up blockers. If someone using a blocker visits your site and clicks a link, only to get an error or warning – they may think you have no content!

I liked the menu system on “The Domain” – maybe you could use the same thing on your Writings/Her Ladyship section instead of pop-ups?

I’ve spotted a few typing errors which I thought I’d list for you. I am not going to list grammatical errors, and please excuse (ignore) English corrections of American words.

Review of obliviated.net

Reviewed: Lisa
Site URL: obliviated.net

Immediately upon entering your site I was settled. No glaring colours, no huge images, no pop-up “vote for me” boxes. Already, I can tell that this site has a certain style and definite class.

A short but to-the-point introduction is framed by a cool and calm background colour with a well-integrated ‘top image’. Kudos for using it as a background in a div – prevents thieves from right-clicking and saving your image to their hard drive. The whole thing blends well together, but provides enough contrast to be readable and pleasant to the eye.

The main box is small – this gives a sense of simplicity, but it also gives the impression of more text and therefore a bigger site – a great idea for those with small personal sites such as yours. On the same topic, it’s not TOO small, which means I don’t have to screw up my eyes to make out your text.

I was impressed by your navigation – you’ve not used generic includes that insert the same menu into every page, which means you can ‘unlink’ pages so the visitor knows where they are, and doesn’t click the same link again. I also like that you’ve linked related pages at the bottom of the page, instead of the top – this allows a user to read through a page before getting distracted by other links.

Despite my belief that every site needs content, I tend to follow the rule that personal sites should either be entirely personal, or have lots of content – no in-between because that promotes laziness and lack of effort. Your site fits under the “entirely personal” category and is reflected right the way through your site.

You don’t stop with the basics on your personal page, which is GREAT. You write about personality quirks, beliefs, your thoughts and opinions, people you care about. I get the feeling that it is your life, cut down and reflected onto your page, which is exactly what a personal site should do. What makes your site truly special though, is the fact that you make it sound interesting – you’ve filled your site full of ‘bubbles’ and included things that people can relate to. Btw – when you learn C++, can you teach me?

I first assumed there were no spelling mistakes on your pages, but after much digging I did manage to find a few. Some of these are more me being anal, and not necessarily something you have to correct:

Page Paragraph Typo Correction
lisa.php 7 goth Goth
faqs.php que. 8 webdesign web design
validate.php most markup mark-up
exits.php?resources last accesibility accessibility
exits.php?resources 7 markup mark-up
exits.php?clothes 8 glamourous glamorous

In terms of coding, you are far more accomplished than I, and therefore I am not going to embarrass myself by trying to take yours apart. Anyway, all of your pages (that I tested) validate, and therefore any errors there may possibly be are obviously not important. Also: your site is viewable in all of the browsers I own, which is the important thing. One positive note though; it’s great that you’ve added a stylesheet for printing. A rarity on personal sites, bravo!

A suggestion (not a necessity) I will make is that you use <p> </p> tags instead of double line breaks – just because it is tidier, and easier to set personal preferences with margins and paddings. I personally detest the parapraph tags myself, but they are easier to implement and customise overall.

To sum up my rather uninformative and unhelpful review I just want to pass my compliments on your website. It is the kind of example that I would point out if anyone ever asked me what a personal site is. Your site isn’t perfect (I’m yet to find a site that is), but it lacks the problems and errors that I pick up from most. You utilise your skills adequately, and put yourself into your website. Keep up the excellent work in the future.

Review of 3till7.net

Reviewed: Sarah
Site URL: 3till7.net

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.

Review of scrubalicious.net

Reviewed: Linze
Site URL: scrubalicious.net

“Aaah”. Immediately I am relaxed. Strange really, most people wouldn’t consider a website “relaxing” as such, but there is something that appeals to me here. I’m not a dog lover, but it is refreshing to see a great photo implemented into a layout with a corresponding colour scheme, and see it implemented well. Personal opinions aside, had I been ‘just passing’ I think I would have settled down with a coffee to get a better look at things, because you’ve grabbed my attention. Your site is soft and subtle but definately “there”, it’s alive. My first impression is good one.

Your font colours stand out away from the background and you’ve used a sans-serif font at a decent size; I commend you for that. It’s all too easy to slip into tiny text mode, but I don’t think your site would suit anything other than 8pt. I am glad you’ve added padding to your content so it’s not rushing against the “wall” of the boxes containing your content/etc, it makes it so much easier to read! Also, strangely enough I appreciate the letter spacing despite the fact that I usually cannot stand it. Your presentation is consistant – there are no sudden glares of colour or outlandish link rollover effects that tend to make me cringe. It is well organised and your titles and subtitles stand out.

Your navigation is incredibly functional – I am glad I didn’t have to glare at a 700×500 pixel image trying to figure out which tiny star is featuring the link to the next scrap of content. It’s easy to spot there on the left hand side, and stands out because of your intelligent colouring of the links (I am so glad they’re not the same colour as your text). You’ve titled all of your links too, which means when I don’t know what you’re trying to suggest – I can just hover right over and get a clearer description which suggests to me you’ve really thought about your visitors. I had no problem finding the link to CSR and no problem browsing your site, excellent!

It’s nice to see that every image on your site is set out the same way. All set the same size as other images on the same page with a white and black border – it is consistancy like this that make your site a pleasure to look at, and a pleasure to return to.

I think the first and most important thing I can say regarding your content is “wow”. I get the impression that you want to include the visitor in their “journey” around your site, yet at the same time you are keeping things mostly personal. For example; the Pit Bull information – it was a pleasent surprise to go to your site and learn something from your “learn” section, instead of just getting misinformed on how to add sloppy grids to a badly photoshopped Britney Spears. Bravo! You take your knowledge and information on your chosen topic and you put it across suitably. You suggest pros and cons to owning a Pit Bull, and you actually care to get your facts right! I am impressed (this is not an easy task). It was nice to be warned about the content under “Pit Bull” abuse, it shows consideration for younger visitors and sensitive eyes.

I liked reading through your “About Me” page. It wasn’t the usual jumble of long words that site owners tend to stick together to try and sound impressive, it was down to earth – an insight into you, which I am assuming is what you were aiming for. I get the same impression on your “Eli and Me” page – while it’s there for the visitors to read, it’s very much you. I enjoyed reading about you; I even enjoyed reading your filler pages (pages like ‘My ABCs’ and ‘Random Facts’ which everyone seems to have). Your button collection and thrift find pages are unique (as far as I know; I’ve never seen any other site with them) – I especially liked the red button with the woman kicking the man, this appealed to my sense of humour, heh.

The “Story Time” page made me giggle, I cannot wait to see this story in a few weeks – hopefully when more people have added their input. I simply don’t have the time to comment on all of your content, as there is far too much – but I AM going to say that is certainly will be a pleasure returning in my spare time to check out more of your stuff. I am constantly surprised, impressed and amused by little bits of writing, content, etc – it is nice to see a site where the owner (you) tries to keep it unique, but at the same time doesn’t brag about it or add comments which would suggest that popularity/visitors are all that is important. It is nice to get a real feel for you even on pages where that would not necessarily be applicable. I can’t say enough how nice a feeling that is!

Your coding is near perfect, but unfortunately despite the fact you claim to have valid XHTML it isn’t validating. This is only because you’ve forgotten (I assume) to close the img tags on your Model Horses and Mustang Fanlisting images. When I converted to XHTML, I used to forget the same thing. Just a reminder, it should be:
<img src="fls/models.gif" border="0" height="20" width="150" alt="The Model Horse Fanlisting" title="The Model Horse Fanlisting" />

You’re also linking to the incorrect stylesheet under “Welcome” – it is trying to validate “http://scrubalicious.net/v13c/index.css” which obviously doesn’t exist anymore, instead of http://scrubalicious.net/index.css – your actual stylesheet.

Other than these ’silly’ errors, I can see no fault with your coding, or your site in fact.

In summary, your site is pleasent to browse, easy on the eyes, interesting and unique. I get the feeling of connecting with you, enhanced by the constant interaction and the ability to submit opinions, comments, suggestions, entries to your activities – it gives me the feeling of being within your reach constantly. My only problem is that you didn’t make enough mistakes for me to give you a proper critique, it seems to be mostly ego-inflating compliments. Damn you! On a more serious note.. keep up the great work, because I will be back.

Review of bubblessoc.net

Reviewed: Bubs
Site URL: bubblessoc.net

Note: I am reviewing skin 7, “My Doodleblog”.

The first thing I see upon getting to your site is the doodle, smack-bang in the middle. Not such a bad thing, as it’s a cute doodle – but I think it dominates the screen. The layout is lovely, and the colours simply drift into each other, I don’t think the doodle should be allowed to detract from that. My suggestion is to decrease the size of the doodle, or link a thumbnail version of to a pop-up or the archives so we can see the full version *if* we want to.

The layout works. I don’t can’t think of a better way to put that sentence. The layout just works. Despite using a variety of colours, the pale pastel shades fit well together and give the page a unique and relaxing look. You text is appropriately sized, and I’m glad you used verdana – it seems to “fit” with pastel shade layouts, because of its chunkiness. The fact that you’ve used different sizes in the sidebar, and different link effects is ‘cute’ – it makes the page more appealing, and less ’static’ – change is good.

The page loaded at a reasonable speed, and although you’ve got a few images here and there, I think they complement the layout – especially the day headings for the weblog entries. Certainly something I’d not seen before. I am glad you’ve got your own set of smilies – especially designed to fit the line height too, great stuff!

I don’t like your navigation. When the skin first loaded I assumed the navigation would be on the left-hand side with all of the other menu content, and it wasn’t. My brain did not register that the yellow-green row was anything other than a divider, to split the doodle from the rest of the content. Also, the link initial is confusing – I don’t like having to hover to find out where I’m going. I think this really lets the rest of the layout down.

Once I got used to the navigation, I found your content. You have some great content, and I love the way you’ve set things out – the little pink bullet is *too* cute. However, I am curious as to why you’ve indented the start of your paragraphs in your Autobiography, yet in Love there is no indentation. On the rest of your pages you’ve indented the whole paragraph or nothing at all. I think you should stick to indenting the first line of each paragraph on the pages with large amounts of text, because it looks better. It adds to the consistancy and overall perfection of the layout too.

Talking of layouts, I want to know why you’ve not used “Image 9″ from artwork in a layout (skin)?! It’s one of the cutest images I’ve seen on your site, and would work so well with pastel pinks and something chunky – big fonts, etc. This is merely a suggestion, of course.

On your ‘Random Facts’ page, you’ve spelt cigarette wrong. It is cigarette, not “cigarrette”. On your “Love” page you have typed “we” twice – “was the night before we we left for college”. On “Reading Material” under “The Perfect Guy”, you use chat speak, which makes you appear less intelligent than you really are – you’ve also misspelled appreciate – “or even if they r bad u appreaciate the effort to make u laugh”. On the same page under “Insanity” you’ve missed the hyphen from co-workers (“your coworkers address you by your wrestling name”). Also on the same page, under “Feel Better”, the comma after ‘world’ in the first sentence is not needed, nor is the comma after ‘you’ in the fifth sentence. You’ve combined every night to “Everynight” – add the space. On the 14th line, replace the comma after them with a semi-colon to be grammatically correct.

You’ve got a good amount of content – it is obvious to me that you like/respect your visitors. I think it’s quite generous of you to offer your groovy smilies, and those adorable webpage goodies. Your list of downloadable fonts is nice – do you have permission from the creators to redistribute them? On that topic, have you ever thought of making your own font? You have lovely handwriting! Check out Fontifier.com. I love your Radio Blog – I’ve never seen that on a website before.

Looking at your coding I felt quite ashamed. I don’t have any right to be reviewing you – you are really quite talented! You’ve mastered XHTML, CSS (and tableless CSS), PHP, and more. I checked your validation results on as many pages as my poor little hands would allow, and I can’t find *any* errors – round of applause to you. I tried to find errors, and was left speechless – you’ve done a fabulous job.

With the exception of a few spelling/grammar errors your site was a pleasure to read through, colourful yet pleasing to the eyes and very well coded. Try and do something with your navigation though – it is really quite frustrating. Overall, I loved your site, and adored the fact I didn’t have to critique your coding. Well done.

In The Paper

Because of strikes at the place Karl works at, I wrote in a letter (supposedly for the letters page) on Monday telling the strikers that I think they’re being selfish, and not putting the children first — which is what teaching is about. Anyway, i’ve been looking out ever since Monday, waiting for my letter to appear.. and Karl just rang me telling me it was printed, but not on the letters page.

I made the front page. :o

See the article

Happy 2004!

Happy New Year! (In 2 minutes 50 seconds…)

Cross-posted from Livejournal

oh, the week keeps getting worse…

Either our group assignment was destined to fail from the start, or stupidity is contagious (sp?).

I have been working my fucking ARSE off all bastard morning to get this God forsaken Multimedia assignment as finished as we can make it ready to hand in today, because Peter wants it back over Christmas. How lovely of him.

Anyway, I started working on the actual presentation, which was all going great.. added quite a few slides. Vicky was working her butt off finishing the storyboard completely, doing the test plan, etc.. which the two lads helped me write up some information. This was splendid.

All this work was being saved in pieces on various U: drives (on the network, U:\ is our personal drive). So, as Peter suggested a couple o’ weeks ago, we put all of the work grouped together in a folder on the W drive. Unfortunately, this is shared by all students in the college but most are usually respecting of others work.

Anyway, did a ton more on the presentation, and went to save when I encountered an error about file paths or somesuch. I checked the W: drive and some cunthead had changed the name of our folder. I think I knew straight away it was either Tom or Chris from year 2. Turns out it was Chris.

So.. eventually he stops doing it, and we continue on. 15.. 30 minutes later I go to save again (I have been saving in the mean time, but they saved no problem..). It gives me another error, so I check the drive and our folder is gone. So, I flick back to the presentation and because of the stupid fucking error, PP has crashed and i’ve just lost all of my fucking work. At roughly the same time and for some stupid reason, Vicky deletes the new storyboard thinking it’ll be fine on the W: drive before realising it’s not ON the W: drive.

To cut a long story short, several documents were lost, and I had to spend the last 30 minutes of the lesson re-doing parts of the old storyboards to catch it up to steam and correcting every other moron’s fucking errors. Why is it that people are so dense? I ask for nothing from my friends other than to put their full effort into this presentation, and it’s like asking a fucking 1month old baby the difference between cheddar and edam. (Stupid.. impossible even?).

Thanks to Chris-I-don’t-know-when-to-stop-a-joke-that’s-not-funny & wank-stain Will’s original errors, I’ve lost a ton of work, my on-time mark for this assignment & my temper.

Add this to the fact I still can’t get to my mail, Simon has been trying to talk to me all morning about passports and fuck knows what else, today has gone rather fabulously. Oh, and Livejournal is being an arse and slower than i’ve seen it in a long time. What was that about abolishing invite codes being a good thing..?

*sigh* I want Karl.

Is it possible to get Monday Blues on a Tuesday? Today shall be named Tantrum Tuesday. :P