Even if it is for good cause, show quality

Gurushree institutions aim to provide technical training to young boys and girls in Bangalore so that they can seek employment in both Private as well as Public Sector/Government organizations. The institution was inaugurated in 2001 with 30 student intake to 300 today. The website looks OK for a small institute. Of course, a lot of improvement could be made.

Form

The layout is standard, ie header at the top, navigation on the left and content on the right. The home page looks boring and static. Besides the poll, there seems to be no buzz at all. I recommend adding some dynamic news or links to various departments. For an educational institute, there can be alot of things to write – Add more pics of students and events. If the author ran out of ideas, have a look at other educational websites out there.

website has layout issues

fig 1. Severe layout issues

There are some layout and spacing issues that can be fixed easily using proper CSS. It looks like the content is added directly using the WYSIWYG editor in the Joomla content management system. Using the built-in editor is cool but to gain better control of the layout, the HTML needs to be re-checked before published.

image is too big

fig 2. Large image size

All images used in the site should be optimised before published. I also think that the quality of the images can be improved. Most of them look quite dark to me. I like to see more smiles. Many pictures are either too serious or boring. Perhaps better photography technique is needed here. I also don’t think that it is a good idea to insert the jQuery image slider on every page. It is OK for the home page but for every page, no. The space occupied by the slider could be better utilised for other textual content or smaller images.

something wrong with footer

fig 3. Something is wrong with the footer

There is something wrong with the footer – It looks too empty. Perhaps putting the address at the footer is a much better choice than putting it in the header. Adding some links to the sitemap or important pages in the site can be a good idea.

Function

seo friendly links

fig 4. SEO friendly links?

The website appears to be slow because of the large images. Most of the hyperlinks appears to be very long and unfriendly. It looks like the CMS is running under Joomla – fixing them can be easy in the admin panel. We can also tidy up the CSS abit. I know this can be hard especially if we are running a ready made CMS.

why w3c link

fig 5. Why show the w3c link?

The website is not W3C compliant. Clicking on the xhtml and css link at the footer leads you to a page full of errors. Personally, I see no benefit of telling people that your website passed the w3c check unless you are in the web business like a web design or seo firm. The fact is, a lot of people don’t really care.

contact us page is too empty

fig 6. Contact Us – too empty?

I always think that the “Contact Us” page is very important. It is looking very empty at the moment. How can internet users contact the school? Have a contact us form?

Conclusion

It looks like the website was designed with a low budget. I thought it was a good attempt. If the author decides to improve on it, I strongly suggest working on the graphics and layout. The next thing on the list is to create more buzz – make the site look more busy. Add more interesting and dynamic content and grab people’s attention. If the author has some free time, start using meta headers and work on optimising the code.

More design work is needed

OnlineConnect is a website where “buyers meet sellers” of printers, for sale faxes, cheap photocopiers, pharmacy shredders and other office equipment.

Form

My first impression of OfficeConnect was unfortunately, not a good one. The home page has a lot of text, minimal templated design and not much attention to detail. The logo is very ordinary and slightly pixelated and the main image looks very generic. The four red “button” steps are handy but are lost in the design….more could be made of these steps so that it is really obvious to customers that it’s easy to buy from the site. While the main menu on the top left has quantities of items in stock (handy to know there are some), I found myself looking for ordinary company details in this space. Where is the usual spiel about the company? Where are the contact details? And why are the contact details down the bottom of the page? I suppose that customers don’t really need to phone OfficeConnect to buy their printer, hence the details being down the bottom, but this method of displaying details does not say that OfficeConnect is a trustworthy company. I couldn’t even find the email address too.



fig 1. Why are the contact details down the bottom?

Some improvement could be made by putting correct spacing between the words on the top left of the site. The fonts chosen are OK and the size is correct, but text is still hard to read as it is more squashed than usual web fonts. A better background around the site would help make it more attractive, while keeping the white background under all text. The product images look fantastic and are the best part of the site. Keep it that way!



fig 3. The product images are really nice.

Function



fig 2. These words need to be spaced correctly

The functionality of the site could be improved by adding a “compare” function. Instead of the customer having to read all the specs and print them out to compare them, it would be better if they could just click a button to find out which printer did what compared to the other ones. Since the site allows the buyer to send a quote to the appropriate shop (but no payment is transacted through the site as far as I could tell), the whole website appears to be a reselling site, where the author earns commission from the sales without lifting a finger. I would suggest that to improve reseller sales, the author will have to actually do some work, put in a phone number and prominent address, explain guarantees, warranties and have a payment system. Then greater benefits may accrue.

Loading time is very fast. This is due to the minimal effects on the site except the graphics.

Conclusion

OfficeConnect needs lots of work in design if it wants to appeal to a Western audience. The product images are great but the website itself is very ordinary. OfficeConnect doesn’t appear to be trustworthy enough as there’s no “About Us” and minimal (hidden) contact details, which does not make people confident about buying from OfficeConnect. The site is fast loading and simple. The “compare” feature is great and these are good things, but the business model needs work if it is to make more money.

Who is Hosting This?

“Who Is Hosting This” is a website devoted to helping you discover which web host any website uses. There’s reviews on hosting, pharm hosting coupons, nurse a blog and a forum.

Form and function

While it’s about time someone came up with a handy tool for this and a website comparing hosting deals, you can’t help but wonder what’s in it for them…..and the bland design with advertising thrown in only highlights this. My first impression of the site design was pretty ordinary. It has a reasonable layout that looks like a business template, lots of matching colour co-ordination in blue, black and white, an OK logo and normal text. I guess if you’re marketing to web developers and IT people then this would be quite acceptable. If you’re trying to market to web designers, you would lose them from lack of interest. It seems as though companies who want to attract business this days compete against each other on who can look the most boring – and if their product is lacking in any way, they’ll puzzle over what happened.

image1

fig 1. This looks like advertising to me!

In Who Is Hosting This, the main selling point is their interesting tool to find out who is hosting which website. This is on the main page for convenience and it could stand out a bit more as it took me a minute to find it. A minor point is that the font styles are different to each other even in the same module, such as the “Review Your Host & Win!” – surely CSS wouldn’t be doing that? But overall, the design and layout is acceptable and the content is dressed up advertising which is often used these days and is read by more people than we think, although not with interest.

I’m not quite sure why a company which came up with a nice, simple tool for IT’ers would want to build reviews, blogs, forums, coupons etc around the product, which is free. Obviously the tool is just a grabber, to get you to go to the site and the rest is to make sure you buy something from one of the advertised (reviewed) hosting sites. I’d hardly say the site was unbiased, based on the hosting company banners displayed on it. And the filing cabinet graphic on the main page which says “100% free” is like saying “we do not charge for the useless crap on this site”.

If the Who Is Hosting tool is so well-liked (and lots of people seem to like it in the forum), then why not push the envelope and create new and better tools that are also useful to people? Try and find a product that everyone will actually want to use. Eventually, if they are useful enough, people will pay good money to own them. WhoIsHosting could remain the freebie tool to get traffic and get people to check out the other company products.

The one part of the site which stood as being a bit original, besides the Who Is Hosting This tool, was the blog, which had interesting and relevant content on it.

image2

fig 2. The blog has some cool and original content.

Coding is CMS mixed – CSS, javascript, html etc etc. Clicktale for SEO has been added.

Loading time is fast and all navigational links appear to work. These guys are also seo experts. I got a feeling that every single page in the site is carefully optimised.

image3

fig 3. Might need to reword some items too.

Conclusion

The home page is simple and effective – thumbs up (many people actually forget about this). Although the website loads fast and functions OK, it is quite bland and needs a bit more work if it wants to stand out and be memorable. It offers lots of advertising fluff built around a main free product and more products are needed if it wants to go places.

I was especially interested in the registered company in charge of whoishostingthis.com. Why did they call themselves “Quality Nonsense Ltd”?