Used Caravans In Brisbane

usedcaravansbrisbane.com is a single pager website that specialises in selling second hand caravans, camper trailers, campervans, motorhomes and more. The sites looks simple and professional.

Upon first visit, I looked at the headers and I didn’t know whether “UsedCaravansBrisbane.com” on the left or “Brisbane camper land” on the right was the logo? Interestingly, I thought “Sales | Accessories | Service” were links and I tried to click on it. I then realised that it was an image… mmm… could this be the logo?

There was no navigation or whatsoever. So it looked like everything that they wanted to tell was encapsulated within one single web page. I thought that was cool. The caravan image beneath the logo looked good. “Looking for Quality Used Caravans?” in the header also explained clearly what the site was about.

In the content area, I saw a big search box. I would love to have an option to view different display for the search results (tabulated) rather than just scrolling them horizontally. Giving users an option to sort by price, make or model might also be a nice feature.


Fig 1. Nice popup

Clicking on “More information” gave me a nice popup in the middle of the screen (see fig 1). However, clicking on the images within the popup revealed another popup – not too nice. Clicking on “Enquire Now” also had a popup further down the screen – Not too nice as well.

The “Buy With Confidence” part was good but I would love to see some real testimonials and pics.

The footer looked quite standard but too much text to my liking (typical seo stuff…urghh).

Conclusion

In conclusion, usedcaravansbrisbane.com is a nice and simple site that communicates. I hope to see more real pictures of people and vehicles behind the scene. For businesses like these, I think giving people more “sense of being on the ground” is very important.

Natural Healing in Phillipines

Ananda Marga wellness centre is a natural healing centre located in Philippines. Their website looks well organised and professional. Navigation is easy as well.

I was greeted with a homepage that was welcoming. I thought the tag line was easily well understood – “A place to be healed while learning to be healthy forever”. After reading through the content a bit, I took that as relating to some sort of spiritual lifestyle and practice of meditation and yoga as part of the healing exercise. If that was the case, then perhaps the header image in the homepage could be a bit misleading as it seemed to convey the message that the website was about providing high class spa-massage service.

The “CD For Sale” link on left menu should be clickable even though it was not available as the big graphic was telling me to “Click on me to find out more”. On the other hand, the newsletter subscription link on the homepage should be a sitewide link instead (could be a menu item, side or footer link). It could be missed too easily if people don’t see it within the header image in the homepage.


Fig 1. Facebook image could be improved?

I thought the home page title could be shortened as well just like the sub-pages. For seo yes, but for readability…mmm.

I liked the navigation – simple and easily understood. Menus with submenus should be clickable. For example, clicking on “about us” should bring me to a page, even if it is to the first submenu of “about us”, ie “about ananda marga yoga”. Images in the testimonial page looked a bit blurry for me but all the other pages had strong graphics, well done and keep it up.

Conclusion

www.amwellness.org was a well designed site with strong graphics and great content. I would consider it as an above-average website. However, it seemed a bit quiet at the moment. Perhaps more buzz could be created using social media – add some Facebook and twitter comments?

Chicago Coast Volleyball

Introduction

Are you a fan of volleyball? Have you heard of Chicago Coast? chicagocoast.com is the official website of the Chicago Coast Volleyball Club Team. I thought the site is above average considering the fact that it is quite unknown to everyone. Many clubs don’t even have a proper website!

Form

The design looks straight forward. The blue menus and the yellow logo contrasted really well. What caught me though was the spotlight player on the left menu. His image was definitely misaligned. The title for all the pages is abit distracting as mouseover shows a change of color but doesn’t do anything; Most people would expect a hyperlink if there are mouseover effects.

Function

The section I like best is the “highlight” section (see fig 1). The video is clear and I believe this is a good attempt by the author to make the site more interesting. The other sections are OK and to be honest, they look abit boring. Some links on the left menu doesn’t work as well.

I also noticed that the top menu and footer have exactly the same links. That makes the footer redundant (see fig 2). How about a sitemap?

Conclusion

chicagocoast.com looks like a typical fan/club website that was built using dreamweaver. I like to give a plus point to the video section though. Perhaps it is the intention of the author to keep the site simple and clean. What might help though is to add more graphics. For example, instead of having one big image, use a few small ones. Make the site look abit busier! It looks dead quiet at the moment.

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fig 1. Video highlights

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fig 2. Footer same as header

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Drugs

Introduction

Drug3K is a website with prescription drug information for consumers, including a description, image, dosage, storage, precautions and side effects.

Form

The Drug3K logo contains the right concepts – a medicinal symbol, the text of “Drug3K” and a tagline which is acceptable and useful. The logo is OK but is a bit fragmented because the Drug3K text is in black and doesn’t blend in with the blue elements. I also felt that the centre aligned text didn’t look aesthetic and if all the text was left aligned and the “prescription drug information for consumers” was put on one line below the Drug3K text, it would line up to the graphic a bit easier and also look a bit better. Maybe the graphic could contain some black too, in order to combine the colours?

The Drug3K home page looks like a serious and informative page but lacks a bit in corporate colouring. The layout is a two column one, with the left main column containing tabs that link to extensive lists where you can hunt down the drug you are looking for. The right column has a Babel Fish translator, which I thought was a nifty idea. The blue and black colouring on the page loosely matches the logo but the blue is not the same blue and this would need to match to give it a more professional look. The red “visited” link colour would also need to be the same red as the pill image at the top. Try checking out http://www.free-webmaster-tools.com/colorpicker.htm to find web colours to use.

White backgrounds are pretty commonplace on websites and it’s a good idea to put some colour into it. Why not try using the blue colour from the logo as a background colour, while the two columns stay white? This will make it a bit more exciting but keep the readability factor.

I quite liked the Online Drug Encyclopaedia logo and felt that putting yellow into other page design elements could help improve the corporate look also.Overall the layout is very good and works well in conveying a lot of information. The “Large Text” button down the bottom of the page is a great idea – I’d even move this under the Babel Fish so that people can use it straight away.

The design is simple, neat and just needs that extra appeal with colours to make it look more professional and more unique.

Function

There are a lot of links on the Drug3K home page but since the navigational links are in all the usual and correct places I didn’t get lost. All links seemed to work too, as did the search box. The only link that should be removed is the hotspot on the logo on the main page, which links to the main page again (remove this from the home page only).

Coding is html with CSS and some javascript. Some keywords need to be put in to generate more traffic. Loading time is medium to fast, probably due to having a lot of code and text on the pages.

Conclusion

Drug3K is a good concept as it’s based on useful content that is free to access and also has a place for ratings and reviews. The lack of advertising is quite refreshing and the website functions reasonably well. A bit of design work is needed to get the look of it right and some other work might be needed to get the traffic flowing, but Drug3K should prove to be a good site to visit (especially if your chemist prescribes those antibiotics with long names and no description of what they do). A good effort!

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fig 1. Individual drug information

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fig 2. This logo looks pretty good

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fig 3. This logo needs work

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fig 4. Larger text will help readability

Toxin Free Body Care: Needs a non-toxic design

Introduction

I was a bit apprehensive about reviewing this website as it looked like 1000 other websites out there selling beauty products. Toxin Free Body Care (as the name states) has gentle, stuff kind and toxin free hair and body care products that are free from animal testing and are environmentally friendly.

Form and Function

When I alighted on the Toxin Free Body Care website homepage, I was abit disappointed to see yet another health care website that doesn’t want to stand out on the web. Unoriginal design, sales-geared template (with Testimonials) and low to medium resolution images made me immediately think “SPAM website – AVOID”. The cloud theme in the banner has been totally commonised on the internet and hardly bears relevance to the product being sold, except in the sense of environmental friendliness. A more appropriate banner would show some of the ingredients in their natural state or people with glowing hair or bodies. Colours are orange and blue, not a bad combination except in this case they only make the website look bland and boring. Orange mixed with another striking colour would work better.

It was quite worrying to see that the main image on the left from which the colour scheme was derived led to another website similar in appearance. Even more worrying is the fact that this link to ProThin didn’t even have a referral in the URL, hence it would take customers away from the Toxin Free Body Care website without providing compensation. However, after researching a bit further, I found that the website owners are promoting products from Neways generally so maybe they had their reasons.

This website has something good going for it and that is the navigation – a no-nonsense, straightforward menu up the top that you couldn’t get lost with. When I clicked on some of the links, it was suprising how much information was contained within the site as well as an online shop and I felt that the main page didn’t really convey the amount of information that could be accessed within the site. Instead of just links at the top, maybe a featured image directing customers to the online shop or advertising the free mystery gift might be more attractive?

I was very pleased to see that on the About Us page was a realistic-looking photo and down-to-earth description of who the owners were and what they were up to. This showed me that the owners looked like real people and was a step in the right direction.

The site functionality was fine – loading times were adequate, the navigational links generally worked (with the exception of the About Us accessed through the main store page) and the content generally was standard with html coding on main site pages and php coding for the store. A few sections such as the Chemical Guide and Health Guide were undergoing maintenance. The Site Map was handy, although navigation was so simple it wasn’t really needed.

Conclusion

Toxin Free Body Care is not a website that stands out and would need a better design to attract customers. A logo for TFBC might also help to establish a unique online identity. However, the product itself seems to be very useful and it is possible the customers might come anyway – especially with the free special mystery gift.

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fig 1. Low resolution product images

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fig 2. The online store hiding behind the main page

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fig 3. The happy owners

Oso Health Care Website Review

Introduction

osohomecare.com is the website of Oso, and a company that provides high quality health care services. The mission statement stands out clearly in the home page. Together with an image of the front view of the building, find the home page is effective in telling the reader what the website is about.

Form

Osohomecare.com uses frames and tables. Web design has evolved alot over the years and I would categorized this site under the first generation. In fact, using frames is strongly discouraged in web design. Most professional websites adopt a frameless clean design with CSS layout.

I could not justify the use of flash in the menu. Firstly, it is bad for Search Engine Optimization. Secondly, it does not fit into the look and feel of the website. Flash can be evil when used inappropriately. The one level navigation system is effective though but the design and mouse over effect can definitely be improved. The repeated background pattern does not look cool. I would advise the author to take it out. Making a website clean will enable its content to stand out.

Also, an important area that the author might consider re-doing immediately is the quality of the logo. The logo of a company is too important to ignore.

Function

Though the design of the website is simple, I would expect to have more information about their services, ie more content. Under nursing for example, it would be great if the author could break down the service into several paragraphs with more pictures. The images could be optimized better. Removing the edges of the image always make the image look more professional.

There is no footer in the entire website. It is good to put quick links in the footer to several important pages of the website.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the home page content is effective but the overall content and design of Osohomecare.com can be improved. The author might consider redesigning the entire website without frames and flash. Webaward.org has a good list of health care websites and is worth looking for ideas.

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The stores behind the smiles

Introduction

ButYouDontLookSick.com online magazine is about living life to the fullest with any disability, cure invisible disease, or chronic pain. The website is motivating and serves as a valuable internet resource for disabled people.

Form and Function

I feel that the left menu items could be better arranged in a more logical way. The more important links should be listed first. Somehow, I feel that the “Tips and Articles” has to go up and the “Links” has to go down. Web contests are always attractive. It might be a good idea for the author to promote it. The author might want to create a banner somewhere in the content area to encourage the readers to click on it.

The navigation is easy to understand but I find some extra space on the header of my firefox browser. The layout is also abit different in different browsers. It is not serious but deserves attention. The 2 images on the right shows the inconsistency of the text and layout in the firefox browser.

Some article abstract list in the main content area is too long. The “product review” section for example makes the reader scrolls alot. The author might consider breaking up the content into different pages. It might also be a good idea to insert more images. Currently, though the content is good, the list is too long and may appear boring to the readers.

The author seems to be promoting the forum and online shop alot. There are similar links on the header, menu and footer. Indeed, both sections deserve a visit. The phpbb forum (message board) has a long range of topics and is one of the most detailed forum I have ever seen. The online store is hosted on another site. The look and feel is slightly different but the range of products is interesting. If you are looking for gifts for people with disabilities, have a look at the store.

Personally, I find that there are be too many ads around which could serve as distractors. Instead of having different ads from different sources, the author might just promote the products in the store. The author could have a few gifs promoting say a T-shirt or mug on sale for example. This is a good way to invite the readers to the store. I believe that selling an item in the store is much profitable than a click on the ads.

Conclusion

I would like to conclude that butyoudontlooksick.com is a very resourceful website for people with disabilities. There is nothing spectacular about the design but the content itself deserves recognition. I hope that the author can continue to update the website and provide more useful content for the general public. Please Keep it up!

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Maria Sharapova Website Review

Introduction

Mariaworld.net is a website dedicated to Maria Sharapova, a famous female tennis player from Russia. The website is probably created by one of her fans. The author stated clearly that the site is not related to Maria or her agents.

Form and Function

The website is very interesting and contains everything you want to know about Maria Sharapova. By browsing through the content, I felt that the author has done a great deal of research on the tennis superstar. The greatest challenge of a fan website site is to be updated regularly and mariaworld.net has certainly done a good job in keeping the readers informed about the latest happenings of Maria Sharapova. In the index page, there are images and latest updates of maria and I was expecting a link to the article page or “read more” link in each of the updates but could not find any. The author is probably updating the site manually and it could be tedious in time to come.

From my experience, a fan or idol website is not hard to design. The tip is to work hard on the visuals. A picture tells a thousand words and many people are more interested to look at pictures of their heros or idols. Webpages that contain long text descriptions are best accompanied by pictures as well. The website has alot of images of the tennis player in different competitions but the articles of Maria Sharapova contain purely text (image 1). The author might want to add some pictures to the articles as well.

Though the site is very informational, I thought that the information could have been better organised. For example in the photo gallery, the long list of competitions could have been broken down into smaller sections with thumbnails (image 2). Navigating each gallery with the right menu can be confusing as well (image 3). It might be a better idea to provide a navigation path near the header or footer. I also realised that every thumbnail in the galleries appeared to be squashed.

I would like to propose a change in the ordering of the top menu. To me, updates are important and should be placed with higher importance. The author might also consider implementing a sub-menu system. For example, if there are submenus for “results”, the users can choose between “singles”, “doubles”, or “exhibition” straight away.

The layout of the pages should be consistent. I discovered that some pages have adwords on the header while some don’t. Some pages have centralised content while some are left aligned (image 4). These problems could be solved easily by implementing a templating system.

Conclusion

In conclusion, mariaworld.net is a one-stop website that contains all the information you want to know about Maria Sharapova. The website contains a huge library of images and statistics of all the matches that Maria played over the years. I hope that the site could be much more organized and probably database driven(to save the author’s maintenance time) in time to come. As a tennis addict myself, I would like to give credit to the author of the website for being so dedicated and consistent in updating the site.

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Personal privacy hole is a real concern

Introduction

OnlinePharmacy.com.au is a web store selling various prescription drugs and medications. Headquartered in Australia, the company sells over-the-counter products all over the world. Citing legal restrictions, they do not offer RX medications outside of their home country of Australia.

My visit to this site began rather uneventfully, although there were a few things along the way that raised some big red flags in my mind.

Form

The site design is a bit plain, and not very tidy. Nothing jumped out as absolutely atrocious during my first visit, yet nothing seemed impressive in any way either.

The company’s name is the same as their Internet domain name, and they display it promptly and often – the name is in the header located at the top left of every page. Of course, their logo (or lack thereof) is really nothing to speak of. It just doesn’t stand out, and the colors don’t quite match up between the logo’s background and the site’s background around the logo, giving it an odd sort of “boxed” look. Also, the site’s width and top margin jump around a lot from page to page, and are especially noticeable at higher resolutions using a large browser window.

The font type is mostly the same throughout the website, however they use bold and italic text in various places for no apparent reason. They change font sizes all over the place, and even throw in a few different colors – all on the same page – which just makes everything appear jumbled and busy.

The checkout pages don’t really look anything like the rest of the site, and the shopping cart is obviously some kind of add-in that maintains its own look and feel separate from everything else. Consistent, this site is not.

Overall, the image of OnlinePharmacy.com.au was sloppy, and my visit there was just plain boring – at least in the beginning. Upon further examination, I was able to identify a number of things that eventually did catch my attention; some good and some not-so-good. In fact, one particular point definitely made things interesting, and the thought of becoming a victim was rather frightening…

Function

A large personal privacy hole exists in the checkout functionality of this website. While credit card purchasing appears secure, the personal information side of things is definitely weak in the security (if you can even call it that) department. When it comes to keeping personal information safe, this site truly misses the mark.

After having selected some items for purchase and entering the check-out process, there is a page where you enter your personal information. (Not credit cards at this point; rather your name, street address, phone number, etc.) This is where the big problems exist. Instead of maintaining a “traditional” account with a username and password, this site simply allows you to recall a profile by entering an email address and a last name. That’s it? You only need an email address and last name to pull up a whole personal profile? Yep. Scary, isn’t it? That’s insecurity at its finest, and just a plain-old bad idea.

There are a ton of products available for purchase, and a lot of medical information put into layman’s terms on this site. The site is fairly easy to navigate, and they have a very comprehensive F.A.Q. to help you get started. Oh, and at least the credit card area is secure using SLL/128bit encryption. Of course, you must ask yourself, “Would you trust a company with your financial information that is so irresponsible with your personal information?”

Conclusion

OnlinePharmacy.com.au has a good idea and a ton of products at a great price. However, they desperately need the assistance of an Internet security specialist and a professional web designer. This web business has potential, but I just can’t get over that security hole and how sloppy their presentation is. If their electronic store is this “dirty” and they are this careless with other peoples’ information, what does that say about the quality of their products and services? Remember, they’re in the medical/pharmaceutical field, where cleanliness, quality and privacy are supposed to be priority #1. Ouch.

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