All Coders – Directory of Technical Talent

Introduction

All Coders is a small directory with links to coders, designers, developers and various other web sites in similar fields. The database is small but provides a free web site submission service in hope that it will attract more traffic to your web site.

Form

Straight away I noticed that this web site would be very convenient for any resolution, even for our friends still stuck on 800×600. Although it is simple and clean, I think it could be better if it was presented with more of a graphical interface along with more features and definitely more content. I like the colour scheme but I am not a fan of the layout. As for the top header, I like the font used as it displays a modern look to it but the logo is quite boring and has nothing to do with the scheme of the web site.

If I were to plan out a new layout for this web site, I would add more design elements to it. I also think that the header needs extra work. If the theme of the site is “The Ultimate Directory of Technical Talent”, then I would really want to see some evidence of “Ultimate”, “Technical” and “Talent”, but all of which cannot be found in the website.

The links are simple yet effective. It keeps everyone happy when they aren’t reaching for the “back” button every 2 minutes and is extremely easy to navigate through. It also provides the site viewers an easy way to navigate through out the web site since it has a fixed navigation at the top which also shows you which section you are currently viewing.

Function

The design of the site is remarkably simple. We can see that the author is trying very hard to contain everything within a page. The categories are well organized and there are plenty of room to breath. However, there is a big gap in the top section under every category which seems awkard (might be due to the PHP Link script). Also, because of the nature of the site, the user can get bored easily by looking at all the links as there is nothing else interesting to read or see.

I think that the author need to talk more about the purpose of the site. It is too general and does not give the end-user any idea of what the website is about. I will have more confidence in using their services if they explain abit more. Sections like “About Us”, “Faqs” …etc are good additions to the site.

One question I would like to ask is “What is the selling point of the site”. There are tonnes of websites out there that does the same job. What makes people want to use their services? Is it because of good Google PR, Alexa Ranking, publicity, reliablity or what? To be truthful, I cannot find any good reason to use their services at the moment.

Conclusion

Allcoders.com is a nice domain name and could definitely use a face lift as well as a new logo design that is more relevant to the type of web site that it is. A more professional look and feel would also provide a more positive vibe of the web site which might make its visitors stay longer. Using their service requires a reciprocal link. Though I might consider posting my web site up there – I think alot more people would feel more confident in posting their web site on a more professional looking database web site.

www.allcoders.com.1

Web Design Firms Directory

Introduction

Web Design Firms is an excellent resource for finding various types of developers and designers in certain regions of the globe. It provides you with all the need to know information about certain development companies that would be best to suit you and best of all, its free!

Form

My first impression of the web site was how clean the layout and colours were. They have chosen natural colours which certainly gives it the wow factor in our modern world of design. Mixing the different greens together along with light blue and a focus on the grey areas gives the web site a very positive approach which is always the best way to go in my opinion.

The web site layout is extremely clean and simple. Along with the colours chosen, it is very easy to navigate throughout the web site. However, I do think that they used excessive spacing in the layout – I believe it would of been more effective to develop the web site based on a 800×600 resolution.

As for the company listings, they are very well planned out. It specifically tells you the services provided by that company as well as the companies web site, location and name. The search feature allows you to find companies with specific options so you aren’t browsing through so many web sites looking for the services that you require.

Function

I was very impressed to see that they have been very considerate in helping us to avoid using our “Back” button so often. There are two consistent navigation menus throughout the web site which contain the main navigation (located at the top of the web site) and the category listing which is located on the right hand side of the web site, very useful for surfing the website in other categories.

As for the look of the links, it has kept the flow of the web site by keeping the colours simple and clean. The roll over buttons are a nice effect by still keeping the main colours viewable and only giving it a light roll over colour. As for the text links, they also have a simple effect among hovering my mouse over them by just changing its colour and removing the underline so yet again it is incredibly simple, yet very effective.

Conclusion

An extremely user friendly web site to use and navigate through with a simple, clean and fresh layout. A unique design with an excellent colour scheme as well as an excellent service for finding exactly what you are looking for. The web site is very specific which helps avoiding in confusion as you can find exactly what your looking for in whatever area you wish.

If I were in search of clients I would be interested in looking further into signing up and using the services provided to help commercialize my own company, and best of all if your the one looking for a designer or developer, its free!

From Admin: This is probably the first and last time we review a directory. You have to convince me that your directory deserves to be reviewed if we are going to do this again.

www.webdesignfirms.org.1

www.webdesignfirms.org.2

Visual Orange Internet Marketing

Introduction

Visual Orange is a Web Design, ailment Internet Solutions and Marketing company located in Thailand. They specialize in web based solutions for ebusiness, targeting small to medium sized companies.

Form

When I first entered the site, my first impression was that the site had a common corporate look and that it was well planned and designed. My eyes were drawn to the striking words(logo) on the top left hand corner named “Visual Orange”. The word “Visual” seemed to be emphasized and that made me think I should be expecting something visual… I then zoomed out and look at the site as a whole. The second part that caught my attention was the credit card icons in the payment section. I think exposing the payment procedures on the front page is not a good idea. It might give people a negative impression of the comapny.

I started looking at the content which bored me easily after some scrolling. I have to agree that long text is good for SEO but bad for the end-user especially when it is in the index page. Maybe it is just me or the design of the logo, I am waiting to see some strong graphics or surprises which I cannot find any.

I like the spaciousness of the layout but what impresses me most is the profiles of the employees at the top right hand corner. I am not sure if I like the male in the photo, but I definitely like the concept. This is what a company should sell; the people that makes up the company. It tells their customers that the company has nothing to hid and gives them a sense of security that they are dealing with real professionals rather than some ghosts from outer space.

The contents of the web pages are pretty boring especially those that needs scrolling. Perhaps more graphics could be inserted between the text to make them look more interesting. Alternatively, the banners on the right column could be changed more frequently. Very Often, I felt like increasing the width of the content area in the centre column. There are important contents in there but not enough room to show. In the worst scenario, I would change the layout to 2 columns just to fit in the contents and that would also allow for some interplay of graphic elements as well. I am not sure who started the trend, it seems that many designers nowsadays are very scared to show off their graphic design skills.

Function

The navigation is very consistent thoughout the site. The left navigation menu is simple and effective. However, the sub-menus are not easily recognized. I had to do a few clicks before I knew how to use the sub-menus. Other than lightening the blue at the side, it would help by adding some bullets, icons or even some spaces before each label.

The breadcrumb looks cool but I not too sure of the line above it. Maybe making the line thinner of even leaving it empty might be a better idea. While navigating the site, I stumbled across a link exhcange page, ie link_popularity.php

The title of this page is “Link Popularity Exchange Farms”….Hang on, Did I see the word “farms”? Mmm, this term seems negative to me. Term like these is prohibited in the SEO dictionary. The company might want to manually screen through all the titles of their web pages to make sure the titles are named approriately. The special char “|” looks cool but might not be a good idea to use in the title.

Conclusion

Visual Orange is obviously a commercial site targeting at people who are looking for professional services. With that in mind, I thought the site could be more professional by injecting some strong visuals and portfolio to showcase their talent. I feel that the colors, font selection and layout are carefully planned but I am not yet convinced of their design skills. Would I be tempted to use their services? Not at the moment.

www.visualorange.net.1

www.visualorange.net.2

www.visualorange.net.3

www.visualorange.net.4

Do not forget Branding in Web Design

Introduction

HomepageSeek.com is a search engine and directory service that caters to smaller websites. Unfortunately, no rx this website is in dire need of help. Any service offered has the potential to succeed, try and in this case, the presentation is less-than-acceptable and puts a huge damper on prospective success.

Form

Though HomepageSeek does have the name of the website consistently shown at the top of each page, this is in no way a brand – or even a logo for that matter. (fig. 1) In my opinion, HomepageSeek should invest in a logo – one that is professionally designed, that they can grow with. Presentation is of the utmost importance and with the lack of identity (a logo or brand) the idea being presented is one of poor quality and lack of self-respect.

The design of this website is just as good as the brand, and that’s not saying much. For any type of search engine interface or directory, there must be a level of professionalism involved. This professionalism comes from a design scheme, color combinations, and tasteful graphics – none of which appear on this website.

I would like to see, in addition to a proper element of identity, directory listings contained in the body on a white background with a color scheme appropriated by the identity and logo. The yellow and red color scheme that is in existence now is difficult to read, not to mention the fact that most links are presented in all caps, which makes it even more difficult to interpret. (fig. 2) The search element should be contained in an area, separate from the logo – as this is what most users will be utilizing. The alternate navigation contained in the “What would you like to do?” dropdown should be located conveniently at the top or bottom of the page and transformed into text links.

As it stands now, this website has no form – a two column design is barely evident, however, enhancing the separation would make a huge difference. With the addition of professional-grade graphics to replace the animated gifs, the interface could easily rival that of the competition. Furthermore, utilizing CSS for color and font allocation would save time and energy on updates and additions.

On another note, I would like to see the “recently added” links as part of a right-hand menu with some design element drawing attention to them, followed by the “smart shopping links”.

Function

Though it is easy to navigate through the directory, there is no real navigation. The links present at the bottom of the page seem arbitrarily placed, (fig. 3) and the dropdown at the top would serve better as text links in a space dedicated primarily to those options. The “Hot Spots” should also have more attention directed toward them, as they are user “special interest” tools. (fig. 4) I would also like to see the “Hot Spots” occupy a section devoted to it alone.

I do like the idea of the easy to use directory, but without a proper page design, I am reminded of MLM (multi-level marketing) internet pages that lead a user into a sea of ads, pop-ups and more pages without giving any direction.

As for advertising and promotion, there are no methods exhibited here. I would like to see more emphasis and calls to action on URL additions. These calls to action should be placed above the fold, aesthetically pleasing and attention drawing in design.

I do see many advertisements from outside sources in typical ad format, or text links, however, more attention should be given to HomepageSeek and its services than to outside companies.

Conclusion

This website needs a great deal of help all around. I would suggest starting with a proper identity and researching the competition in order to gain a perspective on what is acceptable throughout the web in terms of design and advertising. From there, I would re-analyze the current website and bring in more form, contrast, and overall aesthetics.

In my opinion, the service offered is unique and has the potential to make HomepageSeek an asset to many users, however, without the presentation this service will not be taken seriously.

www.homepageseek.com.1

www.homepageseek.com.2

www.homepageseek.com.3

www.homepageseek.com.4

Too Many Ads

Introduction

When I first visited the site, I felt I understood exactly what the company did just by looking at their logo. Their name and slogan says it all. The line graph was a good choice to reinforce to the visitor that they’re a statistics company above all else.

Form

Their home page design is clean for the most part, if not very exciting. Colors and fonts are consistent in their look and feel, however the bulk ads, annoying pop-ups, and links to external sites such as “Adult DVD Movies Download” gets to be a little much after a few visits. I started to wonder if these people even knew who their advertisers where or cared what kind of image and standards they projected.

As for the internal pages, things get a little ugly, especially if you have log-in problems. There is absolutely no continuity in design or font choice on the error page.

The functional pages such as Profile are a bit better looking, and tend to be more consistent in look and feel.

Function

Once you’re logged-in, there is a simple menu to your left with all of your options for the site. Of course, the expectedly simple act of logging-in is rather difficult if you have a new account, since you can’t use their main log-in screen right away and have to click a link on the failed log-in screen to go to another page to enter your username and password again.

While the internal features of the site are fairly straight forward, it was a bit of a chore to figure out exactly what to do next. Ads, A topic and the fields in which to enter data are all that greet the user on most pages. There are no additional descriptions of the pages’ functionality or help text of any kind. Ease of use rates so-so at best.

Their core service is simple enough and useful enough for most small websites needing a counter and statistical tracking. Their downloadable toolbar, which offers up instant access to your sites’ hits data, is an option for some, but isn’t feasible for those that don’t like extras installed on their computer.

Conclusion

I was not impressed with gostats.com. There are too many ads. There was a lot of amateur design errors throughout their site, it was not very user friendly, and their service just doesn’t compete with the statistical tracking available with most website hosting packages available at many quality ISPs.

gostats.com.1

gostats.com.2

gostats.com.3

Survey Scout Website Review

Introduction

Survey Scout is a subscription-based service that maintains and provides access to a database of paid survey companies and opportunities. Though Survey Scout does a great job explaining their service, they have forgotten their most important assets.

Form

The Survey Scout brand is consistent throughout the entire site. The logo, located at the top of each web page, is attractive and relevant to the business image they wish to present. The tag line, “Where your “2 cents” are worth more than you think!” is clever and also relative to the service that is offered.

Though the branding is attractive and consistent, I did find myself completely ignoring it when maneuvering through the website. Since it is pushed to the very top of the browser, for me, it gets lost between the browser tools and the website navigation area. I think if the layout of the web site were reconsidered, a more suitable spot for the logo and tagline could be found.

The design of the website takes a very straightforward position to convey information. On each page there is the logo and tagline, navigation bar, and a large area of informative text that includes calls to action. At the bottom of each page, a simple text navigation area and legal information links are contained inconspicuously and provide the user with another area of standard navigation.

The layout of the website is a standard body layout with no columns and centered within the browser. Considering the scope of information provided, a two or three column design may better suit this type of website. The color scheme consists of a pleasant green, gray, and white combination (the color green psychologically gives the impression of money – something the website is promoting) and works well for this genre of business.

The testimonials are buried at the bottom of the text, and are contained in a gray area, written in green type with a not-so-standard typeface – this makes the text difficult to read (fig. 1). This display of testimonials, an important marketing tool, should be in an easy to read typeface and color, since these are major selling assets for the service. I would like to see Arial or Verdana font, similar to the remainder of the text and highlighted in a white box with a green border or moved to another column and taken completely out of the information body.

In addition, throughout the website, there are very few graphics. On a web site such as this one, I would like to see professional photos of people. Bottom line – ‘people’ sell. When a photo is presented with a testimonial, for instance, it draws attention to the testimonial and gives the user a genuine impression and the idea of sincerity.

Overall, the aesthetic design of the website could use some work. The color scheme works, however the introduction of another color (such as orange) would do more to interest the user and, if used correctly, could make the site pop. Aside from the color scheme, I think the most important issue to re-evaluate is the layout in general. To create a successful flow of information, design elements can be used to break up large, often daunting, areas of text and give the reader information in a tactful manner. Too much text can overwhelm a potential member, causing them to abandon the site early – design elements can help to fix this problem.

Function

The top navigation on the site is easy to use, to the point and relatively attractive. The tabbed format makes it easy for users to navigate and know at all times where they are on the site. (fig. 2) It is consistent throughout the website and is typical in format. Users can easily locate and understand the navigational options.

In addition to the top navigation bar, the text links on the bottom of each page are common and standard in design. The area they are located in is familiar to the individual user and provides easy access to the legalities portion of the site, as well as simple navigation to deter the need to scroll to the top of a page to move throughout the web site.

There seem to be two main aspects of advertising and promotion on this site. First, the testimonials (fig. 1) are located throughout the website where they are positioned within body text or at the very end of a page. As stated in the Design portion of this review, I would like to see more attention directed toward the testimonials. The separation of testimonial and informative text are important for the user to get a clear picture of what the site is about and how the service can benefit the user. More specifically, I would like to see photos and testimonials in a right hand column, implementing design elements to grab attention. People in general are more comfortable reading or listening to other people’s experiences than they are reading ‘convincing’ marketing text.

The second element, which is the most important is actually the call(s) to action located throughout the website. On the homepage, which gives the first impression of the site to the view, contains a call to action at the bottom of the page. (fig. 3) It is buried and users, given the amount of text they must read in order to get to the call to action, may never see it. I would suggest placing it within designated areas throughout the page, and follow the same discipline throughout the remainder of the web site. The call to action should be one of the first elements that the user sees. I would like to see this contained on the left, right under the logo and navigation bar in a three-column layout with appropriate design elements and directive. There is an identifiable lack of attention to the prospect of conversion. The only noticeable element relevant to the call to action is an animated gif located above the fold (fig. 4) with one major mistake – it is not user interactive and it is the only thing, other than the menu that the user may want to click on.

I would like to add that the personal letter on the home page is a nice touch, though it took me many times looking at it to realize it was indeed a personal message. I think I would like a photo to accompany that section as well.

Conclusion

In general this website has good potential. The logo is nice, the color scheme is pleasing aesthetically (though I would add another color to the mix), and the information is useful and to the point. Having said this, I think Survey Scout should pay attention to overall design and try to up the ante with design elements to make their site more appealing and less daunting to the user – ultimately making the website work hard instead of the user.

www.surveyscout.com.1

www.surveyscout.com.2

www.surveyscout.com.3

www.surveyscout.com.4

SEO Company Website Review

Introduction

Ineedhits.com is a popular SEO company on the internet and has done alot of advertising. As a SEO company, online they have good Google PR and Alexa ranking. I heard alot of stories about the company and decided to visit their website and try out their service.

Form

I thought the logo is well designed. The dot on top of the “i” looks like a target and the word “hits” in red sort of emphasizes the idea of “bringing hits” for your website. By looking at the logo alone, cialis you feel that the company has the capability to achieve great SEO result for you. The blue is also used consistently on every pages. The gradient on the navigation menu and header gives people a smooth feeling.

The navigation is very simple and easy to use. The 2 tier navigation system is effective and loads quite fast on my modem. On closer look, medicine you will find that all the url are optimized for keywords. For example, The link for “online advertising” is http://ineedhits.com/advertising/online-advertising.aspx and so on.

Red is used effectively to highlight important news such as sales or advertisements. It is not overwhelming and does blends in well with most of the pages. The title and meta-tags for every page is also very well optimized for all the pages.

Function

They have a live chat service which is very useful if you want to find out more about their products. I asked the operator many SEO questions and it seems to me that they are more eager to sell me their products rather than telling me the details. Even their emails contain alot of links asking me to buy this and that…

I decided to sign up their Traffic Trifecta package just to test out their service. I also paid for premium submit which cost $100 in total. After a few days, the optimization was completed and I found out that only 1 of my pages is optimized for title and meta tag. I was also told later that only 1 page is optimized every month with a monthly recurring fee. I wanted to quit the the plan immediately but was persisted to stay for 3 months by their operator. The operator keeps copying and pasting her answers on the screen and that puts me off completely.

Conclusion

Overall, the site is well designed and easy to navigate. It has great appeal for people to use their services. On further investigation, I found that there were too much emphasis on marketing…you see discounts everywhere. A good website should gain the trust of the end-user and therefore should not boost or maket too much but should instead give more details of their products. (Too much advertisement is the problem with most web sites). This is only my experience, it may be different for you.

ineedhits.com.1

ineedhits.com.2

The leader in Online Marketing

Introduction

Commission Junction is a popular online advertising company and has a number of big clients including ebay in their portfolio. This site has a strong corporate identity and a very user friendly navigation system. I usually judge a website by my first impression and this site certainly got my attention.

Identity

The corporate colors are used effectively on every page. The headers of each section are highlighted in strong green, click providing a good contrast with the white background. The faint CJ graphic embedded in the flash movie on the top right provides a subtle reminder of the brand. Looking at the CJ logo, I thought more characteristics of the circular shape or some curviness could be used throughout the pages.

Navigation

The site utilizes an easy navigation system with the top level “Solutions, Our Clients, About Us” on every page. All the links are easily visible user friendly. The client login system on the home page is very well thought of. However, the country navigation script on the top right hand corner seems to be abit slow.

Navigation trail or bread crumb is often used in many web sites to provide easeness in navigation. The bread crumb in this site is hard to see because its color does not contrast with the green background. The links below the page have the same problem.

The flash is not heavy, so it does not slows down the loading time. Overall, the site loads quite fast even on a dialup modem.

Design

All the pages in the site are very consistent in terms of typography and layout. Important headings are bolded and all the texts are easily readable. The layout is effective with dotted lines separating different sections. The spaces around the text and images makes the page neat and tidy, improving user experience when navigating the site. The orange color is well used to balance out other colors on the page.

Most important of all, the graphics used are appropriate and presentable. (Graphics can spoil a great site or makes a crappy site looks great.)

Conclusion

www.cj.com is well organized and presentable. The web site designers must have gone through a long planning process to create the site. It is all worth the effort.


Sitecritic.net award

Easy Navigation System.
Easy Navigation System.
Breadcrumb is hard to read.
Breadcrumb is hard to read.
Consistent Spacing between text and images
Consistent Spacing between text and images