Fantastic Resource For Job Seekers

jobgoround.com is a website that provides career advice, helps people to write resume and search for jobs. The design of the site is standard but the content is rich. Anyone interested to find a new job might find this site interesting.

First 5 mins on Homepage

Upon landing on the homepage, I was drawn towards the logo on the top left. I thought the gradient background on header was a bit old fashion. The logo looked pale sitting on the greenish background. The top menu was boring as well but the menu item drop down was functioning – again some polishing would be great.


fig 1. Commonly found spacing issues.

The sharebar above the “Career Advice – Job Search – Resume Service Reviews” seemed out of place. Perhaps making the bar a bit bigger and putting it under the title? It was a good idea to put graphics beside the content like what the author has done. However, the graphics needed more breathing space around it. Some consistency in the size of the graphics used throughout the site is also a good idea. Also, some graphics had rounded corners while some didn’t.

Scrolling further down, I found the content a bit too much for me but might be interesting if I were to be a job seeker. I liked the step by step flow of content, i.e. resume writing tips -> cover letter writing -> resume distribution -> job search -> interview -> starting a new job. Perhaps a diagram to highlight this process would be great.

Next 10 mins

The right column seemed to be pretty standard throughout the site, i.e. job search, resumewebsite.org advert, latest tweets, job search resource, newsletters signup, “improve your brain” and a survey. I would suggest some variation across different categories to keep visitors engaged.


fig 2. Nice resume writing service listing

The highlight of the site seemed to be recommendations to use 3rd party services. Under the resume writing service for example, I could see reviews and recommendations for each service. The stars beside each service was intuitive. Clicking on each link (resumewriters.com for example) brought me to the resumewriters.com review page. The public commented and voted on the service which resulted in the number of stars (I believed) – nice. The Facebook like, twitter and share buttons needed to be more prominent to encourage more sharing.

Next 20 mins

As I digged in more and more, I found each sections a world of its own. Thumbs up to the author. He/She must have put in a lot of effort to create all these content.


fig 3. What happened to the job map page?

Every page that I visited seemed to be “seoed” but lacked tagging. It would be good if I could find all related post all in one go using tags. I was particularly interested in the people behind the scene but couldn’t find any till I saw the staff link under the sitemap. A lot of pages had empty spaces below the content area due to the right column. Again, I thought that the right column needed to be revisited.

I was surprised to find a forum on the site as I know that maintaining and promoting a forum is always difficult. It could be a setback if nobody uses it. As expected, The forum needed more spark to kick off.

Conclusion

In conclusion, jobgoround.com is a website with great resource for job seekers. It would have enough information to keep a job seeker entertained for hours. On the other hand, a lot could be done In terms of design and layout. There was room for improvement in terms of graphics consistency (spacing, quality, size, rounded corners…etc. The site is definitely moving in the right direction and has a great future ahead.

OpenLink Software

OpenLink is a MNC that creates risk management products for the energy and financial services sectors. As expected from a corporate website, the navigation is consistent and layout quite structured.

Homepage

I was greeted with a nice, colorful and friendly website upon first visiting it. If I were a potential customer, the homepage would definitely give me a sense of trust. The search box on the top right was intuitive to use but seemed to be sit a bit too high up for me (I thought it should be aligned with the logo). The language option below the search box was good. I was glad when people bother to make their site multi-lingual – kudos for that.

Then I saw the word “Decision Support Software For Transaction Lifecycle Management“.. sounded too bombastic for me (non-technical people). These words might ring a bell if they are targeting at the right people. I could see that the four columns immediately underneath the header banner, implying the four main categories of the website even though I didn’t understand the jargons. The four categories were “Financial Institutions and Capital Markets”, “Corporations and Non-Financial Institutions”, “Agricultural Products, CPG, Food and Beverage, and Manufacturing” and lastly “Energy, Commodities, Extraction and Production Industries”. The category names were a lot to digest. How about an icon for each and simplify the title?

I thought the category colours blend in very well with the headers and background. I was not sure of the changing graphics in between each column though as they appeared to be part of some rotational news. Perhaps the graphics should be part of the news box and the whole box clickable.


Fig 1. Footer has a lot of space?

The footer looked weird with the name of the three companies (dbcSmartSoftware, IRM, SolArc). The listing of the companies created some extra empty spaces in the footer. A mouseover drop down for the three companies sounded like a better deal for me.


fig 2. Another nice way to navigate using Javascript effects.

Other Pages

While navigating to the “companies” page, I noticed that the links to the four main categories have moved to the top. That was an excellent place for primary navigation. Unfortunately, it was not consistent throughout the site. The left menu on all the other pages was functional but lack of creativity. Some nice mouseover effects or icons would be cool.


fig 3. Great content with expandable “read more”

I could see that the content for each page was professionally written. Kudos again! However in the “about us” page, I noticed some links were linking to files in the local machines. For example, “Financial institutions and capital markets” was linked to file:///Macintosh HD/… Hopefully, the webmaster can correct that asap. I would also like to see more graphics in replace of text. The Software News Archive section desperately needed more graphics.

Conclusion

www.olf.com is a professionally designed and trusted corporate website. I hope that the webmaster can inject more icons/graphics in the site and perhaps try some creative layout. I also hope to see more engagement with the community. The Montreal OpenLink User Conference 2012 is a good place to create some buzz.

Web Hosting Buzz in UK

Webhostingbuzz.co.uk is a popular UK based Web Hosting provider. They provide a variety of web, reseller and VPS hosting packages for individuals, small or large businesses. The site seems to have the bells and whistles of a modern day Web Hosting Website.

Homepage

I always think the the homepage is the most important page of the site as it is usually the entry point for many visitors. I saw what I expected to see of a web hosting website when I visited www.webhostingbuzz.co.uk – visible phone support number, live chat link and attractive plans right on your face.

The main menu was on the top. I thought they were all self explanatory and easy to navigate. Just like other top level menu items, I thought the “Company Information” link should be clickable though just for the sake of consistency. If it is too hard to create a separate page, perhaps linking it to the first item of the drop down (Leadership Team) could be an easy solution.

As my eyes moved down to the content area, I was drawn towards the “Current Special Offers” and “Green Hosting”. Images work very well to capture attention of the visitors and I actually hope to see more fun graphics in this site. The content explaining why they are the leading web hosting provider in UK and Europe on the left is good but a bit hard to digest. There need to be more breathing spacing between each line of text which can be fixed easily using CSS.

The footer is also too much to digest. The paragraph of “Further Hosting Information” could go to the “Technology” or other sections and I thought the “30 day money back guarantee” paragraph should be in a more prominent place.

The header pic of the cpu looked OK on the homepage but I got a bit bored after seeing it appearing on every other pages (how about rotating the header graphic?). I also thought that the blog, forums and affiliate links beside the logo on the top left seemed to be too small and out of place – yes it was a bit cluttered up there. How about a separate menu to contain those links?

Main Focus of the Site

The main sections of the site should be Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting and VPS Hosting because these would be the pages that actually convert.


fig 1. The Web Hosting Page

In the Web hosting section (fig 1), the grid-like hosting packages comparison chart gives people a clear idea of what to expect from each package. Highlighting the “Hosting Silver” (or should it be Silver Hosting?) package is also good – this is a good deal. Buy it Now! Since this is the conversion page, I don’t mind the “Buy Now” button being more prominent. The “Expand for full plan specification” popup is also good as users won’t get flooded with the details upon arrival of this page. I also like the “Learn more about Web Hosting section” as it is very usable.

Injecting a bit of icons just like the VPS Hosting page might be another idea to make this page more interesting. Graphics is the only lacking thing in this page.

Something Out Of The Blue


Fig 2. Fun cartoon characters

The page that stood out from the rest was actually the Leadership Team page simply because it broke the monotony of the site – injecting a bit of fun is always good to make your potential customers feel good. Perhaps another idea is to use real photographs.

Conclusion

Unlike other web hosting company, I believe that the people behind webhostingbuzz.co.uk have spend a lot of time thinking about their corporate image and customer experience when designing the site. The content was carefully thought of and blocks of information were strategically placed. Except the checkout page (different software?), the whole site was quite consistent in terms layout and design.

In conclusion, I would say that this is an above average web hosting website. I would like to see more life in the site though – more interactive content and graphics.

Money Clips and Credit Card Holders

As the domain name says, smartmoneyclip.co.uk is a website that sells money and card holder. The website looked slick on the first glance. The graphics were professional and the thumbnails seemed to be optimised as well. I thought the color combination of the text and graphics blended well on the black background.

My eyes was drawn to the slider on the header. Unlike other sliders, this one seemed to be moving too fast for me and there was no way to stop it upon mouseover. However after playing it for a while, I noticed that I could stop and navigate the slider with the small navigation on the top right of the slider. It wasn’t as usable as I thought.

On the homepage, I also saw the words “Money clips and Credit card holders for him and her”. They were black text on black background (see fig 1). The words didn’t stand out, perhaps changing the text to white might be an idea.

fig 1. Spacing issues

Throughout the site, I noticed some text didn’t have enough left padding (see fig 1). I wasn’t sure if it was browser related (I was using firefox). The Facebook widget on the right column didn’t seemed to have enough spacing around them as well.

fig 2. Cool video on product page.

The highlight of the site seemed to the exentri section. EXENTRI™ is a lightweight credit card holder invented by their company. I thought the “Facebook Like” and “Google Plus” link could be grouped together and more prominent. The YouTube video could be moved lower down so there wouldn’t be so much empty space under the “more views”.

Fig 3. Need to configure meta headers for all the pages

As shown in fig 3, looked like the author forgot to configure the meta headers for some pages.

I also thought the footer could be trimmed better since a lot of links linked to the same “customer service” page. Perhaps they could also be centralised. The paypal logo seemed to be a bit off, not sure why it was separated from the rest of the payment logos.

Conclusion

money clip is reasonably well designed site. There were some spacing and formatting issues that could be fixed easily with css. Perhaps the next thing to do is to run some marketing campaigns and create more buzz. Even thought the site is available in different languages, they all looked quite quiet at the moment.

SEO Specialists in Australia

Orangeline.com.au is an australian based seo company providing seo services since 2007. Other than providing their own unique Organic Search Acceleration service which many businesses claimed to get good results from, they also offer other SEO services like Market and Keyword Analysis, Competitor Analysis Report, Site SEO Audit Report and Site Blueprint Report. Like many other SEO websites, I found the website quite wordy and stuffed with keywords.

The homepage looked simple and the layout was predictable for a typical SEO site. The top navigation contained the important links with no fancy menus. Orange color was prominent (could that be because of the company’s name?). I thought their message was very simple in the header “Online Marketing and SEO Specialists” and it would be very hard to miss. The Organic Search Accelerator diagram was good but the HTML used for that section was ugly. As a result of poor HTML, the image seemed to be repeating in my firefox, ie instead of using a table and a background image, that section could easily be re-written using divs.

The right column contained a subscription link, some company logos and a testimonial. I hoped the right column could be more dynamic. It looked quite boring with the same testimonial on every pages.

I found the text used in the site a bit cramped. Perhaps a bit breathing space between each line and bigger font size would be good. My attention was drawn to the images rather than the text, so I suggest the owner to have more graphics to explain their services rather than using plain small text (I know, I know… its all for SEO).

The search engine optimization and SEO Services section were probably the wordiest of all. It would take one a lot of patience to read them. I liked the idea of using some illustrations to break up the text in those pages. Having embedded videos to explain the services might also be a cool idea.


Fig 1. Alignment issue in the contact us page

I also saw some usability issues in the forms used in the site. The submit button in the contact us form was too small and the login page looked ugly. There were alignment issues here and there but they didn’t seem to affect the functionality of the site.

Conclusion

The owner of Orangeline.com.au might want to consider making the website more friendly by injecting more graphics with different colors. Pictures of real people are good and convincing. Personally, I would also add more dynamic elements to the right column and individual pages to make the site more lively. I could not find any traces of social media in the site at all – Facebook and Twitter widgets would also be cool.

Meet Smilesaver – The Disposable Toothbrush

lifestylekit.co.uk is the official website of smilesaver – a disposable toothbrush integrated with gel. The website was simple to navigate and had a loading time of about 10 secs on my machine.

The layout and colors was pleasing for the eyes. I could figure out exactly what the site was about within 5 secs upon visiting the homepage as the logo revealed a lot about them – “Disposable Toothebrush Supplier”. The quality of the logo was however a bit blurred on my firefox. Was it just me? Beside the logo and on the top right was the main menu: home, see product, about us and contact (Big fonts and simple to understand).

Beneath the top menu was a flash header image. I wondered if the use of flash was necessary as the effect could easily be achieved with simple javascript. I would also like to see more spacing between the top nav and the header image. Taking a helicopter view of the pages again, I wondered if the 60px LeagueGothicRegular body header H2 font was too big? The facebook news looked OK in the homepage but might bore the users when added to other pages as well.

I found the content a bit long-winded. Pictures tell a thousand words. Perhaps the flash animation for the use of the toothbrush could be put in the header instead and the homepage could fit into a browser without the need to scroll.

The only section that was a bit confusing for me was the “about us” page. The site was clearly selling disposable toothbrush but then the about us page talked about “non profit company” and “providing employment and training support to people with disabilities”. Perhaps that page needed to be relooked.

I also did not think that the author need to put the 4 logos on the footer. These logos should perhaps go into the “about us” or products page.

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?

Rank better and earn more

teliad.com is the website of a German-based SEO company specialising in link building and search engine optimisation. Users are able to log into the site and buy/sell links in a user friendly marketplace.

Form and Function

Like a typical SEO website, advice teliad.com was filled with text. The website looked pretty standard with the logo on the top left, recipe main navigation on the top, medical news on the right column and a standard footer. The layout was pretty consistent across all the pages. The navigation was two tier but I found the second tier hard to spot though – they only appear if you click on the main menu.. Perhaps showing the second level menu on mouseover might make them more obvious.

The homepage message was clear – Rank Better and Earn More. The “register free of charge” button below the top menu was also obvious even though I thought it could be more obvious (bigger button?). Beside the button was the text – “seo analyses”, “link building service” and “ranking check”. I was not sure if these text were meant to constitute a process. If they were, maybe having some arrows to show a process? If they were not, then I felt they looked quite redundant. From the menu and homepage, it looked like the site wanted to convey three messages: marketplace, link building service and ranking check.

The marketplace section allows users to sell and get backlinks themselves. This section was filled with text as well. While I appreciate the importance of explaining the seo benefits to the user, I also hoped to see more graphics instead. The webmaster might consider a separate section to explain the seo benefits so as to allow the core site to focus on usability.


fig 1. Lengthy text explaining the benefits of having backlinks

User have to do a lot of reading to understand what the website is about but I found the text used in the site quite small and hard to read. I believe having lesser text and more diagrams would improve usability and encourage more signups. The webmaster should also showcase more testimonials and case studies. I only saw little case studies on the right column under the linkbuilding service section. These were not even case studies per say. The company should describe how they achieved top rankings for others and how people praised them for it – some photos would be a bonus.


fig 2. RankingScore

The rankingscore and rankingindex were interesting. It looked like teliad developed their own point system to determine the strength and visibility of a url. I thought these two services were handy, maybe we can have some quick links to these pages on the right column.


fig 3. Photos of the management

The about us section told us a bit about the company and contained pictures of the management. I thought the section was well written but again, I would love to see more pictures of the office with friendly staffs. I also liked the fact that the website had other sites in different domains, ie teliad.de, teliad.es, teliad.fr and teliad.it. Allowing viewers to view the site in languages that they like is always a bonus.

Conclusion

teliad.com was a fully functional and serious website. There was a lot of seo juice in the texts but I suggest the management to consider having lesser text and more graphics or videos to improve usability, hence encouraging more signups. They can educate the users about seo somewhere else. Modern websites have a lot of space. and one good example would be 99designs.com. The right column should also be better utilised as they do not seem to be making any impact at the moment.

Piano Tutorial Online

onlinepianist.com is a website that teaches people how to play piano online. The site would be a great resource if you like to know how to play your favourite song. By watching the animated piano, for sale I felt that I was sitting infront of a virtual tutor.

Upon visiting the homepage, I was greeted by animated “Happy Birthday” graphic below the top menu. Mmmmm, was that the website logo or just a graphic? If that is the company logo, than it should be on every page and be in a consistent position. The main content area showcased the top song tutorials and some ads. Each song had a thumbnail beside it but some of the thumbnails appeared to be squashed. I like to see more spacing in the content area. The footer had some links as well but was not as obvious. Perhaps using a different background colour and font could make the footer stand out better.


fig 1. Flash animated piano

The website had very little text. In fact, the highlight of the site was the flash animated piano. It would be great if the author could make finding the music easier. I like the idea of a centralised search system where user can search for the song artists, piano sheets, difficulty, rating and tutorials in one search box.

I thought the song categories under the song tutorials section was well thought of. The author splited the categories into kids, rock, pop, jazz…etc. The categories should be more obvious and on every page. It was hard finding the music I liked from the home page.

I found the Piano Chord Chart interesting. I could learn how to play D7 for example by selecting D7 from the drop down list. For piano newbies, it might be a good idea for the animation to be slower. Better still, give user the ability to chose the animation speed – maybe a slider bar above the keyboard. I know nothing about piano, so I like to know what a major and dim are. Any extra textual information about piano chords would be cool. By the way, this piano chords page did not have a footer.


fig 2. A typo in the faq section

The FAQ page again had a different layout from the rest. I strongly suggest having a fix layout for all the pages.

Conclusion

The usability of the website was affected by the layout consistency. I found every page slightly different from each other. Perhaps the author should consider using a proper CMS to manage the content. Still, Online Piano provides a service that is unique to itself and I am sure many people would find the site a valuable resource to learn piano online. If the author could work on the the aesthetics more, the site could attract more traffic.

Free vector art

www.vector-finder.com is a website that allows users to download free vector graphics from one central location. The standard header looked cool and the front page seemed to be quite busy. Users would need to scroll down a bit to see the flashy graphics in the main content area though.

Home Page and Navigation

I was not sure the need to emphasis “GPL License, CC 3.0 License…etc” on every header on the site. The word “free” might be good enough? The flowers looked really cool but the navigation was confusing as the navigation menus were sandwiched by the big search and google ads in between. To add to the confusion, there was another google search box at the top right. I also found the “Search vector” menu a bit confusing when it was just above the search box. Perhaps the author should consider pre-populating the search box with the word “vector” and get rid of the “search vector” link. If the user feels like searching for free vectors, they can just click on the search button immediately. The google search was confusing, getting rid of it is a good idea.

There were also some repetition of the links in the menus, ie Free Vector. Shouldn’t “free vector” be the same as search vector? Perhaps some menus were there for seo reasons but they definitely affected usability.


Fig 1. smashingmag footer?

The ads at the side seemed to complement the look and feel of the website well but the search and headers needed some extra thoughts. I thought the footer looked good as well until I saw the “smashing magazine” graphic. Does this website belong to smashing magazine?

The Detail Page

When I clicked on one of the Free vector items, I was brought to the detail page of the vector art where I could download the file in zip format.


Fig 2. Nice detail view of the vector art

I really liked the big red button as I could not miss it. Clicking on the preview image invoked a bigger popup which was cool as well. Looking further down were the shutterstock and graphicdriver thumbnails separated again by google ads. I wasn’t sure if those thumbnails worked for me as people would have stopped looking once they downloaded what they want.

Others

Clicking on the “Free Icons” link redirected me to Free Icons. Interestingly, this site looked like the sister site of vector-finder.com, possibly using the same cms system. Instead of putting the sister site link prominently on the top menu, it might be a better idea to put it in the footer. The “about” link was also misleading. The same content seemed to have been ported over from freeiconsweb.com without modification.

Conclusion

vector-finder.com might have been duplicated from freeiconsweb.com but the author needed to put in more effort to make it unique. That might include going through the about us page and changing the layout and css.

Perhaps the top menu could go and be replaced the the secondary menu from the homepage.