Car Review Website

Introduction

TheGarage.com.au is an Australian automotive review and information website. By providing extensive reviews on cars, buy the author hopes to help people to choose the right car to buy. The website looks just OK to me but some of the reviews are cool.

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There was nothing in the index page that motivated me to stay when I first entered the site. However, case I must admit that I am not a fan of cars. Some images are nice but they are too far below and I have to scroll down alot to access them. The author might consider cutting down the text with additional links like “read more” for each review. I think that making the user scroll too much on the index page is not a good idea.

The first page is heavy because of the strong visuals. I thought there are nice images but they are abit far down. Why not move it closer to the top so that people see it once they enter the site? Nice images often attracts attention. I am also not too sure of the page header. I just feel that there are too much empty space in there.

The detail page of each review looks good and interesting. The images can be enhanced to increase the visual appeal. Under the review section, buy viagra the images of the cars are stacked one on top of each other which forms a long list again. The author might consider utilizing tables to organize the thumbnails of the cars to cut down on the scrolling.

Function

The top menu is pretty straight forward but I am not too sure of the left menu. People always like to search for something interesting in the left menu. The current left menu consist of boring resource links which is standard across all the pages. The white comment boxes that appear while hovering the left menu seems to be too big for me. The right column consists of long menu items on car reviews. The list is long and I think it should not be on every page. I would recommend putting other links such as advertisements or even remove the whole column altogether.

To me, the reviews on the different models of cars could have been better organized. Instead of listing all the models in one page, the author might want to categorize them into different brands such as “Toyota”, “Hyundai”, “Ford” and so on.

The author can work harder on the title and meta description of the pages. Every page should have certain targeted keywords to optimize. In many cases, the use of images for the headers are unnecessary. For example, the “Welcome to thegarage.com.au” in the index page need not be an image. Using images inappropriately can hurt the SEO of the page. All images used should also have alt tags. The author might want to use more h1 and h2 tags.

Conclusion

The car reviews are very detail and professional. I am sure it will help alot of people who are looking to buy a car. However, the image layout in the site could have been better. The author might also look into what to put into the left and right columns.

www.thegarage.com.au.1

www.thegarage.com.au.2

Functional IT Job Website

Introduction

Dev Bistro is a community resource that lets you search and post Web Development and other Information Technology jobs and find experienced IT Professionals. The job board offers free job posting and you get to contact the employer directly.

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If Dev Bistro is the web equivalent of an instant coffee and a plain cheese sandwich. No fuss or fluff – functionality is at this site’s heart. The site is aimed at Web Developers rather than Designers, ailment so in many ways this is appropriate, shop and I imagine dissuades irrelevant postings from designers seeking work. There is certainly no shortage of job sites out there with many features, treatment but it is Dev Bistro’s simplicity that really appeals, and as a refreshing change, both job and resume posting is free.

Visually, the site is very plain – a grey band at the top with bland imagery is the only visual content to this site, lifted a little by orange header text, which does little to lighten the mood while I do my least favourite task of searching for work. However, this is combated by a nice, open layout and very simple navigation using rollover buttons with alt tag descriptions. Plenty of white space is given throughout the space which allows Dev Bistro to avoid the feeling of claustrophobia given off by most job sites.

Function

Posting jobs and resumes is very straightforward and fast, which will appeal to both busy souls in human resources and jobseekers tired of jumping through several pages to post a simple profile. The text-based HTML site works well with Google and will push up posters’ profiles in search engines, which is always an appealing plus to anyone. Speaking of Google – there are a number of ads by Google on evry page in a similar style to the overall layout which sometimes proves a little confusing.

The search function of the site feels very solid and efficient, allowing the user to search jobs or resumes by keyword, location, expertise, etc. Results are shown in a table with the row background colours alternating white and grey, making it easy to hunt through a long list.

If you start to tire of looking at jobs, Dev Bistro provides some other reading information in the form of articles aimed at developers and walkthroughs of interview questions. This section seems to be steadily growing and should prove to be a very useful resource for the programming community. The wide range of interview questions and answers are practical, clear and thorough and will help people prepare properly for the jobs they are seeking.

Conclusion

Dev Bistro isn’t the looker of the web world, but plays well to its strengths and should serve its community well. This community has been clearly identified and catered for, reflected in the site’s solid design and no frills approach – its simplicity of use contrasts heavily with other more corporate sites and works in a refreshingly straightforward manner.

www.devbistro.com.1

European Union and UK Investment in Rural Areas

Introduction

When first landing on the home page, no rx my initial impression of the site is that it is somewhat crude with little emphasis or thought having been given to the design elements of the site. However, the links indicate to me that the site may have plenty of information to impart, and as that’s the primary function of the site, as a user, I would be tempted to delve deeper. The use of imagery also helps to stimulate interest as they add a human touch to the site and hint at a wide scope of projects.

The logo needs some attention as it has been resized within the html code, and therefore has a larger file size than necessary and has lost some of its clarity on the screen.

The links on the left hand side of the page are a little puzzling. You only know that some of them are links as the cursor changes to the ‘hand’ symbol. As a user, I would prefer for all the links to behave in the same way when I roll the mouse over and as an expectation that your site is kept current, there should be no need to inform me that some of the sections have been updated in this way. I would therefore suggest implementing simple rollover behaviour such as the text changing colour on each link so the user knows that clicking on it will take them to another location. Using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for this function will eliminate the need for images and some of the JavaScript which is currently used on the page and will in turn reduce the file size of the page to increase page load speed.

In terms of content on the home page, I would like my interest to be spiked a little more by maybe including snippets of some of the most recent projects/highlights you have worked on and what they have achieved.

Usability of the site

I have touched on the navigational links in the section above, and think you would be well served to alter them so they are all consistent and indicate more clearly that they are links.

More crucial, however, is the need to carry the navigation throughout the site. Clicking on any of the links from the main page takes the user through to a page which they cannot then navigate anywhere from. In order to return to the page they just came from, they need to click the ‘back’ button on their browser.

As a stop-gap, an easy to implement stepping stone would be to at least ensure that your logo links back to your home page. Users expect a logo to be a link to the home page and at least this would give them the most basic method of navigation.

It would also be really useful to have a sitemap somewhere as I get the impression that there is a lot more to the site than I have actually discovered.

Design

There is certainly nothing offensive about the design elements of the site, but it is also not slick in any way and it’s my feeling that its simplicity and crudeness doesn’t do justice to the information you have available. Your introduction page has a link to the Natura 2000 site, and it would be great to see your site having a similar kind of impact (there’s no reason why it couldn’t).

Consistency

The site maintains a good standard of consistency throughout the internal pages. The layout is the same on each page (with the exception of the Links page which is left-aligned rather than centred), and the fonts and colours used are constant all the way through.

Structure and coding

Without wanting to become too involved in the coding of your site, there are several fundamental elements, which are missing from your pages:

DOCTYPE – every web page should be headed up by a DOCTYPE (short for Document Type Declaration). This informs the validator which version of code (ie. HTML or XHMTL) you are using, and your pages cannot validate without one. Omitting the DOCTYPE, as all your pages do, suggests to the browser that your page is written with invalid markup and code.

Meta data – in basic terms, including meta tags on your web page can help inform some search engines what kind of content your pages contain, eg. what the purpose of your website is. They can therefore be very useful in optimising your site for search engines to try and drive more traffic to your site.

Cascading Style Sheets – the code on your pages could be reduced significantly through the use of CSS which would improve page load times. It would eliminate the necessity to use tables to present the data and would make your pages far more accessible.

Alt tags (this is the text which appears when you lay your mouse over an image) – adding alt attributes to your images is one of the simplest ways to make your website more accessible. It may also aid any search engine optimisation efforts.

Messaging and content

The content on your site is very informative, but it’s presented in a manner which renders it a little dry and difficult to absorb. There is huge potential for livening up your content and presenting it in bite size chunks which people can then choose to explore by delving deeper into the site.

Conclusion

In summary, the site needs a significant revamp to make it work harder for you. If I were to rank the points I have covered above in terms of priority, the navigational structure of your site would be top of my list, followed closely behind by a rethink of how you present the information on your site. The work you do facilitates valuable and really worthwhile projects – now it’s time to let visitors to your site become excited about them too.