Web site critique

salisae's picture

I received an email from a member here with some suggestions to make my web site more appealing. Wanted to see if there were any other suggestions/critiques before I began.

I am new to the Bay area and my aim is to find clients to work with on building brands, marketing materials and/or packaging.

Feel free to be frank~


Chad Kent's picture

To begin with, you have some beautiful work there!

The simplicity appeals to me, but I wonder if the navigation could use more hierarchy or visual spacing…name, contact info, and work all seem to run together.

Overall, it works well as a showcase of your work. I see quite a bit of elegant playfulness in your work, which makes me want to see a bit of that in the branding of your site as well.

Miss Tiffany's picture

That "bach flowers" logo is gorgeous.

I think it could use a bit more contrast. or separation. the descriptions below the list item almost just look like another list item.

paragraph's picture

Very minimalist at the moment. The lovely work speaks for itself.

As a concession to convention, and bearing in mind that potential customers might not be as sensitive or artistic as you are, perhaps a bit less white space ... If you had a nice logo, almost like a chop stamp on a Chinese watercolour in the top corner, it would not detract from your wonderful designs or compete with them. Then some distinction between your details and the menu list of your work would be good. Perhaps even highlighting the relevant description from the list, by means of colour or tabbing would make the navigation easier.

Also, the usual threats at the bottom about copyright, copying, stealing your or your clients posessions would be good ;-)

TypographyShop's picture

Your work is wonderful and you've got some impressive accounts among your samples. I'd love to see the site design itself reflect the sensibilities you've shown in the print work.

The links on the left weren't too clear as links to individual projects. I'd design a simple stark homepage from which to direct the viewer to thumbnails to see larger work or put the thumbnails on the homepage. Perhaps take advantage of the simplicity of lightbox technology to highlight the work.

This outfit, group94 does some of the best portfolio sites for creatives I've ever come across. Click "work" then "Portfolios." Smoking simple and beautiful frames to showcase the work itself, which is what your site needs to achieve.


salisae's picture

Thank you all very much for making my day with your compliments :D I really love your idea about the tabbing, paragraph. I'll be adding some more work as well so I'll post again when it's updated.

If anyone else has input, I'm still very interested in hearing how to make this version of my site the best it can be.

Yehan's picture

Here's my two cents worth

This struck me as soon as I opened the window...would another font instead of Courier help? I dunno, maybe it's the look and feel, but Courier gives me the creeps and really feels like a student's website, IMHO. It's an odd contrast, given that your work is pretty polished.

salisae's picture

Hey Yehan, That is exactly what the unsolicited advice from a local member was – change the courier, please. I downloaded FontCase recently and came across the web safe fonts nicely laid out and realized how many fine choices there are.

Not sure why courier gets a bad rap. It would take a lifetime to figure out the tangential effect fonts have on everyone. Which is why I go with the majority vote if there is one. Anyway, thanks!

Sharon Van Lieu's picture

I like that your work is up front. I don't have to wait for a million different pages with thumbnails leading to a million different galleries. That drives me crazy. Some differentiation in the list would be nice but I really like how easy it is to see your work and it looks very nice on the white background.


Yehan's picture

Hi Salisae, haha..was that the first comment you got? I'm sorry. Maybe Georgia? for web safe fonts. I agree with Sharon, I like that the work is upfront, no flash and that it's easy to see. Maybe you could include examples of some of the detailing? That would be nice as well. Another thing, maybe you could condensed all the logos you've done into one heading. Might look like less work, but will come across tidier I think.

bouboulou's picture

I agree with precedent comments. The works are beautiful and the minimalism of your site serve them.

If I can give you an advice it will be to recompress your JPEG from quality 99 to 90. You will save more than half of your file sizes.

salisae's picture

Thanks, bouboulou, Do the longer pages take ages to load? My aim was to pad the .jpegs with more resolution to give them higher clarity. Or is that a myth? My previous employer kind of scoffed when I told him I loaded 150dpi for web.

salisae's picture


I have a lot of work to add to my site and have not figured which way I want to do that yet so I am updating the current navigation for now.

salisae's picture

Sorry this is a better idea of the look:


I am trying to figure out how to control the font lucida grande. I've seen it used on other sites even tho it's not a web safe font.

salisae's picture

Apparently I can control the font using javascript – anyone know how this is done?

bouboulou's picture

dpi means nothing for images on the internet.

Do the test with some images, i'm sure you will not see the difference between a 99 jpeg quality and a 90... except for file size.

It's always nice not to wait for viewing a website.

nina's picture

Great site, great work. Wow.

Re controlling fonts over Javascript: You're probably referring to the @font-face embedding technology? The problem with that is, as far as I know, it only works on a handful of browsers yet. So it's still good advice to stick with the usual suspects in terms of fonts.
You know you can specify an array of fonts in CSS? So you could always specify Lucida Grande, plus some other sans to fall back on in case Lucida isn't installed.
Maybe also look into the new MS Clearview fonts (Calibri, Consolas, Constantia, Cambria, etc.) as options, they're quite nice for screen reading.

Btw, that nav.png doesn't seem to work. :-(

salisae's picture

Thanks for the clarity on the dpi subject, bouboulou!

I re-connected the nav.png: http://www.sharieaton.com/QBN/nav.png

Considering softening the rollover and tab color. It's live here: http://www.sharieaton.com/newnav.html

I don't have a font specified as a back up for Lucida Grande so it may come up as Times on windows machines. I'm curious to see how it opens on your computers tho.

BlueStreak's picture

Your site shows amazing restraint, is beautiful, and the coding is meticulous.

Here's a comment for work "under the hood" though; add at least a few META keywords and a META description. The keywords will just reinforce a little of your brand to the web machinery. And the description will give you more control over the presentation of search query results and make them look a little better. Here's a screen shot of your description for a search result without a META description in your code:

salisae's picture

BlueSteak, excellent point and I would never do that to a client. AtoZ mentioned that in his e-mail as well – that I should treat myself as well as my clients. ha. I have no idea what's wrong with me.

AtoZ's picture


Congrats on the improvements you're making on your website.

One odd thing remains for me as I view it in IE7: some of the items have a drop-out white box behind them, while others do not. I suspect this is not intentional, but perhaps there is some rational that I don't perceive. (BTW, if you change it to make the items display uniformly, I strongly prefer showing the items without a box around them.)

I also have a suggestion for you: implement a tag for each of your menu entries so that when the cursor is over an item, a tag pops-up with a repeat of the information you currently show below the item after you actually click on the link. This will allow the viewer to decide if the item is one that interests him or her.
         When going from A to Z,
         I often end up At Oz.

mk2's picture

I think white-on-pink rollover is hard to read. 9px font size is also hard to read by, aged people, for example. If speed is one of your concern, some says replacing 'tables' with 'divs' might help (http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_div.asp). Other than that, the artworks are great.

Oh, yeah. Don't be too shy to write a much detailed 'about' information. :)

salisae's picture


Would you mind showing me what the white box looks like on your computer by means of a screenshot? That is a nice idea about the tags, very considerate toward the user, but I find they get in the way a lot.

and mk2, I am shy! ha. I will figure some copy out though. Should help warm it up a little.

AtoZ's picture

Sure, here's a screen shot of what I'm talking about (I cropped off the right half of the screen to avoid horizontal scrolling):

Here's another oddity, when I first open your site, the text is usually (but not always) displayed with a serifed face (see below), but once I click on any item in the list, the text changes to a sans-serif face as shown above.

         When going from A to Z,
         I often end up At Oz.

salisae's picture

Wow. I didn't realize the background was gray on a PC. I just set the background color to white and assume that will fix the white box problem. Looking into the font issue now. Thanks a million, A to Z!

PYROglyphix's picture

nearly shouldn't repeat it, but you're presenting some really nice work.
(gotta mention that i just created that account to answer on your request here!)

well, i agree with nearly any comment until here.
i'm really into reduced and plain sites for portfolio purposes.
i just think that your navigation wording should be re-thought.
to me tags like ”corespondance“, do not mean anything. and i guess for your potential customer neither. why not use the tagline in your project description as addition to the navi? like ”correspondance, book“ so i would know what i can expect?

i also think you could use some kind of thumbnail-overview site as home instead of showing your first work, so we can see what your capable to do at first sight!

>> i love love love the art works layout!!


salisae's picture

Hi PYROglyphix! I really appreciate your signing up for a comment :) Thank you!

AtoZ, I cleaned up the code and there shouldn't be issues on PCs anymore.

AtoZ's picture

Yes, both problems I noted are now gone. Good work.

I like PYROglyphix's suggestion of a thumbnail overview.
         When going from A to Z,
         I often end up At Oz.

salisae's picture

Thanks for the confirmation, AtoZ!

PYROglyphix idea is a good one, I agree. Shouldn't take too much to implement either. I'll keep you guys updated. Thanks so much :)

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