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Topic: Please critique my website...
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Jul 30, 2006 02:51AM)
Hi All,

I posted a while back asking for advice with regards to my site. I took some of the suggestions and here is the latest:

[url=http://www.jamiedgrant.com/]My website[/url]

Any more thoughts?

Thanx!

jamie
Message: Posted by: Neil_Brown (Jul 30, 2006 03:50AM)
Hi Jamie,

Here are my initial thoughts on the site. I've focussed on areas in which I think there could be minor tweaks / adjustments made, rather than on the many things which are good.

[i]www.jamiedgrant.com (index page)[/i]

The <title> tag on this page is set to "www.jamiedgrant.com". As this information is generally going to be available in the URL bar of the browser, I wonder whether it might be better to change this to something like "Jamie D Grant - Master Magician".

There is no <alt> tag on the soleil6.jpg image, which means that someone using a screenreader is likely to struggle to see the contents of that image. I'd suggest amending your code to be something like "<img src="images/Soleil6.jpg" [b]alt="Audience laughing during Cirque Du Soleil show"[/b] width="399" height="266">"

Your quotations appears to be images rather than text (or else a text overwritten by an image), which, similarly, means that they are going to be hard to pickup by a screenreader; I'd suggest just using text here.

A more general point, but, I'm always unsure about having the index page of a site as a "jump" page. To my mind, you want the first page to be the one which grabs the user's attention - by having a "jump" page, that's automatically one more click they have to make to access the main content of the site. Similarly, I'm not sure it does you any favours when it comes to search engines crawling for indexing.


[i]http://www.jamiedgrant.com/About.html[/i]
(Several of my comments here apply to other pages on the site also)

The text "Were you able to solve the Curio on my business card" is too dark against the black background- I'd try to increase the contrast here, by making the text lighter. In the same vein as above, I'm not sure why there needs to be an image containing / over this text either.

The whole page is very narrow, which isn't a problem in itself, it's just something which looked a bit odd to me. Similarly, the choice of font- Times New Roman- looks a bit "This came out an automated program", to my mind. However, both of these comments are just subjective feelings (my font of preference is Tahoma, for what it's worth).

The page background is, again, a matter of personal taste, but I really didn't do anything for me! If I were going to have a page which only takes up a fraction of the screen, I guess I'd opt for a plain background, myself.


[i]http://www.jamiedgrant.com/Testimonials.html[/i]
"Jamie is the illest magician I know"- perhaps "illest" is a word used in the US, but, to me, it makes you sound that you are sick a lot!

"His timing and delivery are sick"- I'm not sure if this testimonial is supposed to be a "funny" one, but, should this be "slick" instead of "sick"? If it's supposed to be funny, then, I don't get the jokes, and I'd question how many of your target audience would get them either- also, is having "Swollen Members" as the top testimonial necessarily a wise idea, or does it conjour up the wrong impression?! It may give you interesting indexing results, and, people who, like me, have never heard of them, are unlikely to want to search on that term in Google. (It may just be me, of course, but I thought it worth mentioning)


[i]http://www.jamiedgrant.com/Services.html[/i]
The change between first and third person is interesting- again, a matter of personal taste. However, is the site supposed to be your site, in which you sell your services, or someone else talking about you, in which you pop up with some quotations? (It's a content, rather than technical, issue, though)


[i]Generally[/i]
The size of the black box, and the blue box inside the black box, seems to vary from page to page. I would have thought that, if you are going for a site based in a fraction of a page controllable through internal scroll bars, it would be better to keep these elements of a constant size throughout.



I appreciate I've been very critical here, but, there are many good things about the site upon which I haven't commented. I'd suggest that the most important thing to do would be to get some <alt> tags into those images, to help show what's going on in them, and perhaps consider changing from a "jump" page straight into your site. The site looked as it was intended to look in both FireFox and Internet Explorer, which is great.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Jul 30, 2006 01:26PM)
Hiya!

Neil, Thanx for taking such an in-depth look and for your suggestions!

jamie
Message: Posted by: Tyler_Magician (Jul 30, 2006 02:59PM)
As I write this, the only page I have looked at so far is the first page. The testimonials aren't good as I see them. One is from you, one anonymous, and the other doesn't have the persons name. If you want testimonials that people will remember and actually believe, I suggest you put real names in there.

After I opened up the site, everything looks good to me. That front page just bothered me, because of the testimonials. Also, the picture on the front page isn't of you! I thought that guy holding the cards was you. I like the picture, but maybe you should move it to another page and put a picture of you on the front.

I do like how you have the p.s. on the contact page. It gives the potential client a reason to call you. The site looked great other than the front page.

Good job!

-Tyler
Message: Posted by: Neil_Brown (Jul 30, 2006 03:36PM)
[quote]Also, the picture on the front page isn't of you! I thought that guy holding the cards was you.[/quote]
[quote]I do like how you have the p.s. on the contact page. It gives the potential client a reason to call you.[/quote]
I agree with both of these - I thought that he was you, or rather, that you were him, and I thought that the PS was [i]very[/i] nice indeed :)
Message: Posted by: Colin Gilbert (Jul 30, 2006 04:39PM)
Quote [As I write this, the only page I have looked at so far is the first page. The testimonials aren't good as I see them. One is from you, one anonymous, and the other doesn't have the persons name. If you want testimonials that people will remember and actually believe, I suggest you put real names in there]

Apparently (see the topic concerning Mr dugdale) name dropping isn't a very good idea??

Ahem.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Jul 30, 2006 04:52PM)
Hiya,

I took the anonymous testimonials off the front page and I replaced it with a description of the picture. I'll see if too many people still think it's me, though.

Thanx for all the input so far!

jamie
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 30, 2006 07:47PM)
Jamie - One way to reword the caption under the photo is to put this instead:

[b]Guests at a Cirque Du Soleil VIP party reacting to magician Jamie Grant's magic, comedy, and fun! To find out more about Jamie can impact your event, too, click to enter his website...[/b]

(You don't need the quote marks, nor do you need to credit it to yourself. You can also make the whole page, the caption and the photograph "clickable", so that there is no mystery as to what to do next.)

- Donald

P.S. Personally, I'm not a big fan of entry pages, but if you insist, then you need to make it work best.
Message: Posted by: Jeremy L. (Jul 30, 2006 11:02PM)
From your web site it's not clear what are you are in. You mention the Vancouver Seven so I assume you are in, around or near Vancouver, but it's never stated clearly (e.g., Bob has been performing at events in Asdfghjk and the surrounding areas for 1234567890 years).
You also never mention whether you do walk-around, stage etc. because some of the events that you list could be close-up or stage or table hopping etc.
Message: Posted by: wonder pefomance (Jul 31, 2006 06:08AM)
I do 2 cards monte trick too.
Message: Posted by: Neil_Brown (Jul 31, 2006 07:36AM)
[quote]I do 2 cards monte trick too. [/quote]
Sounds like an attempt to break the "50 posts" barrier to me!
Message: Posted by: wonder pefomance (Jul 31, 2006 08:04AM)
Sorry I couldn't get past the picture with the two cards trick so thought that's all the content.

this web is quite good. I like the colours and the brown spirals. did you make it yourself if so well done and I hope it brings to you plentifull bookings and magical engagements in canada.
Message: Posted by: Gordon (Jul 31, 2006 05:51PM)
I have to echo what Jeremey said. There's no indication of where you live. Should I call you at 4:00AM and ask if you can do a show in Hawaii? ;-)
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Jul 31, 2006 06:50PM)
Hawaii? You bet!

Thanx for the suggestions and comments everyone!

jamie
Message: Posted by: Shaunus (Aug 11, 2006 11:37AM)
Hi Jamie,

I like how you have kept the black boxes the same size, as someone suggested. Further, I think you photography looks very professional. I also like the way that you have used bold and normal fonts to vary the texture of the text. To me that kept things interesting. I also think that your note on your contact page that empathized with your potential customer's hesitation to phone you, and then noted that you are a really nice guy (which is very true) is a helpful encouragement. That the information about the "curio" on the base of the website is a bit darker is fine I think, because from my impression, that is a bit of an aside anyways, for those who have your business card. The true acid test of any website is two fold. First, the number of hits you get, and second, the number of those hits that actually phone or email you. Let me know how that is going. How many hits have you had? How many phone calls have you had.

Later,

Shaun.
Message: Posted by: Phil C (Aug 13, 2006 12:02AM)
Just looking at it briefly.
The text in the bottom of the page is very difficult to see.
The background pattern is also not necessary.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Aug 16, 2006 03:00AM)
Wow,

Making your own website certainly insn't pleasant...I rather be doing magic!

Anyway, I changed the opening page, is it better? And does anyone ever list rates on their site...

Thanx again,

jdg
Message: Posted by: Watchmaker (Aug 16, 2006 04:02PM)
Mr. Grant,

The photos you use are fantastic. They show up so sharp on my monitor (Mac), even the banner with the card fan looks very professional.

I'm not a fan of black backgrounds but it doesn't seem overdone on your site and it works as a nice mat for the photographs.
Message: Posted by: sadamspmp (Aug 29, 2006 07:49PM)
As requested here are my comments on your site.

The photos on the opening page are great. You may want to resize the one of yourself to ensure the "Enter.." hyperlink appears in one browser screen. I had to scroll to find it. This can be a negative for some Internet users.

The opening page is off balance. That's OK as it adds a bit of tension. As a viewer I want to resove that tension quickly. I would use a caption near the three photo montage that leads the viewer into your site, i.e., "Witness the Excitement" or some catchy phrase.

On your main page the graphic of the cards and your name/title load separately. You may want to combine these into one image to improve loading speed and to realize the dynamic "pop" of the header. Your images are very professional, crisp, and well themed.

With regard to navigation I don't like the fact that I must scroll down to see the entire page and also scroll within your page. A viewer is missing important information at the bottom of the screen if they do not scroll down. Once again, use the real estate you have in one browser page. I'm viewing your page at 1024 x 768.

I'd customize the order of the testimonials in order of your target market. For example, if your target market is corporations and this is where your income is mainly produced, a testimonial from another business carries more weight than that of the "Swollen Members". This led me astray a bit from the professional yet fun tone of the site.

Would the first peson voice work better. I'm interested in you and your services but feel that the third person voice is not the image your may want. Imagine the direct warmth and rapport you can create through speaking directly to your visitors. You have plenty of third person validation in the testimonials.

On the "Store" page, add your number where you ask for folks to call.

Overall, I really like the site. I'd expand the width to address the scrolling issue. I'd also dump the opening page and use main page as "It". Ultimately you want people to either call you or e-mail you so you may call them. Every page of your site should lead them to this action. I'd include a quick form on the contact page that they can quickly fill out. Consider that every extra step you're asking a viewer to take (opening a e-mail client and sending you a note) is one more opportunity for them to leave your site. A form allows them to contact you in an easy way. For example, you could have fields for name, phone, best time to call, interested in (1)booking a show (2) quote (3) more information, etc.

Just a few thoughts. Hope they were helpful.
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Sep 12, 2006 01:52AM)
Well I took a lot of suggestions in and totally deleted my entire site.

Here's the new one:

[url=http://www.jamiedgrant.com]www.jamiedgrant.com[/url]

I hope it's better,

Jamie D. Grant
Message: Posted by: Phil C (Sep 12, 2006 09:51AM)
I think this is a lot better than the previous one.
Keep up the work :)
Message: Posted by: sadamspmp (Sep 12, 2006 02:59PM)
Much better! I don't have to scroll and can quickly get to what I want to look at. I miss the black background a bit. The white is rather stark but it's not a big issue. Much simpler / better.

Jamie - Do you like it?
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Sep 12, 2006 03:32PM)
The orange rectangles on the "rollover" buttons is a bit distracting. Did you mean to do it that way, or did you forget to make the background transparent?
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Oct 2, 2006 11:37PM)
Thanx for the help everyone!

The question now is:

Blue Spade, or

Red Diamond?

On the first page I have a blue spade above the 'i' and on the About page I have a rough diamond...

Any thoughts?

jdg
Message: Posted by: Trestkon (Oct 3, 2006 03:56PM)
I prefer the diamond. Also, I notice that your mouseovers on your buttons aren't precached, check out this link to preload the images and eliminate the little wait it takes for the button backgrounds to appear.

http://www.pageresource.com/jscript/jpreload.htm
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Oct 3, 2006 08:02PM)
That's a good tip, thanx!

I also changed the spade to white for better visibility for now...

Anyone else? Spade or diamond? I just think the diamond might be a bit too much like a candle...

Or maybe the whole thing's a bad idea, lol.

jdg
Message: Posted by: Trestkon (Oct 3, 2006 08:43PM)
Will you throw a card at my face if I say I think some of the colour choices at jarring? ;)

For instance, on this page:

http://www.jamiedgrant.com/Services.html

You have 3 different colours of text, white, orange, and black. The white isn't so much an issue, as it's the title. However, I'd probably reconsider the orange on white text. I know you want it to stand out, but to my eye it's almost harder to read. Alternatively, I've get rid of the white background all together and choose a colour that contrasted less with your black background.

It's your text that you want to jump out at the reader, but currently the first thing I notice is the large white box in the mostly black page burning a whole in my brain.

I should say that I *do* like the overall colour scheme, though. It's just the white boxes that I think could be improved upon.
Message: Posted by: Bob Clayton (Oct 3, 2006 09:45PM)
Jamie, I like the clean look of your web page, very user friendly. This makes it easy to read and to navigate.

The testimonial by Andrea Nelson-Lee is golden, keep that one where it is at the top! The testimonials by Shannon Huish and Adrienne are also good. With these three you really donít need any more.

Below are a few layout tips that I picked up years ago that may be worth considering.

Photos: The photo on the home page and the about page are not as engaging as they could be because you are looking at your hands. Consider replacing these with photos where you are looking directly at the camera with a warm smile. When you look into the camera, you're engaging the viewer by making eye contact with them, which makes for a much more powerful impression.

The performance photos of the smiling spectators are great! As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and these speak volume.

Layout: Pay attention to how your eye moves around the page. A good layout will not direct the eye off of the side of the page. When looking at a photo, the eye will move in the direction that the subject is facing. So when selecting and placing a photo on the page try to arrange it so that the subject of the photo is facing in towards the middle of the page and not off to the side. i.e. photos on the left side of the page should face to the right and photos on the right side of the page should be facing left. Flip through any magazine and youíll notice that most of the photos are arrange this way.

Red: Red is a powerful color and will draw the most attention. The use of the red diamond helps to liven up the page. An alternative use for the red diamond would be to using it as bullet point next to your text so as to attract the viewerís attention to your selling points. Play around and see what works best for you.

Thatís about all I could think of, hope this may be of some benefit to you. Good luck with you career and do your best!

Cheers
Bob
Message: Posted by: Bob Clayton (Oct 3, 2006 09:55PM)
[quote]
On 2006-10-03 21:43, Trestkon wrote:
Will you throw a card at my face if I say I think some of the colour choices at jarring? ;)

For instance, on this page:

http://www.jamiedgrant.com/Services.html

You have 3 different colours of text, white, orange, and black. The white isn't so much an issue, as it's the title. However, I'd probably reconsider the orange on white text. I know you want it to stand out, but to my eye it's almost harder to read. Alternatively, I've get rid of the white background all together and choose a colour that contrasted less with your black background.

It's your text that you want to jump out at the reader, but currently the first thing I notice is the large white box in the mostly black page burning a whole in my brain.

I should say that I *do* like the overall colour scheme, though. It's just the white boxes that I think could be improved upon.
[/quote]

Valid point. As an alternative, how about dropping the white background on this page and cutting the text down to just the core bullet points and a simple line below that reads "all customized to your needs". Orange on black this way would probably look okay.
Message: Posted by: Chris Stolz (Oct 4, 2006 10:10AM)
It looks great. It's simple and clean. Good job!

From one guy from Vancouver to another, GO GET EM!
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Oct 5, 2006 12:14AM)
Hey Chris-maybe you can send me one of your illusions for Magic Friday ;)...

Everyone, I just want to say a word of 'Thanx' to all who have given their time and advice on this whole frustrating escapade. I think, fingers crossed, that I'm now happy with how it all looks and feels.

Yours,

jamie
Message: Posted by: Trestkon (Oct 5, 2006 09:11AM)
Much better! I like the shade of red your used for the diamond, and everything looks much better without those white backgrounds :)
Message: Posted by: Edith (Oct 5, 2006 03:27PM)
Yeah I like it, too.
The first thing on the first page that I did was to click on the pictures but nothing happend. Maybe you want to change that.

Edith
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (Oct 23, 2006 10:55PM)
Okay,

More changes have been made!

New opinions?

Thanx for your time!

jamie
Message: Posted by: Jamie D. Grant (May 11, 2007 08:02PM)
Well, more than a few changes have been made since October...Any thoughts on the current version?

Thanks for your time,

jamie

http://www.jamiedgrant.com