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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A tangled web we weave... » » Mind Magician has a facelift (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Michael Daniels
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I have just given my Mind Magician website a facelift and also made some tweaks. I'd welcome your opinions and notice of any bugs or errors.

http://www.mindmagician.org

The site offers free resources catering for those with a casual or developing interest in mind magic, as well as for more seasoned mentalists. The latter may be especially interested in my free learning tools for Day for Any Date and Knight's Tour.

I also now have a subset of "Gold Star" effects (just two at the moment) which are restricted to those who can demonstrate a good knowledge of magic and mentalism. These include my version of the Magic Square. I'd be interested to know what you think of my security system for these pages.

The site is very much a work in progress, and some areas of the site (e.g., videos) are rather limited at the moment.

Cheers,

Mike
robwar0100
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Michael,

I use the Chrome browser, and your website was wider than my display. So, in order for me to see it, I had to use a scroll bar. The main menu on the top left does not display when I load the home page, but it appears on subsequent pages.

It is rather plain looking and does not scream "Mind Magician."

Recognize, this is coming from someone who has decided not to invest in a magic website at this moment. I have a couple of domain names registered for news, which I have yet to activate. They were purchased as insurance, in case the newspaper where I worked were to lay me off.

Also, the ads are very distracting. Because they are designed by professionals, my attention went there instead of the plain white middle. This might be good for revenue purposes, but it draws me away from your original content.

It's difficult to ascertain the purpose of the site. I know you spell out a lot of things, but you are basically using the heart of your website to describe your menu options. I really don't know what you want me to do on your website other than explore things. Nothing prompts me to action, only to wander.

But, at least you have done something. You did day it was a work in progress, so I would continue to tweak it. I think one of the issues is the availability of free sites like blogspot and posterous that allow people with very minimal web development/html skills to produce great-looking blogs. I think your site needs to be at least on par with the free stuff, and it is not.

I work as a print journalist, and I realized a long time ago, it is not just the substance that matters, but the style, or design.

Best wishes,

Bobby


Posted: Jun 7, 2011 9:36am
----------------------------------
Here is an example of a well-designed site by Thomas Baxter: http://thoughtcontrol.ca/site/

In general, I think flash is overdone by web developers, but this site is beautiful. (He might want to consider removing the link that says to buy tickets to a 2009 show.)

Bobby
"My definition of chance is my hands on the wheel," Greg Long.
Michael Daniels
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Thanks Bobby - that's really helpful feedback.

I have managed to find, and have uploaded, a fix for the problem that Chrome (and possibly Safari) doesn't render the menu correctly - thanks for alerting me to this. The rendering with Chrome still doesn't seem to be quite correct in some cases and I'll try to troubleshoot this. I have tested the site fully with IE and Firefox and it seems to work fine on these.

The site ideally needs a screen width of at least 1280px (although 1024 is just about OK). I don't want to reduce this because many of the pages need this resolution. Narrower pages would also emphasise the ads even more, at the expense of the content.

The site aims to be a collection of resources, so the Menu is key. Basically I want people to explore the site and bookmark the bits they find useful. I'm not selling anything on the site (other than the link to my ebooks on Lybrary), so I'm not looking for any particular action.

Yes, I recognise that the design is a bit plain (though an improvement, I think, on the previous version). It's difficult to get too sexy because of the use of a Master Page and some other logistical constraints, but I'll see what I can do.

PS. I love Thomas Baxter's site but it is a different beast from mine and I'm not up to using Flash yet (or paying someone else to do it).

Mike
Scott Burton
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Hi,
Honestly, it's so disorganized and confusing that I don't "get it". Meaning, it takes too much thinking to figure out what this is all about. Too many things asking me to "click here". I looked at it feeling confused. And...I left it still feeling confused.
I would encourage you to do a complete re-design. Find a simple template (or however you wish to do it) and start from scratch. IMO, this is the best way to go.
I hope this doesn't come across as mean or harsh. I wanted you to know my honest opinion so that you can best help those you are looking to help.
If you are really stuck on keeping this layout, I would urge you to get rid of the ads as they are at least 50% of the issue.
Michael Daniels
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Thanks Scott. This is exactly the kind of thing I need to hear. I'm not going to start from scratch because the structure of the site works efficiently once you get the hang of it (given the significant amount of content I have to include). But, yes, I can take out some of the unnecessary distractors and ads.

Mike
MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On 2011-06-07 14:03, Michael Daniels wrote: I'm not going to start from scratch because the structure of the site works efficiently once you get the hang of it (given the significant amount of content I have to include). But, yes, I can take out some of the unnecessary distractors and ads.

After testing the navigation buttons, I came away with the distinct impression that the site is more about promoting adds for income than about you. I don't know if that is your intent, but that's what it seemed like to me. In one sentence, what is your primary goal with the site? Yes... I said one sentence! Smile
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

MagicalMichael.com Smile Laus Deo!
Michael Daniels
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On 2011-06-07 14:47, MichaelCGM wrote:
After testing the navigation buttons, I came away with the distinct impression that the site is more about promoting adds for income than about you. I don't know if that is your intent, but that's what it seemed like to me. In one sentence, what is your primary goal with the site? Yes... I said one sentence! Smile


Four words will do: "To inform and entertain".

I don't want the site to be about me. Certainly the ads do help to meet some of the development and maintenance costs, but I do not see this site as a way of generating income. My traffic will probably never reach the level needed to break even. For me, it's a bit of fun and a way of offering some free resources to those who may find this stuff interesting or useful.

Mike
MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On 2011-06-07 16:26, Michael Daniels wrote: Four words will do: "To inform and entertain". For me, it's a bit of fun and a way of offering some free resources to those who may find this stuff interesting or useful.

That being said, I think you've accomplished your mission well. Navigation is a bit tricky, but the content certainly informs and entertains. Well done!
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

MagicalMichael.com Smile Laus Deo!
Michael Daniels
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Thanks Michael - I'm still working to get the design a little cleaner and more usable.

Mike
robwar0100
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Michael,

If you are looking to inform and entertain and not sell yourself or products, check out http://www.posterous.com, start a blog and link to files you have stored on http://www.divshare.com. If you are not looking to get anything out of the site, why waste precious and limited resources? Utilize the free sites.

Bobby

p.s. You might also be able to share documents via Google docs (free) and dropbox (free).
"My definition of chance is my hands on the wheel," Greg Long.
Michael Daniels
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Bobby,

I prefer to have a dedicated site. My hosting costs are already covered through my sister website psychicscience.org (which does make money and effectively subsidises MindMagician). A lot of the content on MindMagician was originally part of PsychicScience but this was becoming so large and unwieldy that I decided to spin off the magic and mentalism stuff onto MindMagician, with mutual links between the sites.

Mike
Davit Sicseek
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I'm afraid this is a truly horrible site. It is full of ads. Whats more, they are deceptive ads that appear to be menu options and are dangerously close to breaching Adsense terms or service. I'm afraid I simply cannot believe that the mindmagician website doesn't easily pay its own way. It is so deceptive that the clickthrough rate must be pretty high. The whole thing is basically a big advert. I'm afraid that I see this post as a case of you spamming your ad-filled website. In case its not, I offer the following suggestions:

- Use Wordpress or similar. Much easier to build, looks much better, much easier to use and easier to update.
- Get rid of some of the ads, and certainly those deceptive ones that look like menu bars.
Send me the truth: davitsicseek@gmail.com
David Thiel
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Hi, Michael...

I am assuming that you want honest feedback. So, offered with respect because you asked, here are some impressions:

1) The ads are killing the credibility of the site. It looks like a hand-made "freebie" with no sense of professional intent. Your message is lost in a whole pile of way off topic ads -- resulting in a serious mish mash of...stuff.

2) The navigation is horrid. I wasn't sure whether or not the hyperlinks were taking me to another site altogether. Consider adding some elements (headers etc) that provide continuity.

3) I don't have a strong sense of the site...or what the site is about. It really looks slapped together.

Again -- these are my honest impressions. I understand you've probably worked very hard on this site -- and my intent isn't to offend or even discourage. But they ARE honest.

Good Luck!

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
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Michael Daniels
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Thanks for the honest opinions guys. I have taken your critical points on board and have revamped the site to address most of the concerns (I think). It does look much better now (so my wife tells me!) although I know there is still room for improvement. Many of the ads have gone and hopefully the navigation is now clearer. It is difficult with a site that has so much content to get this right.

Mike
MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On 2011-06-08 21:44, Michael Daniels wrote:
Thanks for the honest opinions guys. I have taken your critical points on board and have revamped the site to address most of the concerns (I think). It does look much better now (so my wife tells me!) although I know there is still room for improvement. Many of the ads have gone and hopefully the navigation is now clearer. It is difficult with a site that has so much content to get this right.

Way better, Michael! One thought, though... you might want to turn your list of contents (in your main banner) into actual links to each of those sections. Then the list will serve two purposes. Smile
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

MagicalMichael.com Smile Laus Deo!
Michael Daniels
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Quote:
On 2011-06-08 22:28, MichaelCGM wrote:
Way better, Michael! One thought, though... you might want to turn your list of contents (in your main banner) into actual links to each of those sections. Then the list will serve two purposes. Smile


Thanks Michael - that's good to hear! And thanks for the great tip which I have now implemented, though by including links to specific pages (rather than sections). The Main Menu lists all the sections/categories and I didn't want to add yet another layer before people get to some actual content.

Apologies to everyone for initially getting the design of this site so wrong! The feedback I have got has been so helpful.

Mike
RicHeka
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Michael: I commend you for asking for constructive criticism for improving your Mind Magician site. It is amazing how the collective well meaning brain trust can work for the positive.

I visit your site often mostly to practice 'Day of the week for any date'. I am going to have to take a look at the other interesting features on your site when I have the time.....I know there is much I have overlooked.
Congrats on the improvements!

Rich
David Thiel
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It's much less cluttered now. Solid improvements! Good work.

I think it shows great strength of character to hear hard feedback -- and to USE it instead of resenting it. Good on ya!

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
Michael Daniels
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Thanks Rich and David - much appreciated!

Mike
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