New web site preview please.

I have started setting out a new version of my tractor web site, I would be grateful for any feed back on how it looks and how user friendly you
find it. The URL is: http://www.tractorfile.com currently only the Alldays and Allgaier/Porsche have any content.
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Hi Richard,
The text is quite small & the list on the right of the screen takes some peering at! The Aldays link worked OK.
I'm glad you liked the book ;o))
Regards,
Kim Siddorn

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kimsiddorn wrote:

<snip>
Thanks I will take note of that and see if others find it makes the site difficult to use. It's a it of a catch 22 situation, if I make the text bigger it will require more scrolling. I thought of doing a drop-down menu for the navigation but that would need the use of a java script, which does not work for those who browse with java scripts disabled, it also adds heaps of extra code which could create issues with search engines.
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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 19:18:19 +0100, Richard H Huelin wrote:

takes

Seconded. It's also (in my browser) a serif font which makes it even harder to read.
On the Alldays page:
"The Alldays & Onions Pneumatic Engineering Company was formed in 1989.." Formed in 1989?
The thumbnail images in sections could do with a bit of space around them.
Visited link text colour is almost the same as the body text colour.
The menu on the right doesn't render properly. The ascenders of the first first line are on top of the bottom of the text above the menu. At the bottom the Boy of Waterloo Boy wraps onto Zetor or Zetor is pushed up over Boy.
This is probably down to using <div>s with position: absolute and sizes. If the font a brower uses more or less screen space than the one you are using then odd things happen. Remember users can turn off all your font specifications if they want...

You can use CSS to produce menus but not the mouse over drop down type (I think, I have no use for that functionality so haven't investigated that) But simple clickable menu with current page highlight and mouse over colour change is do able with just CSS.
You do have a lot of entries, I wonder if Makers A - G, Makers H - M, etc taking you to a content page with each makers name and single sentance description that then links to the real content for that maker?
Like the large image photo gallery. Easy to prev/next and back to that makers content page. One small addition an indication of "x of y", some have Photo 1 or Photo 2 in the caption when they are photo 6 or 7...
Aprta from that a nice clean fast site with goos images. Just needs a bit of spit and polish. B-)
--
Cheers
Dave.




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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 21:10:36 +0100, Dave Liquorice wrote:

Thirded. (1024x768 resolution) It doesn't need to be a lot bigger, but just a shade would help no end I think.
The thumbnails on the Alldays page are a little small too, I think - I'd suggest fitting them at least to a 120x120 box, and possibly even 150x150. The current 100x100 is a bit too small to really see enough detail, which makes it hard to decide whether to click at all...

Yes, same here. (Firefox v2)
But very glad that you've got no Flash, Javascript, animated images, 'busy' backgrounds etc. I like simple sites that are all about the information, not dazzling users with graphical prowess :-)

I like that, personally. Aligning the makers into a table, three or four per row, *might* work too and make it easier to home in on a specific maker whilst still being able to see all the possible makers in one go (splitting them into three alphabetic sections might make simply browsing the site a little less 'clean', albeit not much). Only downside to the table approach is that the length of the maker text varies a lot, so it might just look strange.
cheers
Jules
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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 23:15:14 +0100, Richard H Huelin wrote:

Dual column for content? I don't like that scroll to the bottom of one column and have to scroll back up to the top of the next, 'orrible.

Use them to break up the blocks of text? Making thema bit bigger would help that. If the image is loosely related to the text, say of the same period in the companies history it makes sense. I wouldn't get to hung up about scrolling if the content and layout leads the eye down scrolling is not a problem. It's when a page "looks complete" that the stuff off the bottom gets missed.

I've heard that as well, hasn't stopped me using tables yet...

I guess I ought to look at div's as well but what I have ATM works well and consistently in a variety of browsers and is W3C XHTML 1.0 Strict compliant. There are some awful messes out there using div's.

I avoid javascript as well, it seriously slows down sites and occasionaly stops simple things like buttons working. eBay is horrendous these days (and it uses tables...).

Think I'd look at Jules's suggestion of a table with the makers names in, don't have to have visible borders enables the use of mouse over colour changes and active page to be highlighted. That might only be possible if you are using a serverside script of some sort, stuff I do now is in PHP rather than raw HTML.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Dave Liquorice wrote:

Having given the matter some thought I think I will be able to solve the problem without using dual columns. If I were to do so it would be only on the proviso that there would be no scrolling for the average user.

Some sections such as Ford and a couple of others will have 20 or more thumbnails, I will try sorting the existing layout and work on those next and see how things pan out. I try to limit initial section page file sizes to less than 100kb, that helps the pages load quickly. I also have a theory that the Googlebot times out when indexing pages over that size.

My old tractor site: www.tractordata.co.uk is full of them, despite the Google rank dropping over the past few months the visits remain much the same at over 900 every 24 hours. I am told that it is usable even on mobile phones, I would have tried modifying it but I am very wary about changing something that seems to work quite well, hence the attempt at creating a new site using a new domain name.

I seem to be able to get the look I want with relative ease using tables, I have never been able to get the exact look that I want with <Divs> I might revert back to tables. The trouble is that I do very little web design, every new site is a relearning curve.

It uses vast amounts of code to do very little. The only use I have for it is to display the email contact address, apparently this overcomes the harvesting bots, as I also provide the address on a graphic both bases are covered.

It is likely that I will explore that suggestion. I had a quick dabble at PHP some time ago, did not get on very well with it perhaps it's time to revisit it.
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Richard,
Just had a quick look, text size ok but I would make the green darker.
Martin P

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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 16:51:12 +0100, Richard H Huelin
of fish, chips and mushy peas. Wiping their mouths, they swigged the last of their cup of tea, paid the bill and wrote::

Learn to spell - John DEERE!!
Brian L Dominic
Web Site: http://www.brianscanalpages.co.uk
Newsgroup readers should note that the reply-to address is NOT read: To email me, please send to brian(dot)dominic(at)tiscali(dot)co(dot)uk
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Brian Dominic wrote:

Oh dear another cock up!!! (now wearing dunce's cap) What a silly mistake, it might have taken ages before I picked up on it had you not pointed it out, many thanks for the feedback.
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 09:55:16 +0100, Brian Dominic wrote:

Ha - funny, I skimmed the list yesterday and that caught my eye - but then my brain automatically said "no, must be right, I mean it's not 'John Dere' is it, stupid?" and I just let it be ;)
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The site IMHO is nice, except for the layout of your list of manufacturers, which I would be inclined to change to either one name per line or two distinct columns if the former creates too long a list!
--
Peter
The Douglas Stationary engine resource
  Click to see the full signature.
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THE DOUGLAS STATIONARY ENGINE RESOURCE (admin) wrote:

Thank you for your comments. I have given your suggestion some thought, the problem is that some makers names are very long which would be a problem with the two column solution, the one name per line method would create a very long menu with lots of vertical scrolling. Both methods would result in a lot of work when another maker is added, there are more makers yet to be listed and while the menu is a compromise it is easy to update.
I have considered using other solutions such as drop-down menus and expandable menus using java scripts, such methods add a lot more code which drives the content down the page, this raises issues in regard to search engines and for those who browse with scripts disabled.
--
www.tractordata.co.uk

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On Sat, 05 Sep 2009 00:52:44 +0100, Richard H Huelin wrote:

I see you've tweaked the colours of visited and current links. B-) Still a problem with divs though the vertical separator bar overprints the left side of the menu on the Allgaier Porsche page.
Thumb nails nicely spaced now, but home from the "gallery view" take you to the home page of the site not the particular tractor page you came from to view the gallery.
You get a blank screen if you follow a link to tractor maker for which you have no information. Make a generic "Sorry no info" page and either change the menu links to point to a single copy of that or copy it into each of the makers files. The former is easier to maintain.
Are you guys (Peter & Richard) coding these pages as individual pages or using php (or similar) to generate them on the fly? I'd seriously look at using php or something as once you have more than a dozen static pages maintenance becomes horrendous. You don't need to delve into using a database to store the variable page data, they can still have separate files with that data in but all the stuff that is the same on every page (like headers, footers, menus etc) can be stored in single files and "included" by the data file.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Dave Liquorice wrote:

I have tried viewing that page at all sorts of different sizes, also with a Screen Resolution Test site but have been unable to replicate any vertical separator bar issue.

Clicking on the image will take you back to the section page. Guess I best make that clear or provide a more descriptive link.

Once testing is complete I will replace the home page with the site logo until the site is ready.

Still doing it the hard way, it took me an age to work out how to set the vertical separator line using css, If others see the issue you mention that will have been time wasted, I might yet have to make the line as an image sized appropriately for each section. I suspect that it might take me longer to learn php than to soldier on with what I know.
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On Sat, 05 Sep 2009 13:09:37 +0100, Richard H Huelin wrote:

Tried it with a minimum font size set in your browser?
Ah, think I've spotted it the apDiv1 class on the Allgaier Porsche page is commented out. It works on the home page and Alldays pages. Now if the style setting were a single file included by other pages... B-)

Non-intuative. Normally clicking an image in a gallery take you to a larger version or some other choice page relating to that image. If clicking on it does anything at all.
Think I'd go for something like:
"Previous <link to tractor info page> Next"
With the "Previous" Left justfied relative to the image, the link in the middle and "Next" right justified relative to the image. I'm not sure you need a home page link on gallery pages.

Surely once testing is complete it's ready. B-)

Well a simple <?php include="tractor.css" ?> where tractor.css contains all the syle information would have saved the time trying to work out why the Allgaier Porsche page wasn't working (if there was any). But it shows how easy such a simple error can be made and without checking each individual page you can't be sure there isn't a funny like that and as for making a style change...
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Dave Liquorice wrote:

Yes, but only after I implemented the fix. All seems well up to around font size 30 when the vertical line starts moving into the menu.

Many thanks for that, I think it is now fixed.

Will give that some thought.

I wish ;-) I have loads of photos yet to sort and size correctly for the site. Took another 579 last weekend so it will be a while before the site is ready.

Perhaps spending some time researching on how to implement php would be worth while.
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On Sat, 05 Sep 2009 22:06:11 +0100, Richard H Huelin wrote:

Yep. B-)

Why not have the "sorry no content yet" page say something along the lines of that and stuff will appear as and when. Having a site changing tends to bring people back to look at it, and some browsers can be set to automatically check pages for changes and inform the user.
With PHP you could even say you have x photos waiting for that particular marque and other variable content.

If the server you are using has php available then implementation for having a seperate file for a style sheet is very simple:
Just add:
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="<?php include="tractor.css" ?> />
to the <head> section and remove the style information from the page into the tractor.css file. Remember that the C of CSS stands for cascading so the last setting seen, at any point in rendering the page, is the one that applies at that point.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Dave Liquorice wrote:

Snip
Many thanks for all your help, I have noted what you advise and will have a go at implementing it when I resume work on the site.
I am sorry for having taken so long to reply. On the morning of Sunday 6th September I was driving a 1968 Ford Cortina on the way to the Cholmondley Show and was unfortunate enough to encounter a Landrover Discovery which accelerated from a side road into our path causing a head-on collision. To make good his escape the driver of the Discovery pushed/shoved us to one side. The Cortina is a total write-off.
My passenger sustained a broken arm, collar bone and facial injuries, thankfully after a few days in hospital he is continuing to make good progress in his recovery. My injuries are two broken legs, the right fractured in three places and the left in two with a crushed ankle which was smashed into more than 30 pieces. I returned home after nearly a month in hospital and am still confined to either bed or a wheelchair. Hopefully in a week or so the plaster will be removed from my right leg and I will be fitted with a removable plastic cast which I am told is known as a "Beckham Boot", this should enable the leg to load bear and allow some sort of mobility which will hopefully allow me to get back to using the Desk Top PC.
The driver of the Discovery has been charged with failing to provide a breath\blood sample, dangerous driving and driving without insurance.
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On Tue, 13 Oct 2009 11:31:54 +0100, Richard H Huelin wrote:

<snip>
Ouch. Assuming reasonably neat breaks in the legs and away from the joints they will recover fairly well but a smashed ankle is a show stopper. It will *never* be the same again. I neatly detached the medial malleolus off my left tibaa last year (the hard boney bit on the inside of your ankle) so have an idea of what a buggered ankle means in terms of mobilty.

So maybe a 200 fine? Even if they get a ban I doubt it'll stop them actually driving, they obviously don't care about the bits of paper that are legally required for driving.
Apart from the motoring offences do 'em for loss of earnings though actually getting cash from 'em might be hard work even after being awarded it by the courts. I assume you already have a claim in for Incapacity Benefit, it's not much but better than nothing.
On the bright side you'll now have lots of time to work on the site but once you can become mobile you'll need to work at building the strength back into your legs, not sat at a computer... It's surprising how fast you lose strength when not active. I was never bed bound or in a chair but there was noticeable weakness in my left leg after just 4 weeks on crutches and taking it easy.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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