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  • #30211
    Voltron
    Member

    Thought I’d put a link up to my site as it’s public now, despite not being 100% finished. This seems to represent a good time to invite feedback before I fix the final bugs etc.

    http://www.unstoppablevoltron.com

    V1 was a wordpress site using a fairly stock template, for V2 I’ve written a backend and designed the database myself and dropped WP completely. It was kind of a ‘New Years Challenge’ to myself to finally get a personal site online for writing (which I’m also not particularly good at!) as I have a habit of starting things and never finishing them.

    There’s things I need to add/fix

    * will pop a footer at the bottom of each page
    * will integrate a ‘latest tweet’ thing somewhere
    * will fix that spill that appears on the individual review/articles at the bottom
    * will write a template for doing top 5/10 list style articles
    * might integrate the most recent Tumblr post

    Things I’m slightly proud of as a non-professional hobbyist:

    * adapted a script to scan browser width on page launch and set the right hand side menu as needed. The ideal page width is ~1000px wide (I’m a OSX user who uses a non-maximised Safari window on a 15″ screen, and I selfishly based the page shape around me!)
    * built the RSS script in PHP from scratch (.php file scrapes the database, sends a valid RSS feed to Feedburner which then gives me my stats and all that nonsense)
    * Haven’t given up yet ;)

    The only thing that isn’t visible on the link is the ‘flags’ system that overlays a graphic (and sets up an active ‘collection’ in the Reviews page, which stays blank until there’s films that have this set) on any non-English films etc. That’s visible here: http://unstoppablevoltron.com/misc/flags.png

    Thanks for checking it out, any feedback appreciated. And yes, I think the yellow background is ‘vibrant’ and luckily on my screen doesn’t burn my retinas out ;)

    (oh yeah, as it’s not a commercial site I’m not worried about supporting IE6 and other ancient browsers so there are a few things like transparencies etc that won’t be cross platform. Should work fine on the latest generation of browser tho… tested on Safari/Firefox anyway.)

    #80167
    jamygolden
    Member

    I feel like the #menu text is slightly too small.

    Also, couldn’t the right hand side menu have been done with css?

    #menu {
    position:fixed;
    right:0;
    top:100px;
    width:220px;
    }
    #80141
    Voltron
    Member

    Thanks for checking it out, I’ve bumped the principal menu text up a little bit which gives a little bit of contrast to the submenu text too as a bonus :)

    Not sure what you mean with regards to the menu/CSS… it’s split over a few elements as it’s affected by the site-width code, but I had it as


    #menu {
    position: fixed;
    width: 220px;
    }

    .narrow #menu {
    position: fixed;
    width: 220px;
    right: -3px;
    top: 103px;
    }
    .wide #menu {
    position: fixed;
    width: 220px;
    left: 870px;
    top: 103px;
    }

    right now. Have tidied it up now to remove the superfluous statements if that’s what you mean? (I need to go through the CSS as a lot of it is left over from testing. Bad habits I know!)

    #79990
    virtual
    Participant

    Is the script you wrote is supposed to put the menu on the far right side of the browser? If so it doesn’t work in Firefox on Mac, 19″ screen at 1280px, and as I have 2 screens I usually view at full width so your site looks lopsided.

    I don’t like non-centered sites and I think the colour scheme is totally “in my face”. But then that’s just my personal opinion and I’m probably not in your target audience anyway. A rollover effect on the menu would be better rather than just the hand appearing and sometimes when changing pages it appeared on the left for a while before jumping over to the right.

    You also need some padding in your p tags, it makes for better legibility

    #79966
    Chris Coyier
    Keymaster

    The thing I like best is the content. Good work finding nice shots of the things you are reviewing and taking the time to write good interesting reviews.

    #79758
    Voltron
    Member

    Virtual: The script is supposed to keep the right hand side menu in a set place. I, personally, thought that the amount of negative space between the menu and the content (which is hard left justified) on a wide monitor didn’t look right when it was bound to the screen edge, and the script keeps this to what I determined to be the set maximum. Refreshing the page with a browser of a lower width binds it in the same place. I might still adjust this, unfortunately I’m biased towards my own setup (1440px wide on a 15″ MacBook Pro but with a browser window at around 1100px wide) so I’m still slightly bound to the 960px width rules.

    The menu jumping from the left to the right is something I’ve noticed too, it’s most likely to do with the fact the calls to the menu are quite late in the code and it’s positioning isn’t quite set in place It is something I’m looking into though, so thanks for confirming it’s an annoying element!

    That’s a good idea with regards to the rollover effects, I’ll have some digging around and see what I can do to make it more pleasant.

    The text layout is also something I agree that needs to be tweaked, some articles were ripped from the WordPress database while others are entered directly and their behaviour is ever so slightly different (especially cross-browser). I’m looking to make it as readable as possible, and to ensure it’s not a boring layout for the longer pieces.

    Thanks very much for checking the site out and giving me some feedback, much appreciated.

    Chris: Thanks! Manipulating stock images into that daft aspect ratio I decided on can definitely be tricky, but the best thing about working with those kind of images is that they’re usually designed to ‘pop’ which reflects on the site itself :) It means I can keep things relatively simple and let the content sell itself.

    Thanks to you both for your time.

    #79744
    sukiloves
    Member

    I really like the colors used. I think oranges always give a nice retro sort of feel.

    #79746
    Voltron
    Member

    Yeah, I’m a fan of strong colourschemes rather than just white backgrounds personally. I found the main colour on this site – http://www.colorhunter.com/palette/371106 – months and months back and bookmarked it because I knew I’d want to use it in the future!

    #79754
    coffeendonut
    Member

    when it comes to design i mostly used this tool… http://colorschemedesigner.com/ for ideas on colors… about you website, is a movie review site … it doesn’t give me that feeling of it… i mean i don’t know if you are finish yet etc… some stuff to be included ..just my opinion… it would be nice instead of being static the main page.. to include…some movement at the top like a photo slider and on the side of the photo slider some videos as the photo slides the video to… the background the plain brown … not a fan of it… some stripes like popcorn buckets will do something like this… http://www.paragonpopcornmachines.com/bigpopcornpict.jpg or something like it… wat im trying to say something that has to do with the theaters… hollywood movies… just my opinion tho… on design now the menu not a big fan of it either… doesn’t look like it … now the movie posters … i just see a plain picture no background shadow or something to spice it up.! some hover shadows or similar works well… the title of the posters didn’t drive my attention in other words is “Boring” big letters should do it, some movie fonts will be great… and even better the original poster tittle combined with the text tittle. A news ticker at the top would be good to… footer needed… and ok on the review on the The Expendables page the plain text and the background color not working…. even the title is boring…plain simple… simple is good sometimes but not in this case… the “Review:” text on top a good Font text image would be great… the movie title some background image or something to make it pop out… on the 2010/11 TV: Comedies page just alot to say on it but i just tired my fingertips on typing …lol but my point was Spice it up… and don’t get grouchy at me i know you ain’t finish… but this was just an Opinion of mine…

    #79733
    Voltron
    Member

    Hi coffeendonut, thanks for looking the site over. From your post, I think we both come from different approach for this kind of site. When looking around, I found most sites of this nature seem to fall into two categories – 1. Professional sites (usually either based on paper print newspapers or magazines, or trying to make a new name on the web a la IGN) with teams of writers which have expensive designs with clever tech that also fall into the trap of being overdone with advert banners and being insanely cluttered. 2. Individual writers who just write for the fun of it, who are generally not that technical but have managed to choose a WordPress theme they like and stick with it. Obviously, there are exceptions and these sites stand out.

    If you read anything I’ve written, it’ll be fairly evident that nobody has (and unlikely ever will) pay me a cent to provide my opinion on something. I write stuff because it’s fun, and it gives me a hobby that’s slightly productive and legitimises the fact I watch too much TV! So, in short: I’m not a writer.

    Also if you take a look at the sites I’ve written up, most of them have the bare amount of Photoshop to make them to a level of attractiveness that will hopefully separate them from a 1997 GeoCities homepage. While I take an amount of pride that all my markup is done in a text editor, I know that my code is sloppy and that the PHP/MySQL integration is usually inefficient and just about scrapes by. Therefore: I’m not a designer either.

    I kinda live halfway between the two worlds, I’m never going to push the design into the realms of professional sites (which in a way, I’m glad) as I’m never going to be writing the content at the quality/rate that deserves anything more fancy. While I’ll be adding bits of shine to it (swapping the brown temporary background as you pointed out, making the menu a bit fancier) I’m unlikely to venture into adding jscript slideshows as the rate of content doesn’t really need it, in my opinion. When it comes to the fonts used, everything is done in CSS and I’m not a fan of the image replacement techniques out at the moment so I stick to a few of the essentials for most Win/OSX systems.

    But who knows what a bored, caffeine driven evening will lead to. Over time I’ll be adding bits and pieces, and it may end up looking like a completely different site a year along. Thanks for your comments, I do appreciate it.

    #79623
    coffeendonut
    Member

    alright i feel you… as i say is just an opinion.! I’m a graphic designer and my creativity comes into play really fast… or it doesn’t at all… but anyway as wat you reply on me now i get you and and get wat you are tying to do…

    #79608
    Voltron
    Member

    I realised last night that the article viewer was completely devoid of CSS formatting as I’d changed an Id to a Class in the stylesheet / other pages. D’oh! Maybe that’ll fix the lack of padding that Virtual was seeing in the paragraphs.

    I’ve now put the wide version of the site into a centred wrapper as it seems widescreen people weren’t liking the hard left justified page. Only problem I’m having is then getting the menu system to stay fixed within the wrapper, and not to the edge of the screen. Made a thread in CSS Combat to see if this is possible, then I can sort out a nicer background than the brown and finally add in that footer!

    I think tonight might be partially spent in the world of working out the Tumblr API… should be fun!

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