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    Hello all. I am relatively new here to CSS-Tricks. I have been a follower for quite some time, but (just today actually) jumped into the forums. I have a brand I have been creating called Struck a Nerve Media and I plan to use it to promote myself as a freelancer and also to find a potential creative job. I am a print designer, website designer, photographer, and also have knowledge in digital video production. This wide range of focus made designing the site difficult, and makes for so much content, that finishing the site seems like it will never happen. Anyways, I’m too a point where I need advice from other people.

    I am aware that the menu on the services section is glitchy in that the background of each button quickly changes and then back again. It’s weird. I am in the process of learning to use Dreamweaver’s Spry functionality (which is what I used here). I am also trying to learn how to just hand code a roll-over with a dropdown but am finding it challenging.

    Anyways, that is just babble with mistakes I already know about–what I’m after here is solid criticism and advice. I am only getting about 10 unique visitors daily on average and want to make the best of each visitor to hopefully get some visitors. So far I’ve had zero contacts or inquires about work.

    Here is the link to the site:

    Thanks all, and thanks especially to Chris for creating this website. It truly has been helpful and inspirational.


    Wow that was a quick reply. Thanks for that! I do agree about the gif file. I will take your advice and use a transparent .PNG file. I actually had an idea inspired by your comment to use the ‘nerves’ from my logo to use there.

    I checked out the site you advised and found the ad on the right to perfectly fit the problem I had. ;) I clicked it only to find out that my problem wasn’t solved. ;) I may have generated a few cents for you is what I’m trying to say. Cheers!


    Thank you for the response. You hit two other very important things which I will be sure to change. Was it mainly the images for the slider which took a while to load? I can imagine the photography section of the portfolio may have a bit of lag. This is somewhat acceptable for photography portfolios, however the rest of the site should load QUICKLY. Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve visited the site so many times that the images are probably all preloaded so I didn’t notice.

    The menu and navigation was giving me a headache for the services section. I agree about the slider too–kinda overboard especially when the background is the same for all the slides on all the pages, making it difficult to detect a change when a new page loads. Thanks for emphasizing that. If I remove the navigation bar which is specific to the services page (the glitchy spry one) than how will visitors navigate without the browsers back button? There is the main menu at the top and I suppose they could always click back to services..Do you think that is sufficient? My concern is when people get to the next layer of the services part. For example they click Photography. And from photography they click prices. Then to get back to photography they have to use the back button on the browser, or click the services link and then the photography link again.

    Any thoughts on a quick fix would be great. I agree however, that having a menu with the services header and then having them listed again directly below is a bit redundant. The services.php page is the only place that would be true.

    Thanks so much for your reply. I am really excited that it’s finally time to move forward so I can focus on getting traffic and working on offline promotional things like business cards and brochures, etc. (although my biggest attempts at promotion will be online) OH THE JOYS of entrepreneurship! hehh…It’s really exciting though–despite the hard work!


    @sl1dr – You just introduced me to a new concept. I will be looking into that tonight. Thank you AGAIN. ;) I can’t even express my thanks enough.


    Another thought — I could remove the services.php page entirely and use a dropdown-style navigation on the main menu which I could update or delete ‘services’ without having to do much work. Any thoughts on how this would affect user experience and getting my content out there? Considering the design issues with the services.php page I would need to do a full re-design. A dropdown seems like an easy solution but it would take away from me being able to use my services page as a landing page of sorts.


    Well I really think the design of the site looks great, but since you are looking for constructive criticism I will give my input, and I would like to note that most of these are real small and picky things that could just be a personal preference.

    The home page slider seems to rotate a little fast for me even though I know it can be user controlled. Also the kerning on your text boxes below feels a little too wide to be comfortable to read since it’s almost as wide as the spaces between words. Also the padding seems to bee uneven on the right box. Just looked at that code and saw you did it all with a p tag…. I would change this out to a unordered list.

    On the services page I don’t even think there is much need for another menu, I think you have your services laid out really well as is. The only thing on this page I would change is make your line-height consistent with the rest of your site, and some of your text could use more margins.

    The about page I would also bring your kerning down a bit to make more readable.

    Like I said, super super picky and minor stuff, just thought I would help out. But the main design of the site as a whole is looking great.


    I guess I will have to break with the majority here and say I’m not sure I dig it. It’s clear you have artistic ability and you know your graphic design programs, but I found the site’s organization to lack intuitiveness and was really hard for me to navigate. Many pages, such as the Services -> Design pages were not only lacking any substance or content, but felt really cluttered overall. Did I really need a dropdown that every item I clicked basically returns the same page with a link to a contact form? All your Design services could all easily be consolidated onto a single page and you would even have enough room to put a secondary small contact form onto the page itself!

    And along those lines, personally, I don’t think any good web design needs a sign with an arrow that says “I’m a link!” It should be intuitive in nature. This is obviously an important call to action and there are far more creative and effective ways to get people to know to click that important link than that.

    You do this across the site in a few places actually, even to be as crass as using a 28px header that says “CLICK HERE!” on your Portfolio. Once again, this should be designed to be more intuitive to where the user doesn’t need to read to know what to do. That, and it really uglifies the experience overall.

    Code wise, you seem to be suffering from ‘divitis.’ Many elements you have wrapped in divs (such as the aforementioned link to your photography portfolio) could easily be styled with inline classes using display:block and you would be able to really reduce the amount of code you are doing.

    And lastly, the footer makes absolutely no sense to me. What does the plate have to do with your branding which is ‘struck a nerve?’ Things like the “I’m a link” sign and this lead me to believe these were implemented just to appear to be on the edge of ‘web trends’, even though they don’t fit contextually within the design.

    I would really seriously consider hiring a copywriter. This isn’t a personal attack though; almost ALL freelancers write their own copy but this isn’t a good thing. I think the site overall really needs a professional touch to the copy and a hefty amount of re-organization. Just a small example: the entire website copy is written from a first person perspective (I do, I can help, I create, etc..), yet your About page is written in THIRD person (Michael is…etc..). This is a bit schizophrenic and the lack of consistency is what I come away with…and that’s not what a good designer wants to convey.

    I don’t want to be a total negative nelly so I will say that I dig your colors & textures and I think you’ve done some really fine work (LOVE the beer label). I just feel that “less is more” and there is a lot of superfluous elements in the design overall.


    @Luminated This is exactly the kind of criticism I am looking for. Thanks for being so bluntly honest and for taking time from your day to review my site. I just completed a certificate program online through Sessions College and your insights have been more helpful than any feedback I received from my course instructors there (With a few exceptions). That is not an exaggeration. Thanks for the props on the beer label–I actually have a recipe in the works for that beer!

    It might be a few weeks before I can re-post with updates on the site.


    @mjkorbel That is awesome to hear! Thank you for taking all that so well. We’re just really passionate about great web design and sometimes it takes putting the ore through the fire to get to the jewels that shine. You have those jewels, it just takes some refining.

    Also just noticed you’re in Portland…very cool! We’re a design firm in Ashland but we also work in Portland:

    We are aiming to do more there…I’m especially keen on getting something with a local brewery…in time! :)


    First – I really like the look: nice textures, well-considered semi-neutral color scheme.

    On initial loading, there’s a definite lag before the images in the home page slider start to cycle – rather disconcerting.

    On the portfolio page, the text at left (just under your logo) is very hard to read. Not enough contrast with the background color, IMHO (at least for my eyes).

    A few validation errors. Most of the HTML “errors” seem inconsequential, but look like they’d be easy to correct. In CSS, one of the reported errors appears to be a recurring typo – “position relavive” instead of “position relative”. Also, some problem with font-size declarations. If you run pages through the W3C HTML and CSS validators, you’ll see what I mean.

    But like I said, a nice-looking site that sends the message that you’re an accomplished professional. Congratulations on that.


    I love it

    the only think I dont like is the spacing in the text within the two boxes in the homepage (in “I provide creative media services for individuals ..”)

    also, personally I would change the border color of your portfolio thumbs when on hover (only a small color difference though)

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