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#1 thor78   User is offline

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Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

Posted 27 July 2009 - 10:29 PM

I've been receiving some negative feedback from colleagues and some users about my site's layout and overall design. They said something like the layout looks stretched when viewed on wide-screen monitors. Please check my news site and provide feedback (positive or negative).

The Daily Inquirer
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Replies To: Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

#2 BetaWar   User is offline

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Re: Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:16 PM

Okay, here is a rundown of what I see with the site. (I am currently using a 1280 wide monitor, so I will look tomorrow at the site with a 1440 monitor).

Color scheme:
Pretty nice. It looks like many news sites out there, so it may not be the most original skin/ color scheme, but it has worked for them so it will work pretty well for you.

Skin:
I am not sure having it able to stretch is the best idea. If you jus have it build for a monitor 1000+ pixels wide it will look nice, and you won't have to worry about it stretching to look odd. Based upon the little bit I can get it to shift in size with this current montor I would suggest making the width static (or at least have it somethign like max-width of 1000 pixels wide). Given that it can stretch out, I can see how people could think it is too stretched, it is far easier to do more passes over a smaller area with the eyes than having to do one or two over a great distance.

Sidebars:
I am not sure if I like that you have 2 sidebars or not. In a way I can see the reason for it (so you don't have to scroll as far). But at the same point it is a little annoying having the content (recent articles) take up an extra page in scrolling with that rather large blank section next to it (where the sidebars would be if they went that far down).
So, I have a couple of suggestions here to maek it easier on the eyes and possibly better with your users as well.
1. - Reduce the number of recent articles shown from 8 (not sure if that is the max, or just how many are currently showing) to 5. That will place it in about the same height range as the longer of the sidebars (the first one). Then move the first sidebar over to the left of the page (have the content in the center)
2. - Move th ecenter sidebar to the bottom of the riht msot sidebar. THis will stretch the content (recent articles out a bit more) that would allow you to ahve even more recent articles showing at once and move evenly spread the overall scrolling.

Ads:
There seems to be a ton of ads on the site (not on the homepage, which I only noticed three areas with ads, but on the main article pages) I have to scroll a bit to see the articles, then I have to scroll further (passed two sets of ads) to see the comments. This could get quite annoying to your users. They don't want to have more ads than content on a site, after all, why come to your site when they can get the same content elsewhere with 50+% fewer ads?

Article Pages:
You have two places that users can go to post their comments on the articles. This seems confusing to me, and I am pretty sure other users will fell the same. You may want to think about adding a modal with the comment form in it and a link at the top and bottom of the article (which opens the modal window) if you really want to have the place for a user to get to the comment form at 2 places (good lord, I hope that makes sense). Or, just remove the one in the sidebar. It would probably be easier for people to find,a dn more intuitive if you have the comment form at the bottom of the article.

Now, that is not all bad above, and not all of it needs to change, it is just my first impressions of the site.

I am glad to see that you are using bluehost, they don't seem to get the spotlight as a hosting company very often in hosting debates, but they have fairly regularly been rated in the top ten hosts out there. They are my top choice in hosting company (I have used them for a few sites over the last 3 or so years).

Take what you will from this post. (Hopefully it all makes sense, it is pretty late :))
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#3 thor78   User is offline

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Re: Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

Posted 28 July 2009 - 10:10 AM

View PostBetaWar, on 27 Jul, 2009 - 10:16 PM, said:

Okay, here is a rundown of what I see with the site. (I am currently using a 1280 wide monitor, so I will look tomorrow at the site with a 1440 monitor).

Color scheme:
Pretty nice. It looks like many news sites out there, so it may not be the most original skin/ color scheme, but it has worked for them so it will work pretty well for you.

Skin:
I am not sure having it able to stretch is the best idea. If you jus have it build for a monitor 1000+ pixels wide it will look nice, and you won't have to worry about it stretching to look odd. Based upon the little bit I can get it to shift in size with this current montor I would suggest making the width static (or at least have it somethign like max-width of 1000 pixels wide). Given that it can stretch out, I can see how people could think it is too stretched, it is far easier to do more passes over a smaller area with the eyes than having to do one or two over a great distance.

Sidebars:
I am not sure if I like that you have 2 sidebars or not. In a way I can see the reason for it (so you don't have to scroll as far). But at the same point it is a little annoying having the content (recent articles) take up an extra page in scrolling with that rather large blank section next to it (where the sidebars would be if they went that far down).
So, I have a couple of suggestions here to make it easier on the eyes and possibly better with your users as well.
1. - Reduce the number of recent articles shown from 8 (not sure if that is the max, or just how many are currently showing) to 5. That will place it in about the same height range as the longer of the sidebars (the first one). Then move the first sidebar over to the left of the page (have the content in the center)
2. - Move the center sidebar to the bottom of the right most sidebar. This will stretch the content (recent articles out a bit more) that would allow you to have even more recent articles showing at once and move evenly spread the overall scrolling.

Ads:
There seems to be a ton of ads on the site (not on the homepage, which I only noticed three areas with ads, but on the main article pages) I have to scroll a bit to see the articles, then I have to scroll further (passed two sets of ads) to see the comments. This could get quite annoying to your users. They don't want to have more ads than content on a site, after all, why come to your site when they can get the same content elsewhere with 50+% fewer ads?

Article Pages:
You have two places that users can go to post their comments on the articles. This seems confusing to me, and I am pretty sure other users will fell the same. You may want to think about adding a modal with the comment form in it and a link at the top and bottom of the article (which opens the modal window) if you really want to have the place for a user to get to the comment form at 2 places (good lord, I hope that makes sense). Or, just remove the one in the sidebar. It would probably be easier for people to find,a dn more intuitive if you have the comment form at the bottom of the article.

Now, that is not all bad above, and not all of it needs to change, it is just my first impressions of the site.

I am glad to see that you are using bluehost, they don't seem to get the spotlight as a hosting company very often in hosting debates, but they have fairly regularly been rated in the top ten hosts out there. They are my top choice in hosting company (I have used them for a few sites over the last 3 or so years).

Take what you will from this post. (Hopefully it all makes sense, it is pretty late :))


Thank you for your rather lengthy but much appreciated points. I was planning on fixing the sidebar and comments box but I've been busy at work for a very looong time. :(

Modifications:
  • Comment box in the center column: Removed.
  • Reduced the recent posts to 5.
  • Moved some of my widgets from the right column to the center column to clean the layout look.

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#4 arthurakay   User is offline

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Re: Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

Posted 29 July 2009 - 01:15 PM

As BetaWar suggests, I think you should have a maximum width of 980px or so (what I use on my sites). This way, larger resolutions don't look stretched.

Otherwise, I think the site is fine overall. Definitely seem to be a lot of ads, so I hope they're actually making you some money. If they're not, just get rid of them because they're ugly.

I think your header bar is also a bit dull. I like the area beneath it on the homepage (which isn't on interior pages), but you might replace the "The Daily Inquirer" text with a nice logo.

Also, there's nothing that makes me want to get news from your site as opposed to MSNBC or CNN. I think that's your biggest problem... it's not really unique as far as I can tell.
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#5 xclite   User is offline

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Re: Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

Posted 29 July 2009 - 01:25 PM

I think the interface is nice. It's quite busy, and the columns vary quite a bit in length.
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#6 thor78   User is offline

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Re: Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

Posted 02 August 2009 - 11:39 PM

Changed my theme, hope it looks better.

Thank you guys for your comments! :D
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#7 BetaWar   User is offline

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Re: Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

Posted 03 August 2009 - 12:26 PM

Well, it looks okay, but it seems to be far more cluttered than it was before. And almost has a disorganized tone about it (all the table rows and columns not matching up between them (haven't looked at the source code, just going by eye).

To be hones I think the other one worked out better.

Here are some ways I think you can improve this one:

First, I would decide between a 2 and 3 column site. At the moment you statrt out 2, then go to 3 and then go back to 2.
Once you have done that I would decide where the content makes logical choices to go, and I would narrow the righthand (or left hand depending on what you choose) sidebar to something like 200 pixels.
Once you have chosen that I like the wya you have done the featured articles (JS image changer). I would suggest removing the entertainment blurbs under it and moving the table of articles (and breaking news) directly under the featured articles.
I would then remove the breaking news section ( you already have that in the second column).
Once that is done, on the sidebar have the following (in this order):
-- Search widget
-- Ad
-- Tag cloud
-- Ad
And I think that will work out pretty well.
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#8 kewlkreator   User is offline

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Re: Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

Posted 08 August 2009 - 09:39 PM

Looks fine on my iPhone.
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#9 capty99   User is offline

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Re: Site Review: The Daily Inquirer

Posted 10 August 2009 - 08:05 AM

quick thoughts :

i like the theme, looks like a decently professional news site :

things i would clean up though

the dropdown from the main menu looks very antiquated next to the rest of the site, the privacy / about links under the main menu distract from the menu itself and the dropdown links, breaking news doesn't make so much sense to be so low on the page, its above the scroll mark for me, but not so far a smaller monitor i assume. i think where that breaking news is now you need to drop in a horizontal divider and seperate the content above the fold and below the fold. its just too much too read at one time imo.

juts some ideas.
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