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Website Critique Request

Discussion in 'Web Design Forum' started by philjohns, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. philjohns

    philjohns New Member

    Ive finally managed to complete my website around my GCSEs - Ive been pushed to do it as Ive got an exhibition in June of my photographs so have had to have a nice website to push people onto from their.

    Plymouth Graphic and Website Design

    Would appreciate any feedback.



    On my photography portfolio the first set of thumbs actually link to other categories - I am yet to find time to label these thumbs...
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  2. Image Resolutions

    Image Resolutions New Member

    well a link would be useful ;)
  3. philjohns

    philjohns New Member

  4. echo around town

    echo around town New Member

    it looks like everyone elses poor graphic design website, that thinks i have to have a 2.0 website when they look completely dated. i prefered the old one fair enough you have got the html spot on but potenital clients wont appricate it they just want good looking work.

    be a photographer seems to be your actual talent i dont get why you arent using it in your work your just using vector outlines?
  5. philjohns

    philjohns New Member

    appreciate your honest view - for once...i kinda agree (with your first statement).

    I know what you mean about alot of 2.0 sites being the same, but im going to be trying to put a lot more functions into the site to make it that little bit more interesting.

    I also appreciate your views on my photography, thanks
  6. Image Resolutions

    Image Resolutions New Member

    The new one feels like the sort of site you get as a portfolio for a student rather than one you would expect from a business. I also agree the old one is better, updating to follow the crowd, doesn't always make a better site.
  7. philjohns

    philjohns New Member

    thanks, but im not sure if i even class as a student - im only 16! lol
  8. echo around town

    echo around town New Member

  9. MickeyFinn

    MickeyFinn Administrator

    Hey Phil,

    Really like your site - looks good. The top menu (home, portfolio etc) moves on mouse over in FF - would sort this as jumpy links never feel right.

    I think the styling is fine. Don't listen to echo around town :cool2

    Echo - you really need to sort out your website too - simple mistakes make it look very unprofessional. I know you are marketing yourself as a graphic designer and illustrator but to have things like images resized using html (echo around town - image looks rubbish and jagged as it is actually this http://www.echoaroundtown.co.uk/images/yeti.gif) broken navigation (little book idea links to http://www.echoaroundtown.co.uk/little which gives 404 error) and why on earth you have made that nav using images (which take an age to load even on a fast PC with fast internet connection simply due to how the browser has to render it) when it could all so easily be done in CSS is beyond me! Spend some time and make a quality site to showcase your work - it is worth learning how to do well as is another service you could sell.
  10. philjohns

    philjohns New Member

    Thanks for opinion MickeyFinn - Ive realised that the words jump about a bit too in FF but havent the foggiest on how to solve it...any idea?

    Seems like Echo ahs hijacked my thread a bit, I'de told him that also by using images for text his site therefore cannot be used by many people as they resize text to there own liking...

    Im liking your last comment by the way
  11. MickeyFinn

    MickeyFinn Administrator

    Something to do with:

    a.main-nav:link {
    	color: #F1F1F1;
    	text-decoration: none;
    a.main-nav:visited {
    	color: #F1F1F1;
    	text-decoration: none;
    a.main-nav:hover {
    	color: #F1F1F1;
    	border-bottom: 1px dotted #0091CF;
    	padding-bottom: 20px;
    	font-style: oblique;
    Not declaring a padding-bottom for the link I guess, would also declare a bottom border of 1px white for the link and visited along with the link to make sure they all had the same space around them whatever state the link was in.

    Yeah, sorry for give EAT more feedback than you. For 16 I think you have done a good job. Code shows your level of experience but that is not what it is about with you. It is great that you have made a site that looks this nice and fits together so well to showcase your stuff, sod any minor problems with it as that would really take away from what you have achieved.

    I do like your work a lot, logos, banners, and photos - keep up the good work, am sure you will be successful in your chosen field.

    What are your plans now then? GCSEs over so on to A Levels?
  12. philjohns

    philjohns New Member

    Thanks, I'll sort it out next weekend - I have 6 GCSE exams this week!

    Yeh, GCSES arent quite over, 6 this week, then two the week after - then Im done! WOOP! Then a long summer to have fun and design in! IVe got 4 websites lined up for the next month alone!

    Yeh, after the summer - back to school for a levels, art, photography, geography and media studies.

    After a levels im not sure about uni and whether its worth - what do u recon...do you think Ive got what it takes to be a designer full time? Or tleast will have in 2 years?

    Ive learnt what I have done so far within a year, I only started at the end of last summer and since then have done various websites (some not on my website portfolio as they were contracted through another company) many logos, banners etc.

    Thanks again,


    Oh, and no worries about giving EAT more critique...haha - I'll take it as a compliment!
  13. MickeyFinn

    MickeyFinn Administrator

    6 exams next week does not sound like fun, remember those days well... Begs the question - shouldn't you be revising and not hanging out on forums? :laugh2

    A levels sound good, within 2 years you will have a good portfolio to take to uni interviews and see what happens. Whether uni is worth it or not depends on how much debt you think you will be in compared to how much you can earn in that time / how long it will take to pay your debts off.

    Unfortunately our new liebour gov' have royally shafted the eduction system (along with just about everything else they have touched) so I really cannot say that higher education is the best way forward.

    Design is not the best paid job when you start out so if you are looking at £20k of debt (not sure if this is a realistic amount or not) then it would take years to pay off so it may be a better option financially to get the portfolio sorted and try to get a job locally for a few years to see if you really like it, build up some cash and then do a uni degree a few years later and work through it to avoid a lifetime paying it all off. A really personal decision though, if you could get on one of the top design courses then the debt may be worth it...

    You definitely have the skills to be a full time designer but you can do this without a uni degree. Three years earning and moving up the ladder you could be above the graduates three years after A levels both financially and in experience!

    Good luck with the GCSEs this week - let us know how it all goes. And enjoy the summer, lucky devil.
  14. echo around town

    echo around town New Member

    Well Mickey giving out all this advice on a forum you must be a big shot designer im not a web design and that shows, im not denying that but telling/ advicing phil not to go to uni is not setting a good example as a designer, wher e will he be taught about his art history the rules of typography, and shown all sorts of designers who will teach him the design process because he could really do with it. otherwise he will be stuck in a shockingly bad design agency working for nothing.

    My advice to you Phil if your serious about design then go to uni or do a HND or at least do a BTEC but dont listen to this idiot because you should want to be a trend setter not a sheep getting lost in the flock.

    so what my website isent CSS perfect i will sort it but a working website doesnt paper over the cracks of lack of design ideas lack of fresh new ideas and lack or art history knowledge, all the above which catch up on you and you will be searching for logo jobs on forums forever like mickey.

    see phil me and you are young and i know where im going because i have be taught by the best and have mixed with the best. but do you know where your going phil?
  15. MickeyFinn

    MickeyFinn Administrator

    Wind your neck in young lad. As well as learning some simple CSS and web design you could do with brushing up on punctuation and grammar so as not to come across as dumber than you may actually be.

    I am not a big shot designer but have worked as a web developer / designer since 2000 so maybe you should listen to someone who has seen a little more of life than you have? Before working in the industry I did a science degree and then spent three years working for BT so have a range of experience to draw on. You are partway through an HND and what else? What other experience do you bring to this discussion?

    If you read my post clearly (and not through the red mist that seems to permanently cloud your eyes from what you have said here and in other posts) - not going to uni was not the advice I gave but an option that is open to him.

    Not going to uni will not leave him in a "shockingly bad design agency working for nothing" just as going to uni will not land him a massively paid top job at the end of three years. A lot of people pass through uni every year and on getting out they find it just as hard to find jobs, lack of industry experience prevents a lot of young designers getting their first job. A lot of places do not want to whip uppity young know it alls into shape to be able to produce work. New entrants need a lot of hand holding even if they feel they know it all.

    Three years at uni could land you with a £20k debt very easily these days and a graduate designer will not earn more than someone of the same age who has three years industry experience in my view.

    The days of a degree opening doors for you, unless you get the best degree (which I also mentioned in my post) are long gone as degrees are mass produced and not as valuable as they once were.

    Rules of typography and art history will not land you a job. Everything you have described can be taught be people in the industry if you are careful about the first few jobs you take.

    Also time in the industry will give you a credit balance as opposed to a massive deficit, it will help you decide if the industry really is for you and then you can always do to uni a bit late. You will have less financial pressure on you, you will have a better grasp on design and you will do well at the degree. I simply do not think the conventional (read boring, lack of intellectual thought, lack of understanding of how the real world works) GCSE > A Levels > Uni will do anything better for you other than piss three years up the wall, leave you with big debts and still leave you no closer to landing a job. You show a very blinkered and traditional outlook on education, hardly creative in this respect are you...

    So by following the advice of a sheep you somehow become un-sheep-like. Quality. You consider yourself a trend setter by doing an HND? :rollin Qualifications over real-world experience? I do not agree with this.

    A good website gives confidence in the end user to contact you. Yours makes you look unprofessional and as a customer I would not contact you. From the manner of your replies on here I would not want to work with you either as you are far too aggressive and act as if you know it all, when in fact you appear to know very little. Your designs are good but you are hardly up with the best yet.

    CSS is very easy and a little time spent learning this would reap rewards. For example if you ever want to be commissioned to design websites I always look for designers who can make sites and understand how they work. They make designs that can be made rather than designs that look good but do not fit the reality of what is capable in this medium.

    As I said, resizing your work in html made the image I highlighted look rough, the unsized image looks good though so a little knowledge here would help you present yourself in a much better light. Listen, learn and then give thanks for being shown a better way. Learn some humility while you are at it.

    Me searching for logo jobs on the internet? Don't think so. I currently turn away work. Would offer to send some your way but as I said before, I would not wish you on any of my customers with your attitude the way it is.

    So the best teach at HND level in Birmingham these days do they? How times have changed. They often say if you can't do it, teach it. Most of the can't do its end up teaching low level qualifications such as HNDs. Not saying they are worthless qualifications but they are unlikely to push you to your limits. Who are these best that you "mix" with? Do tell.

    Phil has stated on here he does not know where he is going after his A levels, no bad thing at his age in my opinion. All I have done is to suggest that there is another way forward. My opinion still is that either do a good degree or get into the industry. You can learn type setting, art history and anything else through books and through asking your seniors in design houses about the work. I think you suck up relevant and worthwhile knowledge much faster when working than by being "taught". Degrees tend to be a few hours of lectures per week followed by you reading books and then getting munted. Higher education these days is a three year holiday spent by years of paying it all back - plus interest. Is this really the smart way to go?
  16. elonlineuk

    elonlineuk New Member

    Hi Guys,

    I'm currently 17 in Sixth Form and I’m taking my final A-Level exams this Friday. I agree with MickeyFinn and his views on University.

    I have been thinking this over for the past year. Do I go to Uni and build myself mass debt?

    I decided to take a 'gap year'. My reason for this is to think over whether I do go to Uni or Work upwards. To aid my decision I have decided to Freelance and have set myself up a portfolio, I'm glad to say that I've had a lot of people contact me about work :D.

    So what I guess I’m trying to say is make your choices about further education in your own time, don't rush yourself! I've heard the stories of how much fun Uni can be and it has been very tempting, but ensure Uni is the right route for you before signing yourself up.

    Philjohns, I like the website, it looks good. I'd recommend reading everything here: Table of Contents | The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web. It will really help you out and help you tidy your design up a bit. Also! Remember, lines are key. I'd recommend making your designs in something like Photoshop first and lining everything up. For example, on the homepage on the right I'd line up the edge of the images & the edge of the text vertically just to tidy things up a bit.

    In terms of your A-Level choices Media Studies is awesome :p. A really cool subject to take. Good luck with your GCSEs and future designs.

  17. MickeyFinn

    MickeyFinn Administrator

    Hey Elliott,

    Nice site! Well done :)

    I applaud your decision of not rushing into Uni. I am sure you will do well as a freelaner, the quality of your portfolio and site will win you work I'm sure. BUt have you considered trying to get (even part-time) work in a local agency? Even if you are working for very little in my opinion the experience would be priceless.

    To see how daily work is managed, to see how customers try and wriggle out of payment and argue about this and that, you really can learn a lot that will help you avoid many mistakes as a freelancer.

    Thanks for the constructive feedback to Phil as well. You hit the nail on the head - don't rush into anything. Suck up all the information and advice given to you (and a lot of it will conflict) and then make the best choice for you.

    So much of life is down to chance, right place right time taking you to a good position, or always missing out on what you want no matter how hard you try or how good you are. Whatever road you choose, Uni or no, you could end up at the top or regretting every choice you made! Although as long as you work hard regrets tend to be few and far between...

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