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Major site makeover, input please


blucollarguy

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I am making over my site and would like some input. I have been getting a pretty fair amount of traffic even with what I think is probably nothing from major search engines, I am working on that as well. I get a lot of traffic from Froogle, product specific searches. A lot of accounts created, but relatively few "checkouts". I am working on my shipping options and prices as I think that is what is killing me most often. I am currently using this site

BluCollar Sales

and am finishing up on this one to go live with soon

New Site

Force cookie use will be enabled, still have not figured out how to enable SSL just for the create account and checkout portion of the site so I am not using. I have uninstalled the payment modules so you can't pay for anythng. Keep in mind, this is still a work in progress as well, so if you see something completely out of place, let me know. I am still trying to determine what to use in the upper nav bar, keep the "breadcrumb" whith the new background or replace it with something completely different, maybe tabs. The menus on the left are still on the table as well, so feedback on all of that would be great.

I am hoping for some serious feedback, so let me have it!

And thanks in advance. Craig :)

Happy Coding!

Craig Garrison Sr

Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Catalog

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you dont have to force ssl to do anything, as long as you have not touched any of the applications dealing with ssl, it is an automatic, for anything dealing with the 'My Account', payment/confirmation area.

basically anything dealing with customer information which could be compromised.

 

for your site search three lines of text is way too much, as it pushes the search box too far from the eye contact level when looking at product search,

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you dont have to force ssl to do anything, as long as you have not touched any of the applications dealing with ssl, it is an automatic, for anything dealing with the 'My Account', payment/confirmation area.

basically anything dealing with customer information which could be compromised.

 

for your site search three lines of text is way too much, as it pushes the search box too far from the eye contact level when looking at product search,

Thanks John, the ssl info will help a great deal. I did not realize it was so simple. I suppose it is the "ssl enable" code in the correct files, it had not occured to me.

 

I am not sure what you mean about the search though. Do you mean including the dropdowns(all categories and all manufactureres), or the lines above the text box(instructions)?

 

Do you think the new site is an improvement, or just different?

Thanks again, Craig :)

Happy Coding!

Craig Garrison Sr

Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Catalog

3 Vendors, each category, "buy" a product from each category to see how MVS works during checkout.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Admin

login: [email protected]

pass: mvs_demo

MVS Thread:

Multi-Vendor Shipping

My contribs:

Download Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1

Vendor Email

Vendor Info in easypopulate

EZ Price Updater

And more to come!

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Can someone please give me a little feedback on my site. I am particularly interested in the menus I am working with, can't decide which ones to use.

Thanks Craig :)

Happy Coding!

Craig Garrison Sr

Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Catalog

3 Vendors, each category, "buy" a product from each category to see how MVS works during checkout.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Admin

login: [email protected]

pass: mvs_demo

MVS Thread:

Multi-Vendor Shipping

My contribs:

Download Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1

Vendor Email

Vendor Info in easypopulate

EZ Price Updater

And more to come!

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Hi Craig. I like the overall feel of the bluecolor one better in some ways. It's more organized looking, but I DO like the the 'more products' section of the newer one looks. I'd suggest adding some catergories here (in addition to all products), but maybe that was already in the plan. When you take that all products link though, it's a little bit distracting the way the items are listed, because you've centered each item in it's column. My preference would be for all items left justified in their individual column. I think it's easier to read that way.

 

Just took the link to one of your products http://70.84.16.84/~bcsales/catalog/produc...14c62e4e3e55b34 on the newer version and see you have a more complete menu there then on the front page. I like the way this is set up. One nitpick again though, is that if I select one of the options from the menu (say laptops or refurbished laptops) I don't much care for the heavy blue border around each of the items on the tables displayed there.

 

I hope that's the kind of feedback you were looking for when you asked for feedback on the menus.

 

Good luck with the new version.

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Hi Craig.  I like the overall feel of the bluecolor one better in some ways. It's more organized looking, but I DO like the the 'more products' section of the newer one looks.  I'd suggest adding some catergories here (in addition to all products), but maybe that was already in the plan.  When you take that all products link though, it's a little bit distracting the way the items are listed, because you've centered each item in it's column.  My preference would be for all items left justified in their individual column.  I think it's easier to read that way.

 

Just took the link to one of your products    http://70.84.16.84/~bcsales/catalog/produc...14c62e4e3e55b34 on the newer version and see you have a more complete menu there then on the front page.  I like the way this is set up. One nitpick again though, is that if I select one of the options from the menu (say laptops or refurbished laptops) I don't much care for the heavy blue border around each of the items on the tables displayed there.

 

I hope that's the kind of feedback you were looking for when you asked for feedback on the menus. 

 

Good luck with the new version.

 

Thank you very much Joyce, that is what I need. Input is critical. the menus in particular have been difficult to decide upon. The border for instance has been a real hair puller, not sure which looks better, with or without. I am working on several versions of the menu and your input will help me a lot. What's intersting is that you considered the menus more complete on the new version, same information there as the old one, just displayed differently. That really tells me a lot about the effect of the look of something. Can you tell me what screen resolution you are using? And did the menu display properly? A friend told me the DHTML menu overlapped and did not display properly. Any one else see this problem? I coded it testing with IE6 and FireFox 1. Not sure what he was using. Thanks again very much Joyce, I owe you one, Craig :)

Happy Coding!

Craig Garrison Sr

Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Catalog

3 Vendors, each category, "buy" a product from each category to see how MVS works during checkout.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Admin

login: [email protected]

pass: mvs_demo

MVS Thread:

Multi-Vendor Shipping

My contribs:

Download Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1

Vendor Email

Vendor Info in easypopulate

EZ Price Updater

And more to come!

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Your site is coming along nicely. You need to watch the length of your categories, where you have "coming soon", coming soon wraps to the next line and is mostly covered by the next category.

 

Hope that helps.

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Your site is coming along nicely.  You need to watch the length of your categories, where you have "coming soon", coming soon wraps to the next line and is mostly covered by the next category.

 

Hope that helps.

Thanks Jason. It has been a lot of work. I hope it will improve my conversions, I get quite a few visitors but not a very good sales rate. Still trying to figure out why.

 

I had noticed that it was chopping off the "soon)" from the descriptions in my browsers. Did you mean it is actually wrapping to the next line? It is not supposed to so I need to figure out why it is doing that with you. What browser are you using?

And thanks for the input, Craig :)

Happy Coding!

Craig Garrison Sr

Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Catalog

3 Vendors, each category, "buy" a product from each category to see how MVS works during checkout.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Admin

login: [email protected]

pass: mvs_demo

MVS Thread:

Multi-Vendor Shipping

My contribs:

Download Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1

Vendor Email

Vendor Info in easypopulate

EZ Price Updater

And more to come!

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Hi Craig, I think you may have misunderstood what I meant about the 'more complete' menu. I was talking strictly about the new website. On the new website, the product page at http://70.84.16.84/~bcsales/catalog/produc...14c62e4e3e55b34 has a more complete menu then the front page at http://70.84.16.84/~bcsales/?osCsid=08811e...b7&javascript=1

 

The front page has only 'List All Products' showing up under 'More Products', while the product page has (under Catalog):

Desktop Computers

Home Audio/Video

Server Systems(coming soon!)

Services(coming soon!)

Telvisions(coming soon!)

Video Gaming(coming soon!)

Computer Hardware

Laptops

Software(coming soon!)

 

And ( Under Website Information):

List All Products

Downloadable catalog

Shipping & Returns

Track Shipments

Privacy Policy

Terms of Use

Contact BluCollar Sales

Downloads

 

I'm using a 19" monitor with resolution of 1152 x 864 and the menu displays fine at that resolution.

 

You mentioned a friend telling you that the DHTML menu overlapped and didn't display properly. I ran into something similar while working on my store. I use an HTML table on each product page. IF I put a border around that table, on some browsers (especially when set to low resolution (like 480 by 640 or 600 by 800), images of my items overlapped the table. I didn't see that on my PC. And I only saw it on others running IE - I don't believe I ran into it at all with Foxfiire or Netscape. It pays to check you page with various screen resolutions as well as different browsers. There are a lot of people out there who do run the lower resolutions due to poor eyesight. That's how I discovered the problem - my husband runs 600 x 800 on his monitor and he pointed it out to me. I had to do a little playing around to pin it down.

 

Well, now that I said all that, let me halfway take it back. I just changed my resolution to 600 x 800 and I don't get any overlap on any of your pages that I looked at. Not with IE and not with Foxfire. I didn't try it with Netscape, but in my experience, Netscape handles most everything pretty good. So... not sure what's causing your overlap but I didn't see it. It might be helpful to get your friend to send you a screenshot so that you can see exactly what he's talking about.

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Hi Craig,  I think you may have misunderstood what I meant about the 'more complete' menu.  I was talking strictly about the new website.  On the new website, the product page at  http://70.84.16.84/~bcsales/catalog/produc...14c62e4e3e55b34 has a more complete menu then the front page at http://70.84.16.84/~bcsales/?osCsid=08811e...b7&javascript=1

 

The  front page has only 'List All Products' showing up under 'More Products', while the product page has (under Catalog):

Desktop Computers

Home Audio/Video

Server Systems(coming soon!)

Services(coming soon!)

Telvisions(coming soon!)

Video Gaming(coming soon!)

Computer Hardware

Laptops

Software(coming soon!)

 

And ( Under Website Information):

  List All Products

  Downloadable catalog

  Shipping & Returns

  Track Shipments

  Privacy Policy

  Terms of Use

  Contact BluCollar Sales

  Downloads

 

I'm using a 19" monitor with resolution of 1152 x 864 and the menu displays fine at that resolution.

 

You mentioned a friend telling you that the DHTML menu overlapped and didn't display properly.  I ran into something similar while working on my store.  I use an HTML table on each product page.  IF I put a border around that table, on some browsers (especially when set to low resolution  (like 480 by 640 or 600 by 800), images of my items overlapped the table.  I didn't see that on my PC.  And I only saw it on others running IE - I don't believe I ran into it at all with Foxfiire or Netscape.  It pays to check you page with various screen resolutions as well as different browsers.  There are a lot of people out there who do run the lower resolutions due to poor eyesight.  That's how I discovered the problem - my husband runs 600 x 800 on his monitor and he pointed it out to me.  I had to do a little playing around to pin it down.

 

Well, now that I said all that, let me halfway take it back.  I just changed my resolution to 600 x 800 and I don't get any overlap on any of your pages that I looked at.  Not with IE and not with Foxfire.  I didn't try it with Netscape, but in my experience, Netscape handles most everything pretty good.  So... not sure what's causing your overlap but I didn't see it.  It might be helpful to get your friend to send you a screenshot so that you can see exactly what he's talking about.

 

Yup, I misunderstood what you were talking about, thank you for clarifying. It is a funny thing with DHTML, another friend described another wrapping issue with it. I have done all my dev work using FireFox and then test with IE 6. I then switch to 800X600 and check both again, and have not seen a single problem, other that the category description being truncated, which is what it is supposed to do.

 

I have discovered another issue and I wonder if anyone can help with it. The search is broken. It just seems to loop page after page and never actually comes to any results. I am expecting that it has something to do with the java that has to be added for the DHTML menu. Any one have this before? Any suggestions?

 

Thanks again Joyce, I really appreciate your input. Craig :)

Happy Coding!

Craig Garrison Sr

Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Catalog

3 Vendors, each category, "buy" a product from each category to see how MVS works during checkout.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Admin

login: [email protected]

pass: mvs_demo

MVS Thread:

Multi-Vendor Shipping

My contribs:

Download Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1

Vendor Email

Vendor Info in easypopulate

EZ Price Updater

And more to come!

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My first thought was that the new site totally confusing - too many different fonts, text sizes, and colours, flashing adverts, indented text in cthe side columns etc. It is just all over the place (sorry).

 

It is as if you started off with a decent looking site then added something new and thought 'How can I make this stand out?' .

So you make the text large and spidery (new products).

 

Then you wanted to add something even more important.

So you made it red or yellow.

 

The next thing was even more important so you put a box round it and made it flash. And so on....

 

 

my second thought was stick with the design of the old site and change the background colour to white.

 

hth

David

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My first thought was that the new site totally confusing - too many different fonts, text sizes, and colours, flashing adverts, indented text in cthe side columns etc. It is just all over the place (sorry).

 

It is as if you started off with a decent looking site then added something new and thought  'How can I make this stand out?' .

So you make the text large and spidery (new products).

 

Then you wanted to add something even more important.

So you made it red or yellow.

 

The next thing was even more important so you put a box round it and made it flash. And so on....

my second thought was stick with the design of the old site and change the background colour to white.

 

hth

David

 

Thanks David, I appreciate your candor. I don't quite know what you mean

too many different fonts, text sizes, and colours, flashing adverts, indented text in cthe side columns etc
there is only 1 font in use(Tahoma)other than the header itself, and only 2 font colors(black and blue). I am worried that I have done too much though. The overall layout does come across a bit confusing and I will work on that. Thanks again David, this is what I need to know from as many people as possible. Craig :)

Happy Coding!

Craig Garrison Sr

Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Catalog

3 Vendors, each category, "buy" a product from each category to see how MVS works during checkout.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Admin

login: [email protected]

pass: mvs_demo

MVS Thread:

Multi-Vendor Shipping

My contribs:

Download Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1

Vendor Email

Vendor Info in easypopulate

EZ Price Updater

And more to come!

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Sorry to be so blunt. I'll explain a little what I meant. Your header seems to have 3 different font sizes, bold and italic. Not a problem. It is further down that things start to get confusing:

 

It is mostly not you who using the fonts but they are on your homepage nonetheless. The credit card and Paypal images are, I think, too large and contain another 5 fonts. Not much to do with that apart from shrink the images. The adverts all use different fonts, colours and sizes.

The bestsellers items are in a large underlined font. Why not use the same sized font as for the rest of your site?

 

Your 'Cool cases' images is distorted. - resized in browser?

 

Server systems coming(

----'\

in the left hand column looks odd too (using Firefox at 1280 * ????)

 

It dosn't need a lot to fix it , just needs pulling together a bit. The boxed around the headings, although nice in themselves, only serve in this case to fragment the site as does the white space above and below each of the menu items. It also has the effect that the left hand column is overly long.

 

I know that for he sort of stuff you are selling a typical site does look much busier than, for example, a site selling designer goods. I just think that it is too fragmented.

The white space is good. but maybe it is in the wrong place.

 

Of course this is very much a personal opinion and I'm no designer as you can see from my own site :P . YMMV

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Sorry to be so blunt. I'll explain a little what I meant. Your header seems to have  3 different font sizes, bold and italic. Not a problem. It is further down that things start to get confusing:

 

It is mostly not you who using the fonts but they are on your homepage nonetheless. The credit card and Paypal images are, I think, too large and contain another 5 fonts. Not much to do with that apart from shrink the images. The adverts all use different fonts, colours and sizes.

The bestsellers items are in a large underlined font. Why not use the same sized font as for the rest of your site?

 

Your 'Cool cases' images is distorted. - resized in browser?

 

  in the left hand column looks odd too (using Firefox at 1280 * ????)

 

It dosn't need a lot to fix it , just needs pulling together a bit. The boxed around the headings, although nice in themselves, only serve in this case to fragment the site as does the white space above and below each of the menu items. It also has the effect that the left hand column is overly long.

 

I know that for he sort of stuff you are selling a typical site does look much busier than, for example, a site selling designer goods. I just think that it is too fragmented.

The white space is good. but maybe it is in the wrong place.

 

Of course this is very much a personal opinion and I'm no designer as you can see from my own site :P . YMMV

Thanks for clarifying, David. Your criticisms don't offend me, so don't worry about that, no site can be pleasing to EVERYONE, I'm trying to convey that I can be trusted by the consumer, so the look and feel is very important. I am also trying to attract a slightly technical crowd, but don't want to come across as too technical or busy.

I have been concerned that the ads are a bit much. The "Best Sellers" box has been #^%@ing me off. That has been set to be the same as every other box and keeps coming back to that larger size. I guess I will have to hard code it. I will try to better organize as well, I thought about running the boxes together, with or without bordered headings but I really hadn't tried it yet, a bit like how you've done your left column, I'll take a look at it. Thanks again and if you think of anything else, let me have it. BTW, your site looks pretty good, straight forward and to the point.

Craig :thumbsup:

Happy Coding!

Craig Garrison Sr

Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Catalog

3 Vendors, each category, "buy" a product from each category to see how MVS works during checkout.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Admin

login: [email protected]

pass: mvs_demo

MVS Thread:

Multi-Vendor Shipping

My contribs:

Download Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1

Vendor Email

Vendor Info in easypopulate

EZ Price Updater

And more to come!

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Thanks for all the input, I have made the switch, but am going to continue woking on several things.

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who offered their 2 cents.

Craig :)

Happy Coding!

Craig Garrison Sr

Anything worth having, is worth working for.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Catalog

3 Vendors, each category, "buy" a product from each category to see how MVS works during checkout.

Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1 Demo Admin

login: [email protected]

pass: mvs_demo

MVS Thread:

Multi-Vendor Shipping

My contribs:

Download Multi Vendor Shipping V1.1

Vendor Email

Vendor Info in easypopulate

EZ Price Updater

And more to come!

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