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New Store - All Things Children


Velveeta

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Hi everyone, after about 3 months, my store, All Things Children, is finally nearing completion... I've tested most things as I've gone along, and had some friends point out a couple of bugs that I missed, but I would really like it if some more seasoned people would A) try to break my store, and B) give me some critiques on the overall look and layout of things... Some things to know beforehand:

 

1. This site does not have its SSL certificate installed yet, so I realize that the login pages, etc. are not encrypted currently... This should be taken care of in the next week or so...

 

2. Some of the product images are small and/or pixellated... I realize this, but one of my vendors' product images were just small, and I had to resize/resample the images to get a somewhat usable larger version of the picture... you should be able to recognize these when you see them, and I'm hoping that once I get my final dealer login info for their site, they'll have some higher quality images I can swap out...

 

3. Critiques are very much welcome, but please try to do so in a constructive manner, as I am a delicate flower (j/k :D)...

 

4. This store is still a work in progress, and even though it is nearing completion, it's not quite there yet... There are some products with crappy description, and still some products needing to be added, so you may find a couple of empty categories... The prices aren't finalized yet, and certain pages (i.e. Contact Us, About Us, Privacy Policy, etc.) haven't been written yet... my concern at this point is finding bugs and getting a feel for the aesthetics and usability of the site...

 

Any and all help provided will be greatly appreciated, so thanks in advance :)

 

Richard Lindsey

All Things Children, LLC

www.allthingschildren.com

Richard Lindsey

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Impressions:

 

1)What a waste of space in your header.

 

2)Stock OSC icons everywhere - they should really be removed as they serve no purpose other that making your store "stocklike"

 

3) Very fat left and right columns - looks a bit daft in 800*600

 

4) Lots of pages need proof reading - especially your gift vouchers FAQ - sounds like it was written by a ten year old (which might not be a bad things based on what you are selling)

 

5) Don't ask for my gender or DOB when I create an account. Are you going to send me a birthday card?

 

As far as useability, it's pretty much stock, so that means a shopping cart that doesn't update quantities unless you press the button (your big red warning is a bit of an excuse to be honest) and a tedious check out procedure.

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Just a few things I noticed right off bat:

 

Include a clickable link next time, if I were feeling any more lazy I might have not copied and pasted the url. Here is a clickable link!

 

1. I like the site icon! I need to come up with one for mine before I forget...

2. Replace the default oscommerce images, to someone that has never seen oscommerce they are going to think it looks like clip art (no offense to oscommerce :P ) and to those that do know oscommerce they are going to think they look... umm.. oscommerce-ish...

3. Copyright: looks odd with the actual date on there, I don't know if it is different for different locations, but all the copyrights I always see look like this:

Copyright ? 2005 Company Name or Copyright ? 2003-2005 Company Name

4. Width: is way too big, when using resolution of 800X600 it cuts off half of the right hand side bars. This is probably because of the width of the side boxes.

5. Catagories: Way too much info for a side navigation box... Maybe consider only putting top level catagories on the side bar, and moving the whole thing to a "site map" page or something. As it is right now, it takes too long to find the catagory I'm looking for.

6. Colors: This is my personal opinion... Like all personal opinions you should take it with a grain of salt, unless a lot of people are having the same opinion: I don't really like the light blue as the background for the MAIN section, maybe switch the colors for the main section (light blue) with the color for the side boxes (light grey). Just a thought.

7.

8. Logo: I just realized I like the logo too (didn't look at it too closely till now)

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Impressions:

 

1)What a waste of space in your header.

 

2)Stock OSC icons everywhere - they should really be removed as they serve no purpose other that making your store "stocklike"

 

3) Very fat left and right columns - looks a bit daft in 800*600

 

4) Lots of pages need proof reading - especially your gift vouchers FAQ - sounds like it was written by a ten year old (which might not be a bad things based on what you are selling)

 

5) Don't ask for my gender or DOB when I create an account. Are you going to send me a birthday card?

 

As far as useability, it's pretty much stock, so that means a shopping cart that doesn't update quantities unless you press the button (your big red warning is a bit of an excuse to be honest) and a tedious check out procedure.

 

Yes, I have heard that the header area looks a bit... empty, so I plan to resolve that at some point once I figure out what I want it to look like :) I'm sure a lot of pages do need proofreading, as most of the text is pulled from vendors' sites for product descriptions (which I plan to change over time), and the gift voucher faq is stock from the CCGV contrib, so I haven't proofread it either, but apparently it needs lots of work if it looks like a 10 year old wrote it... I wasn't aware that the checkout procedure was 'tedious', could you expand on that comment a little bit as to how I could improve it some? And I'll look into auto-updating product quantities as they're changed, thought I'll have to think a bit on how I want to accomplish that, whether to update it as soon as the focus leaves an altered field, or create the whole thing as a form that takes its values from the current values of the product quantities when a person leaves the cart page... as for the gender and DOB, those are stock, and I can see leaving out the gender question, I guess that's just in so that when certain emails are sent out it can say Mr. or Mrs... and as for the DOB, I actually did plan on sending out birthday-card-type things, as I know I like receiving them even from companies I haven't been to in a while... it's always nice to know that someone's keeping track at least (even if it is automated code :D)... Thanks for the input :)

 

Richard Lindsey

All Things Children

Richard Lindsey

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Just a few things I noticed right off bat:

 

Include a clickable link next time, if I were feeling any more lazy I might have not copied and pasted the url.  Here is a clickable link!

 

1.  I like the site icon!  I need to come up with one for mine before I forget...

2.  Replace the default oscommerce images, to someone that has never seen oscommerce they are going to think it looks like clip art (no offense to oscommerce  :P ) and to those that do know oscommerce they are going to think they look...  umm.. oscommerce-ish...

3.  Copyright:  looks odd with the actual date on there, I don't know if it is different for different locations, but all the copyrights I always see look like this: 

Copyright ? 2005 Company Name  or Copyright ? 2003-2005 Company Name

4.  Width: is way too big, when using resolution of 800X600 it cuts off half of the right hand side bars.  This is probably because of the width of the side boxes.

5.  Catagories:  Way too much info for a side navigation box...  Maybe consider only putting top level catagories on the side bar, and moving the whole thing to a "site map" page or something.  As it is right now, it takes too long to find the catagory I'm looking for.

6.  Colors:  This is my personal opinion...  Like all personal opinions you should take it with a grain of salt, unless a lot of people are having the same opinion:  I don't really like the light blue as the background for the MAIN section, maybe switch the colors for the main section (light blue) with the color for the side boxes (light grey).  Just a thought.

7. 

8.  Logo:  I just realized I like the logo too (didn't look at it too closely till now)

 

Thanks for the compliments on the logo and site icon :D the icon i just ripped out of the logo, but if you like the logo itself and are shopping around for logo companies or anything, I got mine through The Logo Company, and they charge a $50 flat fee and give you a black & white version, 3 different sized jpgs, and CMYK version for desktop publishing, and a .psd format for resizing on your own if you have illustrator... they do some really nice work, and you can't beat the price :D As for your comments:

 

I like my color scheme, so that will probably stay the same, unless, like you said, I hear a lot of complaints on the subject :D... The default images will have to go at some point, but unfortunately I'm not an artist, and a lot of clipart looks like... clipart, especially the free stuff :D I suppose a lot of the images are completely unnecessary, and I could probably just rip them out altogether... The width has had 2 comments on it now, so that's definitely something to look into... I believe I currently have each column set at 160 pixel width for doing the CSS highlighting I have for each category row in the display: block style, and making it width enough to accomodate subcategories... I do understand that it's a long category listing, but I wanted to have them all out there so that I didn't lose pagerank from a spider having to burrow its way into subcategories, but it has definitely gotten long, so I may just have to go back to the original way... I suppose I should try looking at it in 8x6 every once in a while also :D As for the copyright message, I dunno, I think I saw it like that at one point on one site I was on and liked it, so I made mine that way, but yeah, 90%+ of sites out there keep track of it by year, or by years in business, which is what I'll probably switch it to, thanks for the comments :)

 

Richard Lindsey

All Things Children, LLC

Richard Lindsey

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I like things balanced and it bugs me that you have a very long right hand column to scroll down---- way down.

 

Why are you waisting your precious web site realestate with links to about.com stuff. Maybe have a separate page with the links if you must but don't have it in info boxes on every page! Looks busy and detracts from what you want me to find- your products and ordering info.

 

The osCommerce icons need to go it's not necessary to have both the icons and words for | My Account | Cart Contents | Checkout |

 

Re colours: I feel you need to tie the brown bear colour in through not just as the head and footer or make those the blue. I don't like the green lettering on the background colour.

 

I don't like the full product listing on the front page - maybe if you got rid of all the about stuff and only had a right or left column you would have more space - things just seem too crowded.

 

I really like your logo and I'm sure you are going to do really well when you are all done!

 

All the best,

 

Ruth

My osCommerce Project

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My Advise is your upper right hand corner is the best place for advertisement.

 

That is what I would do with that space.

 

just a though..

 

noppie

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As far as the checkout procedure goes - this is the case in all OSC stores, not just yours, and there's not a lot you can do about it unfortunately, save a complete rewrite of the whole process.

 

If you insist on asking me for DOB or gender, at least configure them as optional - there are flags in your admin to do this.

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I like things balanced and it bugs me that you have a very long right hand column to scroll down---- way down.

 

Why are you waisting your precious web site realestate with links to about.com stuff.  Maybe have a separate page with the links if you must but don't have it in info boxes on every page!  Looks busy and detracts from what you want me to find- your products and ordering info.

 

The osCommerce icons need to go it's not necessary to have both the icons and words for |  My Account  |  Cart Contents  |  Checkout |

 

Re colours:  I feel you need to tie the brown bear colour in through not just as the head and footer or make those the blue.  I don't like the green lettering on the  background colour.

 

I don't like the full product listing on the front page - maybe if you got rid of all the about stuff and only had a right or left column you would have more space - things just seem too crowded.

 

I really like your logo and I'm sure you are going to do really well when you are all done!

 

All the best,

 

Ruth

My osCommerce Project

 

I thought about using the brown in more places, but I just couldn't think of anywhere else to put it that wouldn't look out of place with the blues and greens, it really is more of a dividing color I thought, since it sticks out so much from the others, any ideas? The full product listing was something I'd stuck in at one point while trying to keep the content on my front page more dynamic in order to bring the searchbots back, and at the time I had it randomly swapping the order of the products displayed... that, coupled with the snippets of descriptions I had shown should have been enough changing text to keep them indexing it, but then I realized that I had a problem with cycling to the next page of products, because it would randomize that listing as well and you'd have a hard time getting from start to finish in the product listing :) The front page is a little cluttered... I'll detail the things I've changed since these first postings in a new post in this thread, instead of this reply... I think I probably will move the news feeds to their own subpage instead of using the main page space for it... the reason for the feeds is that they were relevant to the kinds of things my customers would probably like to read about, and again, fresh content for the site that's updated on a daily basis, as I don't do much content writing myself :) Perhaps once development settles down I'll have more time for that sort of thing though, thanks for the comments :D

 

Richard Lindsey

All Things Children

Richard Lindsey

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My Advise is your upper right hand corner is the best place for advertisement.

 

That is what I would do with that space.

 

just a though..

 

noppie

 

That would be a good idea, but as of right now I don't have anyone wanting to advertise ;)... I think I may just take some pictures of things like my child at play, or kids at a park, or something like that, and possibly collage some wide image together and incorporate my logo into it somewhere... the RSS Feed contrib is a good idea as well, and one I've thought about in the past, but I don't currently do too much content writing... I suppose I could use it to publish my product listing, but at this time I'm more focused on getting the store to a nice usable state to attract the customers to bring the traffic that will make people want to carry my product listings :D At some point I'd like to open up an affiliate program, so that would definitely be a good idea then :D Thanks for checking out the store :)

 

Richard Lindsey

All Things Children

Richard Lindsey

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Things that have been accomplished regarding proposed improvements:

 

I've crunched the category listing down to the main category headers as it is in stock osc...

 

I've shrunken the width of the left and right columns from 200 pixels to 150 to free up a little of the space for the 8x6 browsers...

 

I fixed the shopping cart so that it now updates the product quantities (as well as removing any flagged items) upon any of the 3 buttons at the bottom, Update, Continue Shopping, or Checkout... (I haven't added in a messageStack output to the user yet, but I do plan to, to let them know their cart has been updated after the form processes and redirects them to their target page...)

 

Changed the copyright output to reflect the current year (next year and thereafter I'll have it do 2005-[current year])

 

FalseDawn: I'm a pretty snazzy coder when I have a target of a project in mind, do you have any suggestions of how to streamline the checkout process? I know you say this is pretty much standard in osc and can't be done without pretty much a complete rewrite, but what I'd like to know is what you would see as a slimmed-down version of checkout, because I'd imagine the necessities are currently there... a confirmation of the cart, payment and shipping methods, and confirmation of the order, then completion... would you perhaps combine some of those pages to shorten the number of page loads so that say, cart confirmation/payment method/shipping are all on one page and they just need to click again to confirm the order or what? Any suggestions on this are welcome :) I believe there's a contrib out there for an amazon-style one-click checkout or something, I just haven't looked into it, so I'm not sure how they crunch it all down to one-click...

 

Once again, thanks to everyone who's taking the time to check out the store and give me pointers... I really own had my own perception to go on when designing this thing (I'm doing this 100% solo currently to save money on development :D), and of course my way isn't necessarily the best way; the customer is always right ;)

 

Richard Lindsey

All Things Children

Richard Lindsey

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Things that have been accomplished regarding proposed improvements:

 

I've crunched the category listing down to the main category headers as it is in stock osc...

 

I've shrunken the width of the left and right columns from 200 pixels to 150 to free up a little of the space for the 8x6 browsers...

 

I fixed the shopping cart so that it now updates the product quantities (as well as removing any flagged items) upon any of the 3 buttons at the bottom, Update, Continue Shopping, or Checkout... (I haven't added in a messageStack output to the user yet, but I do plan to, to let them know their cart has been updated after the form processes and redirects them to their target page...)

 

Changed the copyright output to reflect the current year (next year and thereafter I'll have it do 2005-[current year])

 

FalseDawn: I'm a pretty snazzy coder when I have a target of a project in mind, do you have any suggestions of how to streamline the checkout process?  I know you say this is pretty much standard in osc and can't be done without pretty much a complete rewrite, but what I'd like to know is what you would see as a slimmed-down version of checkout, because I'd imagine the necessities are currently there... a confirmation of the cart, payment and shipping methods, and confirmation of the order, then completion... would you perhaps combine some of those pages to shorten the number of page loads so that say, cart confirmation/payment method/shipping are all on one page and they just need to click again to confirm the order or what?  Any suggestions on this are welcome :) I believe there's a contrib out there for an amazon-style one-click checkout or something, I just haven't looked into it, so I'm not sure how they crunch it all down to one-click...

 

Once again, thanks to everyone who's taking the time to check out the store and give me pointers... I really own had my own perception to go on when designing this thing (I'm doing this 100% solo currently to save money on development :D), and of course my way isn't necessarily the best way; the customer is always right ;)

 

Richard Lindsey

All Things Children

 

 

For some input on shortening the checkout path, Check this tread...

 

 

1 click checkout, check out Buy product with one click

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The site appears to be broken, I'm getting this message...

 

Fatal error: Class messagestack: Cannot inherit from undefined class tablebox in /home/allthing/public_html/includes/classes/message_stack.php on line 20
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The site appears to be broken, I'm getting this message...

 

Sorry, at that time I was trying to get the messageStack to output a confirmation message to the user that their cart contents were updated whenever they changed values and proceeded to another page... the section of application_top that handles the cart update was before the messageStack class was included, you must have been looking at the page in the couple of minutes before i moved it up above, and then had to move the inclusion of the boxes class also, because it calls tableBox, which ran me into another error :D It seems to be working fine now...

Richard Lindsey

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