Reviewing Trader's Websites

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Andy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:11 am
Location: Australia

Post by Andy »

OK, we've made some changes to our site.

www.firedogforge.com

We took on alot of ideas from different people & we think this is a big improvement.

Andy
A brave man is a free man.

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Black Letter
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:37 pm
Location: Worcester
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Post by Black Letter »

Hi Jorge

Have finally got round to looking at your site. Sorry for the delay!

Just a few things really, on the whole I think your site is very easy to navigate and you get a feel for what you do very quickly.

I like the way you have thumbnails of the different categories of images – you can see at a glance the quality of work and range of stuff you do. Also, the enlarged images are very good quality and quick to display, and the detailed description (may help with search engines!) It is difficult with artwork to convey the quality and keep the filesize small to achieve a fast display time – but think you have done this very well. (I think the quality of images needs to be improved on our site, particularly on calligraphy pieces, so know what is involved in trying to achieve this). The other problem with images is the age-old copying /protection issue, this is something we are constantly looking at and is probably best as a conversation in a beer tent! (I notice you have no copyright info on your site…)

Like your advice to us, it would be good to see how you produce the work – e.g. a picture of one of your original blocks and maybe a piccie of you in costume demonstrating. I like the bit you have on ‘sources’ and ‘materials’, maybe you could have another section on how you produce the work in a similar style.

Re: education/museum work, you mention you are open to offers on the site, but maybe you should have a section specifically for this – e.g. containing reference(s), events you have done, the kind of things you know/demonstrate, etc. and pictures taken – you are a fountain of knowledge and this comes across a bit on your site but perhaps is undersold?

Its just a personal point but I would move some of the text on the home page – e.g. how to order on your stock pages, feedback paragraph to maybe the contact page. The images are great on the home page but maybe keep the text to the main points e.g. your specialisms, stock, etc. Finally, there is no real need for a link to the home page on the home page itself.

Hope this helps. I will be updating ours soon – so many things to do!
Black Letter
Calligraphy - Design - Illumination - Illustration
www.black-letter.co.uk

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gregory23b
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Post by gregory23b »

Hi Tam, thanks for that, much appreciated.

Yes the ordering leaves a lot to be desired, a product of a holding site that should do more really, also take on board the methods etc. Also what it lacks is a portfolio of commissioned work, something that has taken off a fair bit of late, it would certainly convey what is possible to order.

Copyright, indeed, none other than the automatic one we all have, but fair cop I might need to actually make the site a professional one. I will also include a postal address, most likely PO box, in the 'near future'.
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Black Letter
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:37 pm
Location: Worcester
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Post by Black Letter »

Andy
I've just had a quick look at your site and I think it gives a good impression. The 'about the artist' and 'guarantee' pages are good, give some good background.

In terms of constructive criticism;

- some of your graphics take a bit of time to load (and I'm on a broadband connection) - I know this is tricky one as we are also struggling with the image quality vs. file size issue.

- it would be useful to have some images/descriptions of your custom work (I should practice what I preach here, as I am still to do a commissions page for our site!)

- on your stock items, you have the price as e.g. $135 -
does this mean starting from $135? (if not, it gives the impression of a starting price)

- some of your pages are quite long. It would be good to have links at the top of those pages (e.g. on 'payment options', have a link to 'overseas customers' at the top of the page). The products and prices page as well is long - by the time I get to the bottom I forgot what you had at the top (but then, I have a very small brain!). It would be good to have an immediate impression of what you make / the different categories of things in a smaller space, without having to scroll down. (See my comments for Jorge above, he has a really good stock page which shows things on one page).

Hope this helps,

Tam
Black Letter
Calligraphy - Design - Illumination - Illustration
www.black-letter.co.uk

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Neibelungen
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 8:56 pm
Location: Leeds
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Post by Neibelungen »

The only really practical way to copywrite protect an image on a web page is to embed a watermark into it. Doesn't stop them useing it, but at least you can see where the source is from.

It's not going to stop somebody with photoshop skills, but it will take some effort for them and be difficult for anybody else.

All the simple bits like useing java script to disable the 'save picture as' options etc are a bit pointless in the end as your browser cache holds an image and you can just print it out from there.

I think there are a couple of specialist bits of software available that allow you to digitally waterwark an image actually within the code.

As to optimizing a picture. There are a couple of dedicated programs for picture optimization that allow you to be selective on the degree on portions of the image. ie, less on detailed parts and more on less sensitive areas, rather than just a blanket optimization.


Andy

Glad to see the changes you've made to your site. It's a whole lot better and much easier to navigate now.

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Andy
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:11 am
Location: Australia

Post by Andy »

Thank you to all who have taken the time to view our website and make detailed coments as to improvements. I realise that this is something that most people will not do.

This is our first web design and my wife has spent endless hours working on it. She's been using FrontPage and the 1000 odd page manual has been of no help. It certainly isn't user friendly. Shes been doing it by trial and error....that and dealing with our 9 month old daughter!
It is something that she has enjoyed doing...more the challenge than anything. And it is great that she now has the knowledge so updating is easy and can now be done in very little time.

Once again thank you. Our site is something that we will continously be changing and trying to improve upon as we learn more and our technical skills improve. Many comments are simply things that we have not yet learnt to do, and our aim is to take this on board and in the future make some of these changes.

Andy.
A brave man is a free man.

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