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Feedback on Austin City Life site

June 6, 2008

If you have some time, I’d appreciate your feedback on our new website. We are still adding content and working out some things, but we need to know if it is navigable, engaging, informative, clear, etc. We are working on getting the podcast page to be more simple. Let me know what you think and how we can improve!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2008 10:47 pm

    man, JD, the site looks amazing. i like how clean and simple all the navigation is. finding things seems very orderly – i was never lost while exploring (that’s good from a functional and symbolic standpoint)…

    …and dude, you have a good looking family. those kids are gorgeous.

  2. June 7, 2008 6:36 pm

    thanks, man. some of our own people designed it. its hard to assess functionality and navigability when you are on the inside.

    hope all is well!

  3. June 7, 2008 7:14 pm

    A couple of thoughts:

    Overall, I like the look and feel of the site.

    I like the Burma graphic on the home page, but don’t like the flashing. I would add it to the whole site. I saw it on the home page thought it looked cool, but forgot about it 3 pages in. I happened back to the home page, saw it again, and realized that it was missing throughout.

    On the culture page, the text at the top (reserved for future links) is hard to read, there is not enough contrast to the photo.

    On the contact page – you have e-mail addresses. From personal experience, you are opening yourself up to a lot of spam. You will have a hard time filtering genuine interest from sales pitches. You should look into using a contact form.

    I would create a page about your services and move the service directions away from the page with contact info. I would include a map for services, or at least a link to a map.

    I would look into setting up your site on a content management system. Right now it looks to be hard coded html, which works great and is fast, but ties you to developers to make any changes in the text. Plus, the content management would make it easier to add a contact form and add content easily. There are great free CMS systems out there – Drupal and Joomla are both good. For your site, you could probably make WordPress do the job. Since you obviously have someone who can do HTML in the church, have them check out http://www.geeksandgod.com for info on setting up Drupal.

  4. June 8, 2008 3:27 pm

    Hey there Jonathan, overall you know I like it alot. It is clean with good colors and I actually like that you used your own photos. Here is some feedback that I am sure you already know about:

    1. I don’t know if the above guy is right or not but if your pages are each individual html pages and you don’t have a content management system then you might might to go with a CSS/HTML setup and a CMS. Eventually the web guy gets busy or won’t be there forever and you have a webpage that needs major upkeep potentially. (I just checked and it looks like you are using CSS/HTML)

    2. Many of the header photos are different sizes, some of them needlessly long and they push various amounts of text past the fold. This is most obvious on the resources page.

    3. Navigation:

    As you already know the text colors are difficult to read on some pages. What if you just floated them above the photo?

    For my money I hate iFrames (the inside scroll bar that lets you scan down in the text). I don’t like to scroll down with the far right bar and then scroll again with the iFrame bar. The only content below the text is the shortened mission statement which could be moved. Not everyone hates iFrames like I do though.

    City Groups page: I would add a ‘find a city group’ link at the end of the text. Since I had to scroll down to read the full text the ‘find a city group’ link is no longer readily available at the top. A design best practice is to minimize clicks to find what you want and to have multiple entries to a page. I like to base them on thoughtflows. I just read about city groups, if the next line said, ‘find a city group’ then I would be more likely to click it.

    I like the interactive google map for city groups.

    Podcasts page: you might rewrite this. It makes the assumption that the user has iTunes. Also while we are familiar with podcasting and iTunes, many are not familiar. It isn’t a bad idea to educate the reader on iTunes and podcast readers. Also, the instructions are not accurate. The ‘subscribe’ link/image you provide (it starts with ‘itpc’) automatically loads iTunes AND automatically adds the podcast to iTunes. Your instructions are if someone manually added the podcast to iTunes, and if they do that you also don’t need to click ‘podcast’ on the left iTunes menu as directed. You just click ‘advanced’ on the top bar and then Subscribe to Podcast.

    On the individual sermons I would make them a direct link to the mp3 file with a ‘right click > save as…’ indication. This saves clicks for the user.

    I also don’t like the contact link that has directions and contact info. I would separate out the directions to your meetings. I would prob add it to community since it is a legitimate extension of your community.

    Some of these are just my user preferences so I won’t be hurt if you ignore me. But again, overall it is a good site.

    I welcome feedback on our site if anyone is interested. http://www.somaaustin.org

  5. June 8, 2008 5:57 pm

    thanks guys. i will be meeting with my designer soon, so we will go over all these!

  6. June 9, 2008 4:06 pm

    Looking great! nice vibrant photos. I love the large size of them. really pop’s out. We don;t concern ourselves with alot of the “above the fold” stuff anymore. There is a time a place for it but 90% of the time people see a scrollbar and know what it’s used for. You want to keep content above the fold when it needs to grab your attention.

    My only suggestion on the functionality of the site is that the submenu’s are somewhat hard to find and being overlayed on an image … their color has to contrast whatever the image is. Which makes it hard to updates photo’s etc. I would find a common place for all sub-nav. My suggestion would be left-aligned under each photo.

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