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I'm new to this site and new to web design. I just want to do the design for my business (Hubby and I own and run a Dog Club) and for my personal dog breed website.

I would love if folks in the know could steer me in the direction of the basics of layout. A good site to read or a good book, I'm happy to go read. I love to research but don't want to waste time on junk.

I have very basic questions for example, is a list of links still considered a good thing to include? Is it a good idea to have tons of pictures or is that something that annoys visitors to a site? I can usually figure out how to make things work, I just need to know where to put it first ;).

 

I just created my first "draft" of a site last week. I am using this site to learn and when I have a good basic layout I will put it out there. I am currently using Wordpress as that seemed to be the easiest to get up and going. I'm not opposed to others and have looked at Joomla as another option. But I will say that WP has been pretty easy thus far.

I'm a dog trainer so this is NOT my bailiwick to say the least :D. But I did work in the industry many years ago so while I'm not a programmer I am very good at following directions and figuring things out.

 

Here is my site, thus far. Right now it is published but NOT finished by any means. I'm constantly moving and changing things in order to learn.

 

www.qrbrochure.info

 

Thanks all,

Annette

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First thing I will say is you first draft takes far to long to load. Actually it crashed my desktop instance the first time I tried to load it. Pages taking a long time to load it terrible, crashing your visitors computers is nothing short of an absolute desaster.

 

So the first thing I would greatly suggest is to check all your images for file size and resolution. Your Logo image is set to 1200 pixels per inch. This is far to high! For the web all images should be no more than 72 pixels per inch. Just to be sure you can recover hire resolution images later (Who knows maybe you want to put your logo on a highway side billbourd one day.), I would save your logo as a copy at 72 pixels per inch and play with the quality when you save the image. Set the quality just high enough that it looks good, don't go higher just for the sake of trying to make it look better.

 

While you are at it, check all the images you are grouping together, for example in your image slider and make sure they are a uniform size. I would recommend that you do not try to enlarge an image just for the sake of using them together. Simply put enlarging images more than a few percent will simply make them look badly pixelated. Crop can be your friend to ensure they are of the same proportion. Generally you want your images as small as possible and yet still fit your design.

 

Once you have done that perhaps you can get more feedback.

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DesignerSmith made some excellent points regarding the image size, but I only see the logo having 72 ppi.

 

I don't think there is one right answer to your question about number of pictures - I find a few related pictures throughout break up things and can be quite informative. On a page specifically for pictures, more of them are appropriate. I'd pick them carefully, so. No need to have 12 angles of the same dog, for example.

 

Wordpress is a great tool for websites. It comes with all kinds of fancy features that can be used without actually understanding how they work. Plus, with all the thousands of free themes available, one certainly can find something that works, even without the knowledge of making actual coding changes yourself.

 

As to your site right now - the header is too big. When I open it, all I see is the logo and navigation - my monitor ends right under the search box, so I don't really see anything relevant at first glance. Overall, IMO, there is too much 'white space' on the site. I have to scroll too much to get to the actual information. Also, the bold font on the FAQ page makes reading difficult.

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Thanks all for the help. I may have made things a bit more difficult as I went to the WP forums to ask some questions and had to switch my theme to another one to show how it was messing up. I will switch the theme back later today to what I plan to use (assuming I don't just start completely over with Joomla or something :)). The actual theme I'm using has a much smaller logo and allowed me to change fonts to a more legible type.

 

I am going to get rid of the image slider on the first page, it just annoys me. I think I will make a dedicated gallery page and just have one image on each of the pages and then if people want to see more they can go to the gallery. I am one of those people in the minority who doesn't like to be distracted by pictures or videos, I just want to read text and then look at pics or a video when I choose to. I'm sure I can find a way to get it in without being too busy.

 

I've decided to have a links page of sorts. I am truly doing it to help people out and not just trying to have links for the sake of links. I spend hours talking to people about what gear to buy to get started in Schutzhund (the dog sport we promote around here) and am constantly emailing people links and descriptions of the gear, whether to get leather or biothane, blah blah blah. I have a list of books they should get and a list of where to find clubs and competitions in our region. I have spent a lot of time compiling this info and think it would be great to be able to steer people to the website to get it all.

 

So for those of you who are in the know, is it a bad idea to group these "miscellaneous" pages under the Home page? I plan to have a Gallery page, a links page and an Articles page (for my husband to post training articles).

 

Thanks all again, I'm loving these forums so far. I spent a couple of hours last night reading and have learned much already :D.

 

Annette

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Thanks all for the help. I may have made things a bit more difficult as I went to the WP forums to ask some questions and had to switch my theme to another one to show how it was messing up. I will switch the theme back later today to what I plan to use (assuming I don't just start completely over with Joomla or something :)). The actual theme I'm using has a much smaller logo and allowed me to change fonts to a more legible type.

 

I am going to get rid of the image slider on the first page, it just annoys me. I think I will make a dedicated gallery page and just have one image on each of the pages and then if people want to see more they can go to the gallery. I am one of those people in the minority who doesn't like to be distracted by pictures or videos, I just want to read text and then look at pics or a video when I choose to. I'm sure I can find a way to get it in without being too busy.

 

I've decided to have a links page of sorts. I am truly doing it to help people out and not just trying to have links for the sake of links. I spend hours talking to people about what gear to buy to get started in Schutzhund (the dog sport we promote around here) and am constantly emailing people links and descriptions of the gear, whether to get leather or biothane, blah blah blah. I have a list of books they should get and a list of where to find clubs and competitions in our region. I have spent a lot of time compiling this info and think it would be great to be able to steer people to the website to get it all.

 

So for those of you who are in the know, is it a bad idea to group these "miscellaneous" pages under the Home page? I plan to have a Gallery page, a links page and an Articles page (for my husband to post training articles).

 

Thanks all again, I'm loving these forums so far. I spent a couple of hours last night reading and have learned much already :D.

 

Annette

 

Some other things to consider is that your body content (Images and Text.), need not stretch across the whole page. Infact likely they should not. You want your body text to be visible when the page loads, at the moment you have a rather large image dominating the bottem of the page when it first loads. A better idea would be to make that image smaller and put the small blurb beside it. My personal preferance is to keep images to the right and text to the left unless the image it's self is the focus of the text. If your theme provides column shortcodes you may even consider using them to divide the body in three and have the blurb, list and image side by side. Whatever looks best to you and is most comfortable to read. An added benefit of placing the text beside the image at the top of the page is that it shortens the line length, puts your text across more lines and makes it look more substantial. I would say that a good rule of thumb is that your body text to be clearly visible on a 15 inch laptop (As this seems to be the most common screen size purchased.), though need not fit entirely on the screen. You never want to visitor to have to scroll down to view the body text of your page.

 

I would still suggest that you keep in mind the size and proportion of images you want to display on your website. Cropping for size, proportion and content will make your pages look more organzided than having images of random sizes and proportions. You never want to add images directly from your digital camera, you want to at the very minimum check the resolution (ppi) of the images you are putting on your website and make sure they are 72 ppi. I just want to enphisize this as it's actually very important.

 

As for the links, you may also want to consider working them into related pages on your site, perhaps as a footnote on the page rather than simply having a miscellanious page for them. I like to have these outbound links open in a new tab or browser window when ever possible. That allows visitors to access content on these external pages without actually leaving your website and can return simply by closing the window or tab. If you really want a seperate page for external links, you can do that.

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Yes I agree, that theme definately seems to be handling mobile formatting badly. :| None the less, I think with that you have a fairly good start to work from. You may have to try other themes till things not only look right but work right as well. Though I have a feeling the current theme may be a responsive design, if you do decide to try other themes make sure they are responsive themes, they should format more neatly to just about any mobile device. Otherwise if you use a theme that is not responsive there are a few plugins that will alow mobile devices to access the site in a mobile format.

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Yes, it is responsive.

I do like the suggestion you made and like how it turned out so will continue on that path. I have a separate website dedicated to a QR code so will have that one more like the original since it was much easier to read on my phone. I will make the "main" with more columns (although I must be odd since columns make me crazy, I am a REALLY fast reader and the column layout is too time consuming whereas a wide layout is much easier for me to read).

Annette

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I still don't like what I see. I want to insert, so, that 'like' is a very subjective thing, however, let me tell you why I don't like this:

 

Your header section is entirely too large while empty. The space next to the logo is totally wasted, and after that, you're using approximately another third of the monitor real estate as I see it for navigation menu, breadcrumbs (this is a pretty small site - breadcrumbs may be overkill) and then another line with a large amount of space around it for your page title.

 

The actual information - what's in the left column, is a bit hard to read. Increase your line height so the lines don't squash up against each other. What's actually important and should be quite an eye catcher - your bullets - is in too small a font and kind of gets lost and overpowered by the large font to the left and the pictures to the right.

 

If I were looking for a dog park, those bullets would be the number 1 info I'd want. The detail about the park is good, but secondary. In other words, when I'm looking for any kind of service, I first need to know what you can do for me and if you can do for me what I need done. If that's the case, then I want to know who you are. If you don't offer what I want/need, who you are is totally irrelevant.

 

What I would do to streamline the look:

 

Cut the logo up - keep the howling wolf on one side but put the name next to it, spread out ofter the width of your header, thus creating an entire banner with information that only takes up the space it needs. Then put your navigation directly under it, drop the breadcrumbs and drastically reduce the white space around your page title. And talking about page title, 'Training', 'Daycare & Boarding", and such may be worthy page titles, but 'Home' really isn't.

This way, your header with navigation would take up approx 2 or os inches of real estate, and the actual message of your page would be right towards the middle of the monitor, where one's eyes are drawn to.

 

As to your comment about columns --- depends on how you use them. Usually on a website, each column contains a different kind of information - as you have on your site right now. That I find easy to read and I get to pick which part I want to focus on first. But if we're talking columns as in a newspaper, where you get to the bottom of one and then have to get to the top of the next to continue reading - for a monitor I find that absolutely clumsy and I thoroughly dislike that kind of reading.

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Andrea,

Thanks for the input. I agree with most of what you're saying (not saying I disagree with any of it, just that I don't understand everything in total :D).

I hate the white dead space to the right of the logo I just can't figure out what the rest of that area is called and how to use it. I will play with my logo today per your suggestions (actually the layout you suggested is how it is laid out on our tshirts so I have the layout pretty well done.)

 

I have no idea what breadcrumbs are in this context or how to change them, this is something I need to learn obviously :).

 

I am limited in font sized in this thing from what I can tell. You have about 8 options to choose from and that's it. The linespacing I totally agree with. That is a pet peeve of mine but I can't find anywhere to fix it, I've looked and looked. I guess I will have to give in and ask on the Elegant Themes forums (nice people but horrible at answering questions helpfully).

 

I've changed that page to 2 columms as 3 made it impossible to enlarge the bullet point section.

 

Also, you stated a Home listing on the menu wasn't useful, what do people call that then?

 

Annette

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I like the banner part much better now. This is what I was talking about.

 

The 'breadcrumbs' are:

 

Home >> Home 2

 

It's kind of a directory letting you know where in the page structure you are. It's helpful on complex sites, but probably not needed. You may be able to turn it off whereever it is you customize the theme.

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Gotcha on the breadcrumbs, I figured that's what you meant but wasn't sure.

I actually don't like those there either, especially since it doesn't show the whole thing, I just shows the main page and if you are in a sub page under one of them it isn't there so what's the point.

I will find it and figure it out. I also hate the redundancy. It shows home in the menu, then home in the breadcrumbs and then home again in the center banner thingy. It's my own site and it's even annoying me :D. Seriously, I think I know where I am!

 

Annette

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