Damashi Peer Review Results

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Find out what readers had to say about the Damashi in this DevWebPro peer review. Read the reviews and pick up some tips for your own site – you may be making some of the same errors!

Text Formatting Gone Crazy!
Nice website. Loads fast and you get a vague idea of what you stumbled onto. Sort of. You know they’re trying to sell you a book, and you have links and plenty of info on there to get you on the right path. (Does that sound too “Zen”?) Unfortunately, there are hinderances to the website that keep it from becoming one with itself. I’ve listed them as follows:

Spruce Up The Code
The first thing I do, is view the source file to see if good and proper Meta data is present. Brian appears to have done a good job of including this at the top of his file, making it search-engine friendly.

Better Use Of Links
The Damashi logo is such a nice piece of art that the quality of the image maps surprises me. And when they are simply text, why put them in an image map in the first place? It would seem to me that rather than have the funny boxes at the top (that you could put into a table and make them text links, and thus more prone to higher search engine placement), he could use art.

Lose The Hard Sell
My first impression when viewing the Damashi site is how “sales copy” it looks. I appreciate the need for good sales ad, but when I’m looking to purchase something online, I don’t need a hard sale.

Only Keep What’s Relevant
I always try to find a positive in every site…and I think DAMASHI has a good start with solid, to-the-point content and a interesting product concept. Here are my suggestions to improve this good site:

Make It Easier To Find Products
My first thought as I look up here is “Oh my gosh! How confusing!” At second look I CAN see where to go and find things but perhaps a separator from buttons and text using a pale color would be nice. The white background has got to go.

Improve Navigation
I decided to take a look at the Damashi website because I also have a martial arts site. I used the following criteria to evaluate the site:

Rethink Font Size
I found the Damashi Site to be a very “plain Jane” site, but the site structure is solid along with the order forms are clear and functional.

Many Positive Attributes But Needs A Facelift
1) The site is right away to plain. Plain can be good in moderation but in this case everything contrasts, it gives off a feeling of old and outdated…why trust it?

Lack Of Information Is Uncompelling
When I first entered the Damashi website, I was rather impressed with the clarity and simplicity of the home page. The links are in plain English, and self explanatory. It loaded fast, and though rather plain by some standards, is not unattractive.

Keep Visitors Coming Back
In this review we will address the utility of the site for e-commerce and not the design itself; recognizing however, that the two are not easily separated in practice. We will also focus principally on the opening page and the overall site concept.

Visual Design Problems
The biggest problems with the Damashi web site are visual. (And the fact that I couldn’t access the shopping cart due to 404 – Object Not Found errors.) The site contains a distinct market niche of which the owners are clearly experts. The products are logically organized, and combination specials are displayed when a user views either of the components. Normally I am not in favor of alphabetical listings of products, but in this case the listing is not overwhelmingly long enough to make a negative impact.

Give Visitors An Incentive To Buy
It’s a brave soul that puts their site up for a review and a smart one. In no particular order, I believe there are three main parts to a web site:

Make It Appealing To Customers
This site is not terrible, but it could certainly use some enhancements. The navigation is not intuitive and the content is not conveniently laid out. Trying to read it is difficult because of the different font sizes and colors.

Too Much Red!
On the first loading of the site what hits me is the abundant use of red and size of text. The page just jumps out and smacks my eyes. Ok this is a karate site but still.

Clean Up The Code
The image map definitely needs to go. Image maps are often nice, but more often they are problems.

Use Graphics Wisely
As an owner of 2 martial arts web sites and a web designer, I have spent a lot of time on the web looking at martial arts related sites. This site’s general look is rather amateurish and not atmosphere producing. It does not make me want to buy the products.

Develop A Theme And Stick With It
The site has an inconsistent and incomplete feel. Individual elements are attractive such as the ideogram and script at the top of the initial page. But the navigation links at the bottom of the page clash with their red and blue fonts. Moving forward to the shopping cart and the page scheme changes from a yellow theme to a pale green. There’s merit in having sections of the website that differ in function also differ slightly in color yet remain unified in design. This site didn’t apply that throughout all pages though. One expects a site related to Oriental subjects to display a sense of Zen. Develop the style of the initial page banner and apply it throughout the site. And use CSS to make it easier to maintain.

Needs Drama, Atmosphere
When one thinks about karate, he thinks of action, suspense, precision and that “oriental flavor” that is only evident in this art form. However, when I visited the website Damashi: Traditional Karate Videos and Books (www.damashi.com) I don’t get that action or “oriental flavor” that may draw me to the site to purchase videos about karate.

Provide Background Information
It’s a pretty good site; these comments are more about turning a good site into a great site, not correcting major flaws.

Stick With Link Color Conventions
The home page loaded quickly on a dial up connection – good. It is also good to have an example of what is on offer on the homepage. You are listed well on Google for “karate books” and “karate videos”. The initial impression is gaudy – very yellow, red and blue! The discount videos page almost hurts the eyes.

Careful With That Spelling!
I had a look at the Damashi site and, to tell the truth, I found it tacky, uninviting, and less than informative about what is actually on the site. Even a banner saying ‘Book of the Month’ above the tome shown on the home page would give a clue that more treasures lie within.

Short Comments
Because while all comments aren’t long, they are all potentially useful.

Peer reviewers volunteer their time and effort to help other site owners with their websites. Please take time to visit this reviewer’s site and say that you think what they’re doing is valuable to the web business community. If you’d like your site reviewed, send an email to editors@ientry.com.

Damashi Peer Review Results
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About DevWebPro Peer Reviewer
Peer reviewers volunteer their time and effort to help other site owners with their websites. Please take time to visit this reviewer's site and say that you think what they're doing is valuable to the web business community. If you'd like your site reviewed, send an email to editors@ientry.com. WebProNews Writer
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