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Damashi Peer Review – Use Graphics Wisely

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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.

Atmosphere is so possible with martial arts material! One can use an eastern/oriental motif with small graphic elements that make the customer feel a part of that world. Using martial arts related clip art or graphics can also bring the feeling of the experience. The martial arts brings with it a sense of mystery, not just practical self defense. That sense of mystery and foreignness is one of the things that sell martial arts items. Too many sites have a heavy hand with these elements so the right balance is important.

Using Mals e-commerce is okay for this small a site but they would profit from a packaged ecommerce like the php open source Oscommerce. Having an automatically generated index page that features random products, new products, best sellers, search box, etc., creates excitement. It says, we’re selling, moving, shaking and you NEED to buy! After installation it would pay for itself in a reduced need for professional web designer and maintenance costs while allowing the site owner to add in new products at will or hold monthly specials or other types of sales easily.

Without a dynamic ecommerce solution, the problems abound. The titles are too large; using underlined links partnered with emphasis underlining is confusing. “author bio’s” should be “authors bios” or better yet, “about the authors”. Home page is featuring one item yet that item isn’t titled as the featured product. It looks almost like the site doesn’t sell anything else. The top menu with the product links uses a graphic that almost makes it look like books and videos are only titles of the sub categories below. There’s not enough visual separation between that graphic and the rest of the page. Having the titles either as buttons or text with a different color background all across the page would improve that. I personally would prefer a left-hand menu instead of the top menu. Maybe emphasize the oriental logo more in some way, pushing it to the left and maybe having it a bit larger and in a color instead of black.

Only one of the links opens a new window. Why only one I don’t know. The only time opening a new window is appropriate is for smaller sized windows and little information or for leaving the website.

No search for the site – a must have for ecommerce! Looking for products here is a chore. You have to hit links 2 times or more to get to product explanations. There’s no reason for this on such a tiny site. There’s too many products to put the info closer to the reader which means a search (search both product title, description, price, etc) is mandatory.

Product pages – graphics are unnecessarily large. Those book covers are not that important for heaven’s sake. At screen resolution of 800 x 600, I have to scroll way down the page to read the description. I design for that resolution. Too many of us can’t/won’t do the higher resolution because we can’t read those tiny letters on most sites. Everything is too large for that resolution.

Call me old fashioned but using a table to contain and control your pages is still a great tool. Put that stuff inside a simple table and set the size to either 90% or so or a pixel length that fits inside the 800 x 600. Creates automatic borders, keeps the information from spreading out to infinity at higher resolutions, and so on.

Bottom menu – too large, needs to be smaller font, flip the pyramid – place the links all the way across the page and continue on next line if they don’t fit.

Check for misspellings. I didn’t check all the pages. But I saw several on just a few pages.

- Delia
Delia’s Design

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 – Use Graphics Wisely
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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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