25 Quick Thoughts On Site Design

    June 10, 2003

Quick Site Reviews Of Gaslamp.org by the WebProNews peers.

Here are the rest of the reviews — snippets, quick thoughts, gems of site design. Scroll through them and see if anything they say catches your eye. It might be time for you to redesign your site.

These WebProNews readers generously donated their time and effort to the improvement of a peer’s site. Please visit their sites as a way of saying thanks.

Here’s a link to Gaslamp.org, the site they reviewed: Gaslamp.org.

Just go to http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp and type in www.gaslamp.org and you will get a lot of information about what is not so good with the site.

Best Wishes,

I visited the site this afternoon. The site is definitely worth visiting for any would-be tourists visiting the area. I found it to be eye catching and easy to navigate. I especially like some of the unique icons and color coding used. I.e., the map and the color codes used for seeing what is where. One design that I especially liked was the placement of selected businesses on the right side of a page while retaining the optional selections on the left, for instance in the dinning section. I would really not change much. As a website manager myself, I realize that you can’t improve something if you receive no negative criticisms. Unfortunately, I simply have nothing bad to say. I guess hearing some positive feedback has some merit as well.

Nice Job!

Jim Erickson

Operations Manager

Check out our websites!
http://www.playandlearn2.com or http://www.yourtownmall.us

I really like the site. The only thing that confused me is that the home page is so different from the rest of the site. I think you should put the “GasLamp” logo on the home page. When I clicked one of the links from the home page I thought I was at a new site. Don’t get me wrong I love the home page it’s very clean, you just need some (I hate to say it) branding.

Just my opinion.


Reviewed your site and I thought it was very complete. I think this is a great site for people who are not familiar with the area. I live near there and I was still able to pick up information I didnt know.

Input on how to make an “impression the site makes on visitors” A thought: is to add the happy hours offered from each restaurants. People are going downtown to have a good time.

I would provide a page on where to park or how to get around…list of cabs or the bicycle cabs…basically providing its easy to get around.

I agree the hompage needs to balance with the other pages.

Kristin Gonzales

My impressions of gaslamp.org website–please bear in mind that these aren’t intended as criticisms, just trying to be helpful.

1-My overall impression was that I would be able to find a great deal of info on this site. I think the content itself is great, but the visual aspect could use a tweak here and there.

2-I was ‘annoyed’ by the color change on each page. The history and
location pages were more appealing.

3- BUT, I hate having to scroll sideways!(history page)

4-Navigation was easy, no problem “finding my way”..

I hope this is helpful.

Hello Garrett,

Here is some feedback on the website from a few of our designers:

The Home page and secondary pages don’t look anything alike. You almost think you linked off to another site from the home page. The top row of links on the secondary pages, are hard to see on roll-over. The rust color over the blue is hard to read. I like the cluster of links on the secondary pages for the Home, Contact Us, and Site Map links. A lot of information, seems to be organized well.

We are always looking for feedback on our website also. http://www.topfloortech.com Let me know the comments.

Jennifer Hall

The link at the bottom of the page http://www.gaslamp.org/prof-wyatt.php – directing to the Wyatt Earp Museum page isn’t working.

It took me about 5 seconds to leave after seeing the white print on black background.

There is a reason that no one ever tried this in print media & it does not work on websites either if you expect anyone to actually read the text.


Hi Garrett,

I believe it is better to have consistant design, what is the reason that front page is different from all the rest? I like the design of the pages, it looks like expensive restraunt, but the front page gives a feeling of jazz restraunt….

Also how do I list my own website for peer review?

Best Regards,
Sales Dept

I think it looks pretty good, and it is easy to find what you are looking for. As for the pages all looking the same, I don’t know. My own site has all pages the same, which is a feature my software provides. It takes a bit of effort to make them different, so I follow the path of least resistance. We see many of our customers face to face, so we get a bit of feedback from them, and they seem to like it the way it is.

On the front page there are links to the different areas of your site. The first time I hit one of them I thought that nothing happened, but after trying the other links I finally realized that the information was appearing just to the right of the link. Perhaps you need something a bit more dramatic to get the users attention, or perhaps another location would work better.

Outside of that it looks like you have accomplished your objective, and your site has a neat uncluttered look.

AL Kemp

Hi Garrett,

Any web pro who goes to my site, http://www.greenlightwrite.com, will scream, “Hire a graphic designer,” but my first impression of the gaslamp site was that I’d landed on a gateway page. It took me several long seconds to get reoriented, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Nancy Kamp

Loading the site up on my mobile device, in both the OEM browser, and a text only browser, it was a little complicated, once all the formatting had been removed to navigate. The bottom menu should be a little more prominate. The middle paragraphs in the index could include urls to the subject matter/ menu items?

Will Sims

The first thing I thought when I looked at the main page was that it was about New Orleans (I guess the jazz thing) but in no way did it do anything for me about San Diego.

The other pages are non-specific in design-very bland-needs pizzaz. Needs a consitent sharp logo on each page-the existing one is not very exciting.

The page I liked the most was the map page. BUt all in all I think the site needs color & excitement. It did not encourage me to visit the locale. San Diego is a neat area.

Judy Orcutt


I just reviewed the Gaslamp site and would just like to say that I hate reading a lot of reverse text. This is also one of the things that was pointed out to me in my college design courses: It is very hard to read white (reverse) text.

I will very seldom read much of a page like this; mostly because it is so hard on my eyes.

After leaving the home page I thought I was at a different site. I realize they know their site needs some cohesion to stick it all together. My advice would be to have the same top graphics on all of the pages. That always helps me to know what site I am at.

Anyway, there are a couple of quick observations that I made.

I love your newsletter.

Donna Evans
Brainerd, Minnesota

Didn’t bother to click through entire site… the black background with white text is user unfriendly, and if you want to print the page to share with a friend, the white text does not print. The table width format is great in that the entire page, left to right will print, but how unfortunate that the color choices limit this aspect. Whenever we travel, I am the researcher…I find things then print off what looks interesting to share with my husband so that he will not have to wade
through an entire site to find the points of interest to us. Time is a valuable commodity. And when traveling, we may not have access to a computer, so we print the information and tuck it in our travel bag to take along and plan after we get to our destination.



My name is Richard Leighton, I’m the head web developer for a company in Plymouth Indiana.

I love the website (after) the main page! The main page is way to dark. (I suggest losing the black background and goto either an orange which you are using through out your site or the green.)

I did not have very much time to search your site but what I did see I liked. Navigation looked easy! The main page.. you might just think about losing it all together.


Gift Certificates link should go to this URL – took 3 clicks to find https://chimera.safe-order.net/restaurantevents/order2.htm

Chris Miller

After a brief visit, I was very pleased that all went well with my preferred Opera browser, and although it’s not a site I would seek out for myself – it seems designed for locals or visitors – it does seem professional. It doesn’t lead you anywhere in particular from the front page, but the options available are well presented and the options when selected
are all jolly nice too.

If I had friends visiting California, I would recommend the web site to them.

Harvey Partridge

I love the new layout of the gaslamp.org site. However, someone may want to take a look at this URL: http://www.gaslamp.org/history.php

The History page, when viewed at 1024 x 768 blows it’s boundaries. The scroll bar goes out about another 250 to 300 pixels out of view. It’s even worse at 800 x 600.

I hold a majority view that the backgrounds need to be one standard color that is standard throughout the site. At times I felt like I left your site. I do like the uniformity to the header graphics with the logo. However, from the default page, you don’t have a clue of the logo…

All in all though, makes me want to go to San Diego…

Sharon Hemmerly

took too long to load…

i get REAL impatient if i have to wait to get the info i want…


one suggestion would be to make the directions map interactive. clicking on a one block would popup a window with enlarged view…popup would have to be sized & placed so that it does not block the overview diagram on originating page..that way if they change their mind they simply click. Mouseover of components gives “alt” description…clicking on component of popup brings up business at that location in separate popup

gord podolas

Opening page is beautiful, but a little bit puzzling what it’s all about (small print says its San Diego). The constantly changing picture is annoying.

Unfortunately from here the pages link to very average, very “frontpagish” style pages, each with their own (sometimes ugly) color scheme. These pages don’t have elegance and ambiance of the district or the opening page. The data they supply though seems to be very useful and extensive.

Paul Dunn

Black is hip for young people and night life too much black is off-putting. If it needs to be black, should be lightened with collage perhaps of famous places, neon lights, etc.

As an older tourist type who loves nightlife, I would still prefer a daytime sunny effect for the homepage, with the nightlife as a lesser attraction (for after, not instead of, the tourist stuff.)

Good luck,

Only place I saw that needed to get fixed was on http://www.gaslamp.org/dine.php

‘Sign up to receive special offers and our newsletter!’ The text feild cations are the same color as the background (White).

Hope this helps

Thank You,

Matthew Laise

1 suggestion I have for their site is in the history section. The page is very wide. Many people like to print web pages for reference. They should try a more vertical layout.

John Gierich

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