Sandi’s Ts Site Review

    August 1, 2003

Sandi’s site ( is in trouble. Originally designed by a friend who unfortunately passed away soon afterward, Sandi’s site has neglected to bring in more than a handful of sales over the course of a few years. What can she do to improve her site? I asked you, the DevWebPro readers, and these are the ideas you offered.

Let’s Go Shopping!

Sandi : What’s in your store window today? Thinking through, a bit of research, and common sense will go a long way toward helping you sell more T’s. So, let’s go shopping.

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Use Real Estate Wisely

A user’s first impression of a webpage is based on what’s visible in the first screen, which sounds self-evident but it’s amazing how often a designer overlooks the first screen. While the designer knows what else is waiting to be scrolled to, if what I see on that first screen isn’t inspiring, I’ll click “Back” rather than bother scrolling down. If I were looking to buy handcrafted items, I would want to see some samples of those items on the first screen. Sandi’s T’s site, while offering a very unique product, does not maximize the screen real estate on any of the site’s pages.

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Emphasize Business Aspect

I believe everything on a web site speaks for, or against, the product or service being sold. The Sandi’s T’s site (, in my opinion, suffers from a loss of credibility and some usability issues as well. The ICRA labeling appears in the header for each page that I checked, and if memory serves it should only be on the main page that was submitted to ICRA and rated.

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Understand Your Customers

Sandi’s T’s at
First ask:
–Who is the target customer?
–What do they need?
–What motivates them to buy?
–What makes them want to come back?
–What is the most important thing they need to do on each page of your site?
–What is your most popular set of products?

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Make It Easier To Order

Well where to start really, I’m afraid to say it but the home page looks very much like someone on Geocities who has just finished their first home page. It’s undesigned, has too many gizmos at the bottom, no graphical impact, no proper navigation. This leaves me very confused – is this a hobby or a business?

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Remove The Clutter

You have let the technolgy get in the way of the message, that is why you are not getting any sales. Until you get your message clear it is not important how technically accessible your site is, – no-one is going to bother checking the site out.

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The Local Angle

“hand crafted” and “Virginia” should be used in the title for this page. (Unique hand crafted T-Shirts and sweat shirts – Family designed clothing from Virginia) also in the description (Your Virginia based source for unique hand crafted T shirts and sweat shirts designed for the whole family.) The top of your page is missing keywords and heading tags that the search engines can pick up on.

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Better Product Photos

I have three suggestions that may encourage more sales activity on your Web site.

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Check Browser Compatibility

My immediate reaction was that there are way too many animated graphics and the site is MUCH too cutsie. – not at all professional looking. If I hadn’t been reviewing the site, I’d have left right then.

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Some Basic Suggestions

I have the following suggestions for Sandi:

1. put text navigation bar somewhere on the upper section of the page, it can be to the left, right or center. Start with your products by categories, just like they are listed on the images.

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Avoid Scrolling

Like many, I have a screen resolution of XGA (1024 x 768). Without scrolling I can not see what you are offering. Normally I would skip the text block above the picures. Generally make a design that avoids scroll bars. For example the shirt background color selection is aligned vertically and I must use the scroll bars. Tile the image into two stacks.

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Tweak Graphics, Navigation

First impression – I like the site. It’s “perky”, pleasant and has a lot of information about the products.

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META Tag Tips

The unified color pattern is good, but the overall look is simple and late ’90’s look. It doesn’t have the look of a site I can get excited about enough to purchase at.

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Look More Business-like

Sandy’s website looks like the web page my grandmother put together 4 years ago. Everything is centered down the middle of the page, the background color shows on my monitor as annoying-light-yellow-or-tan, and all of the text seems to be basic Paragraph text with a default font.

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Too Busy

What busy pages!!! SandiT’s site (once I got past the first screen view) had loads to see on it. I also love T’s so “I’ll be back”… The biggest thing I saw about the site is that it is unclear whether it is a commercial or personal site. I couldn’t decide if the point was to buy something or vote for the site. I recommend that those personal site attributes be put on a linked site.

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Short Comments

Some say it in a page, others say it in a few sentences. Here are the short comments from readers who reviewed the site

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