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  1. Imagination = Limitation
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    http://www.cwfashions.com


    Let me know what you think can be done to improve this website: cwfashions.com

    Key areas I would like feedback on are: navigation, accessibility, content, SEO related things and anything else you can think of. Thank you.
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    In short the website looks very good, I think you've hit the nail on the head with it. The side navigation is intuitive and easy to use, the links at the bottom are useful but discreet, and the whole site comes together very well. Its more useful to raise the few bad points but overall I like the site a lot.

    The one thing I would mention is that there a lot of good "Calls to Action" (the current buzzword of web designers it seems) - Ask a decorator, learn more, call today, which are very good at getting users proactively involved in the site which is a big tick from the usability point of view as it makes it easy for user cases to achieve their goals.

    General Design/Accessability Points from the Website:
    • I run a 1280x1024 resolution and statistics show that most people run 1024x786 square or 1280 widescreens and the site triggers a horizontal scroll bar at this resolution.
    • The scroll up-scroll down buttons - they fit the design perfectly and theres no problem with them working but I dont like them as I like to be able to scroll down. The issue is that scroll bars, even custom ones, often look tacky but personally I prefer to be able to scroll.
    • However from a accessablity perspective they do not naturally degrade and when you turn javascript off you cannot read the rest of the text.
    • On the same note, the sidebar popouts are done in Javascript and not CSS which means they also do not degrade and do not work when Javascript is off which means you cannot access any of the content on the sub menus (in addition to not being able to scroll down on the content you can access)
    • A more serious issue is that on all the sub pages (not on the home/index page) when you have javascript off the Learn More About box doesnt appear at all and there is a hole in the design.
    • The Ask A decorator has an under contruction label which looks very unprofessional (although as a designer I expect you have little control over this). A good compromise is to put something humerous here, have a look at some humerous 404 page galleries for inspiration.
    • The 404 page is very unhelpful as it is plain text and just saying check you typed it in wrong. Why not have it designed like the rest of the site and apologise for not findinf the page and suggest things they may like to read.
    • Also something you may not have control over is the email address at the bottom which is a free yahoo email which looks unprofessional. If they dont want to change it you could mask it by having a contact form instead.
    • On some pages - like the Top Treatments->Accents and Trims the window for the text is very small and although there isnt a lot of copy there it still is difficult/annoying to read when you have to scroll through it with the buttons.


    Specific Accessability and SEO points from the Code
    • You are missing a DOCTYPE from top of the page, you probably want HTML 4.02. This is important as it tells browers which version of HTML they are rendering.
    • You need H1-6 tags for headings as search engines look for these. You can use CSS image replacement techniques to replace them with images though
    • The META description is the same on every page, Google will penalise for this, you need a unique description (and many search engines use this as the snippit for search results)
    • Keywords are the same on every page, whilst you should include some general keywords on every page you want to page some pages more specific so people actually find what they are looking for in search engines. Additonally search engines will also look at page content and you want the keywords used in the titles, headings and text to match up with the keywords in the meta tags.
    • The titles are good and include a lot of keywords but you may want to put in some punctuation (- , : |) as sometimes it doesnt make a lot of sence as 2 sentences are run together.
    • In your ImageReady output you have left the comment in and more seriously you are using tables for layout. In semantic markup all positioning should be done though CSS as tables are for formatting tabular data. On one hand it may not display correctly and it will not be accessible to someone with a screen reader as it will think it is actual data content and read it out as a table.
    • You have not put ALT tags in the images, this is necessary for accessability and for search engines which look at these.
    • At a closer look you've used a lot of tables and spacer gifs elsewhere as well, as said about this is bad practice and is not how HTML should be written (that comes from the W3C which is headed by the guy who created HTML and the World Wide Web protocol). Saying this, if it works and you ignore the accessability and potential for future problems then theres no reason not to keep it as lots of sites run by major companies use tables and just code it so it works.
    • You should put Title tags into all your Anchors/Links for SEO and Accessability reasons.
    • I see a lot of your styling is done with inline CSS. Where possibile you should move this to an external style sheet as it makes it easier to edit, keeps the code cleaner and reduces the time it takes for a page to load.
    • You need a meta language tag
    • You should create a proper XML sitemap and submit it to Google Webmaster Tools


    If you want to debug your code thoroughly the W3C produce a Validator which will check the HTML for you - This site produces 100 errors and 40 warnings.

    I hope that helped, in short the design looks amazing and (providing you have javascript) works great. There are a large number of issues with the code behind the site but if you look at it from a standpoint of getting it to work with the majority of people then the biggest job is getting the SEO sorted out (Alt tags for images, title tags for links, H1-6 tags for titles, different description Meta tags, doctype, etc) and the rest can (probably) be safely ignored.

    Best of luck!

    Comments on this post

    • rikahs agrees : Excellent feedback!
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  5. Imagination = Limitation
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    Excellent Feedback Valleyman! Anyone else want to pipe in or has he covered most if not all the bases?
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    Moderation: Thread title updated to fit in with the rules.
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    I think it all looks good.

    wat?
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    Can't really add much. I will emphasise the point about the contact form. A mailto link not only looks unproffesional but exposes the email address to spammers and the like. If i remember correctly the figure for users that browse without javascript stands at anywhere between 1 - 10% depending on who you listen to. This renders the site inaccesible to 1-10% of users. Are you doing the coding yourself?? the easiest way to build content to 'fall back on' is via the <noscript> tag. I would look in to this if possible. Also the scroll bar on the menu iis a bit unconventional. I'm not saying its bad just that you should probalby stick to the beaten path with GUI elements etc.. it's all about usability and what is familliar to users. Love the look and feel... great original design.. The main problem is that it doesn't degrade gracefully.
    Out of interest I just submitted the site to browsershots.org . Will let you know how that goes.
    HTH
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    Seems to fare pretty well on the common platforms. I too am getting the horizontal scroll bar on my default xp machine which is not ideal. The heavy use of images where css could sometimes have been used leads to an overall size of 2.9 mb (for the homepage) which is quite alot... this could affect load times / hosting costs etc..
    Last edited by eddie21leeds; December 14th, 2009 at 09:40 AM.

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