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  1. Commie Mutant Traitor
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    Http://www.masterjoestoybox.com (repost, following changes to site)


    Warning: NSFW. This site sells sex toys. If you are under 18 years old, uncomfortable with 'adult' material, or are in a public venue, please do not visit the site.

    Master Joe's Toybox

    This is a commercial site I am working on for a relative of mine. It is a retailer of adult toys and novelties; i.e., sex toys such as vibrators. It's main focus is on BDSM/Fetish paraphernalia such as whips, handcuffs and the like, but the inventory seems to keep moving into new areas so it is hard to categorize it as specifically Fetish-oriented.

    The site is hosted on iPage, and written using hand-coded PHP. The generated code should be XHTML, but I have not been able to get any of the validators to test generated code, only the static code. The presentation is pure CSS, though some inline CSS is used.

    The previous posting about the site got no feedback, but I have recently made several significant changes to the site, with the new navigation sidebar and a change of color scheme (finally!) being the ones most people would see first. Less visible changes include correcting the code for Paypal IPNs - for a long period of time, order processing was silently failing without our knowledge - and adding a proper logout function. I have also been busy filling in of most of the missing product images and descriptions, though a few still remain (and many of the descriptions are, shall we say, a bit over the top).

    Among the things I would like to have feedback on are the new color scheme, on site navigation, and on how the registration and login/logout features are working. I would also like to know whether the product descriptions are suitably descriptive and if they would incline someone to buy the products were they shopping for them. Reports of any faults, bugs or omissions would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Schol-R-LEA; February 8th, 2011 at 05:48 PM.
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    FOR SALE: One ShapeSystem 2300 CMD, extensively modified for human use. Includes s/w for anthro, transgender, sex-appeal enhance, & Gillian Anderson and Jason D. Poit clone forms. Some wear. $4500 obo. tverres@et.ins.gov
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    You only need to test the outputted xhtml!

    Also, without being funny.. I would be amazed if anybody bought anything from that site. It just looks too dated and amateur. If you are serious you should maybe hire someone. I am a web dev student and i could do you a keen price if you go down that route! (see my sig for a basic e-commerce site that i did and help to run)

    There is just too much wrong with that site to comment.

    No offence and kudos for trying.. but look at your site compared to others in the same market.... It just doesnt look trust worthy.
    Bling Boutique - The Custom Bling Label
    T-shirts / Hoodies customised with laser cut glitter media and rhinestone gems. Your design or ours. Good for events / promotions that need a bit of glamour! The highest quality products used. UK based will ship to US.
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    One good thing, and perhaps the only good thing, I can say about the site is that it doesn't use tables for layout. Other than that, this is a classic example of unsuccessful web design. There's an utter lack of a color theme or continuity, you have a splash page (autofail,) and the layout looks like it was done in Frontpage. This is a website critique forum, not a proof of concept forum.

    If you must go this alone, buy a template. Else, find someone to do it for you.
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    It's been some time since I posted this, and I hadn't had an opportunity to respond to the earlier posters.

    Thank you for your honest appraisal of the site; it confirms all of my worst fears about the design. While I have worked in web development for many years, I am primarily a back-end developer, not a designer, and I had to do this in my free time. It hardly excuses this design (which has been described as 'typical of 1998 web pages', both regarding the layout and the in the fact that I coded it manually in PHP without recourse to a framework or even a decent IDE), but it does at least explain it I hope.

    Unfortunately, the price of design (i.e., free) is non-negotiable; my father wishes to spend as little as possible on this, and has already rejected my recommendation to pay a competent designer for a better design. I had always intended that this (or rather, the even worse previous version) be a temporary design until I had the time to work out which set of design tools I wanted to use. Unfortunately, things got out of hand, and I have been largely stuck with my own poor design choices, doing what I can to refine it but still being aware that it isn't very good at all.

    This brings up the question of why I bothered to post this site here in the first place; the answer is that, as I said, I am not a designer, and I figured I needed all of the feedback I could get. Clearly, things were even worse than I thought.

    The splash page is also non-negotiable; because it is an adult-themed site, there has to be an opt-in page of some sort. See sites such as sextoyclub.com or youporn.com for comparison. Personally, I think that it is a waste of time for this particular site, as there aren't any particularly offensive images on the main catalog page, but apparently this is de rigeur for sites such as this one.

    The color scheme is pretty bad, I will admit, but it is better than the red-on-black version that preceded it (the source of the 1998 comment). I chose the colors more less out of expedience, using those I already had in my styles, and just about everyone has complained about them. I know I need to choose a better palette, but given that I may be redesigning the whole site (in light of the harsh but well deserved criticism) I am inclined to wait on it.

    It hardly matters in any case; the site has gotten no traffic to speak of after a year online, and I can't even blame the site design alone for that. I appear to be as bad at SEO as I am at layout.
    Last edited by Schol-R-LEA; March 8th, 2011 at 02:20 PM.
    Rev First Speaker Schol-R-LEA;2 JAM LCF ELF KoR KCO BiWM TGIF
    #define KINSEY (rand() % 7) λ Scheme is the Red Pill
    Scheme in Short Understanding the C/C++ Preprocessor
    Taming Python A Highly Opinionated Review of Programming Languages for the Novice, v1.1

    FOR SALE: One ShapeSystem 2300 CMD, extensively modified for human use. Includes s/w for anthro, transgender, sex-appeal enhance, & Gillian Anderson and Jason D. Poit clone forms. Some wear. $4500 obo. tverres@et.ins.gov
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    Hey, at least your page validates. This is the one thing I like about back-end guys: the markup they write has a tendency to be valid because they are sticklers to documentation and doing things right.

    Seeing as you're doing this free and in your own time, I'll just recommend these quick fixes that will make your design at least a bit better:
    • Find a colour palette on a site like colourlovers.com. The colours on your site do not suggest eroticism in the least. The site needs some light red.
    • Remove the fixed header and footer. Let them naturally flow with the content.
    • Avoid placing text so close a browser's chrome. In other words, the left navigation menu links are too close to the left edge of the browser, and the header and footer text is too close to their respective browser edges.
    • Consider looking at some CSS frameworks, which will take care of most design rules for you. In this way leaving you with the simple task of writing the markup.
    Last edited by f_nietzsche; March 8th, 2011 at 03:59 PM.
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    Kudos for your tough skin. Many would either try desperately to defend the work or simply run.

    There surely are free resources out there to help you along. What you design doesn't have to be 'original,' or, 'cutting-edge,' but should be successful and attractive. There are plenty of example of successful, attractive design.

    As for the SEO, can't be of much help there. Most SEO is done by paid-for programs and by pros.

    Good luck to you.
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    At the risk of sounding like a marketer, there IS a place you can go for help with the SEO if you want to learn it yourself. It's a sister site, the forums over on SEO Chat. forums.seochat.com
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    Oh, well, so much for fixing the color scheme; my father happened to see the site as I was in the middle of changing from one color set to another, and decided that the rather bizarre color combination that resulted was 'just right'. Personally, it makes my eyes hurt, but he's the one who pays the bills...

    And besides, the color scheme is just one of many problems the site has.
    Last edited by Schol-R-LEA; March 9th, 2011 at 03:40 PM.
    Rev First Speaker Schol-R-LEA;2 JAM LCF ELF KoR KCO BiWM TGIF
    #define KINSEY (rand() % 7) λ Scheme is the Red Pill
    Scheme in Short Understanding the C/C++ Preprocessor
    Taming Python A Highly Opinionated Review of Programming Languages for the Novice, v1.1

    FOR SALE: One ShapeSystem 2300 CMD, extensively modified for human use. Includes s/w for anthro, transgender, sex-appeal enhance, & Gillian Anderson and Jason D. Poit clone forms. Some wear. $4500 obo. tverres@et.ins.gov
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    I'm probably not the only one thinking this, but how are his online sales?
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    From this website? Nonexistent. Most of his effort is put into eBay sales and working the party circuit, but he wants the website in case his party customers want to get something from him. He wants to expand into a regular sales site, but so far, there's been no activity to speak of. I suspect it isn't even the design that's driving people away - though I fear it might - so much as that people aren't going to it in the first place.
    Rev First Speaker Schol-R-LEA;2 JAM LCF ELF KoR KCO BiWM TGIF
    #define KINSEY (rand() % 7) λ Scheme is the Red Pill
    Scheme in Short Understanding the C/C++ Preprocessor
    Taming Python A Highly Opinionated Review of Programming Languages for the Novice, v1.1

    FOR SALE: One ShapeSystem 2300 CMD, extensively modified for human use. Includes s/w for anthro, transgender, sex-appeal enhance, & Gillian Anderson and Jason D. Poit clone forms. Some wear. $4500 obo. tverres@et.ins.gov
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    To be honest, I didn't go past the homepage. It sort of looks like the cyber equavilent of a seedy basement. The fonts don't lend a professional feel. It gives the impression of something that was thrown together and then ignored.

    If you are serious about e commerce you'll need to put some work into your home page at least. I understand you don't want to show products on your homepage but you can have some type of an image, texture or logo to draw your customer further into your site. Something generic (draped fabric, a repeating pattern, fire....) but visually interesting.

    Good luck.
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    I pretty much agree with what everyone else is saying about your site...you need to fix the color scheme and maybe work on the layout a little. Otherwise it isn't really quite as bad as people are saying it is. And for getting traffic to your site, have you submitted to search engines or tried link exchanges? Of course there is also paid advertising.

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