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Bennie C. Taylor critiques Lori's first web page (Link gone dead)

Study first, develop next

... organize and provide direction

Not a bad start, but do learn HTML. It is very simple, free, and allows you almost total control over your work. Also learn about cascading style sheets (CSS); the ability to use them can ultimately save you hours of typing code. While you are studying the technical things, also look at other web sites that have content similar to yours. Observe the way experienced webmasters handle this sort of material.

First time creators tend to be a little disorganized and seem to prefer bright colors and a few gimmicks. But white or neutral backgrounds look more pleasing as a rule, and many of the special effects, popular a few years ago, are now out of date. (Leave off the counter - it is an amateur inclusion and serves no purpose.)

You could start with an introductory paragraph and tell something about the material you are featuring. Sometimes it is a good idea to be very specific and write something like, "here are the photos I took on my trip to ...." I may not be interested in your trip to Xanadu but very interested in your trip to the zoo.

Whatever graphics you show should relate to the subject of your site. Your center graphic is interesting, but it does not give a clue to its meaning. Your butterflies are very pretty, but they do not belong here because they do not tell us anything about your topics.

If vacation pictures are your main content - then perhaps you could put a sample photo on the home page and a link to the thumbnail page. Also, provide links to the movies rather than having them run automatically so that visitors have the option of viewing them or not. Sometimes movies are very slow to load. That is not good - you can lose your visitors before you have even begun to entertain them.

Some of your photos are very nice. But you should choose only the most representative ones to share. Exclude any that are blurred or close duplicates of others. Make your thumbnails a little larger and rotate them so that all are upright.

Thumbnails work like a table of contents. They need to be very clear so the visitor can choose those which are of interest. This appears to be a very exciting amusement park. I would love to read more about your impressions of the rides - which were the scariest - and why? Add some explanation and some captions.

Now that I have seen the vacation pictures I need directions back to the start page so that I can choose another link to click. People often automatically use the back arrow to return to the home page, but that is not the preferred method of navigation. Always keep in mind where you want your visitor to go next and show him how to get there effortlessly.
      * Ok, I found your next link.
      * But am I still on Lori's site?

There is nothing here to indicate that is the case. All pages of a well-organized web site should show the same or a very similar banner so that the visitor does not think he has wandered into another site. Your concert page includes some text - but it is too small to be read easily. Increase the font size, even up the photos, and place your link back to the home page where it will be easily found. I suppose the next link is the school you attend. But that is only a guess. If it is your school tell what grade you are in and something about yourself. We have learned you like to travel and take photos and want to make web sites. Are you also interested in sports, school activities, pets...

There are many fine books that will teach you the basics of creating web sites, and quite a few people learn without a teacher. But if you are serious about a career as a webmaster, plan to get some formal instruction in school. Are you most interested in design, marketing, programming; freelancers do some of each, but there are many areas of specialization.

Maybe Fred will give you a little more guidance about the training and credentials you will need to pursue a career in web design. Best of luck.


Fred Comments...


Bennie Taylor is a graphic designer specializing in Web Design at Mt. Cheaha Web Design, www.mcwebdesign.us.


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