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yea, I felt the force all right...

Fred comments on Beth's review of the Regal Reflections Model Agency
Beth was far too generous with her comments. This site needs to re-think its mission, and its service to the audience!

"Splash" ???
Second "Splash" ???
Regal 1
Arrival at last ???
Regal 1
Comments by: Fred Showker, Editor
Sorry Beth, but I just have to barge in here and get a little more tough on this site. You were too "nice" while making your excellent observations. I feel however you missed an essential, fundamental rant...
Who is this site actually for?
My first question is always "who is this site designed for?"
      The author has already stated the "dual" purpose of the site -- but is that the right way to procede? Obviously, when arriving at this site I get the overwhelming impression the designer was designing for himself and no one else! It seems to be a blind exercise in self-gratification.
What are we selling?
Hitting the first "splash" screen, I'm immediately greeted with this rotating graphic device, which is actually pretty cool! It sets the stage as a high-energy, hard edged "engineering" style site that would probably appeal to me. My excitement is perked -- well, sort of, until I see there's only been 195 visitors to the site. Hmmmmm. Perhaps we should drop the counter? (Which also happens to be very much out of character with the rotating thingy.
      Then there's this repeating text animation urging me to Feel The Force, Feel The Force, Feel The Force, Feel The Force, ...
Feeling the force?
The only force I felt when I clicked to "enter" was a jolt in visual shock. Hey, did I accidentally click to another totally different site?
      I arrive in a beautifully orchestrated Photoshop screen (a single graphic!) which is wonderful, but didn't fit the screen. Oooops! Well, I could always scroll to the right to see the few inches denied upon arrival.
      The reflections in the water, the images, the color -- all had the effect of setting the stage once again! Now I could get down to checking out these models.
False sense of security
I clicked to see the portfolios. Nothing happened. I click to see "Image Editing" (obviously this site will have lots of great Photoshop stuff!) Nothing happened. Well, maybe he wants us to click "Events" to get started -- click -- nothing. This page seems to be a single, dead graphic. Oh, let's scroll down.
      You guessed it. Scrolling down reveals yet another "Enter" button. I've been stalled again! Another splash screen.
Admission denied
So I click -- and to my shock the wonderful images are gone. Even the menu is gone. I'm greeted by yet a THIRD arrival screen. This one not fitting the screen either. This time with a third logo "RR" and a change in color (a different blue) and no pictures at all.
      The author here seems to be wanting to show me screens of over-styled Photoshop art. Aside from the jolting removal of any visual clue to content, we're greeted with a new logo, this time with two plastic-styled "R" letters, and other type "Egal Eflections" of near-unrecognizable noise set into the letters. Oh, I see a few eyes.
      Then with three differently styled buttons Home, Wedding, Portfolio. I wonder what happened to Image Processing, Portraits and Events. I took one more chance and clicked on Portfolio.
Satisfaction denied
Once again I'm greeted with another visual and contextural jolt. Now the color scheme changes 180-degrees, along with the overall layout which now becomes what looks like a canned photo gallery, auto-generated by some digital camera software. All the style is gone. All the anticipation is gone. All the readers are gone.
      Subsequent clicks result in more color shifts, and visual jolts. The photos are so large they creep down at a rate of about ten pixel-rows per second. I decide I really didn't want to look at any models today after all.
Take a cold, hard look at your site
The designer here needs to back up and take an overall view of this site, and ask some sober questions about why it's even being hosted.
  1. What is the product?
  2. Who is the prospective viewer?
  3. What's the most important thing the reader should do?
I seriously don't think these questions have been asked.
      The whole site seems to be wrapped in the author's own infatuation with image editing and Photoshop skills to the detriment of the content. If there actually is any content. It also seems to be recklessly designed-on-the-fly with no central theme, and no care or attention to any concerns of continuity or branding. These are all separate pages, all designed on different days -- picking and choosing styles and looks based on impulse rather than any kind of design scheme.
This site needs a mission
  • Is it to promote the models? Then where are they?
  • Is it to promote image editing skills?
  • Why are we here?
When Beth reviewed this site she was being charitable. She pointed out things that, oh yes, need attention. However, in reality the site needs to be scrapped. The very basic bedrock of this site needs to be reevaluated, redesigned and refitted with content and images that actually fulfill a mission.
      After the second splash screen there are going to be a lot of unsatisfied surfers. If they're coming in on a dial-up connection they'll never make it to the third splash screen. The images are huge, slow-loading and inflexible. From the very arrival, they didn't fit but the largest monitors at the highest resolution. My screens were from a 17-inch monitor at 1024. Think of how it will look on those millions of 15-inch monitors at 800 X 600! To a text browser there won't be anything here at all.
      Yes, this author has created some pretty swell graphic screens. But, no, this author is not designing for a mission -- but rather for an audience of one: himself. (Or herself, which ever.) It didn't need a review -- it's self indulging and self-fulfilling, without regard to the reader.
Have I been too tough?
Maybe so. However, I invite the Regal back for another review any time. Just make sure we have a reason to review. After all, web sites are for the visitors. Not the visited.
Thanks again to Beth Rogers, from Rogers Web Design for her review -- and for getting me started on this.
Posted: 10/29/2003

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