Applied Art for the Web – “Photography – How the composition and criticism of photographs relates to the design and criticism of websites”

 Applied Art  Comments Off on Applied Art for the Web – “Photography – How the composition and criticism of photographs relates to the design and criticism of websites”
Dec 292010
 

Link to this essay submission is as follows

http://www.webdesignstuff.co.uk/work/kc005/artcritessay/

This essay is offered as  a blog style entry as stated in the Applied Art Project Work brief

Please feel free to comment regards Casey

 Posted by at 11:34 am
Dec 152010
 

Original website

http://www.bicycledoctor.co.uk/

Google PageRank:  4

Alexa traffic Rank: 1,809,062 within 3 months

Demographic: mainly male age between 25 to 34

Site Linking in: 76

“The site has a bounce rate of roughly 63% (i.e., 63% of visits consist of only one page view). The site can be found in the “England” category. The fraction of visits to the site referred by search engines is roughly 41%. Bicycledoctor.co.uk is based in the UK.” Reference from Alexa.com

Source: http://www.popuri.us/ and http://www.alexa.com/

Problem the current website

I think the current website of Bicycle Doctor looks very unprofessional and poorly design. The dark blue background colour with dark text makes the font difficult to read, as the font does not look standout on the website. The site also contains lots of information on the home page and the layout is unorganised without using grids. All the navigation bars contain all in left hand side column, which has very long list of links.

The overall web page design has bad first impression to the target users because mainly the use of colour and the layout. Therefore, this site might not bring more people to re-visit the site, which could affect the SEO result as well as the reputation of the business.

Purpose of new design website

These are the following aims to redesign this website:

  1. To improve the visual and appearance of the website in professional standard. The site should look more modern and contemporary style.
  2. To choose the right colours scheme that is direct to business banding. The site should looks more eye catching to the target users, who are between 25 to 34 years of age.
  3. The navigation bar should be well structure. In order to make the site easier to navigate is by dividing all the products links into one navigation bar and other links in primary navigation bar. Therefore, the users can find the product the product they want more easily.
  4. To include images as a slideshow on the home page, so that it will target direct to both male and female consumers. Moreover, it contains images that will give the right impression to the users of what kind of product and service they offered.
  5. To make improve user experience for using the new website.

New design Mock-up for Bicycle doctor LTD

http://www.webdesignstuff.co.uk/work/ta006/project-2/

Five main decision design techniques

  • Colours – The colour of site are mainly user light blue, white and dark grey. As, it look attractive and clear.  It also makes the images and text font looks more standout on the web page. The background of the site is mainly dark grey with some gradient effect. The font are mainly white colour and light blue header.  These make the text looks more readable and also look presentable.
  • Images – There are four images on the slideshow that show the business’s target consumers and the repair service they provide. The slideshow also aim to grab user’s attention to the site, which could make them to find out more about the site.
  • Navigation – There links of navigation bar on this site, which allows the user’s to find out more about the business, news, blog and others. As, the company main purpose is to sell the bicycle. Therefore, I created a product navigation bar below, which displays all list of different kind of bike categories. This allows the users to easily view the company’s products on the site.
  • Font – The website mainly used the font called “Century Gothic” as it is easy to read and it also looks suitable with overall design of the site. The typography of the logo aims to look not too formal but do also suit with design concept of the site.
  • Layout – The site contain simple two column layout. The right hand side column contains main content and left hand site column contain addition content of the site.

Findability SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

In order to improve the SEO for bicycle doctor website, the site will include title, description and keyword Meta tags on every page. There will be the descriptive filename folder on every page. Every product’s images and other images will include “alt” with products names, so that if the user search for specific product. Therefore, the product page could have more chance to appear on the Google search list.  The site also include social media such as facebook and twitter, so that the user can keep up to date with news product and other new information about the company, which could bring increase more traffic to the site.

 Posted by at 11:59 pm

Old computers: site analysis and redesign

 Coursework  Comments Off on Old computers: site analysis and redesign
Dec 152010
 

For this project I decided to redesign www.oldcomputers.net. You can see the designs at:

www.webdesignstuff.co.uk/work/jt008/projects/old-computers/

www.webdesignstuff.co.uk/work/jt008/projects/old-computers/sub-page.php

Site analysis

This site does well in the search rankings. It’s the third result in Google when searching for ‘old computers’, and the first two are different pages on the same site – www.old-computers.com. I think this is respectable. www.old-computers.com is a much bigger site with a much wider remit. www.oldcomputers.net by contrast is a personal website, focused on a private collection. The Alexa site ranking of www.old-computers.com is 179,030 compared to 295,526 www.oldcomputers.net. Given this I think it would be difficult to overhaul www.oldcomputers.com without vastly expanding the scope of the website, which I don’t think is appropriate.

It also performs well searching for specific machines. It’s the second result (below Wikipedia) for Apple Newton and the third result for Altair 8800. It fares less well for some of the better known models – the Commodore 64 for example has many websites devoted to it – but it still gets a reasonable amount of traffic from them.

Continue reading »

yumyum.com – Site traffic and analysis report

 YumYum Free Recipes - Redesign  Comments Off on yumyum.com – Site traffic and analysis report
Dec 152010
 

YumYum.com is a free recipe and cooking website.

CubeStat reports that the site has daily pageviews of 3,492, with a website value of $7,647 from daily ad revenues of $10.48.   It should be noted, that when checking the site at Compete, monthly figures varied considerably – this is likely a seasonal variable skewed by U.S. Thanksgiving holidays and Christmas traffic.

For example, the monthly traffic was 72,336 for Nov 2009, reaching 92,065 in December 2009.  This fell sharply to 59,108 in January 2010, and since then site traffic averaged out at around 40k visits per month.

Alexa provides a further breakdown of information, including Alexa proprietary traffic ranking figure that places the YumYum website in the top 1% of all websites.   Key site traffic data that it does provide is a bounce rate figure of 90.2% – with a 3 month rolling average of 84.9%.  That’s quite a high figure, and the goal of redesigning the site will be to take this high bounce rate into account.

Alexa does provide some important demographic information in that the site is heavily skewed toward a female demographic.

The site has been around since 1996, and it would seem from examining the page very little appears to have been done to it.  Whilst it’s arguable that a recipe site needs only ingredients, I would argue that the huge bounce rate is due to the fact that in comparison to numerous media rich sites out there, this site is sorely lacking images.   Other recipe sites are full of images, enticing and informing their visitors of what content is available and what recipes they can cook.

Whilst there may be certain reasons for not wanting images on every single page of a site with 20,000 recipes, I would argue that there would be definite benefit to having a fairly comprehensive image section on the front page – this because this is the keyhole to the remainder of the site, and thus will be essential in driving down that high bounce rate figure.

The redesign will therefore focus on keeping things relatively simple from a navigation standpoint, but on the front page ensuring that there are suitable image/photographic markers of content to entice readers to enter the site further to see/use the thousands of other recipes on offer.

The final site design can be viewed here.

As can be noted, an image-based menu was selected to entice readers with visual photo representations of the main images requested.  The orginal theme was to be based around a clean, minimal, steel-themed (for stainless steel in a kitchen) with a tile-based (kitchen tiles) theme.  I pared back on using more tiles and decided to focus on a gallery which highlighted the section image in larger image in the middle of the image-map.

 Posted by at 8:23 am

Project Website Makeover | Biscuit-Recipes.co.uk

 Designs  Comments Off on Project Website Makeover | Biscuit-Recipes.co.uk
Dec 152010
 

For project number two we are to redesign an existing website and report back to the client on aspects such as visual design and findability. You may find a working site of the redesign here.

I have chosen to redesign Biscuit-Recipes.co.uk.

Analysis of existing design and redesign suggestions

I believe a change of design is required for Biscuit Recipes, I will analyse the current design and my redesign suggestions as follows:

Branding

Their branding has quite a strong impact and has a ‘cookie-cutter-type-kitchen’ feel which has a relation to the site as a recipe index. However I felt that it isn’t integrated well with the rest of the site and so looks quite out of place. It is quite in-your-face and is the first element of the page that stands out.

Having researched a lot of recipe indexes (for my thesis project) I have found that many of them place more emphasis on images of their food as opposed to their branding. So site’s like BBC Good Food, Jamie Oliver, BBC Food, My Dish, All Recipes and many more actually have a very simplistic branding with heavy emphasis on imagery of recipes.

So in terms of my own design I have tried to reflect this and have created a simple branding with emphasis more on a fun and informal font face.

Search

I wasn’t too impressed with their search feature, that being just an A-Z table of the recipes. Again, having looked at many amateur recipe sites, there are many that replicate this technique where a page may consist of a large list of hyperlinks with no organisational emphasis.

I wanted to avoid this so decided to categorically alphabetise the list with emphasis on the alphabet and so the list would be more easier on the eye. Also I created a Javascript mouseover function for the list which would show the image of the recipe when you hover over the link.

Also in terms of search bars, many of the better recipe sites (mentioned above) place a large importance on them and in terms of design, ensure that they stand out amongst the page. Biscuit Recipes does not have a search bar function, so I think this is something lacking in their site. I have designed the search bar in my redesign to stand out.

Navigation
There navigation is quite small and the design of it has a steel-effect, replicating a profressional kitchen or alternatively a futuristic effect. Whatever the interpretation, the metallic shine, I felt, made the site feel quite cold.

In my redesign, the thinking behind a colourful tab scheme was that I wanted to create a fun and informal feel.

Many of the recipe sites that are also community sites (Jamie Oliver, MyDish etc) have a blog feel to them with use of topical tabs. Also as the site seems to point to an establishment of a community, I wanted to drive towards this as well. So far from being just a recipe index site, it is one that encompasses a blog, forum, tips, shop etc.

At the moment, clearly, the existing site seems to be an empty shell, full of promises. I have kept the inclusion of all their links on the premise that once the redesign is live, they will keep each section of their site active.

Adverts

In the existing site, there are many adverts which take away from the content. For my redesign I wanted to place my adverts where rather than feeling as if you are being inundated by adverts, I wanted it to feel comfortable. At the moment, I have kept every link to have the same content, but on different pages the advert may change in content and position depending on the layout of the page.

Body Text

The body text is centrally justified in the existing site and makes it look as if it floating on the site. Also on their homepage they do not really have much information to introduce the site. I have reconciled this in my redesign.

Colour

Their colour scheme is blue and silver, but it seems quite bland as there is no variety. I wanted colour to be the most important thing on my site. So using colourlovers and a scheme called Surfroom2 I created the homepage of my design.

However in order to create famliarity with the brand I decided to change the wrapper-colour on every page yet still have it so the user knows they are on the same site.


I found that due to the use of a simplistic branding, this use of colour change worked quite effectively and would help to create familiarity in the branding.

Also in terms of familiarity and branding, I have included a very “quirks” such as the footer embelishment and the dashed border of the wrapper.

Analysis of findability

Statistics show that Biscuit Recipes have about 216 visits per day (statbrain.com) and has 9 SEO keywords, 4 of which are actually applicable as searches (the others are spelling errors). The keyword with the most search volume is ‘biscuit recipes’ followed by ‘chocolate chip biscuit recipe’, ‘cookie recipes uk’ and ‘afghan biscuit recipe’ (iespionage). In terms of meta keywords, I think the number of keywords here can be increased. It is questionable as to meta keywords effect in this day and age, but I think an increase in relevant key words would do no harm.

I will list my revisions of this site in terms of improvement of its SEO.

1) Excess code
I have reduced the amount of excess, irrelevant code from my HTML. This would be by using external stylesheets for Javascript and CSS. Also I have created my site in PHP so my files mainly contain content as opposed to code. This hopefully should reduce the time it takes for search engine spiders to find the content on the site.

2) Meta description
I have written a concise and more focused meta description:
“Biscuit recipes is an index site for biscuit and cookie recipes that come from all over the world. Join our biscuit community! For those that love delicious biscuits.”
Hopefully this will convince visitors to click on the site when viewed in search engine results pages.

3) Links
I have ensured all the links are actually anchor texts as opposed to graphical elements and so they can form part of the target SEO keywords.

4) Title tags
I have ensured my title tags have keywords in them so they are able to be searched for by search engines. They are under 60 words so they do not get cut off by Google

5) No underscores
Also ensured no use of underscores in my URLs as search engines are unable to search the site with them as they read the words as one long word as opposed to separate ones.

6) Robots.txt
I have created a robots.txt file with disallows those files that have no relevance to search engines. These include my includes folders and my Javascript files. This just makes sure my code is even more condensed and precise in terms of targeting content.

7) Sitemap.xml
Created sitemap.xml file which has been referred to in my robots.txt file to ensure that search engine spiders can get to it. Sitemap.xml ensures that search engines find and index pages that they may not have already.

8 ) Links to social media
I have also provided links to social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It is up to the client to take these on and start buliding links between these sites and their own.

9) Keyword research
I have researched keywords to include into my meta keywords tags and have increased the number of them. As I have mentioned, it is questionable as to whether this would improve the site’s SEO but it’s better there than not, and they are all relevant keywords so it does no harm.

10) Alt attributes
I have ensured that all alt attributes are accurate as search engines will look for these.

Conclusion

I believe that my redesign of the site alongside my work on search engine optimization have improved the site considerably. I have found that having a great design will be of no use if no one can find your site! So in terms of SEO, ensuring good coding standards (in relation to keywords and the conciseness of the code) is really important to make sure that the site is findable.

 Posted by at 12:53 am

Project 2 – Website Makeover

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Project 2 – Website Makeover
Dec 142010
 

Overview

I’ve started this task using some key words related to some of the websites given in order to know their position in Google. When searching for “biscuit recipes”, I’ve noticed that the position of “biscuit-recipe.co.uk” was very high. If you search for “biscuit recipes”, the website is the first result in Google, Bing, Yahoo! Search and Ask.com. However, although having a high SEO score, the number of visits per day is very low. As reported by Statbrain, the website has 216 visits per day, and according to Cubestat, there are 497 daily page views. Even with this variation between the sources, the number of visitors is very low considering the SEO score.

Domain Tools reports that the website’s SEO score is 85%, and Website Grader gives “biscuit-recipe.co.uk” a score of 83% in terms of marketing effectiveness. According to Website Grader, over 50 different variables are considered, such as engine data, website structure or site performance. ISpionage shows that based on monthly nationwide searches, the average search volume for “recipe” is 37.200.000, and for “biscuit” is 1.830.000. Based on these numbers alone, it’s possible to conclude that “biscuit-recipe.co.uk” has a very strong domain and a high position in all the important searching engines, the subject of the website is relevant and people are looking for that specific content on the web, however the traffic of the website is still very low.

Redesign

One first solution that could have immediate effect is the website’s presentation. The layout of “biscuit-recipe.co.uk” is very poor, unattractive and confused. Considering the numbers above, it’s likely that in a number of occasions some potential user has searched for “biscuit recipes” on Google, clicked in the first result, what happens quite often, and by the looking and confusing navigability of the “biscuit-recipe.co.uk”, just returned to the search and tried another one.

For the redesign, I tried to build a vintage style that would relate to old recipes books and, on top of that, I inserted some contemporary elements like the use of javascript or drop shadows for example. The list of biscuits, very confuse and out of place in the original was substituted by a drop down menu built using jQuery. The navigation is now simpler and more organized. Some items were eliminated such as A-Z Index which was a link that redirected the user to the home. The blog and forum weren’t active for a long time, so I felt they could be deleted. In case someone would be able to keep that blog alive with weekly or even monthly posts, the blog could return to the menu.

The ads were spread through the page in the original layout, and I thought a good solution would be a column on the right just for the ads (Google Ads and Amazon). CubeStat shows that the daily ads revenue in around $1.49. With a significant increase in the number of visitors, the profit could be a lot higher. One of the solutions to attract visitors besides the presentation would be a link exchange strategy, trying to insert some popular websites in the list available on the “cooking links” section and have “biscuit-recipes.co.uk” on some lists through the web. Statbrain shows that there are only 8 Google links for the website.

It’s important not just to attract visitors, but also to keep them coming back frequently, so some ideas could be implemented like “the biscuit of the week” when a picture of a biscuit made using one of the website’s recipes would be send by the user and published. Also, new recipes would be added every 2 weeks or so, and the new recipes would go straight to the slide container, changing the look of the front page frequently.  There is a link showing how the page would look like and a link for the JavaScript functions on my Coursework Website.

Statistics

1)    Statbrain

216 visits per day

8 Google Links

2)    Alexa

Based on internet averages, biscuit-recipes.co.uk is visited more frequently by females who are in the age range 25-34, are college educated and browse this site from home

– 4 sites linking in

–       Ranking #1,940,599

–       100.00% of the visitors coming from Google

3)    Domain Tools

Title Relevancy: 100%

Meta Description: Fantastic free biscuit recipes from around the world

Relevancy: 37% relevant.

Meta Keywords: cooking, recipes, food, biscuits, cookies, kids, children

Relevancy: 42% relevant

SEO Score: 85%

Terms: 230 (Unique: 145, Linked: 38)

Images: 15 (Alt tags missing: 10)

Wikipedia: 3 pages

Alexa Trend/Rank: #2,013,230: for the last three months.

Compete Rank: #5,096,656 with 28 U.S. visitors per month

4)    Website Grader

A website grade of 83/100 for www.biscuit-recipes.co.uk means that of the millions of websites that have previously been evaluated, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 83% of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness.

5)    Cubestat

Website Worth: $1,088.43

Daily Pageviews: 497

Daily Ads Revenue: $1.49

 Posted by at 8:56 pm

Redesign of Biscuit Resipes website

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Redesign of Biscuit Resipes website
Dec 142010
 

For this coursework I decided to redesign www.biscuit-recipes.co.uk
I notice many problems while navigating it, apart from its graphical inconsistencies and awfulness : )
I’ll go step by step describing the problems I’ve notice:

Header:
– the logo in the header is not clickable to bring the user back to home
– two links (banner and text-link) to the same page (bun-recipes.co.uk)
– the chosen layout wastes unnecessary space and pushes content below the fold
Online Shop:
– depends what the purpose of the site is, but the external shop has a higher priority as the recipes.
Footer:
– all links except for the feedback are broken.
– feedback form inconsistent to the feedback form in the main navigation
Home:
– not used properly to highlight content of the sub pages instead it is used as profane index page of all recipes.
– the recipes should be embedded in a subcategory “Recipes”.
– search functionality not working.
Cooking Links:
– I wouldn’t make this subcategory so prominent in the main navigation, otherwise you drive user away from your site (except all of these links guide the user to sister sites).
The Forum
– the forum is not embedded into the site.
The Blog
– the blog gets loaded into the same browser window and replaces the actual site.
– user looses the header and main navigation.
Contact us
– the form doesn’t confirm the successful transmission.
– cancel button is unnecessary, should be reset (btw on lick it reloads and replaces the whole page).
A-Z Index
– redundant since used as homepage.

My suggestion for the home page would be to use it to highlight content of the sub pages, show recipe of the week, highlights of the shop and latest blog entry.
I would rearrange the sitemap to:
Home – Recipes – Community – Online Shop – Contact us.

Create a submenu after clicking Communtity for The Forum and The Blog.
Cooking Tip and Cooking links I’ll place them in another place rather than the main navigation.

In term of look and feel I would use graphics that emulate a kitchen table with cooking ingredients on it.
Soft Color (baby colors) and a friendly font like Georgia.
For the title on the header I would suggest to use letters with cookies shapes.
Not to forget to keep ALL the advertising elements but to adapt them in harmony within the layout.

Here is the link to my proposal:
http://www.webdesignstuff.co.uk/work/sc031/biscuits/index.html

Also I like to mention that Based on internet averages, biscuit-recipes.co.uk is visited more frequently by females who are in the age range 25-34, are college educated and browse this site from home. This is the information that Alexa shows.
Statbrain shows that they get 216 visits per day.
The vision of themselves that they want to show to their audience is “Fantastic free biscuit recipes from around the world”.
And they would love to be found and to position themselves as a company and as a website with the current keywords: “cooking,recipes,food,biscuits,cookies,kids,children”

Site redesign – SEO at the forefront

 SEO  Comments Off on Site redesign – SEO at the forefront
Dec 142010
 

Bicycle Doctor – optimisation journey

The sketch start map for the redesign is shown below:

Redesign Bicycle Doctor

Redesign Bicycle Doctor

As I have progressed through the redesign I have considered SEO whenever possible. The first thing I did was take a snap shot of the current website to see how it was performing against several tools.

Statistics are as follows from  Domain Tools:

Overall SEO score = 86%

Website’s title 42% relevant to its content

The keywords relevancy = 51% – improvement to be made here

 Google Trends tool shows that only really bike has reasonable search volumes so more keywords with higher search volumes should be utilised

Website consists of 13  images, of which 1 is missing alt tag.

No inbound links are recorded -38   (Internal: 25, Outbound: 12)

Tool  Website Grader – gives following results The website www.bicycledoctor.co.uk ranks 96,054 of the 3,109,240 websites that have been ranked so far.

A website grade of 96/100 for www.bicycledoctor.co.uk means that of the millions of websites that have previously been evaluated, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 96%of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness. This is not a bad result the presence of blog was  noted and this was stated as a good SEO addition.

Alexa already provided data for previous post . Top search words = bicycle doctor(10.4%) and bike doctor (3.53% and bike frame size (2.95%)

http://www.popuri.us/ gave a google page rank =4

Notes on SEO:Actions that should be a priority:

  1. More inbound links
  2. Keywords from google tool google adwords to be added to content (See lists below)
  3. Twitter and Facebook social networking to be included
  4. Blog is present – ensure regular updates
  5. Reviews to be done on a weekly basis to add new content to front page
  6. Improve keywords in content – ensure good keywords by search volume are used

Google adwords top local monthly keywords :

manchester
shop
women
service
bike
parts
racing
mountain
cycle
bmx
trek
cycling
bicycle
folding
cooperative
moto
mountain bike
mt bike
motocross
specialized
shimano
triathlon
hybrid
stevens
racing games
felt

 Posted by at 7:04 pm

Dolls Hospital Redesign

 Projects  Comments Off on Dolls Hospital Redesign
Dec 122010
 

I redesigned a website for Dolls Hospital. My mock-up of the homepage is also available online.

Existing site

The current website looks dull and unprofessional. There is also lack of unity in the way links, images and paragraphs are displayed.
According to Domain Tools, website’s title For All Your Doll Needs! is only 50% relevant to its content. The keywords used are inappropriate, too. Their relevancy was scored with just 44%. When I check them using Google Trends tool, most of them don’t have enough search volume. Website consists of 40 images, of which 28 don’t have alt tag. Page Rank is 2/10 (Website Grader). Alexa doesn’t have any data regarding the traffic.

These results don’t help promoting Dolls Hospital website and achieving good SEO results .

Redesign

I decided to use warmer colours to give the website friendlier look. I think the website is now more consistent when it comes to styles applied to various elements.
I also changed the page title, which now is Dolls Hospital & Collectables | Recollect | Dolls & Toys Restoration. It suits better the purpose of showed business. I reduced the number of keywords and used only those ones which appeared in Google Trends results.
In my opinion adding social media profiles to a website helps promoting business, increases traffic and gets users involved in more areas. Email marketing could also be useful, that’s why I added an option to subscribe to a newsletter.
Websites are more often scanned by search engines and when their content is often updated. A good idea to keep inserting new articles could be running a small blog which would be part of the existing website.

 Posted by at 11:11 pm