Fresh out the Dev Server: Please critique

NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
edited April 2007 in Website Critique
Hey SUNNIES,I just wanted to get your suggestions and opinions regarding this newly designed web site I just released for a customer today. The web site is a hybrid; meaning it`s static and Dynamic (uses a database).but also has static components just for show and design.Althouth, our approach was to tweak OSCommerce to an extent. I didn`t feel that OSCommerce was the appropriate Shopping cart for this purpose. So I decided to go with a custom made approach. Here are the TECHNICAL SPECS:1. Database driven -MYSQL and PHP2. Dynamic header, body and footer page - can be updated without tearing down the whole web site.3. Using PayPal as the payment gateway but can be upgraded to linkpoint, Authorize.net, 2CO, or any processor within 2 minutes and not 5 days. 4. We wanted to deliver a small scale solution with the ability to upgrade to a full scale solution when the customer is ready. The full scale project would consist of:  Customer Login, UPS, FEDEX real time modules, shipping and ordering history. For now the customer doesn`t have the money but is looking forward to upgrading. 5. Cross Browser compatible.DESIGN: I wanted to provide my customer with a custom made Shopping cart. I felt that using OSCommerce would be to complex to modify and I was limited to code modifications. (OScommerce policy)After seeking various solutions I decided to code it by hand. Which took me 2 weeks from concept to development. I also wanted to keep it simple for customers to navigate and purchase.What is your Opinion, Suggestion or if you could change something what would you change. Please keep in mind that I haven`t added Keywords or Description to the web site. We are still looking for the correct keywords and key phrases. Please give me as much input that you can. It would be appreciated. http://www.autooptic.com
Nuevolution2007-4-3 17:0:26
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Comments

  • NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    Please do so, Remember, I do not correct any grammar, or typos... The customer gives me his files and I cut and paste it to the page. I am assuming he did all the corrections. 
  • AstarothSolutionsAstarothSolutions subscriber Posts: 1
    Generally it is good... I remember the first shopping cart that I built On the functional side there are a few bits....1) if you change the quantity and go to checkout without clicking the update button you lose the changes. 2) You can progress to paypal without completing the fields on the name and address fields on the checkout page3) Hitting clear cart on the home page brings up a blank page (https://www.autooptic.com/catalog.php)Design...1) Dont like the grid background... makes eyes go skewie (thats the technical term )2)The "categories" dont mean anything to me... I guess they may to someone into xeon lights but will the majority know what value to click?3) Personally I wouldnt make such a big thing about PayPal... certainly here in the UK stores that use paypal rather than a "proper" merchant account are seen as second rate/ amateur and so wouldnt have it up in the header on every page. Even if you do want it there I certainly wouldnt have it as a link as you dont want your visitor to be wandering off to other sites until you have their money.  From a visitors perspective it is a good thing other than the above. With shopping carts though it can be as much about what happens behind the scenes (how easy it is for the owner to update the cart/ protection from SQL injection attacks etc) which obviously cant/ wont check out       
  • TwilightPicsTwilightPics subscriber Posts: 2
    You may have been better off sticking with OScommerce or even better- Zen Cart (now without tables).  Both would have been more expandable, and MUCH more well coded.Looks like the folks over at Web Assist eCart could stand to learn a thing or two about standards. You have 6 doc types, head, and body tags, and if it`s "custom" you should have been developing without tables.The design isn`t too bad, the background image was very distracting though, I would tone that down a notch.
    TwilightPics2007-4-3 17:25:21
  • NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    Twilight,I don`t understand why most people these days, are afraid of tables... IT`s OK they are friendly... Especially when you want to line up objects coming from a database. As far as expanding the web site? Not a good idea, at least not to me or the customer. Imagine you are on a 24 inch or 30 inch monitor? That`s tooooooooo much blank space, in contrast to having it centered right in the middle. There is a reason for everything. But honestly Tables are friendly elements to use if used properly and if you know when to use them. I have developed tables-less web sites and yes they download faster. it doesn`t mean they display how you intended it to look. As far as the Dynamic part. I would consider <iframes> dynamic.. So therefore there`s only three major files calling on external files. AstarothSolutionsAs for the categories? Believe me, they don`t mean anything to me or you, but since he is gearing towards a niche market, it means alot to them. Even if it doesn`t mean anything to me and you. As for OSCommerce, I wanted to go that route, but, it is too big in scale and currently there`s been one to many bugs on it. So I am moving away from open source. I`ve been experiencing to many problems with the shipping and payment modules. As for the Pay Pal Check out just clicking over, yes I know. Im working on the Validation right now. As for the Updates... Isn`t that how every cart works? if you enter a number it wont update unless you click on Update?
  • TwilightPicsTwilightPics subscriber Posts: 2
    Edgar, you`re right, there is nothing wrong with tables.. when you`re using them to display data.  They should NOT however be used to control a site`s design. Any experienced developer will agree. The benefits of a CSS based layout far outweigh those of a table based.When I`m talking expandability, I`m not referring to it`s physical dimensions(width height) I`m talking about the ability to easily add new features down the road, such as payment plug ins and shipping modules.
    TwilightPics2007-4-3 18:59:49
  • NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    The expandability is there. As far using CSS to control the Layout of the web site, I contemplated that option but... backed out from it for now. Unless I see that the web site needs it, then I will go back to the drawing board. There are lots of features that I can add to the web site. The Shipping Modules, Login Modules are there, Im not activating them till further payments. Besides what more can a customer get for 600.00 bucks? would you develop for less than that? You can say it was a favor to a friend. I was looking at providing my customer a good design, with the a quick shopping cart. Stepping away from OSCOMMERCE a bit. We did go that route but for what he needs, 15 products... OSCommerce is to Big for that. I only use OS commerce if the customer has more than 100 items. Then it would be a good idea to go that route.
  • TwinzGearTwinzGear subscriber Posts: 0
    I`d like some feedback on my site.  I`m no web designer (I paid to have my developed), but I`m trying to optomize it for organic search and conversion rate and I`d love some feedback from those of you that are experts in the field....  Check it out at www.TwinzGear.com</A> 
    Thanks for your time and advice.
     
  • InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    I have to agree with TwilightPics, although I am a little less anti-table than most. [Also, not a hard core web designer by any means, although this is going to sound like I am.] The layout seems fine and the overall presentation seems fine. Copywriting isn`t great; and communication strategy seems to be lacking. Neither of which are your fault. [Perhaps recommend that your client get some marketing assistance in those departments.]
    Constructive criticism: the design seems a bit dated and the fact that the code doesn`t validate seems like shoddy work. That`s just my opinion. I know that not every single page can always validate, or needs to validate, but the site does not reflect top of the line skills. There are serious errors in the code, such as unsupported character references [your code references characters unsupported by your encoding]. Not to mention which, the <body> and <head> elements appear twice? From an include or the iframe?
    While the visual quality of the site is decent, the code quality does not show off your skill level. Or maybe it does! While these problems might not cause trouble in one or two current web browsers, they will cause problems in older web browsers and so forth. I guess the code overall shows a lack of understanding of the most basic principles of HTML. You`ll have a much harder time extending this site, or your client will. The code shows the real design and the site`s underlying structure is really, really sloppy.
  • InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    p.s. Iframes are not dynamic. Dynamics are introduced when there is underlying code that supports flow control or branched actions. When you mouse over a graphic, it changes. That`s dynamics. Iframes != dynamics.
  • TwilightPicsTwilightPics subscriber Posts: 2
    I know that not every single page can always validate, or needs to validate...I just wanted to chime in on this one.  It`s a bit of a catch twenty two. You could build an excellent VALID table free CSS layout. But lets say you use a chunk of code for tracking web stats, the only code they provide you with is a sloppy hacked together piece of cheese that once entered into the site, no longer allows it to validate.The same thing happened with this guys site.  He used a 3rd party system to build this shopping cart (that he claims to have custom coded), and the system builders could care less about standards, all they want to do is sell a product.  It`s like the blind leading the blind ignorant.In a perfect, not to distant internet, all sites will validate and be accessible, regardless of content. [And I`m not talking accessibility for the disabled, we`ll save that for another thread ]Too many so called developers love FrontPage, tables and <font> tags, luckily times are changing, table lovers are going to be left in the dust [and out of a job]. TwilightPics2007-4-3 22:26:24
  • InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    That said, there is still a lot of sloppy code that he could clean up.
  • NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    p.s. Iframes are not dynamic. Dynamics are introduced when there is underlying code that supports flow control or branched actions. When you mouse over a graphic, it changes. That`s dynamics. Iframes != dynamics.Cookie Monster thats a Hover. Not Dynamic..
  • NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member







    I know that not every single page can always validate, or needs to validate...I just wanted to chime in on this one.  It`s a bit of a catch twenty two. You could build an excellent VALID table free CSS layout. But lets say you use a chunk of code for tracking web stats, the only code they provide you with is a sloppy hacked together piece of cheese that once entered into the site, no longer allows it to validate.The same thing happened with this guys site.  He used a 3rd party system to build this shopping cart (that he claims to have custom coded), and the system builders could care less about standards, all they want to do is sell a product.  It`s like the blind leading the blind ignorant.In a perfect, not to distant internet, all sites will validate and be accessible, regardless of content. [And I`m not talking accessibility for the disabled, we`ll save that for another thread ]Too many so called developers love FrontPage, tables and <font> tags, luckily times are changing, table lovers are going to be left in the dust [and out of a job]. Again, Twilight,Like I said it was a favor for a friend. and I am not going to go out and spend countless hours developing a fully customized web site like I said before, I could have gone with a table less layout, and go with that. But again it`s time consuming and If Im going to spend a month developing a shopping cart system and charge $600.00? man I would starve. A simple solution, for the people with low budget. Again, in some instances I am a table lover and haven`t found myself out of a job. As a matter a fact I need lots of help I just closed my doors for the next 3 months with the exception of a few clients that I had promised.
  • InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    I think the web site is fine. I really hoped that was clear. The comments I made about the code are just that: comments. The site obviously works fine and really looks fine.
     
  • InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    A hover is indeed a dynamic page element because it is implemented via flow control and requires that sort of mechanism to function properly. That is the key difference between a static page or element and a dynamic page or element. This is a bedrock concept in software development. Whether this is called a "hover" has nothing to with its dynamic nature. An iframe is not dynamic.
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