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Please review my site

fmapapfmapap subscriber Posts: 8
edited February 2007 in Website Critique
Hi all,
I`ve been working part-time with a partner on our website, www.myfriendsuggests.com</A> 
The site is basically a hybrid of standard directory sites (citysearch, digital city, etc) and social networking sites (myspace).  The basic idea is to use a persons friend network to provide more relevant search results.  We are still working on a few new features to really differentiate ourselves but we`d love some feedback about what we have on the site now.
We KNOW that our opening home page needs some work and we`d love any thoughts on what to include on our homepage to get the jist of the site across without overwhelming the page.
Any thoughts/comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated as we are right at the point where we plan to make some serious investment into marketing the site and would love feedback.


  • ChuckChuck subscriber Posts: 6
    Can you talk about how the site/service is distinct from a site like yelp.com?
  • fmapapfmapap subscriber Posts: 8
    Ah, Yelp.
    Well first off when we started our site we hadn`t seen Yelp before.  During development we came across it and honestly were a bit disheartened as their site is very similiar to ours (especially right now).  As of now we do not have many differentiators, our current main differentiator is that we put a little more focus on the "friend" aspect of the site.  We use your friend network to filter search results and provide easy messaging of your friend network (not just your direct friends).  I realize this isn`t enough to really take over yelp (nor is that something we think we will do in the near future).  We have a new features coming soon that I think will be different - it will use your friend network and your previous suggestions to actually make suggestions to you both proactively and as part of a online search.  We are also introducing a personalized newsletter that allows you to sign up to learn about new locations in your favorite neighborhoods. 
    We also have one other idea up our sleeves but since we aren`t ready to develop it I hesitate to mention it in a public forum b/c I`m sure Yelp could develop it a lot quicker than me and my partner.  I`d be happy to share the idea in a private message if you are still interested.  Also if you have any ideas on how else we may be able to differentiate ourselves feel free to share
  • ChuckChuck subscriber Posts: 6
    Hey Frank - didn`t mean to imply that you guys were mimicking them or anything, just was curious as my first thought when I visited your site was "this is just like Yelp."There are usually numerous competitors in every segment, so who`s to say there`s not room for two or ten recommendation engines like yours - the proactive nature of it would be a bonus I`d think, if you can really nail that. Sad to say, but I would guess some would gravitate to a yelp rather than your site purely on a design basis, as your site still retains some `home made` touches.I`d be interested to get that offline info, be glad to keep it under my hat.
  • fmapapfmapap subscriber Posts: 8
    Do you have any specific ideas on how I can get rid of those homemade touches?  I have a list of things that I personally don`t like but I`d love to get some specifics from you.
    Thanks again.
  • ChuckChuck subscriber Posts: 6
    Frankly I`m no design expert, so I`ll give you the `layman`s` outlook on it - actually, as I write that, I`m thinking, "how am I going to do that."  Because it`s hard to put a finger on it. On a quick viewing, my initial impressions are that it kind of looks like a Word document put on the screen.  There`s little to no direction given to me, and I struggle to latch on to anything in particular.  So I suppose by home-made I mean that it looks like you`ve decided what information you want to have on the page, but you haven`t given much thought to how to effectively present it.In addition, there`s nothing exciting or interesting happening with the design - there`s no chances being taken, which is what captures attention.  Try creating some visual contrast, organization and distinction - there`s almost nothing going on graphically right now.I like the Google mashup, but again there`s not much beyond the map dropped into a template.  Also not crazy about the red font for the hover state on your links.
  • fmapapfmapap subscriber Posts: 8
    Thanks.  I agree with almost all your comments.  As you noticed neither me nor my partner are great with colors/graphics/fonts.  We plan on doing some stylesheet changes and add some graphics here and there to get some more bang for our buck.
    Also the opening home page is where we really need some work, we`ve been looking for opinions on how the opening page should look and haven`t really gotten anything that made much sense yet.
    I will check back in after we do our next major update which should be in a few weeks to see if you think the improvements help.  Did you by chance see the PM I sent you?
  • fmapapfmapap subscriber Posts: 8
    Steve,Thank you very much for your advice and I totally agree with you and HOPE I can do your comments justice.  When it comes to graphics and colors this is where I know I stink... when it comes to picking 3 colors like you said this is exactly what I tried to do; I think I just picked bad colors.  Do you have any thoughts on how maybe I should pick the colors?
    As for graphics this is something I know we need to do, my biggest issue is that I can`t create graphics to save my life and never seem to find any quality graphics myself.  You`d be amazed how much time I spent on that crappy logo
    Hopefully these changes don`t take us too long and we can experiment a bit. 
    Thanks again.
  • fmapapfmapap subscriber Posts: 8
    You are definetly being helpful.
    Believe it or not I did try to steal the colors from myspace.com.  I guess my question is are the colors themselves bad or the way in which I used them?
    Also, do you think my other site www.apsquared.net</A> is any better? (I did this after building out the previous site).
  • ChuckChuck subscriber Posts: 6
    This tool is interesting - you could play around with some combinations in there:http://www.siteprocentral.com/cgi-bin/feed/feed.cgi
  • fmapapfmapap subscriber Posts: 8
    After about a month of taking different advice and stuff we`ve redesigned our look and feel and even some other aspects of the site.  I`d love a new opinion.
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