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Website Reviews

Aesthetics .. Technical .. Samples .. Fees

The purpose of this service is to help make your website as attractive, useful and reliable as possible. Many aesthetic and technical factors are taken into account.

It is a well known fact that the designer/author of almost anything is not the best reviewer of their product. That is why print authors have editors and proofreaders, engineers have 'design review' sessions, and factories have inspection departments.

As an 'interested bystander' I will take an in-depth look at your web site and make comments and suggestions on what is 'not quite right'. I will also comment on what is done very right so you can avoid changing those points in the future.

Aesthetics

In the foreground, literally as well as figuratively, the basic appearance of your site is very important. The following factors are considered:

Appearance
Design and basic layout. Does the site 'make sense'.
Navigability
Is the structure of the site obvious and apparent? Is it easy to move from section to section?
Entertainment
Not applicable to all sites, but even strictly technical sites can have some entertainment value.
Cohesiveness
Are there visual and stylistic components on each page that convey a sense of 'wholeness' and continuity to the site? That is, does the site give the impression that it is made up of various contributing pages, and does each page contribute to the overall effect.
Images
Often overrated, images can contribute to a site and turn 'average' appearance into 'excellent', or they can overburden the intended effect and ruin a site. Questions asked include: Does the image add to the site's content? Is the image file size and type appropriate? Is image and text arrangement appropriate?
Spelling
There is no one single factor that can ruin a site's effectiveness as sharply and quickly as poor spelling. I will not run your site through a spell checker, but my spelling is very good and if I notice anything I will specifically mention it.

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Technical

In the background, quite literally behind the scenes, HTML and website design is all technical. As part of the review I will run the site through what's known as a validator, software that tells whether the HTML is 'proper' or not. Almost all websites have some improper HTML. Most HTML errors however have essentially no effect. Some however do have a very great effect, up to and including crashing browsers. Just because your website 'looks OK' today under one browser doesn't mean it will look OK under others, or under tomorrow's browsers.

There are essentially three parts to the technical review.

The first as described above is to determine what exactly are the technical errors. Another factor here is that what may 'appear' to be an error is not necessarily an error but use of 'browser-specific' HTML elements. A further judgment at this point is to decide if those browser-specific elements will have any inappropriate effects under other browsers.

The second step is to determine which errors are 'benign' and which might cause anywhere from minor through catastrophic failure.

The last step is to make suggestions as to how to correct the errors, starting with the most offensive.

I normally view sites under Netscape 3.0, occasionally switch to MSIE. If I notice anything that looks a little 'shaky' I will also test under NCSA Mosaic.

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Samples

Here are a few sample reviews just to get an idea of what sort of results you can expect. Each review includes a link to the reviewed site.

Several 'caveats' when comparing reviews to sites:

  • Review suggestion may not have been implemented.
  • Suggestions may have been applied improperly.
  • Suggestions may have been applied but further changes either removed or changed them.

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Fees

Basic site review takes about an hour and the fee is $20 for the first page, and into other pages if time allows, otherwise additional pages are $20.

'Broken links' are reported only if I happen to notice them. A full report on broken links is available at an extra $10 fee.

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Aesthetics .. Technical .. Samples .. Fees

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Copyright 1996 jim barchuk
jb@jbarchuk.com
URL: http://www.jbarchuk.com/review.html