Web Design Goodies Critique #8

By Joe Burns

Concern #1: You have a DHTML cursor following program on the home page and on a few subsequent pages. I feel that the effect has had its heyday and has gone the way of the dinosaur. The snake that follows the cursor gets annoying very quickly, and I wish I could lose it. I think it may be bothering visitors more than entertaining them after the third visit to the same page.

Suggestion: I would lose the cursor follower altogether. From the start, I've never thought they were a good addition to a page.

Concern #2: I can see your home page design is meant to render in all screen sizes right down to 640x480. The small navigation block is centered so that in a larger screen size (like mine) it is centered in a sea of light blue.

Suggestion: You have created a shell with the name across the top and the links down the side. Looking at the page, if you take and draw a line from the end of Hand Surgery along the top and the Orthogate image along the bottom, you can see a square of space form within the light blue area. Fill that area with the navigation. Right now that little navigation block just looks a little out of place.

Concern #3: You have chosen a format with frames. I'm not a fan of frames because it requires multiple requests to the server, whereas a single page only requires one and downloads more quickly. The design you have chosen can just as easily be created using one large table. You could set the correct background colors and copy this format exactly.

Suggestion: Try setting this entire format up through a table cell. You'll need to set the borders on the browser screen to zero to make it exactly the same. But that's not too, too hard. The page loads pretty quickly right now. It'll fly in when it's only one page.

Concern #4: You have chosen primary colors. Your red is RED! Your blue is BLUE!

Suggestion: Stick with non-dithering colors, but see if you can find more pastel color other than the bright blue and bright red that you have chosen. Even on my big, expensive monitor, they are a just step below neon. People on VGA monitors will need to wear shades.

Concern #5: I went to the textbook section of your site after watching a bunch of your RealAudio and MPEG movies, including one of two surgeons rapping about microsurgery. I found it rather difficult to get to what I wanted. I know that a lot of the textbook is not finished yet, but the Java-enabled menu system was difficult to work with and often became too wide for the frame space you offered--thus I received the dreaded horizontal scroll bar.

Suggestion: Yes, the folders look great--but find another way to display the table of contents that works faster and doesn't move to the right as much.

Overall: Good site. As always--content is king, and some very minor concerns aside, the content kept me coming back for more.

That's that.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

Always Remember: When it comes to designing your Web site, the most important person is not you but your user.

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