Web Design Goodies Critique #21

By Joe Burns

Concern 2: Youre using a background image with a frameset. Thats not smart. Even if you do succeed in losing the middle vertical scroll, the two backgrounds will never line up perfectly on all systems and all screen settings. That dividing line between the frames will be accentuated.

Suggestion: Go with a far more random background pattern with very little noise, or try out a background color or two.

Concern 3: Your navigation down the left hand side is causing a vertical scroll. That means you have waaaaay too many links down the left side.

Suggestion: Youll need to do one of two things. Either greatly lessen the number of links by combining the topics further or create a double list of links, one next to another so you get two columns. That will probably make your left frame much larger but at least there wont be the scroll bar.

Concern 4: Book-marking. Lets say I like Amys poem and want to come back to it. I would either have to break it out as its own page and bookmark that or bookmark just your homepage and find it each time. Yes, I know that IE will bookmark specifically, but only some versions. Netscape wont do it at all.

Suggestion: Im not sure. Theres no nice way to set up book-marking unless you offer to break out the page and then offer the bookmark. In the past I have suggested that if you must use frames, then when the user clicks, load a new frame page every time. That way the bookmark will work. People havent found that suggestion very useful.

Concern 5: This isnt a concern from your page, but it pops up a lot so Ill mention it here. You have made a point of designing each of your pages so that they will display in best in 1024X764. Smaller monitor settings will not display the same way. Heres an example:

Suggestion: Design your elements so that they display nicely in all browser screen formats rather than the images truncating. Thats extremely hard to do in a frameset. Many of your other pages are text-based so they dont run into the same problem, but this one did.

Overall: Ben...buddy...level with me here. Why do you have a frame format? What good is it doing your site? Whats the up side? I dont really see one. You can get the same effect with a large table. Your background will be smooth all the way across. Youll lose the first vertical and horizontal scrolls. Why do you have the frames format? If it is because you think it looks cool, lose it. It doesnt. It looks unprofessional and people can see that.

You have a solid page here and the information is great, the poetry especially. You need to take a day and redesign this site so that the frames are taken out. Itll help a great deal.


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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