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  • Honest Reviews Wanted


    I'm in the process of building a website for someone else. It's been quite a long and drawn-out process, mostly because the Client has a rough idea of what she wants but needs quite a bit of prompting in terms of content and layout.

    As far as I can tell, the Client is broadly happy with the layout etc, but I was hoping to get feedback from other developers.

    The site is located at A Welcome Space Counselling and Psychotherapy Service and ideally should be accessible from mobiles and tablets as well as desktops and laptops. I've tried to keep the layout quite fresh and uncomplicated, and also to keep the functionality as simple to use as possible.

    Once the site has been signed off by the Client (and paid for) it will be moved to its own dedicated domain name.



  • #2
    I’m just looking at the visual design and functionality right now, not at the code/implementation:

    I like the logo and the general simplicity but would recommend to get rid of the fixed header (or make it much smaller once visitors scroll down). I’m looking at this on my 1280×800 pixel laptop monitor and it kinda makes me feel uncomfortable that the actual content area is so small in height and the header is so massive in comparison. I don’t even dare to think about how this will look on mobile devices. A simple website like this really doesn’t need a fixed header. And while it’s alright to have a large logo/header on an entry page it can become annoying if you click through the site and have a large header on every page. So I’d suggest going with something less intrusive on interior pages – perhaps just the house icon or the house icon with the Welcome Space text and subtitle next to it instead of above and below.

    Then, is there a reason why the main navigation items are all aligned vertically if JavaScript is disabled? There really shouldn’t be the need for JS to change styling here. This actually makes the content quite inaccessible because it’s still fixed position and covering a vital part of the content.

    Also, don’t hesitate to make use of typography now that embedding custom fonts isn’t an issue anymore. Typography is an often overlooked but – in my opinion – actually the most important part of web design. I personally find Helvetica/Arial a little boring and almost old fashioned by now because it’s used everywhere due to the fact that it’s so common. I could imagine the font of the subtitle (“Counselling & Psychotherapy Service”) to be used as font for major headings (I don’t know which font that is and whether it’s allowed to be used as web font but similar web fonts are certainly available) and then something like Lato, Deja Web, Open Sans, or similar as general text font (yeah, these are also some of the more popular ones and might therefore feel a bit overused but that’s just a general idea – you can search for nice free fonts on FontSquirrel or Google Fonts). But don’t just use any random combination of heading and text fonts They can work with or agains each other, depending on their specifics; therefore, put some thoughts into font pairing.

    Next, the form looks like straight outta the nineties. It doesn’t have to be as hip and fancy as the examples on medium.com but these tiny fields and uncanny inset borders are really scaring people away rather than making it pleasant to enter their data. Make the fields bigger in height (by increasing the font size of the fields) and either remove the borders entirely or add a solid border rather than an inset one. Also, the form fields need clearly marked up labels in order to make them really accessible. Read about the label element.

    That’s just that for now. I might come back later with a code review (if user deathshadow doesn’t beat me to it and roasted you already ).
    Stop solving problems you don’t yet have!


    • #3
      Hi VIPStephan

      Thank you very much for your feedback. My main issue is that I'm loathe to make too many wholesale changes to the look and feel of the site, since the Client is generally quite happy with it. I do have a question though:

      I take your point about the size of the header and the amount of viewport it consumes, particularly on a smaller display. The reason for having that on every page is that the header information is coded into the Site.Master, to try and instill a degree of uniformity into the site. My question therefore is this: how would I code it so that if the user scrolls down, the house icon shrinks in size? I've seen it done on other sites but have absolutely no idea how best to achieve it on mine. I don't even know what I'd need to search for on Google.

      Also, I'm not entirely sure that the Client would know which font was used to subtitle the logo. She (by her own admission) not very technical and engaged a third party to design the logo as it currently sits, so I don't know how much input she'd have had (if any) to the choice of font that was used.

      Incidentally, I was doing some work on the site last last (albeit with the photographs that are embedded on some of the pages) so this site isn't yet ready to hand over to the Client. Therefore I'm happy for you to come back later and re-review it


      • #4
        Is this an old site that you are updating?

        The site looks like it is from 2007. I would definitely change the fonts and make it responsive to say the least. Maybe as well restructure the content to make it more impactful and not boring.


        • #5
          Hi pfar54

          Believe it or not, the site is brand-new. I will admit that the template for it came straight from Visual Studio 2015, and probably hasn't been updated by Microsoft since forever. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by responsive - it does exactly what the Client said she needs it to do. Also, the content isn't something I've got a massive amount of control over. That's been the one thing she's been quite definite about.

          In what way would I make it less boring without changing it?


          • #6
            Responsive design is when the page adapts to the screen size. It adjusts, changes, etc. The page adapts some, but not enough.

            You don't need more content to change how it is displayed. You could create new sections on the page, adjust the layout, etc. For example you have this:

            Before we work together, we will both agree to work to a contract. This will ensure confidentiality and will provide peace of mind for you as I will abide by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy's Code of Ethical Practice. Many of my clients have shares things with me that they have never shared with any other person before. Confidentiality is an important ingredient in building the therapeutic relationship.

            Finding the right therapist in an important process for you. We are all unique and bring different qualities to the therapeutic relationship. I believe the therapeutic relationship heals and finding the right therapist is an essential ingredient in the success of the therapy. I offer a FREE face-to-face consultation to allow us both to meet and for you to decide if you want together with me.

            With this you could give each section alternating, light background colors. Then as you alternate the backgrounds, align on section to the left and another to the right.

            Maybe try to add more imagery as well.


            • #7
              Food for thought indeed. To be honest, the photographs that are included in the site are the ones that the Client has specifically requested and provided. I'm trying to avoid going too image-heavy and therefore ramping up the first-time-visit load speed. I think she has one more image to put on, for the professional body that she's a member of, so we'll see what comes from that.

              This is great feedback. Please keep it coming


              • #8
                ...You have two small images on that page, of which you can compress to make smaller. Here is the size and what you could take it to...

                171.5 KB total in images, target size = 56.9 KB - potential savings = 114.5 KB

                I would not worry about first time page loading. You don't need to as you have hardly anything on the site. Even if you do go that route, your homepage consists of 14% JS, which ( haven't looked at your page source) I don't understand why your page has 1 line of javascript.

                This line that you wrote will not enable you to get another client: As far as I can tell, the Client is broadly happy with the layout etc, but I was hoping to get feedback from other developers.

                You are working for a client who wants a nice website. You need to worry about the visual aspect of it to keep your client happy. She is not supposed to know how she wants the layout to look other than a brief idea or maybe examples. That is your responsibility. My advise.. Make it more modern looking, responsive and add some other images. I would also advice her not to have her fees on the site. It is something most are going away from.