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Request for constructive feedback

Posted on 2011-09-24
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I would appreciate comments on how to improve a visitor's experience of my website. www.mauitradewinds.com  was initially deployed in 1998.  I have periodically updated some of  the technology, but not much of the design.  I plan to eliminate tables, replacing them with css architecture, except in a few instances where tables are justified.  Aside from that, what else can be improved regarding navigation, organization, content, asthetics, or whatever?
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Question by:ddantes
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 36594124
You seriously need to look at the websites of your competition.  Make a list of the new features you want.  Then design a new site, do not redesign the old one.  I know you've learned a lot working on that site.  Make use of that knowledge on a completely new design.
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by:ddantes
ID: 36594144
Thank you for your comment.  May I ask you for some additional details?   I am ambivalent about abandoning the redesign of the original site, because it is performing well in certain respects.  Bounce rate is <7%; visitors spend an average of 3 minutes, viewing four pages per visit.  More importantly, our accommodations appeal to a certain type of visitor, and those visitors are attracted to the imagery and descriptions on our website.  When they arrive here, the place meets or exceeds their expectations, they enjoy themselves, and give us 5-star reviews.  I am not sure I could duplicate those results, starting "from scratch."   So I would appreciate knowing specifically why you recommend against redesigning the original site.  Don't hesitate to be blunt!
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Dave Baldwin earned 2000 total points
ID: 36594173
First because it looks like it was done 10 years ago.  Second, my artist and photographer friends have always told me not to center things like you have.  It looks amateurish.  Learn about dividing things into thirds.  Third, it's a poor use of the space on the page and too much scrolling for the content you have.  Fourth, while it is nice that the web site is performing nicely, is the business performing nicely because of it?  I don't think that performing well on the web is the main point so don't be misled by good web stats.

Fifth, redesigning the current site would mean hacking away at the things you already have instead of making a good design.  Look at your source code.  You have your Google Analytics code in there twice.  Using <p>&nbsp;</p> for spacing is generally not a good idea because it's a hack that shouldn't exist in a good CSS layout.  And to try to replicate the current layout in a CSS based layout will probably cause you to go insane.

I'm not against you re-using a lot of your text and pictures (though having those two popups in the middle of the page was actually unpleasant since there was no indication that would happen).  I would be against having all those table borders showing.  There's better ways to do all of that.
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by:ddantes
ID: 36594178
Very good!  That gives me some direction.  Much appreciated.
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 36594308
Good luck.  I suspect your next version will be even better than the current one.
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