Computer Nerds Wanted!

Discussion in 'Computer Corner' started by nethers, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Happy void between Christmas and New Years everyone.

    I'm using this break to make some improvements to our sheet music website

    For those of you that don't know us, we're pretty much the only guys in Australia/New Zealand who print ALL our stuff to order. If you buy from anyone else down here, they just order it from the publisher in Britain and put a big mark-up on it. Then you have to wait weeks for the international post.

    What I want is for some people to go through our website and find fault with it!

    Also, as ever, we want new music from composers and publishers who want to open their catalogue to an Australasian audience.

    Any suggestions for improvement will be gratefully received. I have a list already that I am slowly working through but would like more.

    Feel free to go right through the order process, select 'pay by cheque' and in the comments box put a message saying you are testing for us (so I know you don't really want the music!).

    I may be able to offer a good discount on any future orders to people who are helpful with this!

    Thanks a lot!
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Nice layout and good to see samples from your pool of arrangers & composers. Best of luck to your venture!
  3. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Great start...! :tongue:
  4. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    D'oh! How embarrassing.

    Our database is being migrated to another server (it's silly o'clock in the US where it lives). What truly awesome timing!

    Normal service should resume in the next couple of hours.

    Maybe I'll just delete this thread and start again! :D
  5. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Back in business (famous last words!)
  6. kp51

    kp51 Member

    "My eyes are dim, I cannot see..." and even with my specs on, I find the white on light blue menu items and other links less than easy to read. Suggest you:
    - get rid of the underlining (it reduces readability)
    - make them bold, so they're a little more solid
    - maybe have them go black when you mouse over them (the fly-out submenus are black on white, after all, and much easier to read)
    These can all be done through the stylesheet.

    I've only looked at the home page so far, first thing that struck me was that it was slow to load. Do you really need the background image to be a JPG (weighing in at 100KB)? It might work out a lot smaller (and faster) as a GIF or PNG file.

    Interesting result when you click on the "valid XHTML" link at the bottom: Result: 97 Errors, 76 warning(s).

    Viewing with Firefox 3.0 at 1024x768 resolution

  7. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    The code needs a big cleanup, that one is on my list (although this doesn't interfere with the stability and functionality).

    As for menu/text colours - accessibility is not something I've given much thought to. I will try the changes you suggest.

    Also, I'll try ditching the background image altogether in favour of a plain background.

    I've had problems getting the side menu appearing properly in Firefox (it's ok, just not especially neat) did you find this?

    Thanks for the input!
  8. kp51

    kp51 Member

    I'd suggest you keep the background image, it does give the site some character. But redo it from scratch with proper solid colours (orange sun, white clouds) and with the sky exactly the same as the background colour. Save as GIF or PNG right from the start. Width and height need only be enough to include the sun and clouds. You should be able to get it down to about 5K that way.

    No problems displaying the side menus here with Firefox 3. Maybe FF2 was different?

    More graphics overload on the catalogue pages - I went to Music by Ensemble Type > Brass Band and found it slow to come up. Looking at the "Brass Band Music" graphic by each entry, every instance has its own private copy of the 5K graphic (with a monstrous filename), so you're loading 50K for ten entries (plus 5K more for each in the scrolling panel on the right, probably). What a terrible waste of bandwidth. You may find a way to avoid this if the shopping cart software you're using has a user forum to ask some real experts.
  9. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    The graphics have been pretty lazy on my part - I think a bit of playing with mySQL to get the catalogue working off of categorised (rather than individual product images) will make a big improvement. I'm lucky enough to have fairly quick internet and no bandwidth costs from my server (within reason!) so it hasn't encouraged me to be clever about this sort of thing. I'll add it to the list.

    Thanks again for playing around with it, feel free to pass on any further observations. If you want any of our music in the near future PM me and I'll sort it for you as cheap as possible (if it's by me, probably free!).

    Anyone else reading this (and you don't need to be techy!) please feel free to go through the process of actually buying something! Choose pay by cheque and put a comment in the box on the last checkout page to tell me that you're just testing. I'd appreciate comments on the simplicity (or not), speed (or not!) and 'feel' of the whole process!

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