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Rich,
I think the reactions on this round of "reviews" are more harsh because of one thing. In the first reviews, I thought it was clear the audience hated music and mouse trails. You chose to leave them in, then asked for reviews again. I think this insulted a lot of people. Its like "please take your time to look and then write what you think, but I'm not going to listen to you".
Having said that I'll offer some constructive suggestions. I realize that you do not have a whole lot of control over the site using Verizon supplied tools. But you do have total control over the picture size and quality placed on the site. A little tailoring of the pictures is equivalent of doing final fit and finish of a wood project with good hand tools. The wolf picture does not align with the menu. It looks pasted in. You can use a graphics editor to crop the picture and make it align. There are many graphics editors available for cheap or free. A little work on the photographs could also eliminate the time stamp in the pictures.
I noted that you have a blurb "We also make gun and fishing rod racks. Pictures coming soon!". You might have some afficianados really interested in these. Rather than such an indefinite "coming soon!", how about "Pictures available on 5 March 2004". Unfortunately, the internet community has seen too many "coming soon" and "under construction" notices that mean "We may or may not get these updated".
Congratulations on making your menu a meaningful and useful product index. That's a big improvement!
Best regards, Bob

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brought forth from the murky depths:

"Honest" turns to "brutal" when it's opposite to your own thoughts. Just because everyone can make a website (or put pigtails in an inkwell, drive drunk, shoot into a crowd, etc.) doesn't mean they necessarily _should_, does it?
=========================================================CAUTION: Do NOT look directly into laser with remaining eyeball! ========================================================= http://www.diversify.com Comprehensive Website Design
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OK, the noise is very distracting and I had to get out of there quick..

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Now thats an opinion. I like that. I will get in there and change or try to rather, the wolf picture. I did change the music and cursor trails so that it is only on the first page.Also why the first page is a short one. I will work more on the site. Thanks Again
Rich
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@verizon.net says...

Amazing. 99% of the people tell you that your site would be better off without ANY music or mouse trails, yet you still keep them.
Good thing we're not your customer base, or you'd be out of business soon.
Here's a regurgitated tip for you - if you want a professional looking site to conduct e-business, then take a look at some real sites, like www.leevalley.com. It's well organized, clean, and makes it easy to do business with them.
Good luck.
--
Regards,

Rick

(Remove the HIGH SPOTS for e-mail)
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Lose the mouse trail. Lose the music. Everywhere. ESPECIALLY on your first page! That's the *worst* place you could possibly put that junk: if you have a bunch of annoying crap on your first page... nobody's gonna look at the *rest* of the pages! Don't you understand that?
How many people have to tell you that that stuff is annoying, before you will listen? We're not trying to pick on you, we're just telling you the truth. It's cutesy. Web novices just *love* that kind of cutesy stuff. But it's annoying. *Nobody* wants to look at a page with that stuff on it, except maybe the guy that designed it.
News Flash, Rich -- if you're trying to attract customers, you want a web site that's attractive to the *customers*. Not to you. Nobody cares if you like the site. That's not what attracts and retains customers.
Sheesh.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
For a copy of my TrollFilter for NewsProxy/Nfilter, send email to autoresponder at filterinfo-at-milmac-dot-com
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It made my dog bark a lot.

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Rich wrote:

Home page:
[1] It's worse than irritating when I have to refuse cookie and tell my browser NOT to download a plugin - just because someone wants to dazzle me with the sound quality of my 1" speakers.
[2] Nice wood. I already know what wood looks like - what I really want to see is a close-up of your products. Lose the wood and let me see the products well enough that I'm sufficiently motivated to use one of your links to see more.
[3] I'm over 40. My eyes aren't what they once were. A lot of the population is in the same boat (it happens to everyone sometime between the 40th and 50th birthday). I don't trust people who use tiny or otherwise difficult-to-read print because it usually means they're trying to hide something from me. This is a /fast/ turn-off.
[4] Recruit the assistance of an anal-retentive English major and pick up a copy of Strunk and White's style manual at your local bookstore. It's a tiny book and if you take the trouble to read it, it'll help you to write readin'.
[5] Lose the link to the page we're already seeing. It's always nice to have a home; but pretty worthless to have a link to where we already are. It's clutter and as such distracts from your message.
Shelves and shadow boxes:
[1] Again, loose the self-link.
[2] Just look? At that stuff 'way off in the distance'? I see some red paint on the blue shelf; but can't tell if it was well done. If you don't let me see, I'll apply Sturgeon's Law and conclude that it's not well done (and that you don't really want me to see it well enough to reach that conclusion until you have my hard-earned cash in your PayPal account)
[3] I put my trifocals on and tried entering supporting content; but it just slid off.
Planters:
[1] Self-link
[3][2] Oops! Captions are reversed.
[3] More tiny print. Something about pot included - cool!
Cheese and Bread Boards:
[1] Self-link
[2] Don't tell me they're decorative - show me. I'm much more interested in knowing something about the materials. What kind of wood? Are they easy to clean? Are they raw wood or have you applied a finish? If so, does it pose a health risk?
[3] It wouldn't accept my supporting content here, either.
Bird Feeders:
[1] Self-link
[2] Is suet really peanut butter and seed? Nope (you forced me to go look it up) suet is the "hard fat deposited around the kidneys and loins of cattle and sheep: used in cooking and as a source of tallow." GW Carver and I are led to conclude that you either don't know what you're talking about or are trying to pull a fast one.
[3] More small print!
[4] I don't care what you say - even without chains that thing just can't any good for sitting /anywhere/!
[5] No charge for the starter seed bag? Bull. If there were no charge, both the products and S&H would be less. How about if you just say that a small bag of bird seed is included?
Walking sticks:
[1] Self-link
[2] Ah c'mon. I don't want to hear about your intentions; and I'll only visit again if I see something worth coming back to see again.
[3] How about backing up to let me see the entire product? Then get up close enough that I can get really judgmental about the carving. If I see a particular one I really like, can I buy it?
Birdhouses:
[1] Self-link
[2] About your opening salvo: if you don't chemically oxidize the copper roof then it'll look like an antique when it becomes one. Why are you talking about that today?
[3] Other than the screech owl box. What kind of birds, if any, will be attracted to these birdhouses?
[4] Country appeal? Eh? I'm from Iowa - where're you from again? Actually I /do/ kind of like the stone house...
The Shop:
[1] Self-link
[2] Holy smokes! That guy's trying to keep track of something on TV and a photographer and - what's that thing? - OMG it's one of those things that subtracts fingers when you don't pay attention!
[3] My wish for everyone is that they have a spacious shop with all kinds of good tools. I'm glad for every square inch of space that you have - but a /cluttered/ shop is a horror to me. Before I leave my shop I make myself put everything away and I clean up the day's mess. If you want to sell what you produce in the shop (and obviously you do) and if you want to show off the shop, then you need to at least move the clutter out of the camera's view for as long as it takes to shoot a picture. There's a commonly-held perception that a sloppy/cluttered shop indicates lack of concern for safety and quality.
Overall comments:
Most of the products had a non-price tag "Starting at $". Please tell me the price without introducing the inconvenience of an e-mail or phone call. If I go through that exercise and the quoted price doesn't closely match the web page price, you'll have lost any chance that I might buy or ever visit again.
I missed the address and phone, by the way. Unless you expect me to e-mail a check, some real contact information would help us both. FWIW, I won't order from a web vendor if I don't know who and where they really are.
Just realized I missed bat boxes - and then realized that none of your stuff has any measurements. Real bird people would probably care. I assume there are real bat people out there who'd be interested in the size of the bat box. I'm not a bat affectionado but confess curiosity about how big a box would be needed to hold 100+ live bats who'd enter voluntarily.
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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<snip>

<snip>
Yup! When looking at products, that's one of the first things I do. Head to the "about" page to look at a physical address. First, to see if it might be local. Second, to know that this is an actual business and not something "fly-by-night". Plus, it gives you a place to throw rocks at when everything goes wrong!
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Morris, You are a real gentlemen giving this depth of review to Rich. I tried that the first time. Effort was lost of him.
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JLucas ILS wrote:

No I'm not. Sometimes /I/ need to hear the same advice multiple times from multiple sources (-:
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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wrote:

Recommendations: No music, or -at least- allow it to be turned off.
No cursor text
Retake pictures without the sofa in the background. Carpet is -almost- tolerable, but a sofa?
If you're going to sell these items, you want them to look as good as possible. Take the pictures under controlled lighting, no flash, and experiment until it looks -good-. Not just "OK", but GOOD. IT can be done, and you can do it, so why not give yourself the best chance?
Turn off the date/time on the camera.
Set up a table against a solid colored wall with a solid colored tablecloth, preferably neutral colors unless you -want- contrast. Put items on table, arrange in pleasing manner.
Include something to indicate scale. A book on the shelf, a feeder hanging on a tree, a bun and knife on the breadboard, a person holding a walking stick. Is that bat box 12 inches tall or 36 inches tall?
Take pictures from different angles, heights, distances, light levels. You can use lamps and drop lights. No direct flash! It glares off painted surfaces.
Now take some time to sort out the good shots from the so-so shots. BE RUTHLESS. Make notes and retake if necessary.
If you are like my darling wife and just cannot take a decent picture to save your life, pay a local pro. Hey, no one can do everything, right?
How do I (Joe Customer) order your products?
Sorry this got so long, just trying to help.
Mike Patterson Please remove the spamtrap to email me.
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Now thats what I call constructive criticism! Not only did it show me where corrections can be made but it also showed how without being belittleing. Thanks Mike, I will work on it and get some better pictures in there. The music and cursor text will go to the wayside. I tried like heck to get the wolf sizing better but I couldn't get it to work. I have been fuming over some of the posts, guess I took it to heart which I shouldn't have but I'm only human.Thats a great idea about showing scale in the pictures and how to accomplish that. Well, thanks again and I'll work on it.
Rich
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where
which I

FWIW, over on rec.photo.digital posters ask for critiques of their pictures and, generally, get overwhelmed with rude and useless criticism. I, for one, say before you tell me my dog can't hunt worth a sh-- show me what yours can do. Now while I'm thinking about it, I need to update my site(s)
Larry
--
Lawrence L'Hote
Columbia, MO
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wrote:

[snip]
It would be nice if you'd include a bit of context when you respond to a post...
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
For a copy of my TrollFilter for NewsProxy/Nfilter, send email to autoresponder at filterinfo-at-milmac-dot-com
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wrote:

Hope it helps.
Another small piece of advice - if you're gonna hang out on Usenet, you gotta get a thick skin.
Aside from the fact that it's very easy to misunderstand intent in the written word, there are a lot of people who are -very- smart but not socially skilled who hang out here.
I'm a technogeek myself and some of the most intelligent people I know mean well, but are hard to interact with. If their only means of communication were typing, they'd be lynched in short order. :-)
Took me about 20 years out of school to learn how to deal with people myself.
Mike Patterson Please remove the spamtrap to email me.
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OK <OK I got it I'll fix what's wrong but I'll keep what I like. I'll make it more professional and take into consideration what others think. But this is the only newsgroup that made everything harsh like swallowing tacks.
Rich
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make
this
Unfortunately, the internet has bred a detached mind set where people will say things online that they'd never say in person. I know I'm guilty of that, but you can't escape it, so don't let it deter you. Take what people have said with a grain of salt and move on. I'm sure that most of the people where would be great company if they got them together for a beer or two, so just look at it like they've run out of beer for awhile, ignore the harsh words and go make a beer run. :)
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I design web pages for Christian churches and organizations and have found the simpler the better. The page is for the viewer or customer not the designer. If it loads to slowly or has annoying features they will leave and go elsewhere. Generally if they don't see something they of interest within 10 - 20 seconds they are gone, tweak their interest and they will hang around and look. For the web designer fancy dodads and stuff are - oh look what I did that's neat, but for the person visiting the page it is something to slow down the load and distract them from what they are really looking for.
I would suggest centering the information on the screen and go with a plain white background or if you want the mottled look make it a consistent background over the whole page it just looks better and cleaner.
Home page
1) moving text gets old and annoying real fast.
2) suggest you resize the wolf picture so it lines up.
Shelves and boxes
1) photo would likely look better if you had a couple pictures - closer and no other objects in background such as couch.
2) Give a time period for the gun and fishing rod rack photos - ie early March, early April 2004
3) Same comments as for home page except moving text is gone which is a good thing.
Planters
1) At first I though captions were reversed for the pictures but realized you have an extra one at the bottom for the 3 pot planter and the original caption for the 3 pot planter is in bold making it appear to be part of the heading.
Shop
1) Suggest you clean it up and retake the pictures it would look much more professional. First impressions are everything and an impression of a cluttered shop is the same as a dirty cluttered garage when you take your car in for work you are unsure if you want these guys to work on it or not.
In General
Most of the photos were taken to far away to give the viewer a good idea of what he is looking at. Photo's should be good quality closeups with the option of a larger view. For some of us me included a 1 - 2 inch photo on the screen is just to small. The option of clicking on the photo and getting a full screen picture would improve things. If you do this don't do what I have seen some others do and just enlarge the small picture. It gets "blocky" and is really poor quality. Start with a good quality picture for the large one and reduce it for the thumbnail.
Many have mentioned the sound. I didn't hear it - maybe it has been removed or perhaps the way my system is set up but don't put sound in. If you want to provide sound make it an option with the default to off.
Someone mentioned removing the link to the page you were presently on. Don't worry about that to much it gives you pages a consistent look from one to another, a better idea would be to remove the link but leave the text and highlight it in a different color as an indication of where you are in the site.
webservant
Web design for churches http://www.gibs-web.ca Wycliffe Bible Translators Caribbean http://www.wycliffecaribbean.org Journaling / mental health http://www.pipcom.com/~jpeacock / Bothwell Baptist Church http://www.forministry.com/CAONBCOOQBBC1

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and
Ok, I'll stick my neck out. It doesn't have anything to do with woodworking, but I'd appreciate an opinion of my business website, mostly finished not too long ago. To me it seems a little drab and I was wonder how to spice it up a bit without going overboard. Any comments good or bad will be appreciated and/or tolerated.
http://www.moorecommunications.com
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