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cguild
12-21-2004, 12:47 PM
I am about 80% done with an OR site for a client and I was wondering if a few OR users can check it out and give me a little feedback. I have modified the look of the OR site and added an IDX frame solution (keeping the entire local MLS confined into a single cell), a few forms and live chat.
The site will have a major presence (spending lots of money :D )with multiple ppc ads running on every major se. The agent will have a client back end where all the "to do" information goes for the client to track the agent. Meaning a client can login (behind a ssl) and see EVERYTHING that the agent is doing to market their property, including, Scanned print ads, web site links to all advertisement being done on the net, property web sites,virtual tours, slide shows, yahoo ads, realtor.com page, a personal open house schedule, images used, and on and on and on. Any way the site is going to to launched on Jan. 3 2005 and any feed back I can get from you guys will be greatly appreciated.

http://www.jeffburketeam.com

I will review your site if you leave the link!

RealEstate
12-21-2004, 01:12 PM
Hey CGuild,

I like the site. Perhaps you can link the pictures of the agents to their agent page.

Some pictures look faded. Check out the thumb nails here:
http://www.jeffburketeam.com/listingview.php?listingID=3
This topic has been discussed previously. Do a search.

I notice they are using visual tours for the virtual tours.
Do you develop those virtual tours or do the realtors do them themselves?

cguild
12-21-2004, 01:21 PM
Thank you for your review! The home page is not completely done yet. Those will be linked! :)
As far as the tours, the agent takes care of that. What I did was make the visual tour inventory page have no banner and followed the colors of the main site then stuck the link in an iframe.
The thing that I wonder most about is, does the iframe appear the same way on all browsers? I have tested it in Mozilla browsers, IE, AOL and Opera, it seems to be fine in those, but what about the rest?

Thank you so much for your comments! :D

RealEstate
12-22-2004, 02:28 AM
i frame looks with ie 6.0 and windows xp.

tsguitar2004
12-22-2004, 02:24 PM
Poor image quality kills the site for me. The house in the header graphic is pixelated and the picture of the person on the right side (Jeff Burke?) is fuzzy.

The "OFFLINE leave a message" graphic has too strong of a dropshadow on it. Also, the phrase offline doesn't tell the user much. Put some more information there that lets users know that is the status of a chat function.

Also, I'd think that the featured listings should take the main content area and the team members should be on the sidebar. Aren't people coming to the site to see the property? The people selling the property become of interest after I see some houses I want to look at. Showcase that more prominently.

Overall, the color scheme is blah and depressing. Too many greys. That red on the header is nice, but that's the only place it's used (well, there and the top of the listingsview pages). Can you get some things in there to liven up the design? Even changing the body background color to white might help a bit.

Look closely at the right and left edges of the header graphic. Something's amiss there. It doesn't line up on the right and on the left, it looks like the image is cut off or something.

Check the grammar of that header graphic, too. I'm not sure it makes sense. Do you mean "Your house Sells"? And why is Sold capitalized? Also, if there are only two items in a list, no comma is needed (should be "on your next home purchase or I'll..."). Look at the footer for some issues, too (a comma is needed between "East" and "an").

The date up at the top is micro-font and not useful. If you're going to have that, put it somewhere that's helpful. But why bother to have that? Maybe a "Last Updated" date listing, but why bother to list today's date?

The side navigation could use help. I'm used to having some indication there of the page I'm on currently. Since the virtual tours link is the only one that stands out, I think I'm always on that page. Your link colors should indicate something. If you want people to click on virtual tours, put the link somewhere that's inviting, don't change its color in the nav lineup. That's deceiving.

I don't like the metal stamp of Jeff Burke's name in the header. That's the only place that metalic treatment is used and it looks odd.

In general, it's looking a bit cold. I don't get a warm, inviting feeling from it and I think you want me to. This is due in large part to the color scheme, though that metalic treatment up top doesn't help (metalic is cold and uninviting for the most part; makes me think of manufacturing plants). Try setting the background color to white instead of #cccccc.

This is right before the ending of the head of your pages:


<style type="text/css">
<!--
body {
background-color: #CCCCCC;
}
.white_top_bottom {
font-size: 9px;
font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
}
-->
</style>

Get those style declarations into your CSS! That way it's easier to change later. Now, to change to white, you'll have to make changes to a few different PHP pages as opposed to one CSS docment. Oh, and the font-family is already declared in your CSS document, no need to ever declare it again unless you want to change it. As per your CSS, EVERYTHING on your pages will be font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif unless you change that element. Deleting those extra mentions of font-family will shrink your CSS document, make things load faster, and save bandwidth costs.
-ts

cguild
12-30-2004, 11:45 AM
Hi everyone,
Thank you so much for your input on this site!
The site has been changed.

tsguitar2004 thanks for you honest opinion, unfortunately changing the overall color scheme is out of the question. The agent has actually paid a consultant to tell him that red, black and gray are the company colors and he should stick with them even if they are cold and uninviting. He has about 10 bus benches with the same picture and header (minus the house) placed all over the city, so he has branded himself this way.
As far as the graphics I looked a lot closer on a “normal” screen resolution ( I was using super monitor 21”) and checked on a couple of different machines and I did see the images that you were talking about. I went and checked the slices and guess what, the background was 2 px to far to the right therefore it sliced a spacer and put it there. Also I took the shadow off of the house and cleaned it up a bit. I also took into consideration the main page suggestions and changed them.
Please take another quick look and let me know if the site changes are good and, if any, changes you guys would suggest.

Thanks again
Chris

tsguitar2004
12-31-2004, 12:37 PM
A quick glance at the site and I like the changes. You changed that background color and that did a lot to brighten things up. You added more of that red color so the main content area isn't as cold. I don't recall suggesting the entire color scheme change, just that you need to work with what you have a little more. That red is the lively color and you've spread it around more. You've done several things I was thinking you should do. But I think you've used too many borders. There are borders on just about every table in the site and that doesn't need to be the case. Try using CSS to put borders on tables or table elements. The thin lines CSS produces look much more organized and professional to my eye. Either way, cut down on the number of places you apply borders. It's too much.

Header graphic: black border on the right, but not on the left - be consistent! Jeff's picture is still fuzzy. The metalic treatment looks even more out of place now that the site is more lively and focused on the real estate (you've moved the featured properties into the main content area and team members into the sidebar). The house is much better, but still pixelated along the rooflines.

Side navigation: black border on left and bottom edges. This looks very strange. In fact, try removing the borders entirely from the navigation. I think that would make it look much more professional.

Footer: the link to the jeffburketeam.com site is black and so is the footer background. That wouldn't be a problem except the "and" is a dead giveaway that something comes before Keller Williams Realty so it looks like a coding mistake. Can you remove the jeffburketeam.com link? Afterall, we're at that site right now.

My comments still remain about the navigation, though you removed the trouble on the virtual tours link. Still, I'd like the link to be as wide as the rollover effect. I can't go to the page unless I click on the word, even though the table cell changes color when I rollover any part of it. That can be and should be fixed. Also, a current state would be helpful. You can do that easily with PHP. If it's something that interests you, let me know and I'll send you a link to the ALA article that tells you all about it.

And my remark about the micro-font date at top right of the site remains as well. The serial comma in the top header still bugs me (should be "on your next home purchase or I'll..."). And the lack of the serial comma where it's needed drives me insane ("Real Estate Services in..." there should be a comma before the "and" in that line).

I didn't look at it, but did you clean up your CSS? The extra declarations I saw in there last time could add up to a CSS file much bigger than needed (which translates to wasted bandwidth). Also, a slim and trim CSS file is the key to easy changes later.

It's looking better, for sure. Is the double border really necessary on the featured properties? Also, I'd like to see all the images of property on the site with a similar treatment. "Featured Listings" gives them all a little padding and a red background. The home page just gives them a black border, no padding and no background. The actual property pages gives no border, no padding, no background.

Also, the menu item "Featured Listings" is not acurrate, I don't think. The featured listings are on the home page, which you've called "Featured Property" (and "Featured property for sale in the Lansing, MI area" doesn't need a period and would probably look better without it; also, consider capitalizing "property" there, as you capitalize it in "Featured Property" above each featured image).

The other links on the home page aren't well organized and so aren't helpful. Maybe you should keep the featured listings on the home page in a table and put the rest of your main body content into another table, along with a bit of text to explain what those links are and how they might be helpful. To be honest, it looks like you cover most of those things in the side navigation. You just muddle things up by repeating yourself without reason. If those links are important, put them over with the rest of your navigation. They are wasted beneath the featured properties.

Ok! I thought this would be quick and surface, but I've plunged far too deeply! I'm off to pick up crab for tonight's dinner. I'd be happy to look at the site again in the new year. Cheers.
-ts