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dropbop

New Member
Hi everyone,

This is the first site of this size I have built and designed from scratch (normally I would use an out of the box script and design the layouts myself). I have been working it for a while now and I feel its time to start getting some feedback on design and usability from the gurus out their.

Free Quotes From Verified Tradesmen

The main things I am concerned about is

1. Site front page - too bright, too much going on, etc etc?

2. Structure - is it easy enough for someone who has never been on it to navigate around? Are the links easy to locate, are they clear enough?

3. Overall design

There are some obvious bits that still need work, but overall the main guts of it have been complete.

All and any reviews or criticism is very welcome.

Many thanks

Eoin
 

link8r

New Member
Hey Eoin,

Time to call in the font police and set them to work on your site. There are too many fonts. It resembles those ransom letters you used to see in movies in the 1980's where every letter was a different typeface. Times New Roman rarely has a purpose on a website imho. There are enormous spaces of nothingness and then areas where text is just crammed into a little box. It really doesn't look well at the moment, sorry :(
 
K

Kieran

Guest
Why do you have Anti Spam and agreement to Terms and Conditions on the front page so early? Plus the Get Quote button doesn't seem to be working. And you have a typo in the menu and a few others there as well . Agree with link8r on fonts 2-3 max is a rule of thumb.

Contact Us doesn't work
Lose the clock
Your FAQ also has several spelling mistakes

I gave up then sorry...
 

dropbop

New Member
Hey Eoin,

Time to call in the font police and set them to work on your site. There are too many fonts. It resembles those ransom letters you used to see in movies in the 1980's where every letter was a different typeface. Times New Roman rarely has a purpose on a website imho. There are enormous spaces of nothingness and then areas where text is just crammed into a little box. It really doesn't look well at the moment, sorry :(
Hi link8r,

Cheers for the feedback, its exactly the type of feedback I want to hear :), so no need to apology.

The font I an using is Gisha, but then I found it wasnt native a font on my linux (Ubuntu) box, which just show time new roman in its place. I am changing all fonts to Tahoma which I think (as far as I can remember) is a native font of most OS's and browsers. I will leave the fonts in the images as Gisha, not sure why, but I have grown fond of that font lately.

I have a bit to work on the left area, its messy and has spaces with nothing.. I hope to eventually fill some of these up with trade ads of some sort. The directory part is very bare and empty at the moment, but that will be filling up with listing soon... fingers crossed! :)

Anyway, I will get to work on it, want to launch this by monday, getting anxious to get it up and running :distrust:

Cheers

Eoin
 

dropbop

New Member
Why do you have Anti Spam and agreement to Terms and Conditions on the front page so early? Plus the Get Quote button doesn't seem to be working. And you have a typo in the menu and a few others there as well . Agree with link8r on fonts 2-3 max is a rule of thumb.

Contact Us doesn't work
Lose the clock
Your FAQ also has several spelling mistakes

I gave up then sorry...
The reason the anti-spam and T's & C's are on the front page is because that is where the form is, but I am thinking about putting a second page where it shows the details back to the person, and then have the anti-spam and T's & C's there.. which would basically be they are shown what they entered and to confirm it is all ok, enter the anti-spam quiz answer and agree to T's & C's and Submit the details.

I have typos everywhere, im not afraid to say my spelling is brutal sometimes. But I will be going over the whole thing over the weekend.

Contact Us page is yet to be put in, Clock is now gone, FAQ (as above) will be looked at over the weekend.

I don't blame your for giving up, but your feedback is still valuable to me, thanks for taking the time to look in the first place, its much appreciated indeed.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
No contact details
No privacy policy
You're telling people which browser to use - seriously? It's 2012 and I'm using Firefox and it still doesn't display properly in parts :)
You appear to be charging VAT, but there's no VAT number on the site
Contact us link is broken
Having to click on the "home" link specifically is annoying - the logo should be clickable
Header image is clickable, but doesn't do anything
Check your copy for typos etc.,
 

dropbop

New Member
No contact details
No privacy policy
[/CODE]
I have a lot of these things almost ready, they are one of my local machines

You're telling people which browser to use - seriously? It's 2012 and I'm using Firefox and it still doesn't display properly in parts :)
I know, that felt a bit silly even putting that text there, but I left it there as a reminder to myself to sort certain things out. Things are changing on it all the time at the moment, I am working on it right now, I still have a whole load to do in the admin pages, and also designing the MS Access part which I will be using to run most of the site.

You appear to be charging VAT, but there's no VAT number on the site
There will be all proper business details on there including Bus reg No., Vat No., Address, Phone, Email, Fax and anything else that needs to go in.

Contact us link is broken
The page is on the way.

Having to click on the "home" link specifically is annoying - the logo should be clickable
Just sorted that a few minutes ago :)

Header image is clickable, but doesn't do anything
I removed the <a> tags from that, thats for spotting it out. :)

Check your copy for typos etc.,
Thats part of my weekend task,


I know the site needs a lot of work, and is definitely not 100%, design-wise. This is the biggest project I have done to date, the majority of it being back-end stuff. The site still has to be developed further with a shopping cart and blog, and also a website builder. The on-site SEO is also going to be a big one to do. I start promoting it on Monday, which means I need to get as much (if not all) of it done by then. I have been up for 3 days straight working on it (yes, no sleep in 3 days, except for the hour I dozed off and woke up with pages of N's filling my DW area lol ) to get it finished, so you can't imagine how welcoming your comments are, because the more I stare at it, the less I see so your comments are giving me that kick up the ass I need to get those bit sorted before my deadline.

Thanks to each of you so far, I now have a nice list written down with what you have said, and a few other bits I have spotted too. So with any luck I will have the site ready and promotion started before the missus drops the latest addition to the family, shes a week over, so I have to get all this done, hence no sleep... I havent got time for sleep! :black_eyed:

Keep the comments coming if you can, they all mean a great deal at this stag.

Cheers guys,

Eoin
 

dropbop

New Member
OK, thats enough for me, I can hardly keep my eyes open.

Here is a A basic listing if someone could have a quick look and let me know what they think.

Nite all... Or should I be saying good morning..

Eoin
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
That listing doesn't tell me anything. What do they do? What is their expertise? How long have they been in business?
Why would I use your site? I'd get the same info by just Googling
 

link8r

New Member
You could also just use Arial. But you could use the Google Fonts project but arial works really well.

If I could ask you a favour: who gives a **** about the font? This is a real question - I'm literally stuck on a project where the poor web designers are literally in this cyce (word for word): How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell - The Oatmeal

I own lots and lots of sites. I have 100 domains. I don't ever remember panicking about the font and I have been living off of the internet for 10 years without ever using any form of advertising or offline marketing of any sort....
 

dropbop

New Member
If I could ask you a favour: who gives a **** about the font? This is a real question - I'm literally stuck on a project where the poor web designers are literally in this cyce (word for word): How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell - The Oatmeal
That was a funny page... And so so true too. This bit made me laugh "Ive never come closer to braining someone with a car batery as I did that day"..
[/QUOTE]

Anyway, after 13 hours sleep (had alarm set to wake me up after 3 hours) and a whole day missed, I am now back on the site working in a few things that blacknight pointed out. But just in my defense of the amount of info on the listings.. there are not that many sites that will allow you to put that much info in a listing.. Many will only give you basic stuff.. I came across a few that charge pretty big money to add half of what I will be giving. Not only that, the main part of my site is about the service behind it, the leads service to tradespeople. The directory was something I added to the service, as an extra i guess.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
You're completely missing my point.

If you expect people to pay you to get listed and other people to use the service to contact them then you need to offer something that nobody else offers.
I don't see anything that your site is currently doing that other sites aren't doing and are probably doing better
It doesn't matter what other people are or aren't doing. The successful sites are already getting traffic and making sales.
You're starting from scratch and you need to attract both punters and tradespeople.
As a punter I can't see anything on the site that would encourage me to visit again
As someone who controls a marketing budget I wouldn't pay to get listed on the site, as I can't see how it would bring me any business.
To start with the domain name is terrible. It's not memorable at all.
I can't see how you are going to be able to persuade people to get listed on there unless you're offering them the listing for free.
Other sites already do what you're trying to do and have market share.
If you want to get market share you need to be more interruptive. You need to innovate.
 

dropbop

New Member
You're completely missing my point.
I dont think im missing the point completly. I suppose what your seeing when you look at the site is not the whole picture. I still have things like the photo gallery and location map and a few other things yet to go on.

If you expect people to pay you to get listed and other people to use the service to contact them then you need to offer something that nobody else offers.
I have been trying to think up ideas for this, and I have a few, but nothing that is yet to really stand out with that wow factor. I want to offer as much as possible. But I also have to keep in mind that the site is not based on the directory, its based on the service of getting leads for the tradespeople registered on the site, the directory is secondary to that, which will build up as the lead service builds up.

I don't see anything that your site is currently doing that other sites aren't doing and are probably doing better
It doesn't matter what other people are or aren't doing. The successful sites are already getting traffic and making sales.
You're starting from scratch and you need to attract both punters and tradespeople.
As a punter I can't see anything on the site that would encourage me to visit again
This might come across wrong, and no offence is intended, but when you or any other designer/developer looks at a website, you probably see design, and not much more.. but when a visitor looks at a site, how its made up probably doesnt even cross their minds as long as it has the info or services they need. To give 2 good examples of this... you have tradesmen.ie in one corner... very plane and simple, nothing much to look at on the front end, yet still does very well because of the service it offers and I can say it does offer a great service because I used to use them to get work during the boom. And in the other corner you have onlinetradesmen.ie who seem to have gone heavy on design and have so much info on the site you would need to take a day off to read it all, but they also do extremely well because of the service that's offered behind the website. The website is just a tool. Each of these sites (and others) started small, like any start-up really, but grew and built their reputation, and its the reputation that got them where they are, not just the websites. When I was using tradesmen.ie, i think I was only on their site 2 or 3 times. Everything was done by text message and telephone, even though I had a laptop with me all the time.

As someone who controls a marketing budget I wouldn't pay to get listed on the site, as I can't see how it would bring me any business.
This is what I am explaining above, the site is not soley about the listings in the directory, thats just an extra, a place where people who have used the service can add reviews, see previous work, check qualifications etc. What tradesmen are paying for is a lead service.

To start with the domain name is terrible. It's not memorable at all.
I have another domain 'trade-quote.com', but my payment processor is set to stapolin.ie, and my other payment processor alertpay, who i would have been using but they lost the ability to process credit cards, so I ended up with stapolin.ie, but that could change overnight and I may move to the lot to trade-quote.com, im sure there are still many people out there who use a cheque book to pay for things :sentimental: I know I do.

I can't see how you are going to be able to persuade people to get listed on there unless you're offering them the listing for free.
As above, its not focused on the listings, although I may do a listing only offer, but each tradesman listed would still need to be verified before they get listed.

Other sites already do what you're trying to do and have market share.
Yes, there are a number of sites offering the same service, but very few, if any, will offer as many services ie. Lead services, directory listings, websites, facebook pages, featured advertising, featured tradesperson writeup etc etc... but I dont want to jam it all in at once and end up overwhelmed with work, I want to get the foundations laid, and build on it from there.

If you want to get market share you need to be more interpretive. You need to innovate.
I dont think getting market share will be too hard with the right marketing. It is the type of service more and more people are looking for, and I think, in time, I should have no problem competing with others providing similar services.
I have been planning this for a long time, and its not the firs one of these sites I have done.. I used to own decks.ie and had a similar service, but was just leads service, nothing else, and it went very well for a while, but I forgot to renew the domain name, and it was taken by a competitor, who of course refused point blank to let me have it back.

I understand what your saying blacknight, and believe me, its all being taken on board. I do want this site to develop into something like has never been seen in Ireland for this niche, a service that will be hard to top by anyone. I think I have a good advantage over some of the others whereas I have worked as a tradesman, with other tradesmen & for other tradesmen. I have also had a love of website design for a long time. I think it was 1996 when I put together my first site, and amazon was selling just books! But lately, I have really been getting into php/mysql, and what I have learned has really given me a boost in what I can offer with this service, but like many people, its always good to get the opinions of other to help keep you on the right track.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
Well I sincerely wish you the best of luck, but I still think you've misunderstood 99% of what I've been saying to you. Apart from anything else you're assuming I view it as a designer or developer.
I don't.
I'm not going to try and explain further, as I think we're just going round in circles.
 

dropbop

New Member
Well I sincerely wish you the best of luck, but I still think you've misunderstood 99% of what I've been saying to you. Apart from anything else you're assuming I view it as a designer or developer.
I don't.
I'm not going to try and explain further, as I think we're just going round in circles.
Thanks for at least trying to get some points across to me, i really do appreciate it. I probably have misunderstood you because I was getting the impression you were solely aiming your views at the directory side of things, but reading back, I can see there is alot more to your feedback than that.

I hope I havent offended, that certainly was not my intention.
 

Schism

New Member
Hi dropbop,

I don't really see the value-add here - what sets you apart from the tonne of other sites doing the same 'tradesman quote/lead generation' thing that you are doing here? Why does Ireland need another one of these sites?
 

dropbop

New Member
Hi dropbop,

I don't really see the value-add here - what sets you apart from the tonne of other sites doing the same 'tradesman quote/lead generation' thing that you are doing here? Why does Ireland need another one of these sites?
Hi dropbop,

I don't really see the value-add here - what sets you apart from the tonne of other sites doing the same 'tradesman quote/lead generation' thing that you are doing here? Why does Ireland need another one of these sites?
Thats very true, there are a number of services offering the quote/lead generation, but if you look at them closely, you will see that on 2 actually do any good, and thats because they have build up a good reputation for what they do.

There is a few factors that I have taken on board when planning this, and one is that if a tradesperson is not qualified, they can not use their services. I know so many people who are superb at what they do (trade sectors) and have applied to the 2 main sites only to be told that they cant join then because they dont have a qualification. There are thousands of people in the same boat, who do what they do very well, but just dont have the papers to back them up.

What I will be doing is targeting these guys, finding out if they have what it takes, and verifying that they can do the jobs they sent. Each one will have an extensive listing in the directory, along with reviews from previous and present customers, large photo gallery with a place to add descriptions of the jobs each photo is linked to.

There will also be an online store where tradespeople can purchase PPE, tools etc, I have been in contact with a number of hire companies who are willing to give discounts on tool hire to any tradespeople in my database.

Thats some of the tradesman side of things anyway.

I havent had a chance to put everything in to the live site yet, due a new addition to the family last Monday.

For the homeowner side, they can check reviews and write reviews for tradesmen. There will be a section for them to view or download things like booklets on hiring a tradesman, how to apply for planning permission, etc etc.

The site has had quite a few hits, and there have even been a few leads posted already. Which tells me that when the site is finished and the marketing starts, it should do quite well. And once it builds a good name for itself, I can see this service in strong competition with the already well established ones.

Personally I think it will do well. Like most things, you lay the foundation and build it up from there. :) I'm determined! :)
 
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