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Pre-launch Site Review Please


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12 replies to this topic

#1 1dmf

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 05:42 AM

Hi Guys & Gals,

I would appreciate it if you would be so kind as to give my latest creation the once over and feedback any critisim or suggestions.

URL : http://www.pattayaho....com/home.shtml


General
Is this site completed or under construction?

Completed but not launched so open for last minute changes

If completed:
How long has the site been up?
see above.

SEO
Do you have incoming links?
no (but I will put one from my other site, so lets say one!) lol.gif

What keywords are you targeting?
pattaya holiday flats, and variations of apparment, condominium, etc..

Other pages target more to do with activities in pattaya / thailand

Plus some just do what they are meant to do , tell the user what the page is about. ie. Price List, Additional Services etc.

Do you want your code reviewed for errors or improvements?
Always want to know about errors or imporvements.

Marketing
Who is your target audience? Think about:
Gender : Due to country , it's probably likely to attract single males / the lads! , dirty old men or families / couples
Nationality : We are aiming at the UK market, but anyone is welcome to rent a condo
Age Range : well it's not like it's club 18-30!
Income/Education level : We are happy to take anyone, so not rellivant, though corporate lets are always good!
Likes/Dislikes : It's Thailand, go figure!

Why is your site different from sites selling/offering similar info/goods/services?
Doing a bit of research found that there wan't a great deal of competition, some sites were high end , very expensive 'penthouse' types, and others were real bottom of the range and crappy website, I'd like to think the site is clean, easy to navigate, user friendly and informative.

Why will someone want to do business you?
Because we are a genuine, honest, familiy run concern, and what you see is what you get!

How important is usability?
Very, we need people to register their enquiry and beable to easily see if the appartment is available for their desired period.

What is the purpose of the site? (inform, sell, online community, support B&M business, contact info only, etc)
To rent out our condos

Design
Do you want design suggestions?
Yes please, though we are very happy with the main template used, so I'm looking for 'tweaks' not re-design suggestions wink1.gif

Hope you like the site and look forward to your feedback.

#2 torka

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 03:58 PM

I like the design overall. It's clean and it gives the wood/bamboo/natural/tropical/exotic sort of feel that I think will appeal to Westerners looking for a vacation in Thailand.

A few suggestions: first, have an experienced proofreader go over the site with a fine-toothed comb. I noticed a few minor punctuation and spelling errors (not Brit versus US English -- real, live typos). Nothing major and not at all pervasive, but it would be good to clean them up if possible before launch.

Second, it might be helpful to include a link to a currency conversion tool on the pricing page. I have absolutely no idea what a Thai Baht is worth in my currency (what I think of as "real" money), and it's a pain to have to go and find a currency conversion tool myself. If you can link to one, that would make it a lot easier for me to figure out how this condo would (or would not) fit into my holiday budget.

Third, include a "contact us" form somewhere -- perhaps on the "About us" page, if you don't want to add a specific "contact us" page. I see where there's a booking inquiry form, but what if I'm not ready to book and just have a general question? I need some way to contact somebody to ask, and I don't see any facility to do that.

Finally, and I know this might not be something that could be in place for an imminent launch, but perhaps something for a future enhancement... On the pages showing the different rooms and talking about the amenities, services and activities, I liked how the pictures expanded to give you a larger view when you moused over them. But I really expected each of those little sections to link to a dedicated page that would give me an even larger version of the picture, with maybe some additional pictures and more text. The paragraphs on the existing pages seemed more like introductory excerpts than what I would anticipate would be the full explanation.

For instance, I'd like to see several shots of the each room of the apartment, each taken from a different angle, along with some more happy marketing copy giving me a lot more verbal description of what I'll find there. That sort of thing.

As it stands, it's a good site, but to be a great site, I think it needs to show me and tell me more.

My penny.gif

--Torka mf_prop.gif

#3 andrew55

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 12:20 AM

Text (i.e Are you looking for that special accommodation to match your holiday of a lifetime.) seemed a bit small to me. I think bigger text would grab users attention and let them know right away the purpose of site, the emotional benefits, etc.

The lines in between the left menu items (Home, Apartment, etc) have a dirty look to them that confused my eyes at first glance.

What is the Availability Calendar for? Maybe make this a bit more clear.

It's obvious you put some time into this site - overall it looks good. My suggestions could me more my own preference, but hope this helps.

#4 madams

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 05:15 AM

I totally agree with Torka

I realy like the site 1dmf. Very clean and easy to navigate. Good work!

One thing missing (as Torka said) is picture galleries of the apartments.

IMO, the more the merrier and a decent size. All rooms in the apartments, views of the apartments from the street, local beaches, towns etc.

I have been doing a similar thing here in Spain for the last 10 years and the feedback from clients is clear, "Can you send us more pictures" So, I have a good selection of images for each property, from all angles.

"A picture paints a thousand words" is so true.



#5 rolf

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 08:31 AM

I'm actually considering a holiday in Thailand later this year, so I was very interested to see this site.

Overall, a good job. Certainly one of the best designed and most helpful ones I've seen whilst looking about. I think everyone else has made some good suggestions, some of which I didn't think of, some of which I did. I have some more suggestions but they're really things to take it further, not criticisms of the great job you've already done.

Coding/design issues:
The only thing I can suggest for this is that I expected the pictures/titles to be linked as well as the 'read more', if nowhere else then certainly under the 'The Euro Condo - Luxury & Convenience' headline on the home page.

Other suggestions:
I have no idea what the local currency is worth, so some sort of generalisation and a link to a converter would be good. The generalisation doesn't need to be totally accurate but if I was to do this for GBP/USD, for instance, I would say 'There are generally 1.5 to 2 US dollars to the British pound - click here for an accurate conversion at today's rate'.

How much is a taxi/bus to the beach/town/etc.? How much is car hire? What sort of car can I hire?

The activities page covers the essential thing the main stream would probably want to know, and all of these are essential to mention, but it doesn't mention some of the things I would personally want to know about. My examples would be mainly cultural, such as temples, monuments, those massive buddha statues you see in pictures, old/spiritual stuff, jungle/wildlife, Thai music, Thai art, martial arts - but maybe stuff I wouldn't even know exists in Thailand that may have nothing to do with it's historical culture would interest me too.

The site doesn't say where in Thailand the complex is, I would want to know so I could look for other things in the area not mentioned on the site. This could also lead to information about the local culture. For instance, where I live in Suffolk is a nice place to visit, nice scenery, good food, good amenities, a nice hotel could sell it on that alone, but it's an opportunity missed not to talk about the history of the town, the fact that it's the home town of Thomas Gainsborough, that John Constable painted the meadows around here, that the historic village of Lavenham is 10 minutes down the road etc.

I would also be interested to see links to other local websites, the local tourist board, local restaurants, local attractions' own websites.

I'm not sure what other sorts of accommodation are available in Thailand, these apartments sound great but I also like the idea of a private villa - maybe the site owner could have some kind of referral/kickback deal with other local non-competing hotels/villas?

That's all I could think of, hopefully it's all constructive, I certainly don't want to criticise the site non-constructively as I think you've done a good job. The site as it is gives me all the information I need, just not necessarily all the information I want. If you launched it today with no further adjustment I think I would do a great job, and the people looking for exactly what the site covers (which I would think is most people) will find everything they need to make the decision to book.

Hope that's helpful.

#6 1dmf

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:33 PM

wow - thanks guys, wub.gif

You've obviously spent time to have a look and give some indepth replies, it really is appreciated.

You all mention some great ideas and additions, which I will now cover, and appreciate further input.

1. Proofreader - Yup, as you know I'm no copy writer, the text was supplied by my Dad (the'yre his condos), and I've asked him several times to proof read and offer addition content where required, it's a hard life sitting on your ass doing nothing all day in thailand you know!

2. Currency converter - D'oh was on the list along with the local time & weather forecast - thanks for reminding me!

3. 'contact us' - I see your point, there is plenty of room on the 'about us' page so i'll whack it there.

4. icons hyperlink - I originally was going to do that for the home page ones (still might?), but then thought visitors will expect every 'thumb' to be clickable, and that was something we decided we weren't going to do. which leads to then next point.

5. Larger photos - hmm do you know how hard it was getting decent enough photos to do the apartment page? They were all taken by the old man, jezus was it a hard slog, the amount of times I had to tell him the ones he sent were no good.... for example the bathroom photo took 3 attempts, before I got one without a bottle of dometos on the side, the loo seat up, the shower curtain closed, no bog roll on holder etc. etc..

the balcony one was just as bad, I had to request the table / chairs be arranged with the plant and a mop lying on the floor in the background removed from frame.... the original dining table shot had no cuttlery or place mats arranged.

You're getting the idea, I don't have any more decent photos, and some , because of the way I cropped them has items removed... bigger ones wouldn't look as good!

I did suggest to him perhaps it's worth getting a professional photographer to take the pictures and arange the rooms for the shots, but he hasn't, maybe next time I visit I can take a few of my own!

90% of the pictures across the top of each page are my own holiday snaps, the Bridge on The River Kwai looks great with the diagonal frame angle, and got it just before a train came!

6. Additional info - very valid point, more cultural and excursions, places of interest, but this will need to be written by the old man, he's the expert who's been out there 7 years, and I think this can be built onto the site over time, this type of content can take a long time to build , so post launch well be ok me thinks, I'd want to research properly no point in having inacurate info.

7. Font size - does anyone else see this a problem?, I went to 1024x768 and checked, it seemed ok to me, this is a dificult one to please everyone, we all use different screen resolutions, it is written using relative font sizes, so the browser 'enlarge text' option will work. Many other people have looked at the site for me and this is the first time someone has mentioned font size?

8. 'dirty lines' - that's part of the template we bought, I've used the image in other places to keep consitency, which I thought was meant to be in keeping with the 'Rustic' overall template design. I'm not sure neat , clean lines is right for the design, what's others thoughts?

9. Calendar - Is it really not obvious what the availability calendar is for?

10. Links - I thought links pages were a dirty word these days so decided not to have one, I guess 'useful links' with affiliate kick backs is a potential revenue stream to be investigated. and as long as they are useful, it won't be so bad smile.gif

Well I've certainly got some more work to be doing, so best get to it.

Thanks for the feedback.


#7 madams

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:20 PM

QUOTE
the bathroom photo took 3 attempts, before I got one without a bottle of dometos on the side, the loo seat up, the shower curtain closed, no bog roll on holder etc. etc..

lol.gif

I know what you mean 1dmf, I get sent pictures I cant publish. One set of about 14 pics had the family dog in every shot, even on the bed! Not nice for the punters!

Another one sent to me was labeled "Poolside Shower" it was a picture of a hosepipe hanging on a nail in the side of the shed!

I am no photographer but I know what makes a good shot, had to learn fast. I have a relatively cheap digital camera with a wide angle lens. Does a good job.

Another trick is to take as many as possible, of everything. When I get them into Photoshop I decide what to discard.

Edit: Just thought, I could fly out there and help you out if you bye the ticket! whistling.gif

#8 rolf

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 10:57 AM

I don't think I can add anything else really, I think you've done a good job already you seem to have a good handle on what could be improved. Just a second opinion on a couple of things.

Point 8 - they seemed fine to me. As you say, they fit with the overall look and feel.

Point 9 - I may not be totally objective as I've used similar things on other sites, but the availability calendar seemed obvious enough to me.

Good luck with it.

#9 icecape67

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 12:51 PM

i like the look and feel, but the font size might be a bit too small. I would take it up a notch, it would increase the appeal to those dirty old men wink1.gif

#10 1dmf

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 06:15 AM

Can all those who are posting saying the font is small please post your screen resolutions. Thanks.

QUOTE
Edit: Just thought, I could fly out there and help you out if you bye the ticket!
I can't make the old man see the pictures he sent were no good without a heated discussion, can you imagine what he'd say when I asked for a 1000 bucks to send a photographer out there! - lol , nice try , but I don't think it's gonna happen. But hey , I might be able to get you a deal on the rental price wink1.gif

Currency Converter -> now added, any issues with it please let me know.

IE6 -> I've fixed the IE6 display problems, or at least I think I have , let me know if this is not the case.

Edited by 1dmf, 30 March 2009 - 06:22 AM.


#11 icecape67

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 07:21 AM

QUOTE(1dmf @ Mar 30 2009, 06:15 AM) View Post
Can all those who are posting saying the font is small please post your screen resolutions. Thanks.


my screen resolution is 1280x800



#12 1dmf

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 10:02 AM

Thought so, the average screen resolution for most users is 1024x768 , my screen resolution is 1650 x 1050 and it looks fine as I like small font, infact the font on this website is roughtly the same size.

But in the interest of 'Accessibility' I'll give it a little nudge up thumbup1.gif

#13 CDGUK

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 06:54 PM

i agree with others the font size needs making bigger




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