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Im sure that when I create a site there are better ways i could of done stuff like layout/code/graphics/usability/navigation etc but am not aware of.
The whole problem with "look at my site and tell me what you think" type requests, is that it turns into something akin to "write my essay test so I can learn from it" type scenario. We'd rather give you the book and let you learn yourself at your own pace.
I also think it would bring out the url droppers and I doubt it would get very much support. Oh, there would be lots and lots of "help me" posts, but few willing to contribute to the actual helping. I think in the long run, such a help forum would degrade the quality of the forums.
That said; it is an issue we keep revisiting, because I do think there may be a way to handle such a forum if done correctly. I also think we may be moving there in the future whether we want to or not.
We'll look at it again this summer sometime and see where we are with the membership. If we move towards very many new webmaster users, then it maybe something we really need to do.
[edited by Brett_Tabke]
Besides if they do steal without understanding it then they are only hurting themselves.
I think a place where ideas can be shown through practical application would be really really useful.
Sure there are loads of possible hazards but im sure there are loads of possible solutions.
anyway im just thinking out loud so i'll shut up now ;)
I write books and articles, teach classes, speak at conferences. When I desiminate my knowledge, it comes back to me in offers for more books, articles, classes, and conferences. I'm sure that the person doing the makeover would get more design work than they could handle.
I will even offer my sites as the first example.
While it would probably be well received and popular, I can also see a potential for abuse. I believe something like this would have to be in a controlled environment, with some sort of planned structure to it, if it were to eventually be done.
You have to remember that everyone who posts here does so voluntarily on their own time. In the modern day world there is SO MUCH to do and "so little time"...especially for people who work in this industry (so much POTENTIAL and room for improvement).
Although I'd love to have time to help others with specific aspects of their sites (as I'm sure everyone would), I realistically just don't have the time, which is probably the same with lots of other people.
That's the reason why we have this Forum: to share ideas and to provide people with access to the information so they can help themselves...the whole "teach them how to fish instead of giving them fish" philosophy.
We provide plenty of instructions on "how to" fish in the forum, which is a compilation of the contributions of hundreds of kind individuals.
A "look at my site" forum would maybe detract from this setup and environment?
I love this forum precisely because it provides me with the resources to help myself...especially because by reading it sparks my interest and creativity and I can go off an come up with "customizable" ideas for my sites.
It would seem to me that the "look at my site" would be a whole other forum? In my opinion that would be more of a "pay" model.
I can remember one teacher I had saying that things are best taught using more than one method - for example, three ways: hearing it, reading it, and then seeing a visual representation.
I have both hosted message boards (in a women's homepages community) where people ask for recommendations on their sites - which is incredibly time consuming - and also hosted chats that included site advice in varying degrees.
In one case, there was a time I co-hosted with someone else for a special chat, and people submitted their URLs for review in advance, which were then distributed to the group by email for opinions to be rendered the following week. The other lady was the "host" and I was the co-host assisting, so to speak. There were about 8 sites gone through in the space of an hour (with some left undone), with all meeting with group approval.
I have to say that there was not one that would have gotten past me, personally, without at least an hour run-through on each, as well as followup sessions - which is why I never did one of those again, even though it was requested of me. I might in future, with only one site per session, pre-selected to cover a specific area or point of emphasis each time, to demonstrate a given principle - and then have followup. The time element is, however, prohibitive.
While I agree that visual demonstration is highly effective, it's an ambitious project - I would hazard a guess that it would almost require having a pre-determined curriculum and something beyond volunteer staff, if only because of the level of time and commitment involved for that sort of project.
If you look at what we have here, there are HTML and scripting issues, design and graphics issues, a soup-to-nuts assortment of SEO issues, and to top it all off, even a forum concerned with the business of being in business.
There is almost enough area to cover here to warrant an actual "online training center."
Aside from the issues of the mechanics, it's kind of mind-boggling how much territory could actually be covered, and as 2_much pointed out, it would take a tremendous amount of manpower to cover it all.
Oh, I would also volunteer - I need a total makeover, with the first necessary element being a re-assessment of the target audience. It's an awesome possibility, with a lot of variables possible.
Maybe someday, when the time is right, we'll see these concepts and ideas come to pass. I know I need all the help I can get. I think I can honestly say that I've learned best what I've had to think through the most, and I really love the forum format for that aspect - it's thought-provoking as well as informative. :)
Go to the dreamweaver site and get on the newsgroup...you can even "help" some of the folks if you want to.
The issue is also approach-dependent, related to the area of emphasis. There are sites that are magnificently done, and when they are all finished is when the company starts looking at how to get rankings. Some people fire up Photoshop first thing when they start on a site, and the first thing others do is start on a keyword analysis.
I have no idea which approach the Dreamweaver group would take, but it sounds like a good resource for bouncing back design ideas, at any rate.
>free analysis services
This happens a whole lot, physics; there is a long thread here in the Professional Webmaster Business Issues forum about this very issue.
The bottom line is that there's an economy of time involved for most people, so whatever time is spent has to do the most good.
Just telling someone to change their title tags and first paragraph and check on the load time (which is generally as much as a board or email list can deal with) is not the same as what's involved if a lot of time is necessary.
>Think of it as a master class in the art of web design.
I can see this possibility as a workable concept: presenting a visual demonstration of what's being explained, step by step. It couldn't be randomly done - it would undoubtedly take a lot of planning and forethought.
Set up a contract laying out the terms as far as what's reviewed and what's not. Then collect a non-refundable fee to be split between the review panel members.
At say $150 a pop I would sit there and do that all day for a little while anyway (not to elevate myself to that level of expertise) before it got boring.
It would then be beneficial to all parties and the end result could be some very satisfied customers with some very high-ranking and usable web sites.
"cool" is not exactly the best starting place ;)
>The question we always ask is "what is it you do".
So then Mr. M, you're starting with asking what the site is about. It's an assumption that the first page of a site would be clear about that, but it's not always so.
Do you go from there to asking what they want the site to accomplish - it's purpose and goals?
I don't think this is the right place for a check my site forum...there are loads of Usenet groups already doing that...there are chat rooms full of web designers (that's where I started learning) and you can even put together an ICQ list of like minded souls...we don't need another way of getting site crits
a discussion about the process of developing a site interests me hugely...there is plenty of debate about totally theoretical idea and plenty of nuts and bolts ideas...but I'd like to compare notes on the process of going from raw concept to finished web site
my process keeps improving, and I'm usually pretty focused on it...so I know there is likely to be lots of room for improvement for all of us
Point Two: erm...er...um....
The other help forums around the net full of help questions that range from "why is my site blue in netscape" to "how do I upload". Clearly the answers are right in font of the persons finger tips if they are willing to search. Those types of questions and forums tend to have a real "cheap" quality and bring down the rest of the forums. Even a well moderated forum of that type would not be immune to "mickey" posts by less-than-honest competing sites.