Stamp Collecting site intended to provide philatelic information to hobbyists. Large site consisting of about 750 pages, 45,000 images, and a fair amount of PHP and ASP (used to present SQL stamp databases). It is not a corporate or company site but rather just a personal site that seems to just keep growing. It took me about 250 hours to port the entire site using PineGrow. I have learned a lot and made some missteps, continual improvement in-process. Any input is welcome and appreciated.
I can see many hours has gone into the site and we both share a love for classic cars!
Love this page http://www.stampsmarter.com/learning/Home_Learning.html although you could improve the viewing experience by replacing the black colour with a pattern? the dark colour background can be quite harsh for a viewer.
I use https://www.toptal.com/designers/subtlepatterns/ but your website is actually quick loading my end , unlike some websites which are very clunky.
Well, You have been busy! that’s pretty good! It will take a while to explore that one nicely, but thought I would just pop in and say Hi before I get around to exploring it properly . But, it saves you the wait and lets you know people are looking and well done! 250 hours! wow, lots of work. awesome
Two things to note (which has mostly to do with my personal attitude):
NO - I don’t wan’t to win something (at least not a Windows tablet). I hate the idea, that my first click on a page has to do with the word “NO”.
Animate on hover should be preserved on the element itself. I’m focusing on the middle pricing container within the pricing section. It causes a shift on the press section below.
All the rest is design - which isn’t mine, but this doesn’t matter at all.
It’s great that you built this using Pinegrow and I know it’s just a personal site, however, I will be completely honest… you need to hire a graphic designer. Many of the graphics used look like bad clip art you just copied off a Google search. A perfect example of this is the animated book gif at the top of http://www.stampsmarter.com/Learning/GlossaryHome.html
The site does not look cohesive. Your logo could also use a serious update. Overall, the site looks very 1999 even though it’s responsive and was just completed. Even just updating the logo would help greatly. If you don’t have a lot of money I recommend going to a site like 99designs and find someone to help you.
For graphics, buy an icon set or use a site like https://www.iconfinder.com/ and find icons that look close to each other in their design. As the other commenter also stated, changing the dark background would help, too. It kind of brings my mood down instead of making want to explore and is part of the reason the site looks dated.
The layout is decent and the information is great, it’s just the visuals that really need work. Hope this review isn’t too harsh sounding. Again, great that you did all this in Pinegrow!
@cricket346 Considering it’s a personal site, the footer has “with love to my wife” and he has a passion for classic cars going back to the driving them in the 70’s , I took this into consideration when offering feedback, unless the OP returns and says he wants harsh/honest feedback, to improve his website?..although @cricket346 is now the Simon Cowell of this forum lol (just kidding)
Understood. I debated adding the opening page popup. I hold give away contests every month; no obligations. This month, I decided to instead hold a raffle for a decent tablet and modified the opening page. At most it would have been a once a year thing but perhaps I will not do it again. The site currently gets enough donations to pay for the overhead and for me to buy a few new dev tools every year.
I appreciate all feedback, positive or negative. I know it takes time to go visit a site and write a review. The only feedback I usually get is from stamp collectors and many of these folks are not techy.
Over the last two years I have been forced into early retirement by cancer and resulting renal failure. Given my medical prognosis (am not supposed to be alive now) I was not about to start buying/hiring professional graphics. (Racked up over $2.1 million in medical bills in last 20 months!) I spent 20 years as a VP of Engineering at two technology companies and am NOT a coder nor do I profess to be a graphics artist. This site, including the SQL back end and graphics have taken me well over 3000 man hours. It has been a great distraction for me. As long as fate allows, I will continue to make improvements including those based upon everyone’s feedback.
Thanks again for your input and time!
Edit; While the book is indeed reused from the internet (public domain) I do have many other images and animations that I did myself such as this one http://www.stampsmarter.com/learning/HowToHingeStamps.html Again, I know I am not a graphics artist but the stamp hobbyists seem to enjoy them.
@51Studebaker one compliment I can pay you, is that there will be many a professional who wouldn’t know how to put together the website you built using PInegrow and every websites success is based around the target audience. You don’t have to win a design contest.
Not every website has to have generic stock photos, a hero banner and be 80% photography, so if your 90’s style website works and is popular with stamp hobbyists, IMO its their feedback that really counts.
@51Studebaker hello and I hope you are keeping well all things considered. I think you have created an interesting site that services both you and fellow philatelists requirements. Well done, nice work. Others have given their feedback on the site and I don’t have anything really to add to it except to say that if you would like some assistance with some of the graphic elements of the site (free of charge) feel free to message me and we see what I can do to help out. Its always great to see what Pinegrow users create.
Holy Crap! welll, in that considered, even more, Well Done You
and, the main purpose of an information site is ,
- THE INFORMATION.
- Being able to access it and FIND IT.
- Ease of use and Navigation. UX and UI
Thats it! for DESIGN… well, if you want to tweak things crack on! but its NOT another damned Bootstrap/wordpress, stock website, so GREAT!
Curious, what did you port the site over from?
I think it’s quite amazing and very commendable what you have had to learn and overcome to accomplish what you have. I have nothing but respect in what you have accomplished. I know little about the stamp collecting industry (aside from old stamps are neat). But a quick look at general sites in that industry and your site seems on par with many of those, if not better in many areas.
Many times if it serves it’s purpose and meets the needs of users, then that is what is most important. Sure with anything, their can always be improvements. But sometimes perfection has a cost as well and in the end is not required and does not yield dramatic benefits to users.
I wish you all the best and continued success with your website, but hope and trust most of all for your continued well being and health. Thanks for sharing your story, very inspirational overall and with Pinegrow.