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Keystroketshirts said:
We just launched our new store.
can I get a site review from the community?

Anything you folks can tell me will help!

Thanks,
[email protected]
Hi Felix, welcome to the forums. :) I will give your site a little review. Let's see here..

Since you didn't include a link in your post (and the title wasn't hyperlinked) I just typed in the URL into my address bar. I accidently typed in "keystrokeshirts.com" instead of "keystrokeTshirts.com". If your customers hear your website name via word-of-mouth, they might make the same mistake as I did. Better register keystrokeshirts.com and forward your customers to the correct website. :)

One thought about your title bar - I seriously doubt you are the "World's First" shop selling emoticon t-shirts. I have seen them in other places. It's much better to be the best of something, rather than the first.

Your website design is very simple, clean and loads quickly. Those are the good things. But you are using a newer design technology (mouse-overs) that a lot of people are not familiar with, and it is causing some usability issues.

The way your products are shown is confusing. Because the mouse-over was delayed, and the designs are all very similar, I didn't even notice that the design on the shirt had changed. So I just clicked on one of the designs and it gave me a pop-up saying "If you would like to purchase this T-shirt design, please use the drop down menus below the T-shirt image." Guess what? If I had a pop-up blocker installed, I would not have been able to see that message at all, and I would have assumed that the link didn't work!

Better to make that click go to the design, rather than using mouse-over. Mouse-over is more "cool", but it isn't used in web design very often, and most people just click on things rather than hovering around waiting to see if something will happen. Also, the "color options" boxes are so small, it is hard for people to just hover over them and wait for it to change (it took a full 1 second for it to change for me, and I am on a high speed connection). It should all be clickable.

You can also use a different background color for each shirt that has a different design. Pink for (^_^), blue for (o_O), etc. Because your designs are so similar, this will help the customer notice that the design has changed when they click on it, rather than thinking the link is broken. They will think the link is broken because they are probably expecting that clicking it will take them to a new page, and if that doesn't happen you have to show them that "something" has happened.

More pop-up problems. You have a lot of pages as pop-ups - your Help page, your Customer Reviews page, and even your PayPal shopping cart. If I had a pop-up blocker, I wouldn't be able to see any of these!

Your Customer Review page should be linked from the title bar or footer. Or it should at least have a title like "See what our customers are saying!" instead of "Mary F. 09-08-06". Also, as viewed in Firefox, the box around it is formatted incorrectly. The "More" link overlaps the text.

The Home page seems casual and friendly, with the little ASCII guy holding up a sign and everything, but your Help page is exactly the opposite. The way it is written seems very cold and business-like.

For example, "Who can help me with a billing question?" is answered with: "All billing inquiries should be submitted to us at [email protected] using the subject line: "Billing Inquiry"" Do you really have to tell people what subject line to use? It sounds like it was written by AutoResponderRobot3000. Geez.

This was also a big turn-off:

"How to submit a contact request:
We cannot extend support if you do not include your -
  • Full Name
  • Order Number
  • Description of inquiry
  • Contact Phone Number
Submitting the above, in full, will help expedite your response time."

Basically, you are saying that you won't help them unless they do exactly as you tell them. Do you really need my full name and phone number to answer a simple question? Absolutely not. Just first name and email address is all you should ask for. You can always ask for their phone number later if you really need it.

I realize you are trying to be business-like, but you are going a little too far with it. Please consider this and re-write that page. Try to make people feel like you are happy to help them, and that their question is not going to be a nuisance to you. That's called good customer service.

Other things your site could really use: A sizing chart for your t-shirts. Sizing and fit can vary greatly between different t-shirt brands. Also, pictures of real people wearing your shirts could really liven the site up and make it feel "real". It will also give people a better idea of what to expect when they order.

Well that's all I can think of for now. I am sorry if it seems like I am being a little brutal, but if I told you it was "All good" I wouldn't be helping you much. :)
 

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Oh, one more thing - get rid of that block of gray text at the bottom of your Home page. Search engine bots are wise to this tactic now, so it will not help your site out at all. Plus it could actually hurt your sales. You have more words in this block of text than you do in the rest of your Home page. How are your customers going to feel if they see that you spent more time creating content for search engines than you did for them?
 

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Jasonda said:
Mouse-over is more "cool", but it isn't used in web design very often, and most people just click on things rather than hovering around waiting to see if something will happen.
I don't necessarily agree that mouseovers are cooler. But I agree with the rest of the stuff. You're a usability nazi :p.
 

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Hi Keystroketshirts.com,

Is there a particular reason why you put these two icons on the page?
and
?

Do you think your visitors need to know that your site is validated?

Btw do you think Google is validated? It's FAR from being validated, but you know what, people don't care.
 

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farennikov said:
I don't necessarily agree that mouseovers are cooler. But I agree with the rest of the stuff. You're a usability nazi :p.
Actually I don't think mouse-overs are really that cool. But some people think so, and that's why they use them. Like flash pages (ugh).

I don't think of myself as a "usability nazi" (nazis = ugh). :D But I do think usability should always be at the top of the agenda for people who are building websites. After all, if your main goal is to sell something - don't make it harder than it already is!
 

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Jasonda said:
I don't think of myself as a "usability nazi" (nazis = ugh). :D But I do think usability should always be at the top of the agenda for people who are building websites. After all, if your main goal is to sell something - don't make it harder than it already is!
I totally agree. And I am becoming more and more usability-conscious.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hello all, thanks for your input so far... My name is Chris Underwood and I am the designer and progammer for KeystrokeTshirts.com....I would like to speak about a few things with you now...

Jasonda said:
If your customers hear your website name via word-of-mouth, they might make the same mistake as I did. Better register keystrokeshirts.com and forward your customers to the correct website. :)
That is a grand idea, I will need to talk to Felix (the president of the company) about this...

Jasonda said:
I seriously doubt you are the "World's First" shop selling emoticon t-shirts. I have seen them in other places. It's much better to be the best of something, rather than the first.
I agree that we may not be the first store selling the t-shirts, but we are the first store to our knowledge (after countless google/yahoo searches) that specializes in this type of shirt. So, maybe we should specify that instead... i.e. "Specializing in the art of the Emoticon and ASCII Art T-Shirt!"

Would that help?

Jasonda said:
Your website design is very simple, clean and loads quickly. Those are the good things.
Well, thats a PLUS! LOL...

Jasonda said:
But you are using a newer design technology (mouse-overs) that a lot of people are not familiar with, and it is causing some usability issues.
The reason for the extensive rollovers:
In discussing the sites' design and programming, Felix decided he wanted ONE page with all the shirts in one window with the ability to view the color options as well... Basically, a one page store, the one-stop shop!

So, having these instructions, this is what I came up with... any other suggesstions would be great, as we are already looking forward to version 2 of the site. Although, version 2 will most likely have a seperate page for each t-shirt, which will eliminate all the mouseover issues you listed...

Jasonda said:
The mouse-over was delayed, and the designs are all very similar, I didn't even notice that the design on the shirt had changed.
This is understandable... this could probably be fixed using a large number in the background of the image (the white space) that matches the number on the menu?

Jasonda said:
Guess what? If I had a pop-up blocker installed, I would not have been able to see that message at all, and I would have assumed that the link didn't work!
This type of "pop-up" is only activated by the USERS mouse click, as such, I believe pop-up blockers do not hinder its ability to open.... am I wrong? Any way you could test it for me, haha?


Jasonda said:
More pop-up problems. You have a lot of pages as pop-ups - your Help page, your Customer Reviews page, and even your PayPal shopping cart. If I had a pop-up blocker, I wouldn't be able to see any of these!
...see above.

Jasonda said:
Your Customer Review page should be linked from the title bar or footer. Or it should at least have a title like "See what our customers are saying!" instead of "Mary F. 09-08-06". Also, as viewed in Firefox, the box around it is formatted incorrectly. The "More" link overlaps the text.
Good ideas there... and im not sure what happened with the 'more' text running over the other text, I must have overlooked an alignment issue, thank you for pointing that out, it renders nicely on my browsers... and everything is left aligned like it should be... I will have to look into that!

Jasonda said:
The Home page seems casual and friendly, with the little ASCII guy holding up a sign and everything, but your Help page is exactly the opposite. The way it is written seems very cold and business-like.

This was also a big turn-off:

"How to submit a contact request:
We cannot extend support if you do not include your -
  • Full Name
  • Order Number
  • Description of inquiry
  • Contact Phone Number
Submitting the above, in full, will help expedite your response time."
We, Felix and myself, both agree.... we will be fixing that ASAP... sorry for the ROBOT 3000 speak!

Jasonda said:
Other things your site could really use: A sizing chart for your t-shirts. Sizing and fit can vary greatly between different t-shirt brands. Also, pictures of real people wearing your shirts could really liven the site up and make it feel "real". It will also give people a better idea of what to expect when they order.
I agree, something we will have to add in the near future...

Jasonda said:
Well that's all I can think of for now. I am sorry if it seems like I am being a little brutal, but if I told you it was "All good" I wouldn't be helping you much. :)
Thats the best kind of critique...... the only way we learn! Thanks a million times over...........

Chris Underwood
KeystrokeTshirts.com Developer
 

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farennikov said:
Hi Keystroketshirts.com,

Is there a particular reason why you put these two icons on the page?
and
?

Do you think your visitors need to know that your site is validated?

Btw do you think Google is validated? It's FAR from being validated, but you know what, people don't care.
The main reason for this was that we thought customers would feel safer ordering from us.... these buttons are showing up more and more everyday on more mainstream websites..... just something to sway their opinion of our site I guess? Besides removing them totally, any other suggesstions farennikov?

Thanks a bunch for your reply,
Chris Underwood
KeystrokeTshirts.com Developer
 

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Keystroketshirts said:
The main reason for this was that we thought customers would feel safer ordering from us.... these buttons are showing up more and more everyday on more mainstream websites..... just something to sway their opinion of our site I guess? Besides removing them totally, any other suggesstions farennikov?

Thanks a bunch for your reply,
Chris Underwood
KeystrokeTshirts.com Developer
Well see, thing is that usual customers have NO idea about HTML validation. Plus validation has nothing to do with how secure the site is, it just ensures comliance with HTML code standards. And if a visitor what it is, he/she can view the page source.

In my opinion you don't need these images there. If you had a seal with Verisign or Hacker safe - that would have that effect that you're looking for, not the HTML validation.
 

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farennikov said:
In my opinion you don't need these images there. If you had a seal with Verisign or Hacker safe - that would have that effect that you're looking for, not the HTML validation.
this makes complete sense....... thank you...

Chris
 

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Keystroketshirts said:
The reason for the extensive rollovers:
In discussing the sites' design and programming, Felix decided he wanted ONE page with all the shirts in one window with the ability to view the color options as well... Basically, a one page store, the one-stop shop!
In a long run this will play to your disadvantage. First of all, this concept has no flexibility buil-in. Say you double the number of your designs. How will it work then? You'll scroll down to see thumbnails (in o rder to mouse-over the boxes) but the main image will be already behind the screen. This is not gonna work. Secondly, each time you mouseout from those little boxes, main image chages to default. What's the point?

Chris, you can't have a guy who has no idea in web design and usability dictate you what to do in such major areas, because he can't suggest you a good approach. Sorry for sounding this way, but that's true.
I know it's not what your boss wants, but your website would make more sense it was made a little more traditioanally. Have a page of larger thumbnails with separate pages for each product. If you want your visitors to shop from a single page - well add "Buy now" button under every thumbnail.
 

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PS if you don't store any customer info on the site, i.e. if you process payments via PayPal, Google Checkout etc, you just have to say that and add something like "PayPal verified" seal... Something like that.
 

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farennikov said:
Secondly, each time you mouseout from those little boxes, main image chages to default. What's the point?
This was meant to re-enforce the shirt of the month....... so the user gets to see it more often (featured item)...

And for the additional t-shirts, this again was a design issue from the drawing board... Felix only wanted 13 designs available to the customer for the first version of this website.... version 2 will most definately have separate t-shirt pages.....

thanks again....
 

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Hiya Chris, I am glad my review was helpful. :)

Keystroketshirts said:
That is a grand idea, I will need to talk to Felix (the president of the company) about this...
You should also get www.keystroket-shirts.com. A few more $'s but well worth it for the peace of mind.

Keystroketshirts said:
I agree that we may not be the first store selling the t-shirts, but we are the first store to our knowledge (after countless google/yahoo searches) that specializes in this type of shirt. So, maybe we should specify that instead... i.e. "Specializing in the art of the Emoticon and ASCII Art T-Shirt!"
If it was up to me, I would put "Emoticon and ASCII Art T-shirts at KeystrokeTshirts.com". Better for bookmarking! :)

Keystroketshirts said:
The reason for the extensive rollovers:
In discussing the sites' design and programming, Felix decided he wanted ONE page with all the shirts in one window with the ability to view the color options as well... Basically, a one page store, the one-stop shop!
For a limited amount of designs, your "1-stop shop" works just fine and it is actually one of the nicer examples of a 1-page store that I have seen. Since you are already working on V. 2 with seperate product pages for each shirt, this is good for now. :)

Keystroketshirts said:
So, having these instructions, this is what I came up with... any other suggesstions would be great, as we are already looking forward to version 2 of the site. Although, version 2 will most likely have a seperate page for each t-shirt, which will eliminate all the mouseover issues you listed...
You don't have to get rid of the mouse-overs. Right now when you click on the pictures it opens the pop up. I am sure you can change it so that when you click, instead of opening the pop up, it changes the design on the shirt. That way, mouse-overs can stay, but you will have the clickability as a back-up for those who are click-happy (like me). ;)

Keystroketshirts said:
This is understandable... this could probably be fixed using a large number in the background of the image (the white space) that matches the number on the menu?
Yup - that would work, or you could do just a smaller number in the corner of the white space. But I do think your site could benefit from just a bit more color. You are already using red for some text, so you could just put a red/white pattern of the number, or the ASCII character in the background of the t-shirt pic. Or something like that.

Keystroketshirts said:
This type of "pop-up" is only activated by the USERS mouse click, as such, I believe pop-up blockers do not hinder its ability to open.... am I wrong? Any way you could test it for me, haha?
I really don't know if it absolutely WILL be blocked by all pop-up stoppers, I am just saying it is a possibility. I can't test it myself because I don't have a pop-up blocker. In any case, even if they are not blocked, pop-ups are almost always unexpected and annoying. Use sparingly!

One more thing I noticed, is that in your drop-down menu for ordering, you have the number of the design and a description (For example: 9. Dimple Smile). I had to look from the menu to the pictures and back again to figure out which one was "Dimple Smile". Why don't you add the ASCII character to the menu? Like this: 9. .^_^. Dimple Smile

Also, SOTM is an acronym which takes a few minutes to figure out. Instead, on the drop-down menu, your SOTM could be listed with a number, just like the other ones, and on the home page, you can say "Design #2 is our Shirt of the Month". And, if you are doing limited quantities, you should tell people exactly what the quantity is. :)

It seems like a lot to change, but really the site is very good so far, these are just tweaks that will help it be just a little bit better. The technology of web design is constantly changing so it's a never-ending process.

Just one word of advice - even though you are changing things, try to have the site down as little as possible. While it is down, post a page with the date it will be back up again, and also add your contact info just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for your help!
I will get working on these changes tonight.....

When finished, I will let you know so you can take another peak....
Chris
 

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Jasonda said:
You don't have to get rid of the mouse-overs. Right now when you click on the pictures it opens the pop up. I am sure you can change it so that when you click, instead of opening the pop up, it changes the design on the shirt. That way, mouse-overs can stay, but you will have the clickability as a back-up for those who are click-happy (like me). ;)
LMAO, I can honestly say I have lost some sleep over this issue (as small as it may seem to be).....

Let me give you a scenario, and I will explain why we chose to do it this way.

1. A new user browses to our home page.

2. They immediately go for the images (not reading the body-copy , and instructions)... which most of our trial runs verified, LOL.......

3. They see a tshirt design they like and try to click on the image to go to a buy now page.
- This is where we decide to intervene....... but if we didn't....

4. User gets upset and frustrated because page is seemingly not working, doesn't take the time to read a little instruction or to look around the page... then exits our page in an outrage, hehe...

So, back to step 3, we decided to intervene here and let them know that there were NO other pages to look at and that if they wanted to purchase the item, they need to use the drop down menus below.

Now that you know our thought process for the design implementation, what do you think? :D

Thanks for your help,
Chris
 

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Keystroketshirts said:
This was meant to re-enforce the shirt of the month....... so the user gets to see it more often (featured item)...

And for the additional t-shirts, this again was a design issue from the drawing board... Felix only wanted 13 designs available to the customer for the first version of this website.... version 2 will most definately have separate t-shirt pages.....

thanks again....
I understand. But ask yourself a question - do your visitors think the way you want them to think? Do they know that it goes back to the same shirt because it's a featured item? The deal is that your visitors don't know that it's supposed to be a "featured item", it doesn't say it anywhere, so the impression is that it's just not really user-friendly.
 

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Keystroketshirts said:
Now that you know our thought process for the design implementation, what do you think? :D
Hi Chris,

Now that I know your thought process, I am even more confused as to why you continued to develop a website that is obviously difficult for your customers to use. If anything, I would think that your testing would have revealed that you were on the wrong track.

Rule #1 - If it ain't broke, don't fix it. There's a good reason people expect to be able to click on something and go to a new page. It's because that's how 99% of the websites on the internet operate. Why should people learn an entirely new system, just to be able to use your website? You have seen from your own experience that they are not going to read your fine print or instructions - therefore, you can't really say that this is any kind of solution.

Instead of forcing your customers to change, you should be changing to accommodate them. Is having your website the way YOU want it more important, or is having a website that is functional and easy for your customers to use more important? Hmm, let's think about it for a while. ;)
 
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