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Old 03-04-2006, 03:12 PM   #1
Daudio
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Default Another site critique

I have finially finished copying/writing up a ton of copy for my latest Lawyer Web Site
job. The pages are in fair shape but need further fine tuning. I haven't gotten any feedback or legal correction from my clients yet...

So I hope you can look it over and see if there are things to fix or improve !

The only client feedback I have gotten is on the 'look', which they don't seem too wild about. OK, graphic design is not my strong suit, so any help in that regard would be welcomed. It's a pity they can't see the information and code design

I was very suprised to find that my clients had almost nothing written up for their business, came up with very little (and not very good quality at that), and expected me to blantly copy from other lawyer sites. Well I did copy a lot, but collected, reorganized, and rewrote so much, that I don't feel much like a criminal. And, of course, they knew I didn't know anything about law or DUI coming in to this project.

Is this common ? It is so far away from my experience working as a contract programmer where I rarely had to generate content, now it seems to be the majority of my work. And not the best utilization of my skills...

TIA

   
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Old 03-04-2006, 03:49 PM   #2
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Looks ok in Netscape 7.2...

I think the graphic on the left side of the page is too visible--I'd fade it back by at least 30% or so--because it makes it's distracting when trying to read the text in front of the graphic...

The text size is a bit small but livable; however, "Successful Representation of Drunk Driving, Criminal, and Civil Matters Throughout Michigan" is barely legible...

Cute cop on the "busted what to expect page"...'-}}

Where did the pics you are using come from??

On the "penalties you could face page", "In recent years the" is above and to the left of the page pic separated from the rest of the text. I would think that's not deliberate...

Shouldn't "Drunk Driving Offences" be "Drunk Driving Offenses"--"ses" not "ces"???

As to the expectation that you plagiarize other web pages...pretty tacky given the fact that they are attorneys...hope they are paying you well...'-}}

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Old 03-04-2006, 05:02 PM   #3
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Default Writing copy is to be expected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daudio
I have finially finished copying/writing up a ton of copy for my latest Lawyer Web Site job. The pages are in fair shape but need further fine tuning. I haven't gotten any feedback or legal correction from my clients yet...

So I hope you can look it over and see if there are things to fix or improve !

The only client feedback I have gotten is on the 'look', which they don't seem too wild about. OK, graphic design is not my strong suit, so any help in that regard would be welcomed. It's a pity they can't see the information and code design

I was very suprised to find that my clients had almost nothing written up for their business, came up with very little (and not very good quality at that), and expected me to blantly copy from other lawyer sites. Well I did copy a lot, but collected, reorganized, and rewrote so much, that I don't feel much like a criminal. And, of course, they knew I didn't know anything about law or DUI coming in to this project.

Is this common ? It is so far away from my experience working as a contract programmer where I rarely had to generate content, now it seems to be the majority of my work. And not the best utilization of my skills...

TIA
It is not suprising that your clients don't have anything already written to describe their law practice. I would have expected lawyers to have better writing skills than some of my clients. A women's exercise place is not in the business of writing or speaking on behalf of their clients, for example.

Your solution is much like mine. I looked at other women's exercise places in other parts of the country, and "borrowed" some ideas for the layout, and for the sales pitches. As a franchise operation, my client already had rights to various trademarks and graphics.

I have an idea about your heading. I will be back to you if it works out.

Terrie is right about the line under the marble top being too small, though.
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Old 03-04-2006, 05:18 PM   #4
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Default Graphics Idea

Graphics aren't my strong suit, either, but I had an idea about the marble top of your site.

I took your marble3.jpg image, and worked with it in Paint Shop Pro:
1) First I cut the length to 200 pixels and saved it as one.jpg.
2) Then I did a mirror of the image and saved it as two.jpg.
3) Then I took the one.jpg image and made the canvas 400 pixels.
4) I then switched to the two.jpg and copied it into the clipboard.
5. I picked up one.jpg and pasted the two.jpg image at its right side.
6. Now I have an image with matching marble veins at the middle of the image, which I saved. If it is tiled, the ends match up, too.

The result is below. You may need a different width, feel free to trim equally so it will still tile without apparent seams.
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Old 03-04-2006, 06:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daudio
I have finially finished copying/writing up a ton of copy for my latest Lawyer Web Site job.
The text type is so small here that I had to bump it up two ticks just to read it. (I could read most of it with one tick, at least with effort; but the top line under the pink band took two ticks merely to read the characters.) If that slogan is important, it should be larger than the text, not smaller.

And setting lines like that in hiccup fashion — with initial caps on most of the words — is both hard to read and really, really, old-fashioned (like mid-19th century old-fashioned).

I hate the boxes at right. Boxes are cheap tricks, in design terms. And having four of them stacked up, with different kinds of information and type arrangements in them, is very irritating. And centered text is hard to read and sort of awkward looking. Even at the top: set things flush left, but perhaps indented to align with the left edge of the main text below.

I would move the lawyer name and address — either just above the image or up with the name. Not in the main text area. The reader may not be persuaded at that point, and being forced to grapple with the name could be distracting. I think I would put the blurb first; in quotes, slightly larger size, in [ georgia, serif ], perhaps bold italics, maybe even a different color, all to set it off.

It strikes my eye as odd that the navigation links at left are so much more prominent than the text in the main area of the page. Is that intentional? That blue draws the eye anyway; no need for such a large type size there.

Fine point: subheadings should be closer to the text they introduce than to the text above. I usually use 1em padding above, .5em below (or something to that effect, anyway). And the first head I would break after “of” so Johnson & Johnson always appeared together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daudio
I was very suprised to find that my clients had almost nothing written up for their business … Is this common ? It is so far away from my experience working as a contract programmer where I rarely had to generate content, now it seems to be the majority of my work. And not the best utilization of my skills...
Perhaps it is common. It is sort of outrageous. If you get everything right, cool. But what if you violate some lawyerly standard or ethics and they do not catch it — who is responsible?

Normally, I would suggest that you add a writing fee to whatever you are charging for the site design, but then that might make you legally responsible for any errors.

   
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Old 03-04-2006, 11:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daudio
I have finially finished copying/writing up a ton of copy for my latest Lawyer Web Site
job. The pages are in fair shape but need further fine tuning. I haven't gotten any feedback or legal correction from my clients yet...
Looks fine, and the style suits the purpose, I think.

Just some minor nits for the "fine tuning":
  • Base font size for the body text too small - one step up woudl make it more legible for a lot of people
  • People who don't use JavaScript won't be able to contact them by email; I'd prefer an obfuscated address (but at least there's a phone number, too)
  • The picture on the right needs some work: straightening, at least, and there's a bluish tinge to the steps at the front that probably would look better if it were white or in the overall color scheme; maybe it should also have a light border like the textboxes above it
  • Those text boxes have a greenish background color that also doesn't fit in very well - either it needs more color contrast with the rest or be in the same color scheme as the rest
  • Left-hand margin has bits of a border - but not a single one: there's a gap near the top and one at the bottom
  • The form on http://jandjlawyers.com/JandJ_ContactUs.html looks very messy; it's also far from accessible: if you use proper label tags for the prompts you can also use those for lining them up properly (float them left and give them all the same width)

   
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Old 03-05-2006, 02:32 AM   #7
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What Marjolein said.

Plus: the menu link text is hard against the vertical line separator. I'd add a few pixels of padding there. And on a 1280px wide display the text column is probably too narrow, with a lot of "pink" space on content pages.

As for copy, this is something we all suffer from. I have recently formed an associateship with a local industrial photographer and a graphic designer to produce total imaging/brochure/marketing/website packages - and we have a professional copywriter available, as one of my conditions is that all copy is supplied. My smaller, site only, clients still expect me to write the copy for them, and I include a cost element for this.

   
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Old 03-05-2006, 04:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daudio
I was very suprised to find that my clients had almost nothing written up for their business, came up with very little (and not very good quality at that), and expected me to blantly copy from other lawyer sites.
I did some design work (for print) for a solicitors firm in Mayfair, London a few years back which changed my perception of solicitors permanently! Because they know about law, they know what they can get away with...

Regarding the image on the right; Convert it to greyscale, it would get rid of the colour artefacts on the steps, there isn't a great deal of colour in it anyway. It would be great if the boxes could be the same width as the image as well.

The column on the left looks a bit rough, try a vertical motion blur on the image and select a small portion of it (you only need a few pixels height as it is tiled) this would make it more uniform. More of a watermark effect would make the links easier to read as well.

Otherwise I agree with the other posts.

Asking for a site review here is, well, really asking for it as I have found out myself! But a worthwile experience...
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Old 03-05-2006, 06:35 AM   #9
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I think the page is impressive, and I have hired more lawyers throughtout the United States than I could ever possibly count. The color scheme is not necessarily traditional, but it is unique and quite sufficient for the practice described.

"Throughout" should not be capitalized.The caption that begins "Why you need..." is not properly capitalized. The photo is nice, but it makes the fees look expensive for a firm that specializes in DUI, but overall the page has a perfect sense of over-kill for that type of practice.

Good job!!!

Regards,

George
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Old 03-05-2006, 06:59 AM   #10
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I saw the page again by accident. There is mis-capitlization on the left. Can you move "of" in the top line down to its own line and centered?

Keep in mind that people who spend money on lawyers are not impressed with style in advertizing. They see right through that. They want to see a focus on the reality of what is going on. Your page has that.

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