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Beta testing new site

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  • Beta testing new site

    Just about ready to launch! Just a few more minor nitpicky details, then it's time to call the bank and get the credit cards live. Holy .... :eek:

    I've been working on various incarnations of this site for about 6 months now. I started with Zen Cart, then Magento, then back to Zen Cart, and finally gave up and came to 3dcart. Boy, I'm glad I did. I've managed to get more done in the last month than I did in the previous 5 months. I've done all the graphics myself... I'm fairly new to Photoshop, so I couldn't put together anything fancy, but hey.. it's all royalty free, right?

    Anyway. The site is Alpha Dog Systems - I would appreciate any and all constructive criticism. Thank you!!

  • #2
    Phenomenal job... I have done a couple of "simpleton" = (minimal product) sites for some clients and I always love doing them. They always look much more clean and react much better due to lack of size.

    Kudos... You are on the right track! And on the way to compete with Cyberpower none the less. I am bookmarking your site because I am anxious to see your builds. I am running an a 2600K oc'd at 4.2 although I can hit 5... I would rather not with just a stack xion cooler..haha.

    Anyway enough with my build rant. Great Job!


    • #3
      Thank you! That's great to hear, Cyberpower and ibuypower are the ones I'm really trying to outdo.. my ultimate "target" is Falcon Northwest, but .. yeah, we won't be able to compete with them for years. ;)

      Eventually we're planning on adding ultra quiet home theater PCs and home servers as well, and once we get rolling, add some laptops into the mix. Our major focus is quality, quality, quality, so we're starting slow with a limited range of builds.

      Thanks for the kudos! It's good to hear it from a fellow geek. :D


      • #4
        I like your site very much so far, and because of that, i'm going to take the time to be VERY critical, and point out some things to think about. Just because i'm only pointing out "negatives" does not mean I only see negatives, i'm just writing about those.

        1) in your logo you have "quality custom computers", but its "hand written" and on a peace of tape stuck to the main logo... I think this is sending mixed signals. when using something on tape in a graphic design since your saying its an after thought and casual. Also the tape looks a little like a band-aid, also not a good image to associate with quality computers.

        2) your logo is shorter then the menus... I see the image is actually the same width, but you pulled in the sides graphically, probably so you could have the tape part look like its sticking out. I think your menu needs to be the same width as your logo image, (so just constrict their width) and actually touching along the top.

        2.a) center the menu text.

        3) on your front page you have:

        "Alpha Dog's high performance computers" then in the next paragraph you have...
        "Alpha Dog's custom computers"

        This makes it sound like you have two different product lines... when really you just have one and it is both high performance, and custom!

        3.a) I think you should have this text on the left side of the page, and your rotating banners on the right side of the page. perhaps even give the next a rounded corner boarder, so it does not just look tacked on at the end.

        4) I dont like "0 ITEM(S) IN YOUR CART / TOTAL:$0.00 view cart" being in the small text centered under the menu, I feel this info should go above the logo to the right, but thats just personal taste.

        5) in your "descriptions" you have the same problem as the text on the front page, it just looks tacked on. It needs a boarder, and to be brought up in the page some more. The picture of the computer is way to big... first, there is nothing really there to look at, its just a computer case, and two, you cant even see all of it in one screen. If you just want it to be a design element, maybe make it darker, and float it behind the content of the page (the description and options)

        Hope this gives you some ideas.

        Last edited by NMTEACO; 06-17-2011, 01:13 PM.


        • #5
          David, this is just the kind of stuff I was looking for, thank you. :)

          1. I was going for "ribbon" rather than tape, I should probably tweak that a little bit. I definitely see your point.

          2. I'll definitely work on the menu, that thing has been the bane of my existence. I've fought with that thing harder than anything else on the entire site. I like the idea of making it narrower to be the same width as the logo. It might actually fix the problem I'm having with it in the store part of the site with IE (it wraps). I have yet to find a menu that works properly in the HTML site, the cart site, and in all browsers on both sites. That's even if I totally ignore IE6. Maddening.

          3. Noted, and will change the wording.

          4. I need to poke at the 3d cart settings to see what I can do with that. 3dcart's tables make me want to scream. I would love to be able to just stick it in the menu, but it doesn't work in the "off cart" part of the site. But yeah, it's been bugging me, too.

          5. I'll take a look at the descriptions, I was wanting to refine those, but not quite sure what I want to say yet. Picture sizes can definitely be tweaked.. I know the product description pictures are way too big. I'm also trying to figure out how to get it to NOT pop out when you click on it.

          Thank you SO much for your feedback, this has been exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. I need new eyes on it to pick out mistakes that I'm not seeing.

          Out of curiosity, what screen resolution do you use?

          - Andrea


          • #6
            Originally posted by MommaDog View Post
            Out of curiosity, what screen resolution do you use?
            I am on a 13inch laptop, so its 1280 by 800, probably less then your average size.

            Originally posted by MommaDog View Post
            I would love to be able to just stick it in the menu, but it doesn't work in the "off cart" part of the site.
            I just took a second look, I did not notice you have two parts to your website. My question here would be why? why have an "off cart" part, given the customization (extra pages, home page, etc.) that 3dcart allows, why not just have everything in the "cart" section?

            Originally posted by MommaDog View Post
            I'm also trying to figure out how to get it to NOT pop out when you click on it.
            You can turn "image zoom" off on the settings page.

            Originally posted by MommaDog View Post
            3dcart's tables make me want to scream.
            I took all the tables out from the 3dcart template and put everything into divs so they can be controlled by css... I can send you any of the template pages if you like, then all you would have to do is write your own css to make it look like you want.

            Here is my site:
            Example of a css product page: Blood Orange


            • #7
              Your checkout has some color issues... the background of the "steps" window is white, which looks strange given everything else is black.

              Also in the cart view the item descriptions are dark grey on a black background.

              I have been thinking about your ribbon...


              I like the 5th one down... I think to make it recognizable as a ribbon you need to have the fold.


              • #8
                We originally had the site as an HTML only site, and decided to go with the cart later. I added the cart on and kept the main site. I may eventually go cart only, especially if I can get away from the tables, but right now this is working, (if you know what I mean). ;)

                I have "Enable Product Page Zoom" set to "none", but I can't find anywhere else to turn it off.

                I love your site and would love you forever if you could send your template pages. My email is andrea at alphadogsystems dot com

                It's times like this I wish I had a kabillion dollars to pay someone to design the site for me, but if that was the case, I wouldn't need it, right? My HTML/CSS skills have grown quite a bit since I started, though. :o

                Thank you for all the help!
                - Andrea


                • #9
                  Yep, I've got to get in and fix the color issues on the cart. That's been bugging me and I keep forgetting to fix it. Thanks for pointing it out, and it's going down on my list RIGHT NOW to fix.

                  The ribbon... I'm thinking that it's not so much the fold, but the color. It looks like kraft paper tape. I chose the color to go along with the site color scheme, but now all I see it as is tape. I think if I make it a red or a blue, and give it a satiny finish, it should look more like ribbon. I don't think I'm good enough at Photoshop to do the foldy thing. I will poke at it tonight and see what I can make Photoshop do.


                  • #10
                    Here is a link to download all the files (in-case someone else wants to try no tables)... these wont really be plugNplay because I have changed some of the titles to be specific words in the template file, instead of pulling the content from your cart backend... but it should at least get you underway.

                    NOTE: there are still some tables in the templates, especially in the checkout process, because i did not want to go though and style each input field. However each "chunk" is independently controlled.


                    I did not know anything about css three years ago, knew SOME HTML. This current cart is basically 3 years of tinkering. Lots of "saves" and "refreshes"!
                    Last edited by NMTEACO; 06-17-2011, 04:15 PM.


                    • #11
                      Thank you! That will give me something to play with, and I can gradually re-style the site. I would imagine that makes for a lot of late nights, once the site is live. :eek:

                      Again, I really appreciate the help, it looks like we'll probably be going live on (gulp) Monday.

                      Does anyone feel ready the first time they set their site live? I'm so nervous I could scream.


                      • #12
                        Thanks everyone!


                        I'm just waiting on our gateway to run the compliance checks, and the site is DONE. We'll probably go live tomorrow. /faint