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I'm the type of person who's between a programmer (because I enjoy it) and a designer (because I have a sense for it).

I've been designing various websites in the past years and while they've been far from the ugly 90's type of sites, they've never been as “polished”, or cool or “wow” as designers' sites out there.

Some people have zero sense for design, I have some that lets me realise when a design is good or bad. But in either cases I don't know why it's good or bad. It's only recently that I realised that the thing I was missing was design theory, the rules of aesthetics. I tried to use some of them (golden number, 2/3, contrast, alignment, complementary colours) in the site below, but I'm not totally satisfied with the result, especially with the menu's appearance, the header and also the “immersion” (I wanted to get rid of the flatness). N.B. the logo is fake just like the text, but is similar to the real one.

In brief: what can I do to give a nice polished look to this site ?

The live site. (best viewed not in IE)

screenshot

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closed as off topic by Jack, Philip Regan Oct 10 '11 at 10:27

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i fear this question will be closed... you should read graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/faq –  Jack Oct 8 '11 at 5:13
    
@Jack I read that already and I think my question is right on. Is it related to design ? Absolutely. Is it open ended ? No. IS a problem encountered ? Yes. Is it answerable ? Yes. Will it be helpful ? Yes. –  user855 Oct 8 '11 at 5:40
    
I also think this is a valid question, some good tips can be given here :] –  Johannes Oct 8 '11 at 5:45
    
I also want, this question to be open and i know its answerable as well thats why i said i fear i dont know exactly what moderator think on this, i have seen similar questions and they closed it so hope for the best.... –  Jack Oct 8 '11 at 7:15
    
what about your color scheme? is it final? –  Jack Oct 8 '11 at 7:29

1 Answer 1

Some of my thoughts about this:

Link to the image

enter image description here

Some things that I forgot to mention:

  • Currently the colors dont play too well together.. Complimentary colors are good to try if youre stuggling to find colors that look good together.. ( .and the red ad the bottom is just.. red. )
  • I wouldnt recommend all of the buttons to have same width.. creates problems and doesnt always look so good, especially when youre running out of space.
  • Maybe the footer text could start from the left side of the content box instead of the sidebar's left side.
  • I'm possibly talking about the sidebar when I say: Sometimes its good to have plain color ( like white ) in links ( if it is otherwise clear that it/they are link(s) ) and then you can use different color in different states of the link: Hover, Active, Visited.

..at this point I realize that I should've read the whole question properly... Most of what I'm saying is still fine I believe.

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•logo will have transparent BG & realigned •the left menu works like the other, nothing particular •the sidebar has a min-height corresponding to the golden number ratio, a tiny sidebar would look silly •the red footer is for important announcements, it's there to avoid cluttering the header - it is small to keep the entire footer small •attached scrollbars are the only way to make this positioning work without side effects •I'll brighten the menu but not so much that they hurt the eyes •no way I'm gonna use different widths, not conceivable, plus I want to keep the ratio –  user855 Oct 9 '11 at 1:49
    
thx @Lollero, I might get rid of rotated menus and restructure them with the site menu as bottom tabs. What I'm really looking to find out with my question is what can I add or change to make it look really nice, like give it a personality. What about shadows, reflections, texture/pattern BG etc ? I really want to give an engraved look to the header's text and possibly to the menu, but I only managed to get something ugly. I always wanted to add a 3D effect with different layers (BG, menu, content) but it's not striking. –  user855 Oct 9 '11 at 2:01
    
BTW @Lollero did you use a particular annotation tool ? I'm looking for a very easy one to use to make user tests. –  user855 Oct 11 '11 at 3:13
    
@user855 Snagit - techsmith.com/snagit It's not free but it's not super expensive either. –  Joonas Oct 11 '11 at 6:25

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