View Full Version : Outdoor Education Database

08-19-2004, 11:01 PM
I launched www.oedb.org this week, the Outdoor Education Database. It's meant to accompany SurviveOutdoors.com.

First I'll explain the design before people comment on it. The "poor" design is intentional. I'm trying to make it of a style from the oldschool web days. Like old EDU reference sites. In fact there are no font styles defined (default times new roman should be seen by most people).

Second, the positioning of the Google Ads (you'll have to view category pages to see them). You may think this is tricky, and sure it sort of is. Due to the importance of Google Ads on my monthly income, I immediately emailed Google to get their opinion. They said the ad placement was fine, and optimally placed. So I'm not breaking any rules. Should result in high CTR.

Thanks for any opinions/reviews. This site is my attempt at becoming a hub/authority with a new site (post Florida).

08-19-2004, 11:28 PM
It's nice.

Very simple.

08-19-2004, 11:28 PM
I really like the design. However, the Google ads look strange because they're off and don't line up with anything. They don't line up under the Spiders Resources heading (for example) and they don't line up with the links on the left. They look like they're just tossed in, and kind of jar the page.

08-20-2004, 12:22 AM
Ya, not sure why i didnt line it up properly. Its lined up now.

08-20-2004, 12:28 AM
Maybe a lighter blue for the links? A pastel, maybe?

08-20-2004, 01:38 AM
I like it, but on the homepage you need a bit more space between the subheader and the text under it as well as between the logo and the text under it.

08-20-2004, 06:45 AM
It seems long, maybe 2 columns?

08-20-2004, 11:05 AM
Thanks for all your comments. I just found out now that oedb.org was an expired domain and used to be the Oahu Economic Development Board.

It looks like I'm going to get a few random links from weird sources.

08-20-2004, 12:55 PM
It'll be weird, but won't hurt :)

08-20-2004, 07:26 PM
Intersting concept... Design serves it's purpose.
Yaris (http://www.toyota-wiki.com/wiki/Toyota_Yaris)

08-21-2004, 06:04 PM
No offence, but for a site launched in 2004, as stated on the site, yet have a web design that would cause an 11 year old to fail a grade-school web design project, seems a little bit weird.

Two possible solutions are to:
1/ remove the launch date and put "1996-2004" in the copyright notice
2/ put a bit more thought into making a simple yet functional website

Although I am not sure how the site is going to develop, webmasters might be embarrassed to link to you (other than link exchanges).

I understand your philosophy and think it is great, but I think you have taken it way too far and not tried to hide a simple, naive website in a more subtle design.

However, as I always say, it is you who are calling the shots and have to live by the consequences, whereas I only have to comment.

Good Luck.

<edit> perhaps it is not so important because you can always modify the design later </edit>

08-21-2004, 06:37 PM
a web design that would cause an 11 year old to fail a grade-school web design project
No it wouldn't. Believe me.
His page isn't badly designed at all. Just because it's not graphic-rich, doesn't mean it's a bad layout. I'm sure it's also very accessible, and could probably be used in some of the first HTML-rendering browsers.

08-21-2004, 07:04 PM
I used to go to some investment seminars where the speaker used samples of letters he had written as part of the training. I was coming from a "Strunk & White", writing for publication, academic background. His letters were terrible. I couldn't tell if he wanted to buy or sell and neither could the recipients.

Surprise! Their purpose was to make his phone ring so he would have a chance to talk to them and see what kind of deal he could negotiate. The intent of the letter was to confuse the recipients so they would call. It worked too.

It seems to me graphics design people assume a prettier site is a more successful site. I don't think that is proven.

I write how-to instructions for readers who need to repair their mobile homes. I believe much of my success comes from writing with a style and vocabulary which makes readers feel I have been in their situation and therefore know what I am talking about. In this situation, as long as the navigation is good, and instructions are well written, a primative design works just fine. My readers don't expect me to be a web design whiz.

Which is perhaps another way of saying the correct answers to these issues is "it depends." :)

08-21-2004, 08:24 PM
LuckyShima, interesting thoughts and statements. I'm sorry I disagree with your statements on this particular site. The problem is I feel you are generalizing, and given the topic of this site, I believe the design fits very well with the direction I desire.

Have you analyzed or seen many sites with similar designs such as OEDB?

08-21-2004, 09:21 PM
I agree with Chris. Maybe 2 columns?

08-22-2004, 12:25 AM
You may want to add a default colour of white to your Google ad.

The design fits just fine for what the site is about.

08-22-2004, 12:26 AM
It seems to me graphics design people assume a prettier site is a more successful site. I don't think that is proven.
Actually the opposite is proven; that content is king.

The design, however, doesn't need to be like those old websites. People have gotten used to prettier websites, and seeing that simple of a design probably won't find it normal, and if somethings not normal they're uncomfortable. They may even be bored and leave.

08-22-2004, 02:52 AM
Yes, tntcheats, this is what I am getting at. The design so lacks credibility that it will turn people off, thinking that the content will also lack credibility.

Just a simple design like this:


has much more credibility, and you can see there are still plenty of opportunities to insert the google text ads to seem like internal links (but maybe just make it 2 or 3 columns rather than what has been done here).

08-22-2004, 05:47 AM
Simple isn't bad. Simple design makes the site look less commercial, which is his goal in this case.

08-22-2004, 09:48 AM
I am not shy to say I am mimicing oldschool web design styles. I have been creating websites for hobby, then business since 1996, and I have taken part in many projects from open source, to Internet security during this time.

I disagree with your statement that ausanthrop.net is a better design than OEDB. Ausanthrop looks to me like someone who doesnt know what they're doing, while OEDB was created in style with many less commercial sites of the past. Maybe it's the yellow in the title of .ausanthrop.net that is making my opinion bias :).

I may tweak this more in time, add some better spacing, add more lines and shapes. But it will never have much color (certainly not yellow).

08-22-2004, 12:27 PM
Ausanthrop.net looks ugly. There is no whitespace. Also the tables have been badly designed. I would not buy from a site that looked like that, but I would buy from a site that looked like OEDB (even though OEDB isn't selling).

08-22-2004, 11:22 PM
Gah tables are evil, and everyone knows it.

I would be less likely to "run away" fro the OEDB than that ugly-*** site--the background of the images on the main section of the site don't even match the background behind it (if that makes sense)

08-23-2004, 01:46 AM
Hey Guys ... ausanthrop.net is an example of an amatuer design. No need getting all excited and complaining that it looks 'amatuerish'.

If you don't believe me that ausanthrop.net would have more credibility than OEDB to the general user then just ask your grandmother or your little sister for their opinion.

Try to keep your question as unbiased as possible, maybe ask them ... "I am going to set up an educational database ... which website do you think I should make it look like?"

Things are a bit different when the topic is raised in here and we have the designer explaining his philosophy and defending his position. For the general user, there is just the sites to look at ... no philosophy or history lessons.