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Old 22nd September 2011, 05:29 AM   #11
kalyptra
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EricB

your site do look promising. if you did this as a novice, i think you got a lot in store for you. just keep this up.

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Old 22nd September 2011, 02:34 PM   #12
CodyLoco
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Hey Eric,

Site is looking good so far - I think you have the basics down -- here are some thoughts:

- Your site is a strange width- I know it is "compressible" width-wise - but the max width it gives is somehow "strange" to me when viewed on a high-res screen. My x is 1920 (1080p screen), and to me that doesn't really feel right somehow - not sure if you get what I mean. The other thing is that the image itself shrinks when the browser is smaller, but it doesn't do it proportionately - this means it ends up all squished weird and you can't tell what it is. Remember that a lot of business-owners will have older computers with low-res screen - think 1024 width as a maximum, there are even some 800x600 Windows XP terminals, so design around that. When the window is small, your text area collapses, and it looks really odd- personally I'd have a minimum size for that frame/div so that horizontal scroll bars appear if someone is using a really small screen.

- Agreed with a posted above who said the colors are a little drab - a hint of color to draw your attention to what matters would make a big difference. I know this is really hard - thats why personally i hate design. Check out www.adobe.com/kuler for a cool color tool.

- Your title with the shadow is hard to read - IMO plain text would be better, or use far less shadow (less offset and less strength). It looks like a CSS3 shadow which should be good as it's plain text, although you can use an image since your domain is already going to help it rank in search engines for that keyphrase.

- You might want to consider combining some of your pages. Obviously your landing page is the most important page to attract new users - but a new visitor shouldn't have to skip over the Login menu item to find the features list in the menu, and a returning user shouldn't have to search the menu for a login menu either. Maybe put the register / login links at the top right of your page, and add a little more info onto the main page - a visitor is more likely to read it all if they don't have to click thru the page, and besides your feature list is small enough (not a bad thing, it's concise) that it could go on your main page bulleted, and if you want a more detailed explanation or more minor features they could go onto the feature page... This is the same with the features page. Further- you have those fancy videos - maybe change the schedule image for a quick 30-second walkthru video for those who are REALLY lazy (like 98% of the web users!!!)...

I'll stop there to give you some time to think about it and if you want more ideas let me know. =) I hope they help - I'm one who always loves to get input on my work thats why I tried to give lots and it's not necessarily always going to be right (and you're wrong) but rather a different way to view things.

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Old 22nd September 2011, 04:44 PM   #13
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Default Keep it Up, You're Getting There.

Hi Eric,

First off, I want to commend you for learning HTML and CSS to launch your own website. I know from experience that such tasks can be daunting, but my hat's off to you for not cowering away from the job. Secondly, I think your idea for posting "Work Schedules" online is great, and has a lot of potential. As far as advice, I think a lot of good advice has already been given. I agree a lot with what Mr. CodyLoco had to say, especially about combining some of your pages and also losing the drop-shadows on the "Here's Your Schedule" header art (and on your other pages' header art). You've got a good idea, and a good thing going however, just keep at it.

All the Best,

Jeff

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Old 22nd September 2011, 07:08 PM   #14
EricB
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Quote:
Your site is a strange width- I know it is "compressible" width-wise - but the max width it gives is somehow "strange" to me when viewed on a high-res screen. My x is 1920 (1080p screen), and to me that doesn't really feel right somehow - not sure if you get what I mean. The other thing is that the image itself shrinks when the browser is smaller, but it doesn't do it proportionately - this means it ends up all squished weird and you can't tell what it is. Remember that a lot of business-owners will have older computers with low-res screen - think 1024 width as a maximum, there are even some 800x600 Windows XP terminals, so design around that. When the window is small, your text area collapses, and it looks really odd- personally I'd have a minimum size for that frame/div so that horizontal scroll bars appear if someone is using a really small screen.
I have never tried to view my website at a higher screen resolution before. I just checked it out and I see what you mean. The image does look very strange. I think it's because I used percentages to make the image scalable depending on the size of the screen. When I was doing it though I was thinking of a smaller screen and didn't even think to test a larger screen. I need to change that or use your idea for a video on the main page (which I like that idea!).


Quote:
Agreed with a posted above who said the colors are a little drab - a hint of color to draw your attention to what matters would make a big difference. I know this is really hard - thats why personally i hate design. Check out www.adobe.com/kuler for a cool color tool.
Yeah it's hard for me to make it look like something other than a website that was built in notepad. I haven't been able to quite figure out how to make it look the way I want it, but I'll know it when I see it.

Quote:
Your title with the shadow is hard to read - IMO plain text would be better, or use far less shadow (less offset and less strength). It looks like a CSS3 shadow which should be good as it's plain text, although you can use an image since your domain is already going to help it rank in search engines for that keyphrase.
I agree I think I'll change around the header. It might even kill 2 birds with 1 stone...adding color to the site and making the headers more legible.

Quote:
You might want to consider combining some of your pages. Obviously your landing page is the most important page to attract new users - but a new visitor shouldn't have to skip over the Login menu item to find the features list in the menu, and a returning user shouldn't have to search the menu for a login menu either. Maybe put the register / login links at the top right of your page, and add a little more info onto the main page - a visitor is more likely to read it all if they don't have to click thru the page, and besides your feature list is small enough (not a bad thing, it's concise) that it could go on your main page bulleted, and if you want a more detailed explanation or more minor features they could go onto the feature page... This is the same with the features page. Further- you have those fancy videos - maybe change the schedule image for a quick 30-second walkthru video for those who are REALLY lazy (like 98% of the web users!!!)...
Not a bad idea, I could see the login and registering blending into the navigation to much and getting lost which would be pretty annoying for anyone using the site. I think the quick 30 second video is a great idea, a) because it will make it so someone visiting my site doesn't have to search all over to understand it and b) because anything longer than 30 seconds and I'll start to lose people's interest.

And Jeff, thank you for your kind words! I'll be working around with the overall layout of the site and headers.

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Old 23rd September 2011, 02:37 AM   #15
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I generally consider using %s for images bad practice as most client computers do a horrible job of scaling images unless it's a multiple of the pixels (ie, 50%, 25%, 12.5%, etc) and even then you have no direct control over the sampling, resulting in harsh or distorted results.

For the colors - use Kuler, input your main current color (assuming you like it) and choose one of the settings to give you offset colors that complement the one you are using. Say, if you get an offset color on the other side of the circle, use that as your highlight color for things you want to draw attention to.

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Old 23rd September 2011, 09:30 AM   #16
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Thanks Cody! I've actually already incorporated some of the changes you mentioned yesterday. I separated out the Registration and Login to make them stand out more and not get in the way of potential new users. Also, I toned back on the shadow in the heading, it does make it easier to read. I also added in a quick 30 second video on the home page which got rid of the strange width problem (hopefully).

I still need to spruce up the homepage with more content and I think I'll take your advice and move some of the features over to it. I think at the higher resolutions my homepage looks a bit empty. I also need to play around with the colors, but I already feel the changes I've made from you suggestions and everyone else's suggestions have been great!

I really appreciate all the great advice people have given me. I have a list of things I still need to do, but I'm so happy everyone has contributed and given me a list of great changes!

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Old 23rd September 2011, 09:55 AM   #17
CodyLoco
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10x better already!

Some feature ideas too:

- Spanish language integration
- An audit log for when employees log in to view their schedule (no "I forgot to look" excuses)
- Email alerts for employees to notify of schedule changes, or even better send a PDF of their own schedule as an attachment or a link to download
- An audit log of all changes actually
- Employee shift trading - this is kind of tough but should be done by "type" of employee or department, allowed shift times/dates, and auto accept or require approval. IE - if you have two courtesy clerks they should be able to change, but you want to for sure have the better employee to work on saturday nights (can't change) - they also cant switch shifts with a cashier.
- Print combined schedules by department, business-wide, or employees (employer-side)
- Subdomains for businesses, ex if my store was called SuperFanz (my fantasy store is misleading, they only sell 3' white, industrial ceiling fans), employees should log in at superfanz.heresyourschedule.com (/su...)
- Mark absenses/lates on schedule
- Hours calculation by week/etc
- Hourly pay rate - calculate salary by hours worked.

eeeeeetc.... Sorry don't wanna overwhelm you- just some things that you might want to think of adding to the functionality to make it better. These were thought of visualizing a grocery store (departments, etc). I honestly haven't tried your system yet but will give it a go soon - need spanish for my dimwit employees tho! :P

Oh also - looking at your registration page- it's loooooong- I know the majority aren't required fields, but it's going to scare the hell out of someone who's lazy and doesn't notice the *'s. I'd suggest simplifying it down to required being email, username, and password and then have a page within the UI where users can fill out their profile (for display on the schedules, etc) - hiding all the other fields from view. I'd then probably do two things - drag those three fields directly into a Sign Up for Free! box onto your main page (one less click!) and also put a login form directly onto your main page as well (although that might get cluttered if you need separate forms for business login and employees, solved with the subdomain thing :P)...

OK I'm done Carpal Tunnel is kicking in sorry I'm just a bit excited for ya - seems to have lots of potential

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Old 23rd September 2011, 12:57 PM   #18
EricB
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Again lots of great ideas!


Translate the site
Right now I'm not sure how to, I'll look into the difficulty of it. It might be as easy as adding the google translation widget

Audit log for when employees log in to view their schedule
Agreed, need to figure out how

Email alerts for employees to notify of schedule changes
Good idea, easy enough, might actually already have it, I need to check if I put the email notification on schedule changes or just when a new one posted.

I debated sending the schedule as an attachment but then there would be no reason for the employees to go to my site. This would decrease traffic to my site and since it's free I plan on relying on traffic to eventually add advertisements in order to make any money

Audit log of what gets changed
Agreed, need to figure out how

Employee Shift trading
Definitely something I want to look into adding

Print combined schedules by department, business-wide, or employees (employer-side)
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this one. I actually don't break it out by department, because I am targeting smaller businesses. The small businesses I've worked at and my family has worked at didn't have separate departments and just kind of wrote out the schedule by hand. I think this could be a good later enhancement to my site though so I could increase the potential businesses who could use my site.

Sub-domains for businesses
I like your idea of the sub-domains incorporated in. This could work nicely if business owners wanted to add that to an Employees Only section of their website

Mark absences/lates on schedule
They could in a way mark them late or absent by just changing the schedule and making a note

Hours calculation by week/etc
I plan on doing that eventually, but the problem is the hours are saved to my database as VarChar and not numbers which I need to figure out a way to make it so I can calculate on that...if it's even possible

Hourly pay rate
Once I can figure out the hours calculation this will be easy


My original plan was to basically take paper schedules that small businesses currently use and switch them over to online. I planned on making the first version of my site basically a way to move those schedules online. Eventually what I would like to do is have the schedule automatically populate based on different setting the manager would make. With this I was planning on also including the hourly rate and having payroll incorporated to the site. There are already other sites out this like mine, however I haven't come across any that are free. I'm sure there are but I haven't seen them. In order to keep my website free I've had to do all the programing by myself which means I need to figure out how to do the great ideas you've suggested. I've added all these on my personal list of things to do for the site. Now I just need to prioritize


Registration Page

I agree with you. I like how simple your registration page looked. When I was first working on the website I just looked at what other sites had, but I don't really need all that information and it might scare some people away. I think a more simple registration page with the option to add in the information using the profile when logged in is a good idea. I'll incorporate a Sign Up For Free box on my main page rather than just registration. I think I'll hold off on adding the log in on the main page unless I can figure out how to have it drop down like yours or I eventually move the to sub-domain idea

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Old 23rd September 2011, 03:12 PM   #19
CodyLoco
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The notes I've made are in BOLD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricB View Post
Again lots of great ideas!


Translate the site
Right now I'm not sure how to, I'll look into the difficulty of it. It might be as easy as adding the google translation widget

Google won't cut it, you'll need to recode any hard-coded text queries in your script with variables, then you enter the words themselves into a language variable list.

Ex: your script could say: print $lang_welcome, $username

The site will then go:

index.php?&lang=spa

And you will have two files:

/languages/spa.php
/languages/eng.php

in eng.php:
$lang_welcome="Welcome to the site!";

in spa.php
$lang_welcome="Bienvenido al sitio!";

Hope that makes sense for you - sorry about the syntax combining a few code languages lol


Audit log for when employees log in to view their schedule
Agreed, need to figure out how

Email alerts for employees to notify of schedule changes
Good idea, easy enough, might actually already have it, I need to check if I put the email notification on schedule changes or just when a new one posted.

I debated sending the schedule as an attachment but then there would be no reason for the employees to go to my site. This would decrease traffic to my site and since it's free I plan on relying on traffic to eventually add advertisements in order to make any money

--- Have it downloadable from the main page as a PDF - so users can save or print it. Should also have a datestamp and/or version number on it to keep track of changes.

Audit log of what gets changed
Agreed, need to figure out how

Employee Shift trading
Definitely something I want to look into adding

Print combined schedules by department, business-wide, or employees (employer-side)
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this one. I actually don't break it out by department, because I am targeting smaller businesses. The small businesses I've worked at and my family has worked at didn't have separate departments and just kind of wrote out the schedule by hand. I think this could be a good later enhancement to my site though so I could increase the potential businesses who could use my site.

Sub-domains for businesses
I like your idea of the sub-domains incorporated in. This could work nicely if business owners wanted to add that to an Employees Only section of their website
--- The employee end could also be something that would be embedded into business' websites via an iframe.

Mark absences/lates on schedule
They could in a way mark them late or absent by just changing the schedule and making a note

Hours calculation by week/etc
I plan on doing that eventually, but the problem is the hours are saved to my database as VarChar and not numbers which I need to figure out a way to make it so I can calculate on that...if it's even possible
--- An idea - use 3600 minutes. Store the hour in the DB as a number of minutes. Could also be 3600*7 for days. To calculate time worked, do End Time - Start Time - Late Time = Minutes Worked.

Hourly pay rate
Once I can figure out the hours calculation this will be easy


My original plan was to basically take paper schedules that small businesses currently use and switch them over to online. I planned on making the first version of my site basically a way to move those schedules online. Eventually what I would like to do is have the schedule automatically populate based on different setting the manager would make. With this I was planning on also including the hourly rate and having payroll incorporated to the site. There are already other sites out this like mine, however I haven't come across any that are free. I'm sure there are but I haven't seen them. In order to keep my website free I've had to do all the programing by myself which means I need to figure out how to do the great ideas you've suggested. I've added all these on my personal list of things to do for the site. Now I just need to prioritize


Registration Page

I agree with you. I like how simple your registration page looked. When I was first working on the website I just looked at what other sites had, but I don't really need all that information and it might scare some people away. I think a more simple registration page with the option to add in the information using the profile when logged in is a good idea. I'll incorporate a Sign Up For Free box on my main page rather than just registration. I think I'll hold off on adding the log in on the main page unless I can figure out how to have it drop down like yours or I eventually move the to sub-domain idea


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