cindypepper. (old) has 5 Reviews
Below are the reviews left by other members on cindypepper. (old). Jump to review form?
Tea gave it on 5th May 2009 and said:
Hello, I will mainly be reviewing your site on a Mac with a resolution of 1680x1050 and using Firefox 3.0.10. Please note that I don't make it a habit to read previous reviews, so if you see me repeating things others have mentioned, that would be the reason.
LAYOUT DESIGN & AESTHETICS:
I've been to your site a few times to click around, trying to decide if I want to review it or not. And I'm glad I waited, because it allowed me to pinpoint what it was about your layout that I did "not" like... which is going to sound strange because I do in fact like your layout. That totally sounded contradicting, didn't it?
Let's try this another way: I love the bits of your own art that you've added in, from the name and flowers in the header, the drawings added on the sidebar, and to especially the art in the footer (really love the serene yet dreamlike quality there). Basically, the art is wonderful! The layout itself, however, fell short of what it could've been. In other words, your art is currently the sole anchor in the site's aesthetic appeal, but strip that away and there's nothing much in the way of the "layout" itself. I hope I'm not confusing you even more. Perhaps I should continue on and you might see what I'm trying to say a bit clearer.
I love the trail of strands coming out of your letters in the header... it gives the letters so much more life somehow. I do, however, think it's a shame that the trail and curvy branch gets cut off abruptly by the sudden sharp edges of the (rather thick in comparison) sidebar. I think the sidebar is supposed to be the tree trunk? It would've been great if you drew the edges to incorporate into your layout as opposed to utilizing a flat panel of color.
Going down the sidebar all the way to the bottom, there's a similar problem where the left side flows down fluidly into the rest of your art... but you ignored the right side and that part came straight down into a sharp 90-degree angle. It just gave me the sense that you could've taken a few small steps further to make the layout flow smoother and better. It's like you're missing the finishing touches if that makes sense.
As a side note regarding the sidebar, the layout looks a tiny bit unbalanced as a whole due to the width of the sidebar. I think it's a tad too wide in comparison to the overall width of the layout as well as the width of the content area.
That aside, I like the colors you've chosen- the pink and the yellow goes great with your color scheme. It's cute, noticeable, and bright without being an eye-sore. It stands out wonderfully against the dark gray.
I love the little touches you did with the Twitter bird, the RSS feed, and the drawing of yourself- though at first I thought it was a girl with a huge afro because the brown of the hair is so dark I didn't notice the color difference until I looked really closely and squinted. :D
There isn't much to say in the content area since you didn't actually do anything with it. It's basically a flat gray box with your text in it. Please don't get me wrong in that it needs to be anything complicated- it just feels a bit bland in comparison to to everything else, like it's not very refined. The same goes for your comments area... there's no styling, the comments aren't divided neatly, etc. so it ends up feeling a bit lacking.
Overall, as I've mentioned early on, I have conflicting thoughts about the layout design. I'm not sure if I've explained it well or not... but I just feel that there's a vast difference between the art you put on the layout and the actual "layout" itself. It feels like two separate entities joined by similar colors... like art switch sidebar, sidebar switch footer, lovely background trees but a really plain gray box to stuff your content in. Yet I do notice that you pay attention to detail in a lot of places (like the customized arrows in your lightbox, the bird, the feed, sidebar section headings, etc.) Perhaps because of that, I expected to see the same kind of attention in other obvious areas that COULD use the details but didn't have any. Does that make sense?
I know what I've said above all sound like really minor issues... but I also think it's little details like these that would ultimately bring a good design over to a spectacular one. As a result, sometimes I was left with wondering if you got lazy in some areas while building your website. I should probably reiterate that I love the artwork though... but since this is website's design we're talking about, it'd be great if the layout itself and the artwork complemented each other more.
SITE & CONTENT PRESENTATION:
Great text sizes and colors- I can see and read everything clearly. All your navigation on the sidebar is too the point and easy to browse and understand as well. Your subsections are divided neatly and, again, clearly. In short, the whole presentation is looking great.
The only other thing I can think of to add here is the hover effects of your main navigation. I like them, but I also noticed that there's a lag in the beginning. Instead of the flower appearing and the color changing to yellow, I just get the dark gray background of the sidebar- meaning the navigation disappears. It isn't until I move my mouse away and try to bring it back for a hover a few times did the effect finally show. I'm guessing it's the lag caused by the time it takes to switch between the images. And while we're on hover topics, the other links on your sidebar feels very flat without any kind of hover effect placed on them. Even a little tiny color change would do wonders here, I think.
Well. This seems very short in comparison to the layout design part. :p
As they say, great content presentation equals good user friendliness... so yes, I'm not going to have much to say here either.
I like that you included your email address along with the form- always a good thing for people who don't want to or can't use forms. The picture of yourself in the about page is a great touch... and it's also interesting to see it carry over to the way you draw yourself. :)
Overall, it's fairly easy to maneuver around your site and browse the stuff you have. My only suggestion here might be to have a more comprehensive archives page in addition to the list you have on your sidebar. Also, when I'm viewing monthly posts, I'd personally have preferred to see either more than one post per page or at least a summary I can quickly browse through. It's just more user-friendly if people are digging through the archives searching for something... but this is probably more of a personal preference than anything.
Other miscellaneous stuff:
- Really consider addressing the lack of hover effect in your sidebar links as mentioned above in the content presentation. Aside from the fact that it looks flat... it's also not very user friendly. It's always nice to see clearly which links I'm currently hovering over.
- It would've been lovely to have a bit more info in the about page... but honestly, I'm not one to harp on things like that because I say put whatever you want in there and whatever information makes you comfortable. I'm only wishing for a bit more simply because browsing your art has wanted me to know more... and seeing you use words like "peculiar" and "unique" to describe yourself has made me wanted to know how. But like I said, it's not a big deal by any means. :)
Overall, I like your site! I really enjoyed looking at your artwork, and you obviously have a lot of talent. It's a shame you update about as often as I do... which is not much at all, heh, but who am I to judge that? As a whole, I do feel that there are some areas that felt like it could've been better or had more. It's a bit difficult to explain... but then I'm reminding myself that it's a personal space and I'm always one to believe that the owner should do or add whatever stuff they want for this type of site.
I was contemplating between a 3.5 or a 4... the 3.5 being for all the reasons I stated on my review that could push the site from good to great but was instead lacking. But in the end, I think the personality of your art and the ease of use while browsing the site tipped the scale for me to a 4... because your site IS a good one. It's just that it has a lot of potential to easily become much better.
I hope this review helped somehow as I realize I had difficulties articulating a lot of my reasons, etc.
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Arrrrgh, I'm so sorry -- I JUST realized that I never replied to this! But thank you, thank you for taking the time to write such a great (and very helpful!) review. You brought up some good points, especially the part about watching the details on the layout. :)
Sillyish gave it on 16th Apr 2009 and said:
I've been to your site a few times, mostly just click a link, view it for a second, maybe visit a page or two, and then surf onwards - I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, we all do it :P
I'm always struck by how much I don't like this layout compared to the general public (I know, I'm awesome at making new friends.)
I like the colour scheme, I like the font, I like the whole left hand side of the layout (the stripes, the box that the text goes in.) I like the footer, and I like the sidebar from the calendar downwards.
For some reason, the tree branch, the thickness of a dark purple sidebar, the navigation, and the large illustrations used for twitter and about you don't really work for me.
However, I'll leave that part of the review at that because I don't have any suggestions for how to make it better, and I can't even put my finger on WHY it doesn't work, so it's not really fair of me.
Here are some things about the layout that I DID notice and have suggestions for, though!
I have a friend who actually isn't a design connoisseur but does have some knowledge in that department, and I remember last year he gave me a hard time on how my navigation, on hover, took a second to load the new image. He said, "Why don't you make the two links in ONE image and then have the background positioned differently on hover so that it doesn't pause to re-load?" I thought this was GENIUS, so I'm passing on the critique to you. I googled this concept to see if I could find a link to show you what I meant, and found this. Hopefully it's helpful!
Some other little things
Found it out of place that the search form was completely unstyled. Would have preferred that the links in the sidebar changed colour or something on hover. Found it weird on my eyes that the categories were all lower case and the sub categories started with an uppercase letter. Would have liked it better if everything started with an uppercase letter. Same thing goes for your blogroll - some inconsistencies in capitalization.
Was also sad when I viewed an entry and saw that the comments and comment form were unstyled. I'm all about going all the way on the layout, otherwise it seems like there are loose ends.
I liked the section about you, except that I was sad that you wrapped up your personality with a horoscope and a few personality tests. I honestly would have liked a little more here. I like connecting with a character when I'm reading someone's blog regularly.
Your portfolio section was very awesome. You're super talented, which is nice. I know this is mean of me because everyone deserves to show off their stuff if they want to, but I hate going to websites that belong to artists only to discover that they suck. You won points for not sucking for sure :-P
I really like the previous layout you had with the girl and balloons in the screenshot. Cute!
Overall, I feel like your site just needs a bit MORE.
A bit more about you for sure, and a bit more attention to detail in the layout, for things like forms and comments, like I already mentioned. It's funny, because in some ways it seems like you paid a LOT of attention to detail, and in other ways, it's like you totally didn't! So maybe I'm missing something here, but... Well, there you have it.
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Hey Rose, thanks a bunch for your review! Your suggestions were really helpful, and I already started implementing some, like the capitalization of the categories/subcategories. I do plan on adding more content, so I'll definitely keep these suggestions in mind. :)
reeshas gave it on 28th Mar 2009 and said:
Hey there, Iâ€™ll be giving you my opinion on your site for today since you were so kind as to submit it for review. First, I like the design, the colors are solid and kind of make me think itâ€™s raining outside which it is. The tree branching out like that to have the site name is a neat effect, and the scattered flower look funky but still cute. Cindy Pepper sounds like a cute character from some fairy tale, anyway. The navigation is super easy to follow but I feel as if you could make it a little more crazy by having the flowers glow, spin, or something when I hover over the links, that would be very neat. Now I see that the navi and the main content kind of just split with that tree, but itâ€™s a straight edge which doesnâ€™t look like really put effort into making the design grab the viewer, not very detailed. If the tree had that bark-ish feeling, you know, like little parts of the tree splinting out that would look realistic and creative. But the layout is still very creative; it might be over doing it. I donâ€™t know, Iâ€™m just guessing people might like the idea. What I like is everything is nicely spaced out and clear, everyone goes for the crappy small layouts for their personal sites, and I on the other hand, love large layouts, something spacey, roomy, even if it doesnâ€™t have a lot of content.
Menu: alright the links are easy to follow, I like the flowers, but again, I wish youâ€™d done more with the hover links. Not only those top one, but also when I scroll down, the yellow links. Iâ€™m just a fan of hover effects sorry. Change their colors or do something like turn them gray, red, pink, something! So your name is Cindy, and Pepper is your dog xD kidding, your profile is brief and gladly doesnâ€™t kill me so Iâ€™ll read more about you on the profile or about page. Aww the birdy is so cute but looks so sad. Not sure what CCO isâ€¦ Iâ€™m wondering if you can add boxes for each date on the calendar or when I hover over a date, a square appears around that date. Something like that makes your site extra special. All your links are so organized and detailed. I like your RSS button. SO CUTE!
Index/Blog: I like the red italic headers, and the details under. Most people donâ€™t add dividers and Iâ€™m like it looks messy without some ground here, you really make marked each entry with that line which sets aside the common info, so I can busy myself with your writing. â€¦ Iâ€™m crazy but you use common smileys, Iâ€™ve seen some very neat white flower and black hair girl smileys that would fit your site so well! Just visit google for those. Sites offer great smileys, donâ€™t think you donâ€™t have options, go the extra distance to make this site really PERSONALIZED for YOU! But if you like those, nothing wrong, Iâ€™m just crazy. Very neat blogging, your images have some humor Iâ€™m not sure you intended. The font size is clearly visible and the color contracts perfectly against the background. The bottom of the layout, which I never expected, is so pretty, I love dark forest colors and that girl is so adorable! I really like you site so far!
About: wow, its creepy, you actually look like the cartoon Cindy! You should have put a flower in your hair from those above you. The information has this peaceful feeling, nothing wild or crazy, all this gray shows youâ€™re a peaceful person, mature, wise, learning, kind of set in life. Again, nicely spaced and even borders, colors suits me fine and so do the different fonts.
Work: alright, if your images were centered, it wouldnâ€™t look like theyâ€™re falling towards the left side altogether, you could also add boarders around each image to give it more highlight. Your arts, all of it is amazing! Beautiful, creative, original, bizarre, and deffinatly out of this world, I really enjoy art thatâ€™s strange or dark with a cute side. Like the third image under digital art, I love that darkness with you in the black dress, just seems so real to me, I see this peaceful impression on all your artwork, I like it. Some of your images arenâ€™t working; they wonâ€™t load and just seem to be broken. Overall, very nice artwork, gives me chills for some reason, I dunno why xD. Loving your digital and traditional art! I also like the fact that you took the time to set up light box so your images seems so prefect from the time theyâ€™re clicked and displayed. You even made your own close button!!!
Contact: your have many where fans and viewers can reach you, surprised you donâ€™t have MySpace but also glad to donâ€™t lower yourself to those kinds of areas on the web. No Xanga either. What would be helpful is to use type out your email than link it, and kill that [@] just email@example.com will do fine. Extra steps to reach you if the form stops working isnâ€™t really going to make me want to email you, it discourages me in a way. Just type out your email. Instead of that SEND button on the bottom, why not add a flower button but write send on it. That would be so neat!
You know at first I thought the top your site looks weird, but later I realized that it was actually those forest trees at the bottom, theyâ€™re so tall they look like strips on top of the layout. Maybe if you add some branches to those trees at the top, it wonâ€™t look so strange at first, but then, vertical trees are kind of gothic style which I believe your site has. The feelings I got after I viewed the entire site were: gothic, dark, lonely, sorrow, cold, gray, a broken site but also cute, unique, stylish, peaceful, wise, calm, cool, collected, understanding, spaced out, organized, and well planned out. Itâ€™s kind of this big box with anything ranging from the best of feelings to the worst of them. Thatâ€™s how I saw your site, kind of felt like a part of me, I really enjoyed my time on your site, and it made me so comfortable. Youâ€™ve really got amazing talent and you have no trouble at all expressing it. I wish you the best for your future art work and your site Cindy! It was a pleasure to review your site.
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Hey Reesha, thanks for taking the time to write your review; I appreciate it! :) I'm sorry I never got to respond to this sooner, but I'll start now!
- Like you, several people have suggested hover effects for the navigation links so they're not so static. This is definitely something that I'd been thinking about doing but haven't done yet. I'm also a fan of good hover effects; I just haven't really been able to think of something to implement. I'll keep your suggestions in mind though.
- I'm really, really glad that you noticed some of the details on my site like the RSS button, the footer, the "close" button on my Lightbox gallery, as well as all the other details I put in the layout. :)
- Nice suggestion on the smileys. To be honest, I never gave them any thought but now I'll keep that in mind.
- I'd consider centering my images on my "Work" page, but since the page titles are automatically set to align left, it'd look a bit awkward if I had a bunch of images centered. Wait, are some of my images not loading? I could have sworn that I checked every one of them. I hope other people aren't experiencing that same problem.
- I don't have a Xanga (hahaha, it's already enough work keeping this site and my LiveJournal updated on a semi-consistent basis, so another blog would just be overkill!). I have a MySpace, but I haven't used it in over a year since I got a lot of spam from it.
- RE: [at]. If I link the email directly and write out the full address, it can bring in spam. You are right in that it's an extra step for visitors to contact me, but it's not a big step that I'm willing to allow tons of spam to go through my inbox.
- The feelings I got after I viewed the entire site were: gothic, dark, lonely, sorrow, cold, gray, a broken site but also cute, unique, stylish, peaceful, wise, calm, cool, collected, understanding, spaced out, organized, and well planned out. Itâ€™s kind of this big box with anything ranging from the best of feelings to the worst of them. Thatâ€™s how I saw your site, kind of felt like a part of me, I really enjoyed my time on your site, and it made me so comfortable. Wow, thanks! I definitely don't deserve all those kind words, so thanks a bunch for reviewing my site. I'm glad you liked it. :)
Kristelle gave it on 21st Mar 2009 and said:
Hello Cindy! Your site is the first I'm reviewing here on rev.iew.me. I'm no expert but I think it's useful to get input from anybody and everybody, so here is my 2 cents! Firstly, I LOVE simplicity. Clutter or too much content drives me crazy. Your site is well organized and that gets brownie points in my book. Next, I love your 'Subscribe to my feed' image, it's so much more attractive than the typical orange button. I like the font you used for your sidebar links and headers, very casual yet catchy. Your color scheme is light and doesn't distract from your artwork. You have amazing talent and your art is beautiful, I'm especially fond of the 'Awakening' series. I just noticed the footer of your site and I didn't realize at first that the background was an extension of the trees from the bottom, so creative! With that being said, there actually isn't anything I would improve on, the entire site flows well.
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Kristelle, thanks so much for this! Reading this definitely made my day; I'm glad you caught the details that I put in the site, like the RSS feed and the footer. Kudos! :)
Asia gave it on 7th Mar 2009 and said:
Hello, Cindy! Congratulations on posting your first website for review! Judging by the screenshot alone, it looks to be a promising specimen to examine. I hope you will find my review helpful and that you will spend some time sharing any commentary as to how I could improve it, if applicable. With that being said, Iâ€™ll get started.
I am always excited to see personal artwork incorporated into layouts, and given what I see before me, it appears I have every incentive to be! I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s the late hour or the impressiveness of your design, but Iâ€™m having a little bit of trouble formulating coherent thoughts about it...
Okay, letâ€™s start from the top... and go all the way down to the bottom! I love that the layout is one cohesive body, that is, that the trees branch up even beyond the span of the layout and stem from the bottom of the layout. The varying grays in the backwoods are a very nice touch. The way the site name grows out of the branch with the flowers was a wonderful way of drawing the userâ€™s eyes to the sidebar, adding to the cohesive feeling of the layout that I mentioned earlier. I would recommend linking the site title to the home page, however, as itâ€™s not always clear that the link â€œBLOGâ€ serves that purpose. I also suggest adding some hover effects to the navigation to help make that area look a little less static.
I love the Cindy character coming out of the tree saying hello. Itâ€™s a clever way to call attention to the introductory area of the site rather than just placing a photo of yourself there. It was also a good idea to have it click through to your â€œAboutâ€ page. I love to see how people incorporate the Twitter mascot into their layout in their own little ways, and yours is certainly among one of the more clever ones. Again, it was a bright idea to have it link directly to your Twitter account page.
Continuing down the sidebar, I love that you incorporated the flowers from the rest of the layout into the feed logo. While a subtle gesture, it makes every difference in making this your own, which youâ€™ve done exceptionally well in nearly every aspect of the layout. The bottom of the layout is certainly not to be missed, and showcases the simplicity and genius that makes this layout sparkle.
Perhaps the one place where the design falls a little short is in the area where the siteâ€™s content actually takes place. I see that you wanted your design not to detract from your photos, but a few little touches would have made the blog area feel more like it was a part of the layout rather than simply beside it. As is, the content area gives me that same sensation as when you eat at a restaurant with beautiful decor right down to the table, and then your dish arrives on a boring, white, circular plate with food that has (at least) the appearance of being equally bland. I hope that makes sense. Something as simple as a flower near the post title would have been a nice touch.
Delving into a blog post, I see other places for additions. It seems the comment section is a popular place for people to neglect in terms of achieving cohesion in their designs. The comments all seem to run into each other, although this is a spatial issue as well as an aesthetic one. If youâ€™re not going to add some visual indication of division between the individual comments, at the very least, some space should be added between each one. You may also want to consider enlarging the Gravatar images as well, to do the work of visual stimulation for you. Still, I would highly recommend adding at least a little bit of that obviously talented artistic touch in this particular area. Donâ€™t forget about the comment form! Itâ€™s rather bland as well. Also note that on the actual post pages, the navigation div is empty and creates a superfluous rectangular band below the comment form. I would recommend adding the navigation to previous posts (usually listed by name) in this area. Finally, Iâ€™ll add, it was a great idea for you to place space between the actual post and the comment area. The varying grays in the backwoods helps a little to create a sense of cohesion with the rest of the layout, but personally, I think itâ€™s a little too limited.
Iâ€™m glad you included a photo to accompany your drawn perception of yourself. The photo is quite lovely, actually, as are you! n_n The section about yourself is so limited! I find myself a little annoyed that you resort to describing yourself in third person, and in terms of quizzes, but at the same time, I respect your attention to brevity. Itâ€™s one of the reasons why I find your design and your artwork so appealing.
Still, in this area of the site, it leaves something to be desired. What is it that makes you this fabled â€œunique New Yorker?â€ I have to admit, I had to laugh about your bold proclamation at first. Then, my penchant for philosophy took over. What does that even mean, to be unique in New York, the supposed capital of uniqueness? When does â€œuniqueâ€ finally lose meaning? Does uniqueness have a limit, or for that matter, creativity? Once a community unites under a similar/singular proclamation about their individual selves, doesnâ€™t that decry their uniqueness at once? As I am a New Yorker myself, I have a lot of thoughts about all that, but this is certainly not the proper venue to discuss that at length. Please, take no offense to any of it. I donâ€™t intend to question/criticize your perception of yourself. I suppose I am just a cynic at heart! Moving along, it would be nice if I could get a taste for your personality in your own words. Birth signs and personality quizzes can only say so much, and they certainly prove nothing of your uniqueness. If anything, they contradict it, as they make the attempt at grouping masses of people together based on a limited set of criteria. Well, now that Iâ€™ve probably talked that into the ground, I will move on. Forgive me!
Cindy, you are a talented artist. I am amazed at your ability to capture the look and feel of traditional media in your digital works as well as a sense of whimsy. While I enjoy the lightbox mechanism youâ€™ve chosen to display your work, I think it would be nice if at some point your visitors had an opportunity to share their thoughts on your work. Your art is very inspiring, and Iâ€™m sure dozens want to share that energy with you. Yet I understand that comes with its complications as well. In any case, I hope your gallery will continue to expand.
The form could be prettier, but it gets the job done!
Cindy, your site is beautiful, simplistic, and to the point, but I think with a few small additions, it could be perfect. Trust me, itâ€™s feasible. Keep up the great work!
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Hey Asia, many thanks for the well-written review; this is very helpful stuff! :)
- I'm really glad that you noticed the little details that I tried to incorporate into the layout (i.e. the flower in the RSS feed) and the overall cohesion. Good point about the static navigation links; the hover effects sound like a great idea! I'll definitely have to look into that.
- You raise a really great point about the content area. I'm going to be updating the site soon, and this is something that I'll have to keep in mind. And I like the idea about putting a flower in the post titles.
- Admittedly, I never really gave much consideration to the comment pages as I did the actual content. When I read your review, I went and checked my comment page. Alas, it does look cramped. :( And ack, I never caught that empty div and the subsequent empty band underneath the entry/comments -- good call. This is something to fix immediately -- fixed! Now, to tackle the actual layout of the comments ...
- I agree that the About section is somewhat limited, but I don't want to create a total snoozefest for people by giving them a detailed autobiography or listing a billion "interesting" facts when in reality, nobody actually pays mind to that. :( As for third-person perspective, that stems from my desire to create a narration or witness of myself as a character. Also, lately, I've felt that first-person perspectives create a notion of "me me me me me", whereas I want to take a step back and observe myself outside of my own bias. (And this would apply to my perspective on life in general, not just a page ona website.) As for the quizzes, I'm an astrology/zodiac geek.
- The "unique New York" is a bit of a tongue-twister, which I found endearing. It's something that is fun to say out loud, which is why it is one of my favorite phrases. It's also a lyric from a Decemberists song that I absolutely love, so I thought I'd make a little allusion to that and my city of residence. I don't necessarily think that being from New York carries a correlation to uniqueness of character though.
- About the commenting on my works, I've gotten suggestions for that as well. I don't necessarily want to create a lot of single pages for my art, but I think I might create individual pages for each category and incorporate commenting from there. Ah, it's still up in the air!
Again, thanks so much for your great review; it's a nice starting ground for me to start improving my site! :)
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