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Q: Review and evaluation of ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Review and evaluation of
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: sonshicom-ga
List Price: $55.00
Posted: 20 Oct 2002 14:03 PDT
Expires: 19 Nov 2002 13:03 PST
Question ID: 85581
We are looking for a somewhat comprehensive outsider review and
evaluation (from a long time Web user) regarding the
website --

What do you like or dislike?  Suggestions on how to improve, such as
wording, color, design, functionality, usability, additional features,
overall experience, overall model, etc.  We value constructive
negative feedback more than positive ones; we want you to be brutally

The improvements should be geared toward the following results (in
order of importance):

1. Increased repeat visitors
2. Increased message board participation
3. Increased paying subscribers (

Perhaps related, it would be great if you look at how rates
within the Internet community as well.  Who knows, your advice could
directly change the website itself.

Subject: Re: Review and evaluation of
Answered By: lot-ga on 20 Oct 2002 19:09 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello sonshicom-ga

First of all I must point out there are many, many good points
regarding your website, and the focus of this response is to pick out
areas of improvement.
Personally I quite like the way you have interlaced the Chinese
characters as often the English translations can become quite detached
or sound a bit strange from their literal translation from Chinese.

OK, getting down to business.

Possible improvement points (possible as it is subjective)
1. Homepage include a brief description of sonshi?
e.g. a Tai Chi site might have a description of:
"explore and reveal new information about the development of internal
skills and techniques for use in martial arts, fitness, self knowledge
and spiritual development" Or maybe a simple translation of the
Chinese that is on the page? .. or something like "The Art of War"?
Initially the purpose of the website was hard to interpret, and how it
would benefit normal individuals (like me). Presumably the site is
seeking to spread the knowledge of Sonshi to the whole world, to
educate people and make them aware, rather than just focus on Sonshi
followers. The site needs to make its intentions clearer, or at least
quicker to assimilate.
2. There is no 'news' area on the homepage or latest events. Without
this your homepage will 'appear' to remain the same, and give users
the impression that the content has not changed.
This site DP review ( ) gives the impression
of very dynamic content, top square images titled "Latest digital
camera reviews / previews" highlights their feature content. Their
vertical "Latest news" column is a method to introduce fresh content,
a search box allows users to quickly locate content, and their forum
is promoted in a right hand column "Top Discussions". This shows the
forum's most active topics.
Maybe the "DAILY RESOURCES" section ( ) could be on the homepage?
3. The text colour #00CC00 is slightly difficult to read on black..
it's okay, but gets a bit difficult or tiring to read over a long
4. With the Principles of Warfare section ( ) perhaps introduce explanations
of the meanings of the wise words e.g. "Therefore, those skilled in
warfare can make themselves invincible, but cannot necessarily cause
the enemy to be vulnerable. Therefore it is said one may know how to
win but cannot necessarily do it. " (
There is a informal interpretation of the meaning from a member in the
forum, and from what I can deduce there is no set meaning for the
statements and it is up to individuals to interpret them according to
their circumstances ...maybe this could be made clearer?
5. There is a lot of scope and depth to the site, which is generally
text based, there might be of some value to introduce some images to
support say the fight modes, for example, "Chapter Two: Doing Battle"
or "Chapter Four: Formation"
6. It is not totally clear to me what content is in the Sonshi Daily ( ) for my $3 each month. Perhaps
explain to the user if they spend $3 what they will be getting and why
it is worth spending the $3. - Why it is so such great value for
example. Also incentify them with a special offer, which will make
them act, e.g. have a time limited promotion. 12 issues for the price
of 9, or subscribe 3 months and get the first issue free.. something
like that. The testimonials at the bottom of the page would benefit
from being at the top of the page.. I almost missed them.
7. Minor point, in the horizontal menu the link "Purchase" could be
called "Shop" or "Books".. "Book Shop" even?
8. Minor, minor point, I was expecting the Sonshi news page ( ) to be purely the latest events on
Sonshi. Users then would view your site as the reference point for
Sonshi, exhibitions, demonstrations, challanges, new community groups,
get togethers, meetings etc. The Moveover general news content is okay
but 'seems' slightly out of place on a specialized interest website.
9. There is a link to on the forum pages, it wasn't
clear if that was part of or a third party link.
10. When in the forum, the 'Home' to link could be made
more prominent?
11. This a passing comment on the time clock in the forum.. must be a
clever forum to detect my local time! If it isn't a clever clock, then
your forum clock needs to be readjusted.
12. Homepage links e.g. "Maintain sharpness and learn every day" go to
Sonshi Daily page, perhaps describe it as such? Perhaps change the
order of the descriptions e.g.
- New? Click here for an introduction

- Books to buy

- Speak your mind

- Plan the day

- Great works

This way it clearly describes the function of the link, 'Overview',
'Book Shoop', 'Message Board' etc. Currently the links are more like
'sentences', describing the functions as I have highlighted turns them
more into 'buttons' with a short descriptor.
13. I couldn't help drawing mental comparisons with western
strategies, maybe include a summary of the advantages of sonshi over
existing systems?
14. Title 'Military Leaders' conjures up some famous but less popular
leaders e.g. Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler etc. Maybe you change this
to something which excludes the less savory characters, to something
like 'Military Heroes'?

A summary of my main dislikes:
1. Slightly difficult to read body text colour, tiring on eyes.
2. Non engaging homepage, needs more dynamic captivating content?
3. Predominately text layout, which could benefit with some
illustrations to add some visual stimulation.

A summary of my likes:
1. Chinese text
2. Simple structured layout
3. Depth of the translations
4. Non commercial nature of the site, no ad banners or pop ups to
destroy the user experience. .. the site does have Amazon links but
that is fairly unobtrusive.
5. Consistency in the use of colours, looks professional.
6. Speed of the web site, no heavy advertising banners or slow java.
7. PHP message board and powerful functionality
8. Literary Resources section - great information area!

>For: 1. Increased repeat visitors 
1a. Needs fresh, changing content to keep visitors coming back,
visible and accessible from your homepage.
1b. Build on the Literary Resources section to make it a definitive
reference point so people come back to consult it.
1c. Add a site search function to allow people easy access to the
growing site content
1d. Allow people to email phrases to others from a web email form
(which appends your site name to the end of the message)
1e. Spice up the text layout with a few strategic illustrations, but
do not include unnecessary ones.
1f. Build a community of people, (via the message board function)
1g. Include simple Flash games which demonstrate the principle
These can be educational, or entertaining.
1h. On a more advanced level to include multiplayer / team games,
either as a stimulation or entertainment use, put words into practise!
1i. Add a chat room?
"Increasing Repeat Visits" by Brian Alt
"What drives repeat visitors to your website?" by David Travis System
"Customer Retention" Internet Marketing

>For: 2. Increased message board participation 
2a. Perhaps post questions to stimulate debate. 
2b. Publish the latest questions on the homepage to draw in
opinionated people.
"Increasing Forum Participation" by Joe Tracy Web Master Techniques

>3. Increasing paying subscribers
3a. Explain benefits of subscription
3b. Publish special offers to incentify people
3c. Ensure content of subscription is value for money
"Increasing Subscribers" iBoost
"Tips on Increasing Subscribers" Web Reference
How Do I Increase My Subscribers? The Write Market
"Increasing web sales" Internet Marketing Engine rates quite highly within the internet community as about
756 sites indexed on Google contain the term ""!

Search Strategy:
"Increasing subscribers"
"Increasing" forum OR "message board"
Increasing repeat visitors

I hope that has helped, if you need clarification of the answer just
Kind regards

Request for Answer Clarification by sonshicom-ga on 20 Oct 2002 19:46 PDT
Wow.  Excellent points!  One clarification.  What color text (instead
of #00CC00) would you suggest using given the black background?  If
you can state it in #XXXXXX, that would be great.

Clarification of Answer by lot-ga on 20 Oct 2002 20:48 PDT

some color like #FFFFCD ? as seen in the body text at
Contax Cameras UK
contrast that side by side with

I feel it is easier on the eyes as #FFFFCD generates a better contrast
with the black. Using white text is OK on black, but when over used
becomes tiring. #FFFFCD is less harsh than pure white. Or maybe
But take a vote on it. 

DP ( ) use white text but add
visual texture by using different colored tables and highlight colors.
White on black is TOO high contrast, and you will notice the white
text in their tables of a lighter color is more soothing and easier on
the eye. So white text is OK on black backgrounds provided it is used
in moderation.

Here are some pointers:
"Psychological Effects of Color Perception" Thinkquest
"Designing Legible Text" Sap Design Guild
This shows a range of colours on a black background from best
legibility to poorest.

Search Strategy:

I hope the clarification is helpful.
Kind regards
sonshicom-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Superb answer.  Superb service.  Thanks!

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