Critique a gun shop site page I created?


April 7, 2003, 06:00 PM
Last year on TFL I asked folks to comment on a site I created for a friend's gun shop. Since there's lots of new people here on THR, I thought I'd ask for opinions again since I'm updating the site to make it less "boring" (one of the comments from TFL).

So, if you have a moment, could you check it out and comment on: appearance; load time; functionality and so on. If you have problems, please let me know what browser or modem speed you're using.

I'd really appreciate any input. The site is here (

Thanks in advance for any replies.

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April 7, 2003, 06:05 PM
The site load real quick for me, I have a DSL modem. The links on the left of the opening page don't work though. The multiple pistol links is kind of odd as well. But overall it is very easy to use.

April 7, 2003, 07:21 PM
Dick, Everything worked well for me and the sight loading was faster than a one eyed cat covering two mouseholes. Straight forward and to the point.

Where is this shop as I'm in the market to trade my AR in on a different configuration and might drive down to the big city from rural Cheeseville and check it out. Our ordnance shops are battle-rifle challenged here in Buzzards Breath and I generally go to Fondy to check out things but lose patience with the fellow there.

If you don't want to post it send me an email...Thanks

April 7, 2003, 07:21 PM
I like the overall look of the pages. Very clean.

The menu on the left side of the home page was not active.

I suggest putting the store address and phone number on every page. The text on many of the subject pages says "call us" but you make the user work to find the phone number.

You have two different types of sub-menus that makes using the site inconsistant. Decide if you like the pop-up submenu or the list on the subject page and make them all that way. Either will work but both together is confusing.

Hope you have permission to use all of the photos on the page from the 'owners'.

Standing Wolf
April 7, 2003, 09:51 PM
I've seen an awful lot of much worse sites! It wasn't too slow on my 56 K modem.

April 7, 2003, 10:15 PM
what photo_guy said! otherwise a very cool,quick,(I have DSL also),fuctional site.

April 7, 2003, 11:06 PM
Ditto photo guy here too.

April 7, 2003, 11:08 PM
I'll go with everything photo_guy said.

Ed Ely
April 7, 2003, 11:14 PM
Overall, a seven out of a 10. I could
not get the links on the left side of the
first page to function. All of the bottom
buttons aok.

April 7, 2003, 11:38 PM
Nice clean layout, easy to navigate. I certainly have the impression that the shop carries a wide range of firearms, and that using the range would be a pleasant experience.

The store's address and phone number, and hours, should be on every page. At least on the home page, somewhere at the bottom would be unobtrusive.

I agree that the two different styles of links are confusing. And why do the links for handguns and accessories use javascript when the other links don't? Some of us always right-click (or in the case of us lefties, left-click) to open links in a new window. The javascript link doesn't let me do that, while the regular links do.

Also you should use an appropriate DOCTYPE declaration and validate your code. There's a good bit of invalid code in there that is likely to break some browsers. There's a good validator here (

You might want to think about your terminology, too. There are probably a few people who might be looking for "accessories" who would have no idea which of your accessory choices to click. Like me, for example. If I were looking for, say, a holster, or a magazine, or a range bag, I wouldn't know whether to choose General, SureFire, Blackhawk, or Close Window. I'd probably choose "Close Window" rather than randomly make my way through the other choices when I have no idea if there'll be anything about the holster I'm looking for.

April 7, 2003, 11:45 PM
Being a professional geek with an eye for detail, here's my review which is mostly technical.

It appears that you are trying out the transisition to a new format. I like the new style, with the brown paper background much better than the previous style. All the links are visible without much scrolling, and they are easier to read.

It loads fast for me on my cable modem, at less than 20k, it should.

Good use of graphics and whitespace. It's very clear what you are trying to show off on the page. The navigation does not get in the way.

Main problem is with navigation not working. As others have said, left side doesn't work. I looked at the code briefly and don't see any reason why it doesn't work. Might have to do with the bullets appearing. I would also make the order in the bottom consistent with the order on the left side.

Likewise, the coupon link doesn't work. This is because the code is not on the page. I don't know why Macromedia didn't put it in there, but it's gone. I would also change the link so that "here" is not the highlighted part. Something like

To speed things up when you come into the Shooters Shop, you can print out a coupon.

I would make the main graphic at the top link to your home page and I would also give it an ALT tag of "The Shooters Shop" or something slightly descriptive.

That's about it. Let us know when if you transistion the whole site over. I'd be happy to take a second look.


April 8, 2003, 12:39 AM
Pics of the range would be good. A better idea of what exactly you have at the moment, if possible, would be nice. I hate driving to a place to find they don't have what I want.

Good site otherwise.

April 8, 2003, 01:04 AM
Thanks for all the input, folks. The problem with the left side menu is that all of the paper "visuals" are in Flash, including the links. For whatever reason, embedding flash movies into a Dreamweaver document is nothing but trouble, so I created everything in Flash MX for the left side and top.

Problem is, the Flash links work in IE5 and Netscape 6 on a Mac, on Netscape 7 on Windows, but not Netscape 4x Windows or Netscape 4x Mac or IE5 Windows.

All of this could easily have been done without Flash, except for the "triple taps" of bullet holes on each link. I just wanted to give the site a little extra something, without creating a 200K page.

This all started as a favor for my friend, who owns the shop. After a year of constant changes, additions, new designs, etc., I'm feeling that my debt to him has been repaid. The past week has been spent working on downloading the 2003 model photos from the various pistol manufacturers, putting the appropriate windows for them together, and trying to give the site a bit more polished look.

All told, I've got dozens if not hundreds of hours into this site over the past year.

Do you think a Kimber Eclipse Target II would be too much to ask for my efforts? (Heck, if I was billing this out as a real web developer would, an M16A2 would be a fair bargain).

April 8, 2003, 01:14 AM
All of this could easily have been done without Flash, except for the "triple taps" of bullet holes on each link.

You could just use animated .gif files. When you make them, just have them only cycle once (this is possible with Adobe Image Ready ... not sure what software you are using for your .gifs)

April 8, 2003, 02:31 AM
A "real" web designer would charge much more than the worth of a Kimber, most likely. I have a friend who fixes computer problems (a REAL computer guy, knows DOS, networking, web design. All that stuff). His price, one hundred bucks an hour. And that's CHEAP.

April 8, 2003, 02:45 AM
That's not cheap, Feanaro. Average is $60/hr for most "real" PC techs and freelancers.

April 8, 2003, 09:32 AM
We pay $250/hr for our networking guru...


Double Maduro
April 8, 2003, 03:02 PM
The site is fast, clean and bright.

There is however a real lack of information. Most of the pages say to call for information. And the browser back button doesn't work from the specials page.

April 8, 2003, 03:06 PM
We pay $250/hr for our networking guru...

Yowsers! I was thinking small time web designers and freelancers.

April 8, 2003, 03:59 PM
I got a buddy who used to do contract work for the DOD,White House,as well as private sector, his rate was $240/HR.

Nathaniel Firethorn
April 8, 2003, 04:28 PM
I have my browser de-Shockwaved, and tend not to do business with places that force me to use it.

- pdmoderator

April 8, 2003, 05:37 PM
Pdmoderator, that's why today I created a "flash-sniffer" page for this particular page. If you don't have Flash 4 (or higher) installed, you're redirected to a non-flash page. I still have to work on making the non-flash pages look more interesting than they are now.

All the links now work, except in Netscape 4.7 on Windows, where none of the graphics come up at all. So, I added a link at the bottom for those with browser problems.

$240 an hour for net work? If I was charging 1/4th of that for my time, my friend would owe me the entire Kimber line!

Kimber, BTW, is frustrating. They went from a little over two dozen models last year to about three dozen this year, and every link and photo had to be updated.

Thanks again for all the input.

April 8, 2003, 06:31 PM
Wow, I need to up my prices for my computer fixing services...

Double Maduro
April 8, 2003, 06:44 PM

I like your tag line. Good advice for most of life.

Double Maduro
April 8, 2003, 06:46 PM
By the way guys, I am in the computer consulting business and charge a sliding scale depending on the size of the client, type of network and type of work, between $150 and $250 @ hour.

April 8, 2003, 08:39 PM
Boy do I feel dumb, this is the shop I frequent and I didn't know they had a web site!

Nice site by the way. Load time is fast (I'm using a cable modem), everything seems to work for me as far as the links and such. Good work. :)

April 8, 2003, 10:56 PM
Hi, Meathammer. You're from Milwaukee and we haven't seen you sign up yet for the CCW effort? For shame! (Apologies if you're already on the list of volunteers).

I'm trying to convince the owner of the shop that he could get more $$ by having special internet deals. The monthly specials is just one example.

I know there's "kitchen table" dealers out there who can undercut just about anybody's prices on a gun by making a $20 profit on the sale. With the overhead that the Shooters Shop has, $20 per gun isn't going to keep the lights on. But there's other areas where they could make a profit on internet sales; the problem is figuring out which ones they are.

These are tough times for gun shops, especially those with lots of inventory, staff and high rent.

Before my friend (and his partner) took over the shop, I didn't tend to buy from there. There was a real antagonistic attitude that you could feel from the ownership. Now the new owners have really tried to make it an upscale shop, by bringing in guns like Ed Browns, Wilsons, Les Baers and others. I'd never seen those before.

My task is to convey that to the web public, as best I can.

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