A short while ago, I got this e-mail through this site asking me if I could review a new site. This isn’t my first site review, but it is however the first request for one throught this site. Anyway, I don’t know yet, how it’s going to turn out or what reactions are going to come from it, but here it goes. Before I forget to mention. The person who asked me to do so, said I shouldn’t hold back. 😉
The site in question is bmindful. Bmindful is a site which allows you to search through a series of affirmations and even create your own set of them. Now, the first 2 things that popped into my mind are why bmindful (BTW on a side-note, I don’t really like the domain name. I know it was a great trend to use names that were written in a more phonetical way, like trix or nice2CU, but since recent years, it’s not adviced. Better should have been: BeMindful) and what are those affirmations. Most of the internet is in English (am I glad it’s not French) but some more difficult words like this, might need some explaination to non english-speaking people. I didn’t find that on the start page. (I had to look it up too).
It’s a quire sober site, when you look at the layout. This has it’s advantages, like you see the information is most important and you are not distracted, but it also looses it’s whoooaaaa-effect. You are not stunned by its visual beauty. It’s text. Then the menu, it’s easily findable because of the position, but it’s not really outspoken. Then The site consists of boxes. Lots of them. Which keeps things organised, but maybe a little too structured. I find them a bit too much in this case. Especially the bordered boxes. Do either borders or colored boxes, but don’t use both too much. The captions of those boxes aren’t logically structured either. At first I thought all left box headers aligned to the left, right boxes to the right and center boxes to the center. But that wasn’t the case either. There are also some things I like about the site. The popular tags are great. They are linked directly to other parts of the site and they are great for search engines. Plus the way that they’re ordered (or shall I say not ordered, it gives that extre creativity, that the layout is missing). I also like the small “New affirmations added every day”-tab and “alpha”-banner at the side. Again they break the layout a bit.
The homepage is in fact the home page. You can reach most important things from there. From contacting, recommending, to the most recent additions and the most popular tags.
The rest of the site consists of two parts. Affirmations itself and articles. Besides that, you have a user-only site with extra functionality and a great help section.
After trying those tags, you get what you expect, a list of affirmations related to that tag. Which is good, but you don’t find that something special, i.e. rate an affirmation. Some people might like some more than others. Also, at the top of the page, you’ll find a path of where you are in the site. If you clicked the tag “success” you’ll find “bmindful > tags > success” as your path. Which is a good thing (I sometimes get lost 😉 ) but it would be nicer if those were clickable. So that when I click “bmindful” I would return to the homepage, when I click “tags” I would go to an overview of all the tags.
When you navigate further and further you start to notice the ads. Now I’m against those blinky blinky ads, but google ads (as they are on the site) I don’t mind. However, they are in boxes just like the other elements of the site. Which doesn’t distinct advertisement from site content very well. It’s a bit dislusive.
The second part are the articles. I haven’t read them all, due to the lack of time. But the ones I read were really a nice read. The format of the article is a bit wide for easy reading, but that could be easily fixed. They are not too long so you start skipping parts.
Under the hood
When looking at the source-code, there are a few inconstencies. Some tags are capitalized, others are not. Some attribute values are in quotes, others not. The site is made in ASP.NET so most likely created in Visual Studio. Now I have some experience with that program and it can be a real pain in the butt. However, you can set tags to lowercase and force it to quote every attribute value. So have a look at Visual Studio’s settings. I didn’t have the time to really go deep here, but there is definitely some space for improvement (ok now stop looking at the source-code of this site or any other one I’ve made 😉 )
Bmindful is a nice site, with some great content. It’s certainly worth a visit. It’s definitely the kind of place you go to for the content and not the looks. Also note that I didn’t review the member-only part of it (again with the lack of time excuse). When you do use it, let me know how that is.
On a final note, it says Web 2.0 service, but I haven’t found any 2.0 elements. There is not spiffy AJAX, no suprisingly new feature. When your site isn’t 2.0, don’t call it that. Don’t use it as a buzzword.