My New Website

Posted: 7/26/2011 4:57:57 PM

From: Redmond, WA

Joined: 9/1/2007

Hi all,

I have officially reached a place on my new website that I am proud to present to the world. It's still a bit sparse, but can easily be expanded as new ideas present themselves. A couple ideas I have for adding to the site are:

"What is a theremin?" page
"Repertoire" page

What other ideas could be good for me to add to my site?

So, what do you think? What do you like/dislike of the design/navigation?

Currently, it is very graphics-driven, so text searches from the web are not as viable, but I'm working on a solution for this, and to me right now, it's not that big of a deal...especially since it wouldn't show up at all in searches right now being so new anyway.

Start here: (

~Dan Marchetti
Posted: 7/28/2011 1:42:18 AM

From: Redmond, WA

Joined: 9/1/2007

Update: Graphics updated and text issue improved. More for the site to come soon.

No opinions? ...realllllllllly?

~Dan Marchetti
Posted: 7/28/2011 10:21:19 AM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Dan ~
Since you asked any opinion, I am going to be honest here. Not everyone has fast computers to download flash animation stuff. It takes (at least from my work) a long time to view your page cause it's taking for eeeeeever... so people might not be patient enough to wait for things to roll and might just click off the page.

What are you trying to promote with your website? you as a musician? you and the Theremin? updates on what you are working on? Personally, if you are trying to do that, I would take away the "personal life" tab. That's what Facebook, Twitter, myspace etc is for. It might help faster navigation for your site. I didn't particuliarly enjoyed the screen display and having to press the "power" button to enter a different section on your site is another step to do to get there. Simplicity is the key, especially when you are dealing with folks from all walks of life...
Posted: 7/28/2011 11:28:39 AM

From: Redmond, WA

Joined: 9/1/2007

Thanks for the wonderful feedback, Amey!

Yes, the page is definitely heavy on the graphics...I need to fiddle around with smaller file sizes so it loads faster.

As for flash, the only flash on the site is from the embedded videos for YouTube and Stickam...this is good ol' fashioned HTML. Flash may load quicker if I went with it, though.

The goal for my site, as of now, is to put anything and everything I want about me there. Social networking sites (and mostly their privacy policies) annoy me to the point that I rarely go on the ones I have.

Perhaps it is a bit unprofessional to have both personal and "professional" sections that can both be visited from the same site...I just don't want to pay for another domain. Perhaps I could have the main site be theremin related, and then have a personal page that is inaccessible from the rest unless one knows the url...yeah, I think I'll do that!

I'll make some tweaks tonight and hopefully fix a lot of these issues. I'll let everyone know when tweaks are done. Thanks again for the feedback, it is most appreciated!

~Dan Marchetti
Posted: 7/29/2011 11:16:21 AM

From: Redmond, WA

Joined: 9/1/2007

Ok, I have compiled smaller graphics and rearranged the way they are displayed. Amey, please let me know if everything loads quicker for you.

~Dan Marchetti
Posted: 8/4/2011 5:18:18 PM

From: Hampshire, UK

Joined: 4/24/2009

Heh, this has gotten a bit long! Please forgive me, I am a web developer by trade. I have a few of points if you're interested?


Amethyste: "...It takes (at least from my work) a long time to view your page cause it's taking for eeeeeever..."

carport888: "...the only flash on the site is from the embedded videos for YouTube and Stickam...this is good ol' fashioned HTML. Flash may load quicker if I went with it, though."

As someone who likes to watch videos of people playing theremin, the most important page on your site, thepageyoutube.html is unbarably slow. It's slow enough for me to abandon your page and just view them direct on YouTube. :( That's bad, because I miss out on all the rest on your site if I do that!

The page is heavy, it's slow to load and once completely loaded, it's consuming so much memory that it slows down the browser, and depending on browser, the entire computer. The reason for that is the number of embedded fash instances in the page, the elements.

When that HTML page is loaded into a browser, the browser then has to make additional requests to YouTube (or wherever the flash is hosted) to load the SWF. Each addidional request slows your page down more and more. (My apologies if you already knew that!)

Once the browser has got the Flash files (the YouTube players) it then has to load up a copy of the flash plugin and run each one. It's basically loading all the videos at once. While Adobe Flash isn't bad, it is resource hungry, it just eats up RAM. I would generally advise no more than two, maybe three pieces of flash on a page at once.

My advice for that page would be to use linked poster frames (a single frame from the video, as an image) for the videos. What you would end up with is very simliar to what you've got now. Pictures with play buttons over them, except that each video actually plays on it's own page.

If you want to get fancy, you could use Javascript to replace the poster image with the flash video player in-page using a technique called Ajax. I recommend looking into jQuery for that kind of thing.

As for doing the whole site in flash... That's just plain not recommended by anyone other than a flash designer/developer. Every flash website I've ever had the misfortune to have to use has always been slow, clunky and took an age to load anything. Even small things like using the scroll wheel don't always work. Overall, you'd slow everything down. At the moment, the only slow page is thepageyoutube.html.


carport888: "Perhaps it is a bit unprofessional to have both personal and "professional" sections that can both be visited from the same site...I just don't want to pay for another domain."

There's nothing wrong with having professional and personal stuff on the same site, it's your personal site afterall! It just depends how personal your personal stuff is, what kind of stuff you get up to and how bad it would be if it became public knowlege (always a risk).

It really depends how much image matters in your professional endevours. But that's a whole other ball game and not one I like to get into! I'm definately in the "dirty hippy" camp, but as a web developer, that's not so bad, we're expected to be scruffy geeks! If you're the managing director of a multinational company, I imagine it'd be a different matter. :/


carport888: "...and then have a personal page that is inaccessible from the rest unless one knows the url...yeah, I think I'll do that!"

Oh no! Please don't do that! That's called Security through Obscurity ( and it never works! If your web host allows it, and most do, use what is called a .htpasswd file, similar to .htaccess if you've ever used it. If you have cPanel hosting, then you can do it from there.

Ideally, if you have priva
Posted: 8/6/2011 9:57:51 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Congratulations on getting it out there, and good luck optimizing your site!

It loaded fine for me. I have to agree, though I use Flash, jQuery is definitely worth looking at. And Flash won't run on Apple devices so you'll want a sniffer for an alternate version if you don't yet. Maybe you've already made some changes.

YSlow is a very handy FireFox plug-in for seeing where your page bottle necks are, and of course FireBug in FireFox and "Inspect Element" in Safari are indispensable for debugging your web pages.

Just a couple two-cent thoughts I'd have are:
Something we all have to remember is to be sure you test your site in several browsers and on MAC and Windows machines and with different resolutions and on mobile devices. I'm noticing some odd lingering bits of text like "Power Button" at the bottom of the page and I'm not sure it was intended.

I think the design is hindering your content, you have a very fun and accessible attitude to your "personal branding" which seems constrained by the layout. I wanted it to fill the screen. As you refine it, you might consider not covering up your photo with the pop up menus and giving the pop ups a close button. Once I clicked an Icon I was frustrated by not being able to get back easily to the big happy welcome photo you open with.

Most of all you got this done and you are getting the word out, that's really good - content is the key to everything.
Posted: 8/6/2011 3:14:18 PM

From: Redmond, WA

Joined: 9/1/2007

Thank you all for the wonderful feedback!

Yes, I am definitely hard at work optimizing the site. At the moment, I am working on a solution for the YouTube page load times...and I think I may have found it in Flowplayer ( Flowplayer is a free flash video player.

The really cool thing about this is that it has a Splash Image option, so that in place of the player, an image loads on the page. Only when the image is clicked will the player itself load and start, so the load times should be lightning fast regardless of how many videos are on one page. A demo of this can be seen in the video section of my personal page.

Too bad I can't find a quick easy way to add a splash image like this to cover the YouTube pages. Flowplayer has a plugin for purchase that would allow it to play YouTube videos, but their demos look non-functional. Also, I'm still learning all of the cool things Flowplayer can do, and there are a lot of cool looking plugins that I'd like to use, but need more time to learn about.

"You've drastically limited your pages in terms of page design and layout for the sake of an irrelevant joke. (I'm *so* sorry, I feel bad for saying it, especially considering the attention to detail!)"

No offense taken :). I have grown fond of my computer monitor look...perhaps too fond. It was intended to be a way to help people be able to easily navigate my site...after all, you need a computer to view the site anyway, so people should feel right at home. However, this doesn't seem to be the case with all people; so if it must go, it must...then again, you can't please everyone all of the time. I'm definitely brainstorming alternatives to the monitor, though.

The monitor was also intended to be a fun interface that people could find little "Easter Eggs" in as they browse. As it stands now, here are some features:

Power button: Turns off monitor and displays a full site map below monitor.
Below monitor: Provides links to things nearby in the site for accessibility text browsing.
Desktop bar: "Choose Profile" brings one to a choice between the personal and theremin sections of my site, while "Show Desktop" immediately gets rid of all of the window clutter from the background picture and base icons.
Folder Minimize: When in a folder, get rid of it by clicking the green down arrow in the corner...I made it a green arrow so it wouldn't be exactly like a Mac or a PC.
Close Page: When in a full page, click the red "X" in the corner to quickly return to the folder that launched the page.

If the monitor must go, I'm ok with that. Hopefully, I'll have the time to redesign somewhat soon.

Security through Obscurity: Yes I totally agree that this doesn't work. My intent with it would not be to keep people out, just to have it look more professional with not linking to personal stuff in a professional website. This way, I could have two entirely separate sections for anyone who is interested and can get there. For now, though, I don't mind having a way to find my personal site from the theremin site.

That's all I can think of now, but may think of more later. Thanks again for all of the great feedback!
Posted: 8/6/2011 8:43:23 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

I like it. It's quirky and reminds me of how the web was when I first went online. I'm not sure what it's for or who it is aimed at, it seems to simply be what it is, which is fine if that's what you want.

The layout of the YouTube links page is off on my iPad - the video covers the links at the bottom of the page.

Have you considered using a YouTube playlist player rather than linking to individual players for each video?

The webcam doesn't work for me, I guess it's Flash, and the power off image does not display. Also the text on most pages is a tiny bit too large for the screen.
Posted: 8/12/2011 11:27:28 AM

From: Redmond, WA

Joined: 9/1/2007

Okay, has been redesigned. Let me know what you think, and thanks again for all of the wonderful feedback! I like the new look much's no longer a "novelty" site for a "novelty" instrument.


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