Some editions ago we had an interview with Lex Raaphorst, a name you kept bumping into surfing the world wide web looking for Elvis. He mentioned to us that he was restyling and integrating some of his websites. Now everything seems to be finished we went back to his site.
The Elvex Pages are an integration of three websites, Lex’ Elvis Page, I Gotta Know and Down In The Alley. Upon entering the site Lex makes this clear with a nice flash animation, something not seen too often on an Elvis Website.
The new look of Lex’ site is certainly a step up from the last lay-out. The site looks like it has been build for the new generation browsers using frames, dynamic HTML and Macromedia Flash. Using these kind of graphics has to be done carefully, but overall Lex managed to get around pretty well, the downloads aren’t too big and still run pretty smooth. Another nice addition is the used audio. Lex made a nice mix of Elvis’ greatest hits, and did a better job than the Elvis Medley we all know from the early 80’s album. The con of this is that it slows the loading of the page down. Best thing to do is to turn it off while loading and put it back on when everything is finished. Especially because we noticed the server he is using (Geocities) is acting very irregular. Sometimes it’s very fast, but pretty often not.
Looking at the navigation of the site you have to know your Elvis-titles. All buttons refer to an Elvissong and you really have to know them to get an idea of what you’re getting after clicking the button. Fortunately Lex saw this too and added a small explanation to each button when you hold your mouse over it. When you follow a link there appears a submenu to help you navigate through the offered information, lyrics, movies, a (complete) CD and title catalogue, links and some information about the (Big Boss) man himself, Lex that is. Overall there are good explanations how the menus work and where they lead.
Following some menu-items you see this page is an integration of more sites. We’ll get to the content in the next part of the review, here we’ll stick to the design. Looking at his review-part of the site (I Got Lucky) we see the images in many different sizes, this makes it look a bit uncoordinated.
Clicking the other items you see this site is build by integrating several other sites. There appears a submenu for each integrated site to help you navigate through the vast amount of information. Once you click on a type of navigation through the songlyrics there are several ways to get the lyric you’re looking for. By title, album or session. Once you’ve made your choice you’ll have to use the backbutton to get back from a lyric to the menu. It would be nice to have a direct link back to either the alphabetic list, or the album. The same goes for the CD- and songcatalogues.
The photogallery is almost a standard-item for all websites, Lex probably thought "let’s make this a special gallery" and included six different galleries. Sandi’s Candids are fully integrated, while the others open new windows, but looking to the themes that has an obvious reason.
Besides the look of a site, the content is what really counts. Looking at the Elvex Pages there’s a lot of great content to be found. Like we mentioned, a (complete) dicography, an index of which song can be found on each album and vice versa, a complete index of all Elvis lyrics, six photogalleries and a well-organised linkspage.
What can be said of the content? This site offers all basic Elvis information you need when you’re looking for specific Elvis’ songs and where to find them. For those looking for the lyrics, they’re all there. The content can be described as a well organised database.
A great pro of the Elvex Pages is "I Got Lucky". It seems Lex has most Elvis releases around and adds his personal (re)view to it. For those having trouble to decide which CD / book / magazine to buy … have a look here first, this will give you a nice general view helping you to make your decision.
Another pro on this site is that the webmaster added additional information to his linkspage, so you have an idea of what you might expect following it. This is something we’d like all webmasters to do.
He does have a bit of a problem here … we haven’t got too much advise for this webmaster. It seems pretty clear he knows what he’s doing on the WWW. We mentioned some small points in our review but they aren’t big enough to mention again. We think these points are some leftovers from the different sites this webmaster integrated into one new site.
We hope Lex can find some space to integrate one more item to his site … our three star award for a job very well done.