Webmaster Oven Egeland claims that Elvis is still active in Norway, so we went to check it out. Fortunately we didn’t find a site claiming Elvis is still alive, instead we found a site keeping his music very much alive. Upon entering the site you immediately see the webmaster moved quite a few mountains. There’s a lot of information available, dedicated to the musical legacy of The King.
Oven stated about the design that, "This site is created "manually". I use the simple Notepad or Wordpad program to write down the 'HTML'-codes. ... I have tried to make it as simple as possible. A simple site is a FAST site! This means that this site can be viewed in any browser … as they support standard 'HTML'-codes. "
We can only welcome this choice, not many webmasters make sure their site works fine on every kind of browser around. The consequence of this choice, and the way he realised this choice, is that the site has a very simple, text orientated layout. Because the Internet has changed from a text-based medium to a graphical-minded medium this site looks a bit outdated. On some pages the tremendous amount of information Oven offers, deserves a little eye-candy. This could improve the readability of the information because with large amounts of text the eye needs some rest. The use of images can also help the reader to refer the information to a certain CD or period of Elvis’ career. We don’t think this should be a problem for this webmaster, since he seems to be very punctual when he uses images.
Overall the navigation around the site is good, but sometimes you get lost when you descend into the site, e.g. when you go to some tour-information pages, there’s no way back. On almost every page is link back ‘home’, which is sometimes linking back to the entrance, instead of the main menu. Also sometimes they show up at the top of a page and other times at the bottom.
Another point, as Oven already mentions himself, is the size of the tables in the session part of the site. The information is great, but the look needs some work. Oven has a great system of "browsing through the years", but it would be great when there is a way to skip some, in other words a way back into the session-menu.
The main interests of this site are well-documented recordingsessions and the reviews on Elvis (live) recordings. These two points make this site stand really out from a lot of other pages.
Just like on a lot of other Elvis-sites, there is much Real-Audio to be found over here. But in contrary of the average RA-sites Oven has added a lot of information (reviews and backgrounds). It looks like Oven is addicted to the 70’s since his RA-section ignores Elvis’ older material, while they are named in the session-information. This session information is one of the most comprehensive collections of Elvis’ recording-sessions. You can download a sample of Oven’s database, or buy the complete database.
The reviews on Oven’s site are well documented and to the point. They place the music in a broader perspective, adding background information and telling us what’s special about (import) CD’s. The reviews are not always by his hand, but they add something extra, otherwise the personal view of one author would determine the entire site. The linkspage also has a small review of the sites mentioned, this helps the visitor make a choice for his next stop on the world wide web.
Another big pro is the actuality of the site. Looking for the latest information there’s a big chance Oven has it.
Since there’s no unambiguous menu on every page it’s important to use the same navigationstructure throughout the entire site. This helps visitors to find their way in the enormous amount of useful information. Perhaps it’s a tip to add a small and consequent menu at the bottom of each page.
Oven has made a deliberate choice in setting up his site, but we think he should consider dropping the most ancient browserversions out of his mind. Eighty-nine percent of the surfers use a version 3 or higher of either the Netscape or MSIE browser, at a screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels or higher. This is information every webmaster should keep in mind when building a site. We are not saying you should ignore the others, but now it looks like you give them priority.
At the news section, bring the site-info to the bottom, because it is less interesting and not real news.
Oven could be more consequent in the use of colour in the same type of tables on different pages. This will improve the general overview of the information and helps the reader to find it easily.
Oven offers his visitors the possibility to compare different version of the same song . On some points there are three versions available for download, and that’s it. We think it would be nice to add the reactions / review of the visitors.
On the tradesection of this site there’s a warning for rip-offs, and on the same page there’s one CD for sale at twenty times retailprice, probably not intended, but we just wanted to mention it.
To conclude this review, a personal request from our reviewteam, please remove the drawing of that Elvis-look-a-like. It could easily bring your design-score up with one point (just kidding).
We are glad to present Oven Egeland, webmaster of Elvis Is Still Active In Norway, our two-star award, and thank him for one of the most interesting sites around!