First off. I would like to thank you for the R2A. I would also like to commend you as I know it is a difficult thing to hear criticisms about something you put so much heart and time into.
I am going to begin by looking at your site from top-down. So, here goes.
- Color. Your site is just gray. First impression is: neutrality. You are saying that you are neutral to your own subject and your users will feel the same
- Responsiveness. I see that you are using a responsive template but there is still a bit of a horizontal scroll bar. I can see this as I adjust my browser vertically. The usual fix for this is adjusting the overflow properties(s) in your CSS file. (don’t forget the browser’s developer tools) this should help you pinpoint the problem.
- The branding. For this site, I would use a header image. It needs a bit of life as well as a color scheme. Use hints and shades of color though. Don’t over do it. Look at Adobe’s Kuler website for some ideas. Remember, you want a color scheme that says “Science” Maybe go with a green with a hint of red.
- The logo. Plain and simple. It needs to go. You don’t have to create your own just yet. Sometimes using a font that says “Hello, I am science” will do the trick.
- Don’t have a blog saying “This is not a big company”. Nobody cares and it looks amateurish. I would really consider using a static front page that eases people into your blog. Note:(a static page can be configured in wordpress’ back end. You may also create a front-page.php file for this.
- Reduce the vertical margins between the header and the content. Lots of white space is good but use it to where there it is logical and gives the user a chance to grasp the content once it absorbed.
- Ads. Just don’t kill them. Annihilate them completely. You don’t want to show anyone else’s ads just yet. You first want to build an audience. Start using them when you start receiving consistently upwards of one hundred unique visitors who leave comments on your blog. Otherwise, you don’t want to give users an out so quickly.
- Way too much scrolling. If you want to go for a one page style site, you need to have a menu that navigates one to different sections smoothly. Most of these sites use what is called “parallax” which is a bit completed at this point but it is defiantly looking into it for future reference. For now I would limit the number of posts per page on the blog side (remember, have a short static page that leads the user into your site.
- Image thumbs, videos and images. Oh my oh my. They are all over the place. They look sloppy. I highly recommend learning CSS flexbox.
- Somethings to look up: favicon, adding appropriate multi-word titles on individual pages,
I will leave if for that for now and also reiterate that it is bold of you to ask for advice. Some designers have big egos and want to prove they know everything. Don’t let that discourage you as it sometimes does me. You can be a very good designer when being able to just ask for advice.
Now you also inspired me to ask the same question. What do you think of? You are welcomed to critique me just as hard. Good advice can come from anyone as a different set of eves and an alternate mindset can pick up things that others over look.
All the best to you mate.