Ben: There are a couple of very nice resources out there that can
give you the input you are looking for. Here are the one's I use:
1. "Cool Web Design" Surf by and you will not believe it: These
guys scour the world looking for the best designs (HTML and
Flash) and then group them by category for you to review. FYI:
They a portal section that will be of most interest to you.
2. I recommend that you stop by a few of the "Site Critique" web
sites. My favorite is www. SiteCritique.net. The idea of the site
is for members to review each other's sites. Here's the good
part: You can look at the sites based on how high they scored.
Since this is a popularity contest, you will get a fairly good
idea - if unscientific - of what design/colors web surfers find
My guess is that you will find what you need here. By the way, I
looked at your site and I don't think you have a color problem.
My guess is that people are hitting the home page and getting a
bit confused. You might want to try using color to graphically
separate the sidebars. Also, think about putting a "NEW HERE?"
link at the top with information on how to use the site so that
newbies can orient themselves.