I made a batch of kim chi last week and here is a photo of it in progress. The "perfect" kim chi is pleasantly salty, has a crunchy bite, a bright orange red color, and at the right moment, a slightly effervescent quality. Timing and technique can make a big difference.
Perhaps the most important technique is the preliminary salting of the cabbage. My rule of thumb is to salt the cabbage until you think you have added too much -- and then add some more. Besides napa cabage, my recipe also includes daikon, garlic chives, garlic, ginger, red pepper powder and yes - "jut". See my recipe here for a discussion of jut and the kim-chi technique I have developed.