New Spring site design, I need your feedback.

New Spring site design, I need your feedback.

Various things about Spring that do not fit in any of the other forums listed below, including forum rules.

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Tim Blokdijk
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Joined: 29 May 2005, 11:18

New Spring site design, I need your feedback.

Post by Tim Blokdijk »

The Spring site dev. env.: http://newspring.clan-sy.com/index.php
Note that the index.php thing is required.



Old Post:

Go to http://www.timblokdijk.nl/spring/spring-site11 for the latest stuff.
Read my posts in the later pages for information on translations and the current developments on the site.


Old old Post:

Alright, I have it working good enough for a real solid feedback round. I need you guy's to be anal about this. Tell me what you think.
http://www.timblokdijk.nl/spring/spring-site9/ redirects to my home pc here where I develop the site, I don't know if this is really smart (it's a security risk for me) but Apache needs to be configured in a special way and my hosting provider has it configured differently. You're not cool if you try to screw up my development environment! (succeeding in that would effect my job) I've set this up temporarily as I value your feedback.

This would replace the current site you get at http://spring.clan-sy.com just to prevent any confusion.

The text is not near final but if you have good idea's about what text should be shown please write it up in a reply here.
Things you could comment on:
- Layout
- Colour use
- Links (to what and what not)
- Sections (more, less, or other sections?)
- Your thoughts on whatever you come up with (related to the site)

This is your chance to comment, the site is still in development but the entry page is functioning like I intend it to be.
If you have a English, French, German or Dutch browser you should see it detected it in the download section behind "(free!)" other browsers should default to English. If you run into any (JavaScript) bugs tell me the browser version you're using.
Last edited by Tim Blokdijk on 07 Aug 2007, 14:33, edited 4 times in total.
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iamacup
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Post by iamacup »

i like that!

after your done, UF needs a face lift :P
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zwzsg
Kernel Panic Co-Developer
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Post by zwzsg »

I don't like the (free!) as I have associated that word with scam and dodgy add.

Spring is still in "Beta" <- remove that line, because as I potential player that might turn me away. Instead say something like "Spring is constantly being improved".

Even if there is the side column for screenshot, I'll still add a "screenshot" tab on the top line next to wiki, about us, etc.. Because whenever I check a new game, screenshot are the very first thing I'll want to look at, so I shoudln't have to search for them, so two links on two places are better than one.
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Tim Blokdijk
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Joined: 29 May 2005, 11:18

Post by Tim Blokdijk »

iamacup, Yhea.. sure :lol: but on a serous note I'm all for close integration but I'm already planning other things when this is done.

zwzsg, you're French right? When you enter the page is it indeed saying "Français" next to that "(free!)" thing?
On the free thing itself, I think you're right but http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/ has it to and 50% of the visitors has FireFox installed. :-)
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rattle
Damned Developer
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Post by rattle »

Says "Deutsch" (german) for me. You can try any language yourself by changing intl.accept_languages within FF (if you're on FF) I think
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zwzsg
Kernel Panic Co-Developer
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Post by zwzsg »

Tim Blokdijk wrote:zwzsg, you're French right? When you enter the page is it indeed saying "Français" next to that "(free!)" thing?
Yeah it is. But that's about the only french word I get.
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Tim Blokdijk
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Joined: 29 May 2005, 11:18

Post by Tim Blokdijk »

If you like you can translate the site to French when the text is final.

Anyway, the Apache content negotiation feature works then. :-)
You can indeed set your language preferences inside your browser. (Which would make Apache send that language page)
But don't let this distract you guy's from giving me feedback on other aspects of the page/site.
BoredJoe
Posts: 139
Joined: 03 Mar 2006, 01:37

Post by BoredJoe »

Heres a critique on the website so far:


Colours -


Very limited range of colours. Its all very plain. The entire page is mainly bland shades of blue/grey, the only parts that arnt blue are the screenshots and the download banner bit.

I dislike the shading in the top left corner of every section, it makes the heading text harder to read - Blue on blue on blue text is just not a good idea. It also makes it hard to differenciate between different sections - they all look identical colour wise.This is bad for remembering/ familiarising/ describing the website - colours/shapes = good for brain. e.g. I ask the question "where is the user guide" I want to hear the answer "the big red box at the top", not "uhhh, i'll look - sec" followed by him looking aimlessly aswell.


Layout -


There seems to be too much on one page, although it's good that the website scales quite well depending on your resolution, all the boxes are different sizes, and its not very neat at all

The "participate" bit is too far down and should probably have its own page. Its really not going to be noticed there, a big button on a menu would be better.

The "news bit" should also probably get its own page too for the same reasons, it's too far down. I shouldnt have to scroll down everytime to check if a new version of spring/a mod is out - just give it a button on a menu.


- screenshots


I really dislike that clicking on a screenshot sticks a screenshot at the top left of the page, alphas the webpage and makes browsing on the page impossible until you realise theres some blue writing below the screenshot, now its obvious to me now, but at first it blends in with the blueness of the rest of the page and it takes a few seconds to realise you have to click the big picture and not the small one. This is terrible. Even once you've gotten used to the system, you have to click two times for each screenshot, clicking at opposite ends of the screen!


- features bit


I like the idea of flash videos showing off features, but it really isnt obvious that those links lead to a video inbedded in the page. The small bit of writing above helps, but my eyes simply do not look at it first. they dart straight to the bulletpoint type list, which doesnt look very clickable.

Thumbnails for the videos inside an obvious flash player would be good, maybe get rid of the screenshots bit at the side use this player for screenshots aswell.

The actual videos - had potential, but they were far too long, had too much commander dgunning scenes, were pretty boring and barely showed off the supposed features they were talking about: short but sweet videos would be better. Using the "normal" view in most of the videos would be good too

e.g. for terrain deformation watch a nuke hit the ground and deform the ground, for showing the drawing/los system, watch a peeper discover a large army, marking it, then brawlers being sent in, etc, etc.


Navigation-


Big button for downloading is good, colour is good. Im not sure what the "highlight" bit is for, but it could be interesting

navigation at the top isnt obvious enough- its at the very top, in small/thin writing with few/badly named options.

Logo-

What have you done to the logo! it looks horrible!
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AF
AI Developer
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Joined: 14 Sep 2004, 11:32

Post by AF »

The blue gradients alright but it shouldnt fade all the way to white as the white looks ugly.

Theres no progress bar ro tiem index on videos

The videos dont appear to show what they say they do.

The top right images are slideshows they change out the corner of my eye, it was uncomfortable, 'did that change just then?=s'

The pulldown draws being open when loaded looks like a bug, and they dont seem very responsive either which is somewhat frustrating.

Youc ant tell the movies are actually videos untill you read and see 'flash videos'. Users wont read the frontpage they want to know what spring is what it can do and where to get it as quickly as possible. They arent expecting much information from a frontpage save the basics.

Your tryign to sell spring to a potential user, most companies stick all the details on the back of a product and use the front like a poster advert, websies will have feature pages and galleries etc.

Your image thumbnail javascript popups could do with some work. a basic lightbox script is easy to find and provides a little user interface and polish.

Also what exactly are you design specs? Do you have a design document or a set of aims and goals?
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Lindir The Green
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Joined: 04 May 2005, 15:09

Post by Lindir The Green »

The gray color scheme and the large text size and the big download and highlight boxes make it look like a website for free software, in a bad way, until you look at the screenshots.

Make it more like http://www.wesnoth.org/

edit: except maybe with fancy drop down bars and randomized screenshots and embedded flash movies :wink:
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Dragon45
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Joined: 16 Aug 2004, 04:36

Post by Dragon45 »

This is a very very good beta site IMHO. n eeds some polish (see above comments), but definitely what I would want to see if I'm going to a game's site for the first time.
Warlord Zsinj
Imperial Winter Developer
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Post by Warlord Zsinj »

I find the design is a little "bright and happy" for what is effectively a wargame. People who come to the site should immediately feel like we're serious about giving them a serious game experience, not some quirky game like bubble bobble.

I think you definitely need a big sexy banner up the top, with the Spring Logo, and a really sexy screenshot from Spring.

Image

Similar to that, but bigger, and with the battle more clearly visible. (I'm talking like, >1/4 the screen)

You could even slowly fade the background of the splash banner in and out to show different shots.

While the new site definitely has the potential for a lot more functionality then the current site, I think the current site is visually more succesful, because it is very simple, and thus doesn't try too hard to look professional. Because you have so many things going on on the one page, you have to try a lot harder to make it come off succesfully, communicating that wealth of information, without ruining the initial 'wow' factor that the site needs to communicate.

For this reason, I think the big banner showing some awesome battles on awesome maps through a couple of different mods is far better then the little screenshots down the side. A new person visiting this site should really think 'woah, this looks like a sweet game. I want to find out more about it'. The important information is only secondary, and if the initial sexy design/flashpage catches their attention, they will have no difficulty looking on the page for the secondary information, such as news, forum, wiki, etc.
mjb91
Posts: 3
Joined: 29 Aug 2005, 06:59

Post by mjb91 »

Feel:
Borders are too thick, and it looks bad when there is an area like that under "spring features". Colors need more contrast. I like the icons for each section except for "spring features" because it is animated. Language and theme should start closed. Nothing should change or be animated once the page loads. Randomized screenshots are fine, but only on reload. I hate the logo.

Accessibility:
needs to scale well with both window resize and font resize. resizing font either way breaks this page (i know its hard!). Theoretically should degrade well with both loss of javascript and css, but this is less important with gamers, who obviously use a GUI and a modern computer.

Layout:
Too many boxes, in a non uniform arrangement. Each row has a different number of boxes. Stick with either 1 or two boxes per row, plus any side navigation.

Navigation:
Haphazard. Have a single navbar, top or side, plus a direct download link pointing directly to an installer, not the dl page (needs to detect OS when linux and mac versions are stable). Its fine to point to stuff in other sections, but it should all be accessible from 1 navbar. Everyone seems to shy away from TA based mods as far as publicity, I assume for legal reasons. However, they are still the most popular and playable so the installer should be the XTA one, not the gpl version (I've never seen a nanoblobs game online).

*Content*
You have way too much on the front page.

Perhaps you really value developers, but most people will just want to play, and will definitely want to try the game before helping with making it better. Therefore, but the contribute content on its own page, and put it on the navbar.

This:"SPRING Enjoy taking RTS gaming to the highest possible level!" is useless and takes up space. remove it.

somewhere, there should be a note about the latest version and a link to the readme / changelog / forum post. this can either be in project news, or with the dl link.

Perhaps leave features to another page, with a link from the introduction, or a single video.

Screenshots should be randomized and from all the most popular and current mods, about 1/2 TA (popularity and heritage) and 1/2 non-ta (promotion). The mod they come from should be identified on the page you click thru to. Perhaps to solve the layout issue, perhaps only a single screenshot would be displayed?


As much content as possible should be from the wiki, so that everyone can help maintain the site.

As far as code: standards compliant, no flash (-vids), no javascript, fully separate content and presentation, and use xhtml standards.

edit: try this layout:
mjbs.net/Untitled.txt
Last edited by mjb91 on 07 Jun 2007, 11:17, edited 2 times in total.
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KingRaptor
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Post by KingRaptor »

Colors need to be darker, and I'd rather not have things like "very steep learning curve", they can drive away new people.
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clericvash
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Post by clericvash »

Honestly i love it, don't make it darker, dark is booring, modern design is all about being brighter.
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Machiosabre
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Joined: 25 Dec 2005, 22:56

Post by Machiosabre »

I think it would be better if the spring features table got reduced to a button that directs to a page with the movies on it and "playing spring" reduced to just the 1st three links.
I assume the actual introduction will also take up less space so you might be able to see the news, this stuff is all well and good for new people but I'd like to see the news on the first screen(unless it gets updated as often as it is now, then I guess it doesn't really matter :P).
I think the download table could also save some space if the word download was just the link, it's pretty obvious you mean spring anyway and you could explain that its free on the downloads page.

Some small things, the font on the spring logo looks a bit hacky and so does the little heart. The background would probably look a bit better if it was just one colour.

Overall it looks good, just a lot of stuff you'll glance at once but turns into a waste of space once you've downloaded spring.
Warlord Zsinj
Imperial Winter Developer
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Joined: 24 Aug 2004, 08:59

Post by Warlord Zsinj »

Doesn't have to be darker, as the current spring site shows. It's actually harder to make a dark site look professional compared to a light site. However, it does need to look less busy and less 'bright and bubbly'.
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jcnossen
Former Engine Dev
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Joined: 05 Jun 2005, 19:13

Post by jcnossen »

However, it does need to look less busy and less 'bright and bubbly'.
IMO it doesn't look very bright right now... there is too much gray.
I also don't really like the diagonal lines between the boxes.
Nice flash and screenshot support though :)

However it looks like you're using straight HTML.. or not? The html looks so organised. Are you going to connect the content to a database with something like php? Otherwise it will be very hard to keep it updated.
malric
Posts: 519
Joined: 30 Dec 2005, 22:22

Post by malric »

There are many good comments in the posts before so I will add just a few (and repeat some of the suggestions).

- I find very frustrating the uneven size of the boxes
- the border of the boxes is too big
- the menu bar should contain the things that are not visible on the front page (like participate, content and code)
- maybe the videos should be replaced with news (news show a project is active) - and of course put a link in the menu bar
- maybe make everything a bit smaller so that more things fit (like the download and highlight stuff)
- a top banner would be nice..
- the language and theme should not be expanded on first load

But it really feels good as a general idea, keep up the good work :).
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Relative
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Post by Relative »

Edit:

Gah, forget, my criticism sucked.
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