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Old 04-01-2008, 09:09 PM   #1
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Web site aesthetic issues

I'm not much of a web designer but I put together a simple demo (zero actual content) of a possible homepage for my MUD I'm just interested in people's opinions. I personally think it looks a bit too amateur (no suprise ) and rather too dark. My MUD is a reasonably "light" high fantasy game and I'm wondering if it looks a bit jarring. I do of course realize that it's not a top priority to have an attractive website but this will be my main form of advertising if you will. Thank you.

The address is: WoT (remember there's no actual content just the aesthetics for you to review)
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:44 PM   #2
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Re: Web site aesthetic issues

and rather too dark. My MUD is a reasonably "light" high fantasy game and I'm wondering if it looks a bit jarring.
If that is your concern, you might reconsider the use of the word "Wrath" in the title. Right off the bat that conjures up images of a harsher world.

As for the site:

I am not a fan of pop up windows as a way to deliver content. Clicking on the links on the top nav of your page generates a pop up for each type of information. I think it would be better for those links to take you to an actual page.

Also, you might want to rework the way you have things line up inside the fixed width of your main area. I usually increase my font size, and when I went to your page the rectangular borders around the words "News" and "Content" extended an inch or so into the black area on the right side. Try increasing your font size a bunch when viewing your page and you will see what I mean.

Lastly, another name issue. When I see "WoT" I think of "Wheel of Time." I have never even read a WoT book or played a WoT mud, but still "WoT" makes me think of Wheel of Time muds. If your mud is not of that theme, this may be an issue.
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:15 PM   #3
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Re: Web site aesthetic issues

I used the popup window approach because I simply wanted to display the files that are outputted by my MUD to a different port and popup windows are real easy to put together in Javascript. However, I could of course use the single window approach like you suggest but I'm afraid I only know how to embed other files into html files and I've heard that's a bad idea due to the increased loading times. Is it so bad? I'm afraid I'm pretty rubbish at web design!!!
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:13 AM   #4
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Re: Web site aesthetic issues

I wouldn't really say that the darkness of the outer edge is a problem because the text will presumably inside the inner "oldy worldy scroll" type area, and readable, which is the main thing that matters

I admit that I thought the same thing as Threshold when I saw the acronym, whether that matters to you or not I don't know but it might create an expectation that you don't want? It's also a pretty competitive "word" space - there are lots of wot muds around and you might find it hard to get a good ranking on Google, for example. Ie, try a google wot mud query. I should know

It's my experience having been there and done that that opening up new windows annoys users, I personally try to avoid it unless absolutely neccessary nowadays. In terms of other aesthetics, I think you could make the main content area wider. Yes, there's always universality to consider, but on the other hand if it means you can't get as much on there as you like, designing to the lowest possible denominator isn't always great either. You're probably also wasting a bit of pixel space - the area at the top is always the most valuable ("above the fold"). If you could add something to the "Wrath of Talos" text, maybe just a one liner summary like "The xyz MUD with notable thing ABC) it'll get a lot of eyeballs and do more for you than just the name.

Aesthetically it's fine, the oldy worldy look is generally a nice and appropriate 'look' to have for MUDs. Aardwolf has something similar-ish, I've had a parchmenty look before too.
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:52 PM   #5
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Re: Web site aesthetic issues

I agree with Nass, need to expand it a bit at the top and probably a bit more on the sides. I personally use a larger resolution on a large monitor so I saw more black than anything else.

As for the pop-ups, personally I would use DHTML for this style site. It's not too complicated, and would give you "one" page that changes what text is displayed in the box when you click the links. For something this size the loading time wouldn't really change, but gives a smoother feel when clicking the links(and also faster than switching to a new page).
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:11 PM   #6
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Re: Web site aesthetic issues

Pop-ups are something I like to avoid unless necessary (like going to an external link).

I might also add that without content, it's hard to judge the News and Content sections accurately. How much news will be included? Will it push the Content section well down the page? A sample page with simulated content approximate to what will be on the actual page might give a better idea of the finalized look and feel of the organization of the page.

Also, the left hand side of the screen will also be quite dull if all you have is the login there. When the news and content parts will be filled, perhaps placing the login and password horizontally above or below the menu and listing News and Content in their own columns will allow the information to be more accessible upon a first look at the sight and avoid the empty quarter of a screen below the login/password area.

Take care,

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Old 04-03-2008, 12:04 AM   #7
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Re: Web site aesthetic issues

It's dark, it's bland and I hate the pop ups.

Asking for an asthetics point of view is like asking me to review a magazines layout with the text in it.

There isn't really much to review other than some fadded torn edged paper and a navigation system.

To actually have some constructive critizm to offer I'd say this,

Don't use the popups it'll play havoc with your SEO, 90% of browsers come with pop-up blockers pre-installed set to block all pop-ups, which means if you want your users too view your site. They'll have to add you to your exception list. Not all of them will know how too.

Lets keep the barrier to entry low.

Also bare in mind the larger the resolution the more black-space we're getting and there is alot of it.

And as another thing... the size of your input boxes is bugging me why's one size 10 and the other size 12?

I'd also suggest a tag-line, allowing you more keyword space for your SEO aswell as placing your Game Introduction, above your game news.

New users won't look past the fold, where'as your regular players will.
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