Site design

  • Posted on: 3 June 2008
  • By: MeiLin

I get more complaints about the site design here than I have on any other site I've ever done in 12+ years of web development. And yet this site is laid out almost exactly as countless others I've done that I've gotten no complaints about--in fact, the contrary. I'm wondering if it's a web serial thing, that people are used to sites developed by people who aren't trying to make a professional go of things, that don't try to leverage ad space or things like promoting feed subscriptions.

I've done what I can to make the navigation more prominent (one last tweak due, moving a block further up on the right). Tell me what you think would make it better. "Lose or reduce the ads" is not an option unless you guys want to see the weekly target soar out of sight (I've already dropped it $15 for the week).

Comments

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

The more prominent navigation sure helps, and so do the tweaked backgrounds. (I should probably update my PU review to reflect this, seeing as I complained in there about the site design.) I'd maybe like to see the Who's new/Who's online block not quite as far down there in the corner, but that's about it.

NoodletwigMeow's picture

Devotee

The site design's not really ever been an issue for me. Whatever you do is fine, just so long as I can still read the story. ^_^

Nye's picture

Supplicant

Personally? The ads don't bug me. I've generally found that I like PW ads and have found far too many interesting things to buy through them. I like the new top bar. I can actually find things now.

I would suggest a few things because the right side is cluttered. That's probably what the base objection is. Most of the people here have probably never seen two columns next to each other like that. With either option below, I still suggest putting all those feed buttons along the bottom of the page for those who want them, or just leave it behind the RSS link at the top. I also don't think the bookmark links (or stumble button) are needed. If you really want them, put them at the very top or at the bottom. The search function should also be at the top.

Option 1:

1. Put the 'site info' stuff on the left of the story/major text area. This would be the donation info, targets, twitter, online user stuff, and personal account stuff.

2. Leave the 'ad stuff' on the right: amazon, swag, and ads

Option 2: make it more forum-like

1. Put the online people / personal account stuff somewhere at the top (to the right of the main title and banner ads). This really should give you room to reduce the two columns at right down to one column.

2. I'm pretty sure the donate stuff and marketing targets could be shrunk down to something smaller, that will have more visual impact. Unfortunately, the amount of text currently gets lost amid everything else over there.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I MUST keep the ads in the leftmost column; that's a prerequisite of being in Blogads, as is having Blogads at the top of that column. (We got our first Blogad today, though it doesn't go "live" until July. This is extremely important, because Blogads has the potential to be a major revenue source here--much, much bigger than PW--thus keeping donation targets low.) However, you've given me some ideas for re-arranging stuff a little more efficiently. It's too late to start futzing now, but tomorrow I'll see what I can do. Thanks.

Nye's picture

Supplicant

you could trade the columns in Option 1... or put the blogads to the left of the title, since they sit about even with it.

My suggestions are mostly to make it feel more familiar to readers coming from a forum or webcomic background, which it seems like a number of folks here do. Ads can be done without too much complaint, but it does take some streamlining.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

how 'bout now?

faile486's picture

Petitioner

I think I would move everything that's in the right-most column to the far left side of the page, so that the content is more centered. The donations target is VERY hard to see. Like someone mentioned above, it gets lost amongst everything else.

Either put it at the top of the new left column, or make an eye-catching graphic that would draw attention, with the totals beneath that.

A's picture

Postulant

I like it better when the text is centered in the middle with sidbars on the left and right, rather than both columns on the right and text on the left. If that makes sense.

Nye's picture

Supplicant

That is improved. I like the new donate sign.

V's picture

Embodiment

I like the way your logo stretches around some of the ads, above and to the left. They're going to be there, fine, but this makes them look more organic and (whispers)makes it easier for the eye to skip past them(/whispers).

I also like putting the "useful" information (who's online, points, etc) level or slightly below the start of the actual story. Ads above and below that--fine. But I can go back to the top of the page (mumbles)skip the top part(/mumbles) and find what I want right by the start of the story. So I'm going to argue with Nye and say I'd like the account stuff near (to the right of?) the "Who's online" (which I pay more attention to than "Who's new", incidentally, so it might rate a higher position) all in one block near the story start. I have to scroll up further than I'd otherwise be looking to get to it, right now.

Han-pan's picture

Postulant

I loved the "New Posts" and "New Forum Topics" sections over there. It just made more sense than the Comments section. Were those part of went byebye? Sad I can live with it. Just me being rawr Biggrin

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