CH website redesign?

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Sikon
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CH website redesign?

Postby Sikon » Oct 29 2011, 12:55

Are there any plans for one?

The current one, in my opinion, is stuck in the late 1990s, feels too old-school, doesn't fit with its name (aggressive red stripes on a site named Celestial Heavens?), and the 800px fixed layout just doesn't cut it in an age where widescreen monitors are the norm and nobody uses 800x600 anymore.

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Kalah
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Postby Kalah » Oct 29 2011, 13:08

We have been thinking about it for some time now. We are discussing a number of options; upgrading the forum software and possibly changing the look of the main page slightly. I still want to keep the basic look of the main page; I like the red/black colour scheme and the general layout - though I agree whole-heartedly that we should try to make it a bit more modern.
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Postby Sikon » Oct 29 2011, 13:27

Perhaps I could help? I'm no designer, but I have experience with website layout and web programming, and with the graphic elements already done, I can experiment with things like variable-width layout, different headers and fonts, dropdown menus, and other incremental improvements to the existing look.

I think it would also be nice to bring the layout of the forum a bit closer to the main website.

Upgrading the forum software... It's possible to upgrade from phpBB2 to phpBB3, but all the existing themes would need to be remade. On the bright side, it's a good opportunity to refresh the themes now that Heroes VI is out - I, for one, would like a Sanctuary theme!

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Postby Kalah » Oct 29 2011, 15:25

Sikon wrote:Perhaps I could help? I'm no designer, but I have experience with website layout and web programming, and with the graphic elements already done, I can experiment with things like variable-width layout, different headers and fonts, dropdown menus, and other incremental improvements to the existing look.


Any help you could offer would certainly be appreciated. :)
I'll see if I can get our main tech whiz Pol in on this discussion ... Pol, you there? ;)

Sikon wrote:Upgrading the forum software... It's possible to upgrade from phpBB2 to phpBB3...


That's what we're looking at, but the problem is the link between the main page and the forum. That means it's not as simple as it seems ...
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Postby Sikon » Oct 30 2011, 17:41

Say, perhaps I could join your discussion or at least view it somewhere? I could offer some ideas of my own.

Among some other issues:
* Low font size on the sidebar - makes my eyes hurt after a stressed day.
* Little space for the news area. On my 1680x1050 monitor, news take a teeny tiny square at the bottom, pushed out by the header, sidebar, and POTD/headlines/etc., while there is a vast unused black space to the sides.
* Buttons look like they come from Windows 95.
* Lack of human-readable URLs. I would find, say, celestialheavens.com/downloads more intuitive than celestialheavens.com/viewpage.php?id-567.

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Postby TheUndeadKing » Oct 31 2011, 20:17

Kalah wrote:I still want to keep the basic look of the main page; I like the red/black colour scheme and the general layout - though I agree whole-heartedly that we should try to make it a bit more modern.

I, too, like the current basic look and layout of the main page, but yes, I would definitely like it even more if you guys changed your logo, font style and possibly the whole color scheme to have a newer ("fresh") look.
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Postby ShadowLiberal » Oct 31 2011, 22:54

I think the colors and feel of the main site look alright, but in my opinion it could be made easier to navigate and find what you're looking for in a few ways.

-Instead of the dropdown list at the top to navigate to different games why not list all the games on the side menu, and allow users to show & hide all the links for that part of the site by clicking on the header?

-It's very difficult to find some parts of the site, such as the Walkthrough section for guides on beating various campaigns in the Heroes games. I've only ever found the link to the walkthrough section through a google search.

-Looking at the Heroes 5 section of the site, there's a few tutorials/guides listed under the 'General' header, such as 'Academy Guide 3.1', 'New Sylvan Strategy', etc. Why not just create a section for general user guides about the game and throw those guides in there?

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Postby Kalah » Oct 31 2011, 23:18

ShadowLiberal wrote:I think the colors and feel of the main site look alright, but in my opinion it could be made easier to navigate and find what you're looking for in a few ways.


I agree. The games should be more easily separated and there should definitely be some easier way to find the maps and patches other than a general "downloads" link. The list of tabs on the left works, but they are too small and need to be more visible.

ShadowLiberal wrote:It's very difficult to find some parts of the site, such as the Walkthrough section for guides on beating various campaigns in the Heroes games. I've only ever found the link to the walkthrough section through a google search.


Em ... Tell me you mean something other than this one ... :?

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Postby ShadowLiberal » Nov 1 2011, 1:52

Kalah wrote:
ShadowLiberal wrote:I think the colors and feel of the main site look alright, but in my opinion it could be made easier to navigate and find what you're looking for in a few ways.


I agree. The games should be more easily separated and there should definitely be some easier way to find the maps and patches other than a general "downloads" link. The list of tabs on the left works, but they are too small and need to be more visible.

ShadowLiberal wrote:It's very difficult to find some parts of the site, such as the Walkthrough section for guides on beating various campaigns in the Heroes games. I've only ever found the link to the walkthrough section through a google search.


Em ... Tell me you mean something other than this one ... :?

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:wall:

Well that's part of my point, my eyes are drawn to all the links on the left side of the screen, so I totally missed the links at the top of the site. I glance at the top and see the header image so I just ignore the rest of the top of the screen.

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Postby Sikon » Nov 1 2011, 5:22

Here's a sketch of a possible layout I came up with yesterday.

http://lucidfox.org/img/ch-redesign.png

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Postby Kalah » Nov 1 2011, 9:08

Nice, but don't forget the Google ads. ;)
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Postby Sikon » Nov 1 2011, 9:40

I presume they'll go just above the content area, just like now. In other words, between the "Headlines" dropdown menu and the first news item/current page header.

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Postby Kalah » Nov 1 2011, 15:47

Sounds good. Nothing intrusive, just the standard banner we have today.
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Postby Sikon » Nov 1 2011, 15:50

Well, I use Adblock, so I had to disable it to see the ad you were talking about. :)

So... What happens now?

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Postby Kalah » Nov 1 2011, 17:27

Well, right now I'm going to the bathroom. There, I'm going to have ...

oh ...

You mean with the website. :D

Seriously, these should all be considered long-term plans. Until we can get some people who have time to help with the actual coding (I'm no programmer), it's all just plans on the drawing board.

That said, I like your ideas and I freely invite all members to join in this discussion about the future of CH. When we finally get on with making things happen, it would be nice to have some finished drawn-up plans like these. :)
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Postby Sikon » Nov 1 2011, 18:03

Kalah wrote:Until we can get some people who have time to help with the actual coding (I'm no programmer)

Meeee! :)

I know it must feel very sudden. I do want to make it happen, however. My plan was to get a kind of seal of approval from the admins, then make a prototype in static HTML (perhaps going through refinements along the way), adjust for stubborn browsers (*coughinternetexplorercough*), and finally, work together with your technical staff to make adjustments necessary to the PHP code.

Still, my area of competence is programming and website layout, not graphic design. So I'm afraid of making something visually bland...

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Postby Kalah » Nov 2 2011, 9:22

We could definitely use some programmers to help out with the future build, so I'll send you a PM with the link to the forum where we are discussing it. B-)

As for this thread, people can still post their ideas for the future of CH. :)
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Postby Pol » Nov 2 2011, 10:03

Sikon wrote:
Kalah wrote:Until we can get some people who have time to help with the actual coding (I'm no programmer)

Meeee! :)
..and finally, work together with your technical staff to make adjustments necessary to the PHP code.

Still, my area of competence is programming and website layout, not graphic design. So I'm afraid of making something visually bland...

That's most likely. We have designers (no need to worry) but no programmer at this time. So, at least one, will be needed, that's sure.
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