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Author Topic: new site layout/design  (Read 24683 times)
MonCapitan2002
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« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2009, 06:02:30 PM »

Would it be possible to restore the link to the previews section on the menu navigation bar?  It looks like there is sufficient space for such a link.  I happened to like it because I could check previews for games I might be interesting in getting since I missed out on them earlier.  With that link gone, I am not sure how to find them.
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Eusis
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« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2009, 06:07:50 PM »

Would it be possible to restore the link to the previews section on the menu navigation bar?  It looks like there is sufficient space for such a link.  I happened to like it because I could check previews for games I might be interesting in getting since I missed out on them earlier.  With that link gone, I am not sure how to find them.

Here's a hint: you're using the alternative way to reach them.

Previews were always handled a little weirdly though. I think if they had been organized more like reviews there'd be little reason to ditch them, but the "throw previews out when the game comes out" philosophy combined with how few previews there are just leaves it barren.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2009, 07:36:45 PM by Eusis » Logged
Prime Mover
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« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2009, 07:34:04 PM »

However, one thing I'd like to tackle is your "redesigning a site shouldn't be any harder than redesigning a page if the webdesigner is doing his job right" comment.   Yes, I agree with you on that front, for recent websites.  But the problem here is that you have to remember that RPGFan was created 11 years ago.  Techniques like these weren't invented or weren't really used much back in those days.

Ahhh, very true. Even 3 years ago, CSS was rendered incorrectly on various browsers (Internet Explorer). Webdesign, when working from the ground up, is a whole different and more streamlined game than it was just a short while ago. I'm actually finding my pages now tend to look okay across all browsers, instead of having to tweak and hack code for various platforms. CSS3 is going to be another doozy. but the CSS3 standard is more about tweaks and nicities than things like basic formatting and procedure, so it shouldn't be so much of an issue. It's a good time to be doing webdesign now.

So I understand what you're saying. However, I still would suggest adding some padding to the content area. The text seems to be almost butting right up against the side of the content element, which is kinda ugly.

Wait... WOW. Check your rendering in Firefox. I'd been looking at it in Firefox most of the time, but now that I see it in Internet Explorer, it looks quite a bit better. Maybe you've changed it between now and last night, but it looks quite a bit better.

All in all, though, I have to dissagree with you about sidebars being a thing of the past. SOME websites have gone toward top navigation, but not all or even most. And I'm not confident that that's neccessarilly a good thing, for two reasons. First, people tend to get bigger and bigger screens with higher resolution. So the old "page shouldn't be wider than 800 pixels" standard is completely absured at this point. Secondly, if you study any typography layout or design, you find that beyond a certain width, the eye has trouble scanning back to pick up the next line of text. So what you actually want is to make sure content areas aren't too big. One way of doing that is to just have a lot of blank space (which can work). OR, you can fill that space with usable navigational tools. So I personally find navigational sidebars to be a very handy layout device to make use of the space, while keeping content widths to a managable size. On the website I'm currently making, I use sidebars on both left and right. The pages are much taller than the actual navigation, so it simply falls into negative space, but that's all right. It just makes sure that the text is nicely readable at a fairly managable width, somewhere between a novel and a legal width (which is usually too wide).
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eelhouse.net
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2009, 09:12:08 PM »

BTW: the more I look at it, the less of a problem I have with it, though I seriously think there were either some changes made between last night and tonight, OR it's rendering differently on Firefox than IE. Still those margins do sorta bother me.

Also, the top sections on the front page seem like major overkill. If they could be resized to about 75% and have a bit of space between them, I think it would let the page breathe a lot more. I feel like every bit of possible space is being filled with something, and it's a bit overbearing.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2009, 09:14:09 PM by Prime Mover » Logged


eelhouse.net
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Geop
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« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2009, 09:13:32 PM »

Oh wowzers.  It looks so beautiful now.
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Dyne07
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« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2009, 09:39:23 PM »

Yeah it definitely looks different between Firefox and IE. The staff link doesn't have any conflict with the search bar on IE, but it does on Firefox.

As Prime Mover noted, all the text in Firefox is rubbing up against the edge of the content tables. It definitely feels more confined in Firefox than it does in IE.

My Firefox also doesn't have the green background for the nav bar on the main page. And in the forum pages my "Forums" and "About" tabs are flowing over and off of the nav bar.

All of which are not issues on IE.
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« Reply #36 on: April 13, 2009, 10:09:59 PM »

i didn't realize rpgfan was so bad off.  i'm getting use to the new design i suppose (still prefer the old one) but if a new design means keeping rpgfan open then its all worth it!!!
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« Reply #37 on: April 13, 2009, 10:40:25 PM »

Quote
I feel like every bit of possible space is being filled with something, and it's a bit overbearing.

You must really hate the design of IGN.com then.  I don't think I've ever seen as much content shoved into a page with no space to breath whatsoever! :)

As for the Firefox VS IE thing.  I really don't understand.  I have both and the page looks almost identical on both.  I don't have that "text rubbing off against the edge" that you guys are talking about and I also don't understand why Dyne doesn't have the green background on the navbar or why he has a conflict with the staff link and the search bar.  I get none of those problems in my Firefox.  Can you guys let me know what version of the browser you're using and maybe post a picture of what you're seeing, it would help us to figure this thing out.
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Geop
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« Reply #38 on: April 13, 2009, 10:46:10 PM »

I used to have all of those problems on my firefox (didn't try with IE)  but they all just magically disappeared over time and now everything looks pretty. I would have taken a screen shot, but I guess that's too late now. 

By the way, I haven't touched my Firefox settings all day (or for a long time for that matter).  Just been sitting on my ass, in front of the computer doin' nothing...
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Mike
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« Reply #39 on: April 13, 2009, 10:48:04 PM »

Dyne07: Which version of Firefox are you running? We were checking IE 6 & 7, Firefox (Mac and Windows) and Safari and didn't encounter any of these. We briefly saw the 'no background' on the navbar during the design process, but it only showed up once and then never occurred again - I figured it may have been a cache issue.

Prime Mover: Yes, I DID add some extra space to the right column last night; an editor and I were talking about it, so I squeezed a bit of space in. I could possibly add some more, but I don't want to take too much away from the left either. I'll be looking at the spacing more as we move forward, so I do appreciate your input in that sense.

To be honest, I certainly could have done without the 'if the designer is doing his job right' comment, which on one hand seems like a simple statement, except when you're in a discussion with said designer. As Eric said above, a lot of pages accumulate over 10-11 years. Trust me, the entire staff is aware that a near-fully-HTML-based design is very much outdated, and of course, is much more work to maintain and change later, which is why we are where we are. I would have loved to go the direction you want; thing is, this is volunteer work, and when it comes to design and layout work, that department is staffed by me. So, thousands of pages of content are simply not going to get re-worked to where they admittedly SHOULD be in 2009 when it would all have to be done in my spare time - however much of that I may have lately. :P

If you want some of the technical details - I'm sure you wouldn't mind - we aren't adhering to a ""page shouldn't be wider than 800 pixels" standard" - we're presently at 950. We currently have to factor in 300 of that (plus padding) for the obnoxious square ad. I'd rather not have to have content flowing around that one (featured graphics aside), so we're left with around 650 pixels. Still plenty of space, and even for a left-hand navbar if we wanted - though to be honest, the horizontal nav was something I wanted regardless of space. We've slowly trimmed down the sections over the years, so devoting an entire vertical column for 9-10 links wasn't the most necessary. Anyway, here's where the issue of the pre-existing HTML pages comes in - all of our picture galleries and several other areas of the site have a content area table at a fixed width of 560 pixels. Something that seemed fine at the time, but in hindsight, not so much. That leaves us with 90 pixels left to distribute between each area.

So trust me, more CSS, less HTML is something I totally agree with you on - and if this was my day job I'd be able to devote the time to really update everything, versus wrapping some of the old with all the new. For what it's worth, we HAVE been working when possible on a legitimate NEW RPGFan since 2007, which I'm hoping isn't a secret. :P Database-driven, modern, no f-ing tables, and so many benefits and features beyond the current site, it's staggering. What we have working currently... not so much. As far as lofty goals go, it's pretty up there. But like with this design, we have the issue of this being volunteer work, and the fact that we don't have a room full of programmers who can do what needs to be done - we have 2 people at best. As you can imagine, it's hard to find experts in PHP (or whatever programming language) who can devote a huge chunk of their time for free. If we can get there, it'll more than address any concerns you have with our outdated HTML.

Oh, and for everyone asking for an easier way to get to Previews - the whole reason the link was removed is because we aren't going to be updating that page anymore. Previews will be done as standalone... 'mini' features, or glorified news updates, take your pick. I only provided the link for those who want to see it now - but since we agreed the page won't see any more updates, no sense in keeping it in the navigation. The amount of previews we've had at any given time is a bit embarrassing to promote as a full-fledged section like the others.

Edit: Oh, and...
...and the general Mac over-shininess of everything...
You don't really think this layout has more shine than the last, do you? There was a metallic gradient or super high-gloss shine in the background or on the corner of nearly every single graphic that comprised the layout. Not that I dislike it, but it was literally EVERYWHERE in the old design; right now, we just have a shiny navbar, the horizon background and a (subtle) reflection under the logo.

I'm not trying to get on anyone's case, since personal tastes are what they are, but the fact that people think this design is *more* shiny than the last one is a bit odd.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2009, 10:52:39 PM by Mike » Logged

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Ramza
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« Reply #40 on: April 13, 2009, 11:38:33 PM »

Previews were always handled a little weirdly though. I think if they had been organized more like reviews there'd be little reason to ditch them, but the "throw previews out when the game comes out" philosophy combined with how few previews there are just leaves it barren.

For the record, the "throwing out" of previews was merely the removal of a link once the full review came in. The text of every single preview we've EVER WRITTEN still exists...and I am considering putting together a master page of previews to go in our "Discontinued" subsection of the "Features" section. How would this suit everyone that wants previews back?

Ramza

Mike's Edit: Added that 'p' in there for ya. :P
« Last Edit: April 13, 2009, 11:45:02 PM by Mike » Logged

Mike
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« Reply #41 on: April 13, 2009, 11:44:20 PM »

I had no idea the small amount of previews we had at a given time was so popular amongst our readers. It's too bad they're such a time-suck in writing compared to reviews, or we may have kept it going, heh.

Also, for those following all of this, yes, I've changed the soundtrack banner for a static image until the link issue is resolved. (Though part of me wants to keep it as-is - without a solid banner there, it does give some nice breathing room to the header.)
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KC_Dash
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« Reply #42 on: April 14, 2009, 01:22:30 AM »

Oh wow I also had problems similar to other posters with Firefox but the problem fixed itself I guess when I did a quick check in. Anyways if any one wants to look what it was like before here's a link to the image
http://i44.tinypic.com/2vakruq.jpg

I was using Vista Home Premium and Firefox was version 3.0.8




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Jimmy
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« Reply #43 on: April 14, 2009, 01:30:51 AM »

Quote
The only thing I find fault with is small: in the navigation bar near the top of the page, there's no space between the "Staff" link and the search bar. Is that just my browser?

Yeah, definitely a browser issue.  We tested with Firefox, Safari, IE7 and IE6 and it seemed to work on all of them.  As John said, let us know what browser you're using and what OS and we'll try to see what's wrong.

A click on refresh fixed the problem for me.
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Mike
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« Reply #44 on: April 14, 2009, 01:34:28 AM »

Wow, green links! Yeah, it was definitely an issue with your browser caching the old stylesheet.
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