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Active Projects & Events Discussion on current TLS projects

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Old 10/21/2014   #1
Pixel
Default Site Design (Graphics)

Bleh

If anyone has suggestion concerning the site's design, put them here.

(SPOILER) Btw, the colour scheme is lifestream coloured because... it's the lifestream.net
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Old 10/21/2014   #2
Literally Who?
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In the grand scheme of things its completely unnecessary to change anything. Maybe in a few years but not now.

TLS in its current form covers all of the necessary basics just well and the member base in majority is happy with the flow. No need to fix what is not broken.

edit:

For clarification im talking about the forums.

Last edited by Literally Who?; 10/22/2014 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 10/21/2014   #3
Flintlock
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I don't want to change the colour scheme either. Like I said in the Site Direction thread, there could be an argument for changing our front page structure to focus on our more valuable content instead of news, but I'm not sure if anyone is willing to make that happen. So I think the pragmatic view is that we will just make a few small changes to our existing layout.

Take this picture, for example.



This is front and centre on our index page, and I can see at least four things wrong with it.
  • The picture doesn't vertically align with the text on the right, so there's wasted space below it. We should probably change from 2:1 to 16:9 aspect ratio for our featured images, but that alone wouldn't fix the problem because...
  • The headline spans across three lines. Sometimes it doesn't. It looks ugly.
  • The "related articles" orbs look dull and lifeless. I uploaded a glowing one long ago but it was never implemented.
  • The related articles aren't actually that related, though that's not a graphical limitation. It's the best we could do with the WP category system.
I could go through every page on the site and find small things like that. I think I will do it, in fact, when I have some time. Once we have the niggles all fixed up, I'd be a lot more comfortable promoting TLS and saying "I've worked on this".

Pixel, how much are you around to help with design stuff? I don't know how much Fangu is able to work on the site any more, and we need someone who can make changes in WordPress. We also need someone who can come up with new graphics when they are required, for articles and the like. I suggested Gabe could do at least the latter part, because you don't seem to be here very much, but you'd obviously be in a good position to take up the role if you were willing to do it. You could be our audiovisual manager (again, insert better title here), as you have already done things like the audiobooks and videos for our Youtube channel.

Last edited by Flintlock; 10/22/2014 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 10/21/2014   #4
Obsidian Fire
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In terms of new graphics, I'd be willing to help out.
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Old 10/22/2014   #5
Claymore
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To reiterate my thoughts from the Site Direction thread, what I see as the most pressing matter ahead of us, which in turn has a resulting impact on pretty much everything else, is the actual layout and structure of the site, because the unique aspect of the site is undoubtedly the contributed content.

Any content published here on the Lifestream should be front and centre, but instead it feels hidden away and is difficult to find. I believe that we need multiple categories highlighting all the latest articles / pieces within each. This will not only inspire more visitors to click through and explore our specialist content, but it will also inspire our contributors to do more because their work is consistently highlighted, resulting in a more rewarding feeling and recognition. As the front page now stands, it feels somewhat bare and doesn't highlight what this site is about and the content that it does contain, let alone what it could in the future. It doesn't tell you that you'll find a lot of incredible VII stuff here, from opinion pieces, to game information to fan stuff. Heck, the front page doesn't even tell you we have a YouTube or Facebook channel (outside of further unneeded click), which is a crucial revenue of new users - both ways - and the presentation of our content. (I could further go into why the FB page hasn't been updated or highlights the content as well, but this seems to be a symptom of the bigger problem here of not really highlighting content on the site).

Ultimately, the first impression that people have of this unique niche site doesn't feel engaging or highlights our content, and this is a crucial point for a front page.

So, what can be done about this?

Someone mentioned in the other thread about just grabbing one of the millions of Wordpress themes out there (one that promotes a multiple category blog style front page, so that we can highlight and feature all of our content) and just adjusting the colours to the Lifestream staple. There's so many themes out there that this place will still feel unique without any major adjustments having to be made, and again, the main colours can be kept. Simple and much less work and hassle. Having this in place would also set up the new content that is being discussed, like new categories and areas for fanart, fiction, and highlighting all of our content. Once that is done, we can then get Facebook and YouTube working in sync to promote the heck out of our stuff.

Following on from this, and going back to the hidden content comment, I also mentioned previously that some things are hard to find when they shouldn't be, like information on VII being hidden away on the Franchise Guide and not on the actual VII game link. I'm sure there's a lot more cases of this, but this is what I mean about content (both official stuff and our specialist contributions) feeling hidden, and that is something that - at the very least if not anything else gets done in terms of layout and designs - definitely needs to be remedied.
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Old 10/22/2014   #6
Fangu
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^ You're talking about content though, for the two last paragraph - content and content management systems. 'Site Design' the way it's mentioned here is purely graphics related. If you guys are going to split that thread into topics, you should stick to topic in the threads

/ very quick reply while playing Valkyria Chronicles
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Pixel wrote: Someone say Pixel Porn?
(SPOILER)
Joe wrote: How does Tidus make Yuna feel better?

Elixer.
Shademp wrote: #Fangustyle
Ghost X wrote: As long as Fangu delivers the pizza, I will not particularly mind what is on it. Even if it is hot fiery death in plant form.


Progress!
2012
Member of the Year, Best Site Contributor (2nd), Best Newcomer, Hottest Female, Bounciest Boobies (3rd), Member You’d Most Like to Meet in Real Life, Most Improved (3rd), Best Drunk/Stoner, “Needs to Spend Less Time on TLS” Award (3rd), Best Ship (1st, Avengu) (3rd, Sprexanghululock), Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse (3rd), Most Likely to Save the World, Most Suited to Be on Cosmos’ Side (2nd)

2013
TLS Lifetime Achievement Award (3rd), Best Site Contributor (3rd), Hottest Female, Biggest Non-FF Geek (3rd), Most in Need of Daylight (2nd), Member You'd Most Like to Meet in Real Life, Member You'd Most Like to Bone (2nd), Horniest Member (2nd), Best Drunk/Stoner (3rd), The TLS Literature Prize, Most Talented (Art, Writing, Music, Etc.) (3rd), Best Ass (3rd), Most Fervent TLSer, Most Likely to Go the Extra Mile (3rd)

2014
Member of the Year (2nd), Best Site Contributor (3rd), Hottest Female (2nd), Nicest Smile, Member You'd Most Like to Meet in Real Life, Member You'd Most Like to Bone (2nd), The Lifestream Literature Prize, Best Ass (2nd), Sexiest Voice, Best Ship/TLS OTP (3rd, Sprexanghululock), Most Fervent TLSer (3rd), Most Likely to Make the Best-Tasting Food (2nd), Most Likely to Go the Extra Mile (2nd)

2015
Member you'd most like to bone (2nd), Best Drunk/Stoner (3rd), Hottest female (3rd), Sexiest voice (3rd)

2016
Best Drunk (2nd), Most Likely To Suggest An Award They'll Never Win
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Old 10/22/2014   #7
Obsidian Fire
Default

^^ I was taught site design in the same class I was taught web graphics... the two build off each other a lot...

TBH, this is something I liked better about the old site design. It felt like I ended up using fewer clicks to get to articles.

Also, is there any easy way to get a hold of a site map? I feel like having that would make it easier to see what links up to where as well as making theoretical changes. If we don't have one, I'd be willing to make one.

Other stuff I've noticed:

A lot of the subpages lack a summary of what is to be found on the page nevermind a table of contents for the major divisions of each page. If we could add a table of contents I think that would help a lot in easily showing people what we have without them having to scroll though the whole page. If we could make the table of contents clickable, it would be even better.

Part of what makes the subpages feel like a chore to read is the column width. The lines of the descriptions feel long, and when the descriptions are short the second line doesn't feel "connected" to the first line. This is especially true on 16:9 monitors where the colom takes up the middle third of the page and the text goes all the way across it and slows down the reading speed. There's also a lot of unused space between the long lines. Artificially making the column thinner shortens the lines of text and makes things not look so spread out. It makes the page looked more balanced.

In terms of the front page itself, what we might want to do is make a smaller second headline style for cases where the headline is really long or where there's a secondary headline. It might help with how many lines the headline has.

For the front page pic, you also might want to try a 4:3 ratio as it looks like we need more vertical area then horizontal area and 16:9 is nearly the same as 2:1 anyway.

When I get home from school I'll see about fiddling around with some mock-ups in Illustrator...
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Old 10/22/2014   #8
Fangu
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I agree that 'Site Design' generally doesn't mean 'graphics design only', but the way the subject was brought up, the reference was to colours, graphics etc. Not that this thread has to stay graphics only. It's probably better to chuck everything visually related in one thread, content in another, future Big Things (like the merchandise thing) in separate threads.

But as for the front page design (which is a term previously used), I encourage everyone with opinions to dig up the old thread 'Front Page Project' or what the hell we called it. A lot of the things were discussed back then.

tl;dr it's very easy to fling out opinions of 'I think this should' and 'this shouldn't; like you say Obs, do mock ups, present examples. The quickest way to torpedo any project is to think and not know. Opinions there are often enough of. Good, backed up suggestions are always fewer, but a hundred times more valuable.

[snip I put into the other thread instead]
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Quotes and shit
Pixel wrote: Someone say Pixel Porn?
(SPOILER)
Joe wrote: How does Tidus make Yuna feel better?

Elixer.
Shademp wrote: #Fangustyle
Ghost X wrote: As long as Fangu delivers the pizza, I will not particularly mind what is on it. Even if it is hot fiery death in plant form.


Progress!
2012
Member of the Year, Best Site Contributor (2nd), Best Newcomer, Hottest Female, Bounciest Boobies (3rd), Member You’d Most Like to Meet in Real Life, Most Improved (3rd), Best Drunk/Stoner, “Needs to Spend Less Time on TLS” Award (3rd), Best Ship (1st, Avengu) (3rd, Sprexanghululock), Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse (3rd), Most Likely to Save the World, Most Suited to Be on Cosmos’ Side (2nd)

2013
TLS Lifetime Achievement Award (3rd), Best Site Contributor (3rd), Hottest Female, Biggest Non-FF Geek (3rd), Most in Need of Daylight (2nd), Member You'd Most Like to Meet in Real Life, Member You'd Most Like to Bone (2nd), Horniest Member (2nd), Best Drunk/Stoner (3rd), The TLS Literature Prize, Most Talented (Art, Writing, Music, Etc.) (3rd), Best Ass (3rd), Most Fervent TLSer, Most Likely to Go the Extra Mile (3rd)

2014
Member of the Year (2nd), Best Site Contributor (3rd), Hottest Female (2nd), Nicest Smile, Member You'd Most Like to Meet in Real Life, Member You'd Most Like to Bone (2nd), The Lifestream Literature Prize, Best Ass (2nd), Sexiest Voice, Best Ship/TLS OTP (3rd, Sprexanghululock), Most Fervent TLSer (3rd), Most Likely to Make the Best-Tasting Food (2nd), Most Likely to Go the Extra Mile (2nd)

2015
Member you'd most like to bone (2nd), Best Drunk/Stoner (3rd), Hottest female (3rd), Sexiest voice (3rd)

2016
Best Drunk (2nd), Most Likely To Suggest An Award They'll Never Win
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Old 10/22/2014   #9
Claymore
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*Shrugs*

Site design to me means the overall visual representation of the site, it's graphics and content, but if you want just graphic talk in here, then yeah, it can be moved.
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Old 10/27/2014   #10
Obsidian Fire
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Oh man... I so wish I had found out about Firefox's Inspect Element feature earlier...
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Old 10/28/2014   #11
Obsidian Fire
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Re-post of the Site Map from the Revamp thread.
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Old 10/28/2014   #12
Obsidian Fire
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Front page mock-ups.

Current Front Page

Front page with changes
Mostly design flaws that stood out to me immediately.


Front page detailing exactly what I changed
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Old 10/28/2014   #13
The Twilight Mexican
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Looks good.

I should point out, though, that in the Associated Press style used by American journalists, only the first letter and proper nouns are capitalized in headlines and subheads, so my capitalization is correct in both of those.
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Old 10/28/2014   #14
Obsidian Fire
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^^ Huh, never knew that. Graphic Design tends to go by the "use whatever looks good" rule. Which tends to leave all the words in titles capitalized more often then not.
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Old 10/28/2014   #15
The Twilight Mexican
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Yeah, it's funny the butting of heads I have seen between journalists and web designers. Usually settled by the editor saying "Do what the stylebook says."
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