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MMORPG.com Development Blog

Keeping site users abreast of changes here at MMORPG.com

Author: Meddle

Contributor: skywisenight

New Site Layout and Theme

Posted by Meddle Monday January 26 2009 at 10:32PM
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As you've most definitely noticed we've changed the site design and added some new features.  The redesign is more than skin deep.  This was a major change to our codebase that will allow us to make changes to our design and layout much easier in the future. 

A bunch of features have also been added as we went along:

  • You can now add other users on the site as friends.
  • In your profile area you can setup the games you've played, are playing and want to play.  We'll be expanding upon this in the future with better access to the area etc.
  • There's now a forum history feature so you can keep track of the latest threads you've visited.
  • Bloggers now have the opportunity to have their blogs added to the spotlighted blog list.  This will feature their blog on the homepage of the site and blog home area.
  • Blog post ratings are now used to create a new view of the blog entries in the blogs area.  We will be expanding this data onto the homepage in the future.

We have a full list of future items we're going to be working on now that the redesign is out of the way like expanded guild tool features and more.  So keep an eye on the site for more changes!

As always we appreciate and look forward to our users feedback on these changes so please comment here or head into the forums and post in our new theme thread!

pb1285n writes:

To be completely honest I am not a fan of the new design. The new features are great but the design feels amateurist.

Tue Jan 27 2009 1:46AM Report
Fuuza writes:

The new layout is very nice, me likes.

Tue Jan 27 2009 1:47AM Report
Meddle writes:

Well the beauty of this new design is that it's easy to add new color themes too.  We will be trying to appease the masses by offering a color scheme for everyone!  Stay tuned :)

Tue Jan 27 2009 1:52AM Report
pb1285n writes:

to add to my last post (after looking over the site a little more. Their is too much of a contrast between the dark and the light greys. Their is not enough seperation between the sections on the front page and it makes everything feel clumped together.  The jagged edges of the navigation feel very off balance with the rounded edges of the rest of the layout, but what bothers me the most is the new forum listing. I liked how it was always a list of the most popular games and upcoming releases.

Tue Jan 27 2009 1:56AM Report
JKnight1 writes:

I dislike it too. I feel lost. Whereas with the old look, it was all organized and easily recognizable. Now i'm searching for what I want, and the colors contrasts are indeed meh.

Tue Jan 27 2009 4:02AM Report
Urvan writes:

I'm sorry but I agree with these people, it looks crappy, looks like a complete ammature did it and the colour scheme is just plain awful, not to mention there's not enough contrast, it just clashes.

Tue Jan 27 2009 4:33AM Report
catfud writes:

The new colours look good on the forums apart from the lighter outer grey. The greys just dont really match the blues of any of your banners looks odd and out of place. Match the colours up to your previous design.

Tue Jan 27 2009 7:24AM Report
Darwa writes:

Awful colour matching, and it needs borders between sections. It looks as though someone simply added images to a page without thinking about navigation.

Tue Jan 27 2009 7:42AM Report
ProfRed writes:

Looks good, and the features are awesome.  It will only get better.

Tue Jan 27 2009 8:16AM Report
Mundus writes:

Love the new design. I find it a lot clearer and I feel the contents such as the forums are now way better integrated into the site. Don't know what's the peoples' problem with the color and/or contrast. Maybe it's not colorful enough?

Well, I like very much. It brings out, what's important: the content.

The new features sound cool as well.

Good work there!

Tue Jan 27 2009 8:42AM Report
Daedren writes:

Hi Ben,

Good work implementing the changes. A big site like here and there are bound to be a few problems. Here is my feedback:

You mentioned players are able to "spotlight" their own blog. How will that work? Shouldn't they be chosen or picked by the community or moderators? 

Clicking on single posts is clunky. It is not very intuitive to encourage comments. For example, clicking on my latest "Daedren's Guide To Living with Deathknights" just brings up my general r1ft blog with this entry at the top. To view or add a comment, you have to click *again* on the comments section. Ideally, you want to make sure users are able to read something and add comments quickly, lest they be discouraged.

Jason Stone's Dev Blog is old. He's no longer with Funcom (working for Triad last I heard) so I doubt it will be updated. My recommendation for this spot is "Top Blog Posts" or Highlighted Entries or something along those lines. Perhaps put the 2-4 most commented blog entries from the last week or two there to allow discussion to continue.

That's my 2c. Keep up the good work.

-- Daedren

Tue Jan 27 2009 9:12AM Report
Teiman writes:

It run smoother on linux Epiphany.

So I think this theme needs less CPU than the older one. I have not check the code, but I suppose this one is more CSS based and better design.

Good job!

No only that. I consider this a start to make this site top notch (is already top noch, more top noch MOAAR!!).

postadata:

The forums may need a bit of work on the theme, maybe, some post are cut in half.

 

Tue Jan 27 2009 10:46AM Report
knord writes:

The main thing I like about this new "system" is that it is much better and faster in Opera and Firefox.

And I haven't had any pages "stall" on me yet... which they did every time before (needed to reload all pages two/three times before they showed anything) 

Tue Jan 27 2009 1:27PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

I agree with Daedren on the blog thing.   This is definitely a step in the right direction, and we both appreciate the blog spotlight.

That being said, his comments about Jason Stone are true.   That blog is quite outdated, and considering Jason Stone is no longer with Funcom, it is safe to say that blog is dead.  Maybe you should move the MMORPG.com blog over to where his is, instead of on the spotlight list.   Just a suggestion.

The light grey is a bit "meh", it's not bad, but it's not great either.  I think I liked the black look a it better.   I am still torn on the new forum list fir the side of the screen.   There seems to be maybe too many forums now?   I liked it the other way where you could see all the games listed.   That way you knew if there was a forum for a game before you went digging, and often times I would see a game on the side and feel compelled to stop in there from time to time.   The new massive list seems a bit cumbersome.

Overall though, I'm thrilled with the fact you guys are trying to update the site, it was definitely needed.  I also like the blog comments showing people's forum avatar, as it is one of the ways a lot of us identify each other.

Tue Jan 27 2009 1:57PM Report
Hashbrick writes:

While the new design gives a bit of an edge to mmorpg.com it seems incomplete and/or rushed.  There is many things that could use it own boxes and combinding them in one doesn't make it look web2.0 it just makes it hard to know what is what.

It does load a hell of a lot faster though I'll give it that.  With some love it could be everyone's favorite but right now I'm agreeing with most to say this looks amaturish as well as buggy.  The news slider no longer work.

Tue Jan 27 2009 2:14PM Report
Meddle writes:

If the news slider on the homepage is not working for you please post up your browser and version, we'll fix it up.

Tue Jan 27 2009 2:34PM Report
Tiurinn writes:

It looks pretty clean! Not a big fan of the grey though. 

 

The slider doesn't work here. Firefox 3.0.5, no problems with IE. 

I must say I liked the slider of the old homepage a lot more, you could more easily see what news there was. 

Tue Jan 27 2009 2:42PM Report
fansede writes:

 I am using Google Chrome. I can find a means to delete multiple email spam from my inbox anymore..

Tue Jan 27 2009 2:45PM Report
Meddle writes:

I assume you guys are talking about the feature scroller only on the homepage and not the news scroller up in the top right of the site that is on all pages correct?  I am using FF 3.0.5 here and it works no problem.  Try ctrl+r to clear your browser cache and reload the page, let me know if that helps.

Tue Jan 27 2009 2:49PM Report
Meddle writes:

The inbox will be fixed soon.

Tue Jan 27 2009 2:49PM Report
Hashbrick writes:

Correct the feature scroller, it works now in FF 3.0.5 so whatever you did fixed the problem :).

Tue Jan 27 2009 3:52PM Report
Tiurinn writes:

Yes Meddle, was talking about the feature scroller. 

Clearing my cache helped, BUT it seems that it sometimes still gets stuck. When I click on one item, the others become irresponsive. 

(And it's also a bit annoying that you can't see what the images are about until you've clicked on them)

Tue Jan 27 2009 5:46PM Report
anotheraddic writes:

Love it

Tue Jan 27 2009 6:55PM Report
jackeccs writes:

old layout is better.

Wed Jan 28 2009 12:38AM Report
craynlon writes:

i like the new design but it doesnt work for me in in IE 7 (for example blog box is empty)
i dont mind using firefox for it tough

also it would benice to have at least 5 or 6 more rows for the blogs on the start page or a history of blog entries on the blog page. when i saw an interesting blog entry i really have trouble finding that again after a few days

Wed Jan 28 2009 2:30AM Report
Nextrix writes:

Ya I have to say as a designer myself, I can see where the designer was trying to go in the layout aspect of the site design, but their are so many elements that really break the user experience. The colours really destroy the elements, espically for the users interaction (which always should be the primary focus).

The comment padding even in this comment needs more spacing room. Hell the size for this text area input is lacking. The front page layout of blocks are really a problem as no one can distinguish between where the blocks are as their is open spacing around them (talking more for the user images block). All you need is an elemental opacity fade background colour for them.

That and who the hell thinks the size of the link tool tip is resonable on the front page. That thing is too big to be a tool tip effect! I think it even break the user experience. Remove the logo in the tool tip and just make it basic text, that or make the logo smaller. Also the front featured javascript slider is not working as you cannot load any of the slides when you click the thumbnails on the bottom of it. You think you would have tested this out before pushing live.

Overall I think this design was more aimed toward a "2.0" design model, then a user experience model. From the vista style PNG transparent oversized tooltip, to the round corners for almost every design styled block, to the WYSIWYG editor that does not even allow me to right click to access my own spell checker!! Your kidding me... which one is this actually... FckEditor. Edit the config to remove the right-click option. No one actually uses it!! Even for Google Apps, no one uses those right click menus either!

Personally I feel you should just replace the colours used in the background for the colour used in the site layout (besides the header element). Then your colour scheme would not look so plain. I would take a white style interface than this, and that is saying a lot as dark styles work better for this type of site.

Wed Jan 28 2009 12:40PM Report
Meddle writes:

We're looking into the IE7 issues.

Wed Jan 28 2009 12:56PM Report
Meddle writes:

You FF peeps can access your spellchecker by holding down ctrl+right mouse click over the word ;)

Wed Jan 28 2009 1:28PM Report
Cursedsei writes:

Personally, I wish there was a "classic" style, I miss the old one. This feels real foreign, and even after a couple of weeks I still feel lost.

Sat Feb 07 2009 10:28PM Report
Nicod3mus writes:

Thanks for keeping it up guys..... looks great.

Fri Aug 27 2010 12:32PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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