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chris1962

New Website . . . Sucks or Rocks ???

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I've recently re-released my web site, and was looking for some feedback. I'm currently looking for ways to drive traffic to the site. So, any suggestions around site design, or ways to improve traffic would be greatly appreciated. Site is www.sunandgames.com Thanks, Chris [Edited by - chris1962 on February 14, 2005 9:15:16 AM]

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From an artistic standpoint I would limit the amount of colors used in the function parts of the site, the borders, the background, the text. Make them less saturated and use colors that compliment each other. Because if the site is less busy and doesn't have as much color "noise", the game screenshots will pop more. And that's what is most important. How many art galleries have you gone to and seen multicolored walls or even wallpaper? Same reasoning there.

The logo isn't powerful enough and lacks distinction. It doesn't come across as very "fun" or inviting. The three randomly colored balls at the left before the logo are distracting as well. Westerners read left to right and by having this odd graphic before the logo, breaks the viewer away from finding the information they were expecting.

Look at http://www.popcap.com/ who seem to be pretty popular these days with the puzzle games. All of the important information on the site is displayed on the left side, including the name of the site. The font is solid, the colors are unified - red and creme. The game logos and titles are the elements that "pop".

Design wise - I want to know about these games before downloading them. For example :

"Explore jungles and plains of the world solving increasingly difficult puzzles. Then, fly off to a new worlds with new puzzles. Stunning graphics, great world music, and the most addictive game play ever!"

That's all I know about the Magic vines game. I don't want to download it instantly, as good as those intentions are, I would rather information about be contained on a seperate page including -
* Large Screenshots
* Bullet point features, how many levels? how many music tracks? how many modes of play?
*Comparitive games - Is this game like Tetris with a twist? Is it like Missile Command meets Scrabble? Just give me a hint.
* Don't snowball me. This game might be addictive and that's ok to say but by telling me it contains the most addictive gameplay ever I'm instantly turned off.
* Player comments - solicit some actual comments or feedback from satisfied customers and put these on these game pages. Let those people sound crazy.

Again, look at this page for Bejeweled 2 :

http://www.popcap.com/launchpage.php?theGame=bejeweled2&src=big8

And notice how the game gets it's own page with screenshots and information I can use and want. I will not download a game based off a tiny 128x128 screenshot and hazy game description.

Good luck.

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Thanks Dumptruck, for taking the time to review my site. You've made some good points. Colour wise, I've noticed a number of gaming sites that seem to like a lot of colours. My mistake as you've pointed out here, is that I've used too many colours, when instead I should have picked out just a few appealing colours and go with that.

The 3 coloured balls were supposed to be part of the logo, not a seperate image. I've obviously failed to make that impression with you, and should probably revisit the whole logo. I'm not an artist (obviously), so that's not really my strong point, but I do like to tinker with that kind of stuff. I do have an idea for a different logo, maybe I'll give that a shot.

As much as I'd rather have someone click on a download, instead of clicking on a "more info" type button for a game, I see your point. I think the same way, I rarely download something without more information about it. I don't know your background, but I wonder if that's more programmer/techie thinking. I wonder if a end user would think the same way. I know most gaming sites use the approach your suggesting. Maybe I should do some testing.

Thanks again for your input.

[Edited by - chris1962 on February 14, 2005 9:50:55 AM]

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hmm.. some (personal) remarks:
I don't like the white and yellow colors, frankly.
And I think the space could be used more effectively.

Also, try to limit the amount of information you present to the visitor on 1 page.
How would I , as a visitor, really know if the game is good, or fits my needs, etc.

regards,
M.

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Quote:
Original post by chris1962
As much as I'd rather have someone click on a download, instead of clicking on a "more info" type button for a game, I see your point. I think the same way, I rarely download something without more information about it. I don't know your background, but I wonder if that's more programmer/techie thinking. I wonder if a end user would think the same way. I know most gaming sites use the approach your suggesting. Maybe I should do some testing.


I would put both buttons, one for download, another for more info. Unlike dumptruck, I will download a game based on a screenshot. In fact, the opposite also applies, I won't even click more info if there isn't a screenshot.

As far as the site itself, it needs work. It's too busy, you've got all sorts of different borders everywhere, a bright blue background, and a dull gray. The shots for some of the games use a pretty lame button effect.

Take a few complementary colours, perhaps from your logo, use them across the site, and ditch the gray.

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Quote:
Original post by DevLiquidKnight
sucks me no like bad color scheme


Now that's what I like about these forums . . . unabashed, honest criticism. DevLiquidKnight I suspect your right. I need to tone down the colours a bit, and come up with a better color scheme.

Nuvem, I agree buttons for both a download and more info would probably work better.

Guess I've got some work to do.

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wow, just the colors, its soo, wow. it needs work, lots of work. the design is alright, but if you want to drive people to your site you need to make it interactive and flashy. not too flashy, dont ever want to clutter anything. go to http://www.2advanced.com the site might be amazing, and you might not be ready for that kind of design but! you will at least have something to compare yourself with. i was once a designer that sucked like shit, and having something to compare myself just got me trying to work better. even now, my last site i design in 2002 i think sucks, but its honestly not as bad as most
http://www.digitalshock.net i did i recent flash version of it.

In summary, your site is lacking the appeal, go out and study your compitition and learn from there design and try to meet there skill, or go above, just dont copy the design completely. anyway best of luck.

Later

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I agree with Dumptruck, but have some stuff to add.
I think the major problem is that you have no definite theme. Your colors, styles, and even fonts are all over the place. stylesheets might help.
So lets start on the front page at the top and move down:

The banner/logo needs to be more together. It looks like you took two images and shoved them next to each other. I suggest you either make it smaller, or you could try to merge the two. As for the colors, you can look at some designs on the links that follow. Like I said, you need a definite theme, and your spheres are all over the visible color spectrum. Literally. You have red through yellow, green, and then blue. I suggest you pick one of those and stick to it. For example, you could have just the "warmest" colors, red, orange, yellow, and shades of each, or you could have a monochromatic color, like different shades of blue, but whatever you choose needs to be carried through the site. If you had monochromatic blue on the logo, you would want to carry that through the site. See starwarsgalaxies.com for an OK example of this. As for the actual design of the logo, the balls aren't bad (excluding the color), but they could use some work. What you could try is to somehow put lettering on top of the balls, using contrast through different colors or different shades. I'm not sure how well that will work, though. And another comment about having a certain style and theme, the letters' fonts need to be the same for one thing, but, specifically on the current banner, dont go with the balls. The balls are round, with a string seemingly flowing around it, curvy and such, while the font is rigid, emphasized moreso by the underline.

Moving on to the yellow-white section. I call it the yellow-white section because it's white and yellow, and not only does it look uglier than a mass grave before covered up, but it looks out of place, and it is actually the color scheme found on crappily made advertisement sites that are owned by domain registrars that sell domains but can't seem to make a sophisticated web page saying that the site is owned by them. GET RID OF THE YELLOW-WHITE SECTION. As for the links, you may decide to put them on the left side or leave them there, but either way I would use some sort of button or something. About buttons, you need to have them all the same style. Like if you have a square button one place but a circle button another place, it might look out of place. But if you use rounded edges one way, then make it similar in another place, but not quite alike, its OK. Really depends on HOW you do it. I'd say trust your instincts, but.. eh... Look at amazon.com for an example. :)

Moving on to the left side column of the main part of the page. Starting with...
"Cool games that are fun, free and easy to learn." Ehh... what is this? A slogan? An opinion? Feedback? Whatever it is, it's bad. Get a new one. Again, the color is out of place... just like every other color. Looks like you were having decision problems. And the border is tacky, not only does it look bad, but it is found nowhere else on the page.
An interesting way to tell about a new game. Maybe you could write "In Development: (Game Name)", have the screenshots, then some text about it, and the "In Development" text and the screenshots should both link to a read more page. Also, when writing a summary of the game on your front page, you should stop somewhere along the way and type 3 periods and then say "Read More" and link to the read more page or something like that.
I think it's OK if you have the most popular games on the right, but still, make some sort of description page for each game. Also, since you obviously know some PHP, make the description pages a single dynamic page, so you dont have to worry about 50,000 pages, and this also makes updating easier. This goes for almost all the pages.
I think that somewhere you need to make links to your games, other than the top bar. First of all, your top bar's groups are crappy. Make them more like, "Action Games", "Puzzle Games", "Kids' Games", etc. Check out shockwave.com for this kind of thing.


Now I'm sure that I didn't get all my thoughts onto this post, but I had so many thoughts that I must have forgotten at least 90% of them. While you shouldn't copy directly from the following sites, they will give you some ideas that you can harvest to make your own unique site.
Links:
Star Wars Galaxies Official Site
Planetside Official Site
Planetside TR Site
Planetside NC Site
Planetside VS Site
(once you are at either the starwarsgalaxies site or planetside site you can hover over "Games" on the top bar for more sites with good color schemes and layouts.)
LucasArts Official Site
Shockwave Games
Amazon.com

There are many more, and I should post more opinions and links later, but it has been a while since I started writing this, so I'll take a break.

[Edited by - jtmerchant on February 16, 2005 9:12:15 PM]

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