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demonkoryu

[web] My Website Mock-up (big img included)

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Hey lads, I threw together a design-study for my website-in-work. The site is a mixture of a personal site and a reference site for me and possibly others. Of course, I try to put in everything that's flashy, geeky or Web 2.0. I want to have a tag-based navigation & search facility so I can save a group of tags as 'tag context' and then search in or explore the link/information universe specified by these tags. If you could take a look at the image below (it's transparent, maybe unreadable in the black forum theme. Right-click and 'View Image' to view it against a white background), I appreciate any feedback (don't hold your horses). The meaning of some elements on the site may not be clear. A more detailed and commented design prototype will be posted later, but I'd still like to know any 'WTF?!' or 'Huh?' experiences you had with that mock-up.
  • Would you visit it (more than once)? If or if not, why?
  • Would you have problems navigating that site? Is something seriously wrong with the navigation method?
  • What do you think of the layout? (layout/colors is WIP, but I'd like comments on that as well).
  • Which programming relevant/reference sites/blogs do you visit most? (So I can steal what's good with them)
  • Is something seriously wrong with the structure? (e.g. Animes and development on the same site)
  • Can you find the serious usability faux-pas I have admitted?
  • Anything else?
So, without further ado, here it is:

A web design newbies' 2nd try

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Software used for the mock-up: InkScape GIMP IrfanView Yeah, I'm doing these great softwarez no justice. [smile] [Edited by - Konfusius on April 30, 2006 10:05:30 AM]

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Too cluttered. In my opinion you need to break the site down into smaller sections each with a main page, have link to each main page from the home page. Have a simple Page Header with easy navigation to each main section, same goes for the left side menus. I think all the stuff on the right should just go. It feels like you are just trying to put too much into the mix.

theTroll

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It is more cluttered than, say, my page, but it works if you have the content for it.

I am a little confused about the plethora of top navigation menus. We have the "Home/News...Coding/Anime" section, the "Web/Games" section, and then the (sub-web) "Rants/Standards" section. I understand the last two, but don't know about the first one. I assume it's the very top level of navigation, and the web/games is the level under it. I'm also assuming that on the Web/Games level, the additional sublinks will be on the same level as the Web and Games links?

If so, you might want to consider making the Home/News nav bar much stronger, or use tabs to switch between them. Also, why the breaks in the bar? (Home/News/About...Index/Directory/Tags...Coding/)

And then, there's the Search/Store/View way up at the top. It just seems like these need to be more condensed.

Also, what will be in the directory section (on the left)?

Now, to your questions. Whether I would visit it more than once would depend solely on content. So I can't say.

Besides what I said above, I don't think navigation would be too difficult.

The layout is alright - I assume not everything will be a plain white, black-bordered box on a gray background, of course, and that you'll remove a bit of the padding between boxes. And replace the current headers and such with correctly positioned items, of course (I know you will, because that's what makes this a mockup and not a final product).

Regarding structure... I don't see anything wrong with having anime and development on the same site. However, if you find that your structure does not work for both equally well, you might think about splitting them into two sites. And, if you don't have the content to justify one of the sections, you'll definitely want to consider changing something.

Can we have a permanent login box somewhere?

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Thank you, TheTroll and Avatar God, for your feedback.

I'm working on a version which tries to adress some of the issues you mentioned.
The right collumn will stay, but I'll try to make it less cluttered, with an option to collapse seldom-used boxes.

On the content, I had a small anime website before, and for the dev part, I'm just gonna put up some links to my favorite reference and news sites, as well as links to applications, libraries and languages, and a few quick-lookup boxes for RFC's, standard library functions and the like. My 'own' content will follow.

Thanks again!

I have an additional question:
AJAX-Yes or No?

Konfu

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Here's a slightly decluttered version.
Note that the boxes around each section are just illustrating the layout, not the design.

Home News About | Index Directory are links pertaining to the entire site, as is the footer (disclaimer, TOS and copyright notice) and user box (profile).
Coding Anime Games Arts Links Apps Friends are links to subsites, each with a distinct style.
The two nav bars below that are then primary means to navigate the subsite, together with the user-selected 'tags' that define a special interest and narrow the information space.

<>

[Edited by - Konfusius on April 30, 2006 5:25:23 PM]

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Another version, this will likely be uses to prototype the site (unless I get some much-needed criticism which would cause me to rework it).

Hmm, when I look at it, I don't like the header at all. Too cluttered.


I'm gonna read Principles and elements of design first before going back to the drawing board! [grin]

<>

[Edited by - Konfusius on April 30, 2006 5:17:24 PM]

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I agree too cluttered. I think a main page should be clean and eligent. You do not need to have every option on your main page, just ways to get to the major sections. People will go to the areas that they are intested in, you don't have to give them all the options at once.

theTroll

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So, here's another one:

<>

What do you say?

I like this one, but it still need more work.
Kinda unbalanced.

[Edited by - Konfusius on May 1, 2006 1:42:34 PM]

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I think if you got rid of the whole blue box on the right it would look better, but that is just me.

theTroll

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