Okay, so I have a question. I'ved fixed issues with Chrome not loading the pages properly (Couldn't click buttons or links on the page loaded because for some reason when it comes to iFrames and CSS, Chrome (the only browser with the issue) didn't like a -1 z-index value… If anyone can tell me why, that'd be great because it worked in FF and IE just fine.
But, I have some concerns now. I have been a web designer, graphic designer, and audo/video/multimedia producer for over nearly 19 years since I got certified. And I have even done things for some big advertising companies here in Missouri in the past, so when it comes to advertising, and FLASHY, I know how the world works. But, last night, I received a message from Nathan (a very much posted critic here I've noticed upon my research) regarding my website. While not offended, I'd like other ideas or opinions, because his message was concerning, AND it helped me (along with one of my Imms and myself) discover the website bug. Here's the message:
I don't mean to offend and it's kind of tangential, but this is related to advertising/promotion:
As it stands your website is really quite bad. Most people who hear about your game will probably travel through your webpage at least once and at present it has negative advertising potential. I'd recommend fixing that up before moving on to a promotional trailer. You really should consider dropping the web music player for now or at least preventing it from auto starting. Also, the flame animation, while somewhat cool, is very distracting and, like the rest of the site, doesn't scale well. Your site has the feel of a static one, despite it being implied that parts of it are dynamic.
P.S. You should really point any links you make to http://subversive.themudhost.net/main.ht... (the difference here being specifying main.html), your index.html (or the default landing page) when I go to subversive.themudhost.net is very dysfunctional; the buttons and scrollbar don't work at all. It would also be wise to migrate your scripts and css styles to external files to keep the html as clean as possible.
Now… as stated, I have fixed it… And my page is a good mixed media of flash, jquery, HTML5, and CSS. I have room for more buttons on the left side, and plan on using this space if pages are added, and have hidden my scrollbars by making the page size the browser size, and the "main text" of the page scrollbars by using padding to throw them off the page, even on bigger monitors. I've noted all of this. I have a jquery flame animation at the bottom, because well, it's catchy. But he says it's a distraction. The few others who have seen it think it's pretty darned cool and simply adds to the "flashiness" of the page. So here's my VERY important question: Can someone PLEASE give me some opinions on what they think of the site? Or if it's too much or too little? Or let me know if they think it doesn't look bad? I don't WANT it to look like every other MUD page out there. (While maintaining some standards). At the same time, I'm doing everything I can to make it NOT look too much like a typical personal page either, which is why i've added forums, and have done a lot of graphics and layout work to it. I'd GREATLY appreciate it. You can click HERE to get to the site, or simply go to: http://subversive.themudhost.net Thank you!
Sincerely, Koqlb of Subversive Visions subversive.themudhost.net 7500
For what it's worth (and it should be worth something because I do web design for a living), I agree with Nathan 100%. The site is flashy and looks straight out of the 90's. A template should draw attention to the content, not to itself. Animated template elements are a distraction, which is why you will never see them anymore outside of dated personal pages put together by amateurs.
If you want honest feedback on your site, first off, don't ask friends. They'll tell you what you want to hear. Also, weigh each person's feedback based on their own expertise, and the details they provide. Constructive feedback in any shape or form trumps a thousand "I loved it all."
One of my projects is an open-source web UI framework for MUD servers. It is aimed at folks like you who may be interested in having a custom browser client, but don't necessarily have the time or skillset to do it all from scratch. The web app code can be downloaded from GitHub, or can be customized dynamically in the cloud via http://www.mudportal.com. It takes about 5 min. to embed it on your website: http://www.mudportal.com/embed.html .
* no scrollbars - can't navigate * only part of your forum list is visible and can't navigate to rest of list * links to outside resources place frames at top .. utility to most of them (for example, Mudbytes) is minimal
I don't mean to offend, but you did ask for honest opinions.
"NOTE: Scrollbars are hidden on most pages, so try scrolling anyways to see if there's more!" – I think you just haven't put much time into considering usability. You have elements that look bad and interact poorly – but even worse, it just has some usability problem like needing to guess where the scrolling regions are.
P.S. That site I linked above is quite successful in terms of sales.
If you ditch the silly message above the banner you'll have more space. There's no reason that your site needs frames/iframes? and can't have enough vertical content that normal scrolling is required,. Just don't make it more than 1.5-2 screen height's worth. Personally, I think that a single column of buttons (for navigation) is best, but that is just my opinion. You might consider wrapping the 'who' and 'news' sections into one, people who want to check the news might also be interested in who is on at the moment. If possible, try to merge the main or about page and the credits; there really shouldn't be a need for a separate credits page. You should also separate the history from the about page or move the introductory material elsewhere/off the website. Information about your mud/game is at least partially distinct from the ooc history and your personal involvement. Your contact form could easily be part of the immortals page as it stands.
- flames at bottom are distracting, look cheezy, and stutter/are slow on my machine
- on mouseover, the buttons are supposed to glow and/or fade. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Gives impression many of the links are dead or not working
- a web site should never need navigation instructions at the top of the page. Consider finding a lowest common denominator that works for most browsers instead.
- scrollbars are valuable navigation tools and should be re-enabled. Web pages should not require instructions to operate.
- all caps and multicolored text in middle of text block reminds me of timecube.com and would normally be worth 'crank' or 'noob points'
- entire content of the main page consists of either instructions on how to operate the web page, or how to apply to be a builder. Perhaps information about the game on the main page would be valuable
- after viewing some of the longer pages, definitely renable the scrollbars. This is a critical issue.
- the frame containing the main text is far, far too small, and the frame limiting the display area of the main text is surrounded by empty space that could have been used
- main page grammatical and feel of content: "try scrolling anyways", "we are currently needing builders", "If you simply wish to become part of our Immortal Staff, simply create a char", last sentence is likely run-on, spurious capitalization of words in text ("Immortal Staff", "And", "Age", "Imm Experience")
- no alt text on image logo
For reference, the web pages I maintain are at http://www.alteraeon.com, so I might not be the best person to critique yours.
Thanks, and Ssol, you are more than welcome. I'm not going to get offended. :) I've got some reconstruction to do. And thanks everyone. While stated, in the advertising/multimedia industry, this WOULDN'T be a bad page (the scrollbars by the way are still there. They're just pushed to be "invisible" due to CSS right padding off page, and the main text, plus menu layers are all divs with CSS elements for positioning, not actual frames), This IS a mud side, and not. I was trying to go the creative route as inspired by http://www.achaea.com and others. But as I see here, it's annoying. The music player still have Christmas music because well, I have been coding so much that I haven't had time to change the playlidy to a much mellower and more melodic bgm music for the page. The new playlist will have a lot of bgm tracks that support what the MUD's theme will be (areas intended to have, etc) and it will be a lot better. I'll fix links on the other pages so that they open up a new tab or window. This will make it not load the frames. And the layout will be null and void. Thanks everyone for the comments, and if you have more, feel free. As stated, I wasn't worried about one person's criticism, or even offended (No offense nathan), but It made me want to research more opinions. And I got some VERY good answers. The site however will be re-done and made better. The iframe's sole purpose though is for url masking, and to keep the player on the top of the page so it does not "refresh and restart" every time you go to another page. Two solutions are 1) remove the music player, 2) make it not auto-start, or 3) make the music a lot more peaceful and melodic (maybe metal, or metal covers aren't a good idea apparently.)
12 Jan, 2015, Hades_Kane wrote in the 12th comment:
I've been an amateur web designer for a long time, I am a professional graphic designer.
That said, I threw the End of Time website up in a matter of minutes several years ago, and practically haven't looked at it since, other than occasional information update or throwing up some new maps. It's clear by the look of my site, I don't care about it really nor have invested much into it… I'm putting this out there to counter and potential "well your site sucks too" from anyone else.
I skimmed a few other comments, but not all, so there might be some repeat here:
-I wouldn't design for a specific resolution, it needs to look acceptable at pretty much any. Asking people to zoom in or reconfigure or anything of the sort in order to view your website correctly will immediately turn a lot of potential players off from your site.
-Autoplay music mighta been cute back in the mid 90s, but many people will automatically click the X. It's annoying and poor web etiquette, if not down right rude. If it doesn't autoplay, no real point it either, I'd ditch it.
-Old English is a terrible font for web… Also, unless you've just been initiated into a hispanic gang and are getting your stomach tattoo, NEVER use caps with Old English, it's like a cardinal sin of type setting and design. It can't be read, and the type style was never intended for caps.
-The animated flames is a cool GIF, but animated GIFs on a site are amateur hour. The only place I would really see them being artfully used would be in some sort of button mouse over animation or some such, but as a primary and decorative element of the page? It needs to go.
-This might just be personal preference, but the faded background isn't doing anything for me. I would recommend a solid color background, or something patterned with a very subtle or easy on the eyes design.
-Your primary, italicized looking font is also hard on the eyes. I would highly suggest using a medium stroke, sans serif font and only used bold or italics for emphasis when/where necessary.
-The lack of consistency in a color scheme is also bothersome. The bright blue does "pop" from the rest of the site, but it also completely clashes with everything else on it. If you are going mostly for a dark and red look, I would pick white, black, red, and maybe a warm gray to build your site around as to keep it consistent.
My overall and initial first thought?
It looked a lot like webpages I designed when I was 15 back in like 1997 or 1998 and brought me back to the days of tripod, angelfire, and geocities. It looks incredibly amateur and very, very dated.
This is actually embarrassing to post, but this was a website I made back in '97 or '98 when I was a kid and one of my first websites I designed, and while your site does show a little bit more skill, it isn't far from this: http://hadeskaneut.tripod.com/
12 Jan, 2015, alteraeon wrote in the 13th comment:
- I totally didn't notice that there was music on the page; since I'm on a linux system, I'm guessing that the player or media type was incompatible. Regardless: a web page shall never make noise unless I explicitly ask it to, or that is the only purpose of the page (eg youtube). This includes autoplaying ads and background music. Unwanted sound is never a good idea.
- I find it hard to believe that this is considered an acceptable page by multimedia and advertising standards. The diablo 3 web and starcraft 2 web sites don't look at all like this.
- Links should not open another tab unless there is a good reason to do so (eg leaving a financial site) or the user specifically requests the action. Keeping an autostarting music player active is not a good reason.
The font didn't really bother me personally even if changing it might be wise for readability's sake. One thing that could be done is to use a pattern background for the entire page or even the content space. It would add some graphic elements and provide better contrast for the text.
Damn, the hits keep on rolling. lol. But I like them. Even though the point was taken, and I am currently re-customizing a template for the site, I am grateful for the comments, and criticism. By the way, the flame is actually a jquery plugin, not a gif. Thank you for the honest insults, even though they were both amusing and useful. :) heheh. And Lycos? Hades… that was a shot in the back, and yes, the website was originally created in around ohhhhh. 2001. I was trying to recreate the old site, but bring in new elements, and now I see that doesn't work. Back to the drawing board. The site is and has been under heavy construction, as stated, my MUD is not up and running to the public yet, though it is on a server. I don't have it actually listed on any MUD lists, and won't until I finish some more code things (many bug fixes that I'm currently working on, and original game-only systems) as WELL as the site. But when more than one person says a lot of the same things, it get the hint rolling at 100mph. I'll be changing it in a while, but for the next few days, I need to take a day off. When you have a DREAM that you are writing real life objects in Rom 2.4b6 code you need a break for a couple days. ;)
I was bored so I stopped over and looked at the site and figured I would throw my two cents in. For reference on my opinion I am a web developer and have been since like forever.
A lot of it has already been said, but Ill say it again anyways.
1) Stop the music from auto playing on page load. I absolutely HATE when a site does this. There are a million reasons why you should not play music on load im not going to list them all but a few are; At work its never nice when your bored perusing the web and music starts to play. Baby is sitting next to me in her rocker and just passed out, oh nice this website randomly decided to wake her up Im already playing music in my music player and now I just hear both and its annoying. Im watching a movie on another screen, and now your music just interrupted.
2) Put the scroll bars back. No seriously, put them back! Your site layout basically REQUIRES scrolls bars as your content does not fit your layout. My resolution is 1600x900 and i still neded them on several parts of the site. Your are basically assuming that everyone knows how to scroll a page without them. Yes i know this is basic stuff, but you shouldnt assume. Also at the top of the page you tell people to resize the page to make it fit. People are lazy and don't do half the required stuff they should in real life, why assume they are gonna do it for a game? You should fit their screen, not the other way around.
3) I dont know why but the two columns of buttons on the left just bothers me. I cant put my finger on it but i dont like it at all.
3) Remove the "Who" page all together till you have a player base. Every time I see a MUD with this i feel like its just trying to tack on another feature that actually hurts more then helps. Why does it hurt more then help? If i go to your website, and you have a who page, and i click on it, and no one is on your game, you know what i am gonna do? Keep looking for another game.
4) Change the content of your area page. Instead of talking about how you are currently all stock and need builders for level ranges perhaps talk more about the changes to the areas you are currently working on as well as future areas you plan on doing.
5) Forum - Its been said but I can use it as i cant scroll the page, and there are no scroll bars and i can only see the top two topics.
6) News page - THis just seems to be a copy of something similar to mudconnect.com's listing for your game. This is is no way news and is instead information that should be included on the homepage. Remove the news pages
7) I don't know if it is the font, or if everything is just BOLD, but it makes the text a little tedious to read the more there is. Im not sure how to explain that one better, so if you get it you get it, if you don't I'm not sure how else to explain it.
8) The fire at the bottom. Its been mentioned so ill touch on it. Nothing wrong with it technically (other then i assume this is why you dont have scroll bars!!!!!), and it is some cool looking fire. It does certainly scream HELLO 1990 though. If you leave it, put it in a floating div or something so you get scroll bars though!!!
Yeah thats all for now, I might look at it more later. Like i said most of it was said already, just stated it to reiterate the points.
15 Jan, 2015, Hades_Kane wrote in the 18th comment:
For what it's worth, nothing was intended as a shot in the back or an insult, just specifically very honest and precise feedback as requested.
There's little point, use, or help in softening honest criticism when it has been asked for, and I'm extremely long winded and prone to exposition, so I don't tend to like to just throw out an opinion without the reasoning behind it. I felt it would be beneficial for you to understand why I didn't like what I didn't like about it.
I'm very appreciative to all the honest criticism. And appreciate it not being softened. Hehehe. At the same time, I definitely wouldn't. Hades, I greatly appreciate yours and everyone's opinions, and at the same time, I enjoy the harshness. I don't find the actual fact that you don't like it funny, it's the way things are said (out of context) that make me laugh. And it makes me see just how crappy I made it being that I was trying to recreate something that was 10+ years old. So for now: 1) Went back to the old site template (no iframe, etc.). This makes the forum look very plain right now, but oh well. 2) I am working on a brand new layout, which is more modern, more standard, and well. A LOT nicer.
While stated, in the advertising/multimedia industry, this WOULDN'T be a bad page
Surprised nobody call you out on this. When you first made the post asking for opinions people were telling you the page was bad in the context of you being an amateur. In other words, it was bad even for an amatuer. Now you're elevating the standard to what would someone need to pay you for the work. Quality expected of a professional.
This isn't something I'm guessing on. What you've produced here meets not even the shadow of an acceptable standard in any industry that needs even a small amount of design treatment or consideration for user experience. That's all of them.
If you don't believe me ask on quora or similar if this is an acceptable offering for a professional and see what the response is. I suspect it's going to be much more brutal than any responses you have here. Because professionals are going to be insulted by this – It would be a damn good troll material if you weren't serious.