A Fresh Coat of Paint

You probably notice a few updates to the site today. We wanted to do more to promote the awesome writing our staff produce here, which kicked off a bunch of layout tweaks. Here are the patch notes, for lack of a better term:

- The top area of the site now showcases the latest "feature" articles and rotates some classics into the mix in case folks missed them.

- The main page and article areas are now running at a fixed 1024 pixel width to save us the nightmare of trying to make things look nice at the old variable width style. This is going to give us more flexibility as we tweak the site.

- The forums have been left as a variable width, because it just works better that way. We've also changed it so the first post of a thread doesn't show up at the top of each page, but it's still easy to refer to it if needed.

- Secret back end updates have also been made and some small changes to the front page article layouts. I'd like to wish fond farewell to the article category icon; enjoy your imitation Rolex watch and fruit basket as you step into retirement.

That's all for now! If you find any bugs, let us know in the comments.

Comments

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Here are the patch notes, for lack of a better term:

Did you nerf the Paladin's talent specs?

Oooh, shiny!

The 'new' link in the forums doesn't scroll down to where I need to start reading - the post opens to the top each time.

Disclaimer, I'm running IE6 on my work machine (not through choice) - don't know if that's related.

EDIT - seems it is - Firefox works just fine.

Looks great so far.

I can't see the article links at the top.

Nice! Thanks!

The Youtube tag still fails on underscores, which is supposedly fixed in version 2.1 of the Video Filter module. I'm assuming that's what's in use to provide that feature; I'm not a Drupal user myself.

Shawn "Certis" Andrich wrote:

We've also changed it so the first post of a thread doesn't show up at the top of each page, but it's still easy to refer to it if needed.

*hugs*

In Chrome, there are no article links, and the image of the (in this case) Darth Vader from your last article is shoved into the red Article box, and nothing else appears.

Nevermind. Problem vanished.

Make sure to refresh your browser. Some changes just made.

Rubb Ed wrote:

In Chrome, there are no article links, and the image of the (in this case) Darth Vader from your last article is shoved into the red Article box, and nothing else appears.

I fixed a couple of permissions issues a few minutes ago and Chrome looks good to me now. Let us know if you're still having issues with it.

Aww man, no category icons? You mean no longer will we be able to see Elysium's bearded countenance when viewing Maximum Verbosity awesomeness?

The OP thread thing is a nice touch though.

Rubb Ed wrote:

In Chrome, there are no article links, and the image of the (in this case) Darth Vader from your last article is shoved into the red Article box, and nothing else appears.

Hmm. I'm not seeing these issues in Chrome in Windows or Linux, or in the Chromium nightly build in Linux.

doogiemac wrote:
Rubb Ed wrote:

In Chrome, there are no article links, and the image of the (in this case) Darth Vader from your last article is shoved into the red Article box, and nothing else appears.

I fixed a couple of permissions issues a few minutes ago and Chrome looks good to me now. Let us know if you're still having issues with it.

All good now.

Nice job on the changes!

I like the front page setup much better. On more than one occasion I've almost missed a good article because I didn't scroll down far enough.

The OP fix is awesome and definately helps out. The catch-all's OPs are usually image heavy and not having them there on every page makes surfing the site at work subtler.

The only thing upsetting to me is the back end changes. I love your back ends just the way they are.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE OH GOD IN HEAVEN

Actually no I approve of the change.

I might be just missing it but, as far as I know, there is still no subscription by email option for forum threads. I'm probably just lazy but the lack of this feature keeps me from participating a lot more than I currently do.

I really appreciate that you guys are trying to change the site, but I agree with a lot of what Lucan is saying.

The "Recent posts" link seems to be 1024-fixed width, but when you click through to an individual thread it reverts to variable width. Not sure if you guys intended for it to be that way - you may well have - but it's a little jarring.

Please, I hope this doesn't come off as too harsh or disapproving, I've tried to be as constructive as possible. I hope it is useful.

---

While I don't disprove of the new features I think the top half of the page is badly designed.

1. The advantage of the old layout was being able to see the latest article instantly as it was on top area of the page. This area is now filled with articles I've already read. I have to scroll down to see if there is a new article.

The black banner on top of the site however isn't used for anything. Move the right panel (showcase and frontpage articles) up and you'll be using the vertical screen estate more efficiently. Alternatively redesign the entire page header to be smaller.

2. The images in the showcase are too small to be useful. You can't really identify what is in the image. They merely serve as recognition for articles already read.

So perhaps rather then cropping the images down to size, zoom in on a significant detail in the image?

3. The article showcases description
text is
awfully
hard to
read
vertically.

Fewer articles in the article bar would provide more horizontal room for the description texts. As an added bonus, long titles don't need to be spread out over two lines any more either.

4. The showcase category label is big and red, it invites clicking but isn't actually clickable. The other elements of the showcase aren't so easy to click. Being able to click the picture is good but is typically on the web used to show the full sized picture. This causes confusion.

Basically making the whole showcase area clickable and conveying this by highlighting the outline around the showcase would improve this.

5. To accommodate users viewing in <1024 move the left side bar to the right. This again puts the most important information, the articles, in view first. That screen estate isn't being used efficiently is especially noticeable when scrolling down, after two articles, there is a large empty space on the left.

Edited for typos another other endangered species.

People go to the front page? My bookmark goes straight to the forums menu.

Ooooo, scary changes!

wordsmythe wrote:

People go to the front page? My bookmark goes straight to the forums menu. ;)

I only read it for the articles!

The black banner on top of the site however isn't used for anything. Move the right panel (showcase and frontpage articles) up and you'll be using the vertical screen estate more efficiently. Alternatively redesign the entire page header to be smaller.

The black space at the top houses ads, unless you have them blocked.

Jayhawker wrote:
The black banner on top of the site however isn't used for anything. Move the right panel (showcase and frontpage articles) up and you'll be using the vertical screen estate more efficiently. Alternatively redesign the entire page header to be smaller.

The black space at the top houses ads, unless you have them blocked.

Not anymore, right? The GOG ad has been moved to the left sidebar under the Popular Forum Threads.

MyBrainHz wrote:

The "Recent posts" link seems to be 1024-fixed width, but when you click through to an individual thread it reverts to variable width. Not sure if you guys intended for it to be that way - you may well have - but it's a little jarring.

Yup, plus the compression makes the thread titles get about four words per line. It makes everything a lot less vertically efficient.

1. The advantage of the old layout was being able to see the latest article instantly as it was on top area of the page. This area is now filled with articles I've already read. I have to scroll down to see if there is a new article.

The first three boxes at the top are the latest feature articles. The scroll down you do to see the article blog area is no different than before, newest articles at the top, etc.

The black banner on top of the site however isn't used for anything. Move the right panel (showcase and frontpage articles) up and you'll be using the vertical screen estate more efficiently. Alternatively redesign the entire page header to be smaller.

There will be ads there, eventually. In-house stuff at first, maybe game-specific stuff down the line.

[Asked&Answered]

Design ideas are appreciated, but I'll warn you now that they'll be taken more seriously in a week or two once people have settled in and got used to the existing changes. I personally HATE website changes until I get used to them. It's a normal reaction.

This is the best I've seen the website. None of the other design updates have jumped out to me like this one has. Bravo.

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