Shadowrun

Off-topic => Off-off-topic => Topic started by: John Schmidt on (09:27:04/09-09-10)

Title: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (09:27:04/09-09-10)
So I have Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash, blah, blah, blah... I going through the tutorials at Lynda.com for using Dreamweaver and Flash. Graphics and content are not a problem (unless people don't like them but I will cross that bridge when I get there).

What makes a good fan game website?

I know its rude to commandeer your speakers and blair my sounds over them.
Pages should be limited vertically and horizontally.

But what makes a good looking website?
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: Doc Chaos on (09:38:22/09-09-10)
If you can, avoid Flash. Go for HTML5. Also, avoid massive decorative use of graphics. Graphics should be used to set a theme and provide a frame for the content, not make it difficult to tell frame appart from content.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (09:50:11/09-09-10)
Why avoid Flash?

Graphics, I know can slow down a page loading. Is there a good rule of thumb for the total size for each webpage?
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: PeterSmith on (09:58:40/09-09-10)
You can't obtain platform independance if you use Flash. If your goal is to make the website accessable to the widest audience, Flash eliminates anybody using iOS (iPad iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad) for browsing. In addition, some people see Flash as a sign of lazyness. I don't, it's simply a tool to get something done.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: Doc Chaos on (10:05:41/09-09-10)
Plus Flash eats performance like the economy eats the souls of the people.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (10:09:00/09-09-10)
Ok, I don't want to eat anybodies performance (or their soul).  ;D

No Flash...check.

What do you like or would like to see from a fan based game site?
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: Doc Chaos on (10:33:41/09-09-10)
On this I can of course only speak for myself. I like mostly black and white themes, maybe put some green into it for the "Matrix" look, but don't overdo it on that. I like dark frames, but light backgrounds (white/light grey backgrounds, black text). I like easily accessable menues, not something were it goes "Main -> Shadowrun -> Runners Stuff -> Hardware -> Weapons -> Pistols -> Light PistAH FRAG IT *Alt+F4*. I like it when there is content where I click. If that means that there will not be much to click on, so be it, as long as the stuff I get when I click on something is well constructed.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: Caine Hazen on (12:15:58/09-09-10)
Bah, iOS users shouldn't be allowed on the web ;D

Yeah, it depends on the audience, and what you want to share.  I honestly believe that as HTML5 comes along we'll be able to do what flash does without reliance on Adobe... right now however, if you want a "Matrix" look and feel Flash will serve you better.  But if you're not wanting to do that kinda interactivity, no reason that some good ol CSS will serve to give you a good look that's uniform over the site.

Figure out your content first (which I know should be the catalog you're working on) then you can think of the tools you have (CSS, FLASH, HTML) and how to use them to present your info.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: FastJack on (12:18:49/09-09-10)
Bah, iOS users shouldn't be allowed on the web ;D

Yeah, it depends on the audience, and what you want to share.  I honestly believe that as HTML5 comes along we'll be able to do what flash does without reliance on Adobe... right now however, if you want a "Matrix" look and feel Flash will serve you better.  But if you're not wanting to do that kinda interactivity, no reason that some good ol CSS will serve to give you a good look that's uniform over the site.

Figure out your content first (which I know should be the catalog you're working on) then you can think of the tools you have (CSS, FLASH, HTML) and how to use them to present your info.
Not to mention that, short of movies and games, a little bit of Javascript with CSS will mimic a lot of Flash's capabilities.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: Caine Hazen on (12:22:40/09-09-10)
grumblegrumblegrumble... don't get me started on JAVA...  :P

Bloody people not updating damn JAVA website creatin' more work for me everyday  >:(

Though he is right about that!
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (12:28:10/09-09-10)
It has been said that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing...when it come to web design...I am a nuclear bomb.  ;D

This will be my very first website so we will see what I can come up with. I have been wanting to do this for years so it should be fun to see what I can come up with. (At the very least, worth a laugh or two!)
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: FastJack on (12:38:58/09-09-10)
If you need any help, drop me a line on email. (Anything where I can help a fellow designer and maybe get free advertising for my mad skillz.)
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (13:05:53/09-09-10)
I really appreciate that! There is alot of stuff to get a handle on. ;D
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: FastJack on (13:25:55/09-09-10)
No problem! Glad to be of service.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: PeterSmith on (23:43:31/09-09-10)
Bah, iOS users shouldn't be allowed on the web

Yes, well, in my new role at work I am learning a valuable skill: "How to be nice to your customers." In my case, about a third of them have titles with M.D. somewhere in them.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: burntheartist on (00:57:44/09-10-10)
I think the Escapist magazine's website has one of the better looks with art and how the content is laid out. Very modern, a lot of info, good balance with text and graphics.

As for content I dunno what'd need to be on a good fan site that isn't really out there on the SR4 site already.

Maybe offer to host some people's house rules. Do a weekly comment column. Host art for people. Do some bits on music and movies. A bit of theory on the setting. Maybe even boldly seek to build up some fan created settings and options.

Sounds cool tho'. Web / Graphic designer by trade here so any help needed on the front end of things give a shout.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (09:50:45/09-14-10)
Thanks for the offer, I really do appreciate it.

Work on the website got completely derailed by RL work. Hope to get back to it ASAP though.

I am still mulling over the look of the site in my mind. That is one of those things that I really want to get right. There have been so many slick looking sites with the black/blue techno theme that I am really pretty certain that is something that I want to steer clear of. Right now, I am thinking grunge, urban decay, the barrens, that sort of theme.

Content...I have some odds and ends. Been thinking about rewriting a sourcebook on Salt Lake City, getting it up to speed with SR4. There is the UDI catalog, the license rules, and I started putting together a list of everyday stuff in excel (cost, weight, etc) it mushroomed to something like 300 items the last time I looked at it. So, that isn't a huge concern.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: raben-aas on (11:15:15/09-14-10)
Do yourself a favor and look for what makes YOUR job to post content easy, first!

A lot of people devote a whole lot of time in developing the best looking SR site there is, and either got stuck in the process ("the new website will start soon, I promise (posted on: Oct 14th, 1876)") or discover that it is a pain in the a$$ to post a simple article.

The more work it requires to post something, the less frequent your posts will be. And a beautiful SR site wothout content is useless.

For me, WordPress works best. Sure, it's a blog system, and sure, the design is pretty generic if you don't go for paid access but WordPress offers you a wider variety of styles, a lot of possibilities to post articles (even by e-mail or mobile) and also offers several tools to spread your content to RSS feeds, twitter, facebook etc.

AAS
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (11:32:28/09-14-10)
I was planning on putting most of the content into PDF's. So I can't imagine that it was going to be a considerable problem to post it. Am I missing something?

Edit: The real problem is that I just got a deluged by RL work and I just watched all of my free time evaporate. Nothing like having your day start at 4 am and end at 10 pm.  ;D
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: PeterSmith on (10:08:46/09-15-10)
I was planning on putting most of the content into PDF's.

As in hosting the PDFs with nice looking link pages, or displaying the content stored within PDFs?
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (10:23:06/09-15-10)
Yes, hosting the PDF's hopefully with nice looking link pages.

Again, I am new to all of this. It does strike me that setting up the link pages with the material formatted in PDF's is far simpler than putting in all the HTML code. Am I wrong in this?
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: PeterSmith on (09:52:47/09-16-10)
Yes, hosting the PDF's hopefully with nice looking link pages.

Good.

Again, I am new to all of this. It does strike me that setting up the link pages with the material formatted in PDF's is far simpler than putting in all the HTML code. Am I wrong in this?

Well, it'll be easier but I don't think it'll be better. If you're hosting PDFs rather than putting the info contained therein up in HTML you may end up using more bandwidth (this assumes people don't save the info locally).
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (06:42:12/09-17-10)
I am not really sure that bandwidth is a concern. It would be hard to believe that my site would generate that much interest. Still, it is something worth considering.

PDFs seem like a better option since it alleviates the copy and paste work on the part of the user. That is skewed by my personal preferences, no doubt.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: PeterSmith on (11:57:42/09-17-10)
I am not really sure that bandwidth is a concern. It would be hard to believe that my site would generate that much interest. Still, it is something worth considering.

Keeping bandwidth in mind is something that all good developers should do, both on their end as well as the user's end.

PDFs seem like a better option since it alleviates the copy and paste work on the part of the user. That is skewed by my personal preferences, no doubt.

Depending on how you want people to use your resource it's a good option. For me I prefer to have some of the data on the page itself, mainly the things I would think people would need to do fast lookups on a regular basis.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: Krypter on (22:53:20/09-24-10)
Content is king. I've seen too many slick websites with almost nothing to read on them. You want both a cool look and some interesting articles, at least a dozen, or it will be a website people will visit once, say "Cool!" and never visit again. Plus regularly updated content, even if it's as simple as a blog post.

Keep the borders and menu medium-small, don't crowd the browser with gadgets and doodads hanging off everything. Slick can be subtle, with minimal graphic elements. Use Flash but is small amounts, not as the basis for the whole site, especially if Flash has to load more than 300kB of data. Think of how you want to structure the data in your website; there should be a simple taxonomy that any user can immediately see and interact with without having to go through complicated dropdows, scrolling menus or other nonsense. If navigation is difficult people won't bother searching for articles. Art should be in its own section, not displayed on every page; a lot of people don't care for it at all.

Do a prototype of the UI first in something like Fireworks and post a screenshot, and people can give you feedback before you invest weeks in doing the whole thing.
Title: Re: Designing a SR website
Post by: John Schmidt on (19:22:06/09-27-10)
Good suggestions.  ;D