Campaign Landing Page preview

Micah
Micah
edited June 2013 in General Archive
Hey all,

Been super-busy so I haven't had a chance to follow up on all the feedback, but I wanted to get out a preview of the campaign landing page.

!https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/145070/portal-campaign.jpg!

h3. Notes on Theming

* There will be an assortment of background images to choose from. We're planning on getting quite a few more than we have now. There will be a few for free campaigns, and many more for Ascendant ones.
* For now, you can't upload your own background, but we hope to get there one day. It can still be done with CSS.
* The color scheme will be (somewhat) configurable. The plan is to allow you to choose a premade color scheme, or define your own with several colors. So, in the example, you could change the yellow to red or blue. Right now, we're imagining 3 or 4 configurable colors. If you've ever played with Twitter's theme controls, you get the idea.
* If the basic theming (background and colors) still isn't enough, you can always write your own CSS.
* So, basically there are 3 levels of theming: select premade background and color scheme, premade background and custom colors, or fully customize everything with CSS. You can also choose the basics and then write a handful of custom CSS rules to override anything you don't like.

Hopefully this strikes a good balance, allowing most people to have something that looks nice with no work, while still allowing power users the ability to customize to their heart's content.

h3. Other Notes

* We're going to reorganize somewhat to better highlight the GM.
* The content area looks small, but we're trying to size it according to best practices for line length and text readability. (read "here":http://www.simonstratford.com/ideal-line-length/ and "here":http://www.simonstratford.com/ideal-line-length/ ) Any thoughts here?
* It will be a fluid/responsive layout that resizes as your viewport does. Translation: It will look good on different sized screens and size down nicely to mobile.
* The top nav bar will be there with links to your other campaigns, account settings, and most importantly: quick search for the campaign.

Comments

  • Langy
    Langy
    Posts: 364 edited June 2013
    I'm afraid this post is going to be rather negative; parts of the landing page are quite nice, and I like all of your Notes on Theming, but I don't like the basic idea behind this campaign landing page design.

    I don't really like how this has a completely and utterly different design from the campaign dashboard. I thought part of the idea of the reforging was to give everything a uniform look and feel? The dashboard is nice, simple, looks easy to use, and provides plenty of space. One of the things I really liked about the campaign dashboard was that it actually used the entire screen; this design completely wastes a large amount of screen real estate. This is not only a big drop in utility, but also looks rather ugly. The content area looks *way* too small. It looks significantly smaller than the current content area, which is *already* too small. There's no way to fit any kind of reasonable table on there, making it almost useless for a gaming-focused wiki, as games typically require significant use of tables.

    Is there any reason the basic theme of the campaign dashboard can't be ported over to the rest of the site? I'd really like to retain uniformity of style, and the campaign dashboard's basic style has higher utility than this design which in my opinion makes it the better choice.

    Also: Did you want the rest of the campaign to be in the style of this campaign landing page, or of the dashboard?

    Also2: Why not go Wikipedia's route and have line lengths be dependent upon the screen size? Artificially limiting line length doesn't seem to serve much purpose and it drastically limits utility. The only real reason to do so is to make things simpler to design a site that'll look uniform over multiple monitor setups, but I'm not sure you need to enforce that; we're a wiki site primarily, and Wikipedia has already shown that things can look just fine if they auto-fit to the size of the window.
    Post edited by Langy on
  • DreadGazebo
    DreadGazebo
    Posts: 218
    I should just jump in and say that this shot is just one of many I have already seen, things are still changing and solidifying, I'd not rush to conclusions just yet. This is a living breathing thing at this point. My personal two cents on this is that I think it's definitely a really good step in the right direction. Not sure I'm a fan of the transparency or the user icon look. It definitely looks very google-ey, which I like but I think it could stand to decrease interference from the background a bit more.

    My two cents, back to work!
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,956
    I will echo some of Langy's points, but say that the best thing about this is that this is a living, breathing thing that can be changed! I cannot tell you how awesome it is that you want our input, so most of all, Thanks!

    Less content area is bad, plain and simple. I disagree that the current is too small, but any smaller is painful, and a little more would be welcomed.
    I also agree that Wikipedia's route on having line lengths being dependent on screen size would be a huge improvement.

    I disagree that this is ugly- I think that it is a big improvement. I like the notes on theming. Love the incorporation of COTM at the top. I think this will be huge for the majority of games not wanting to dig into the coding- bringing them a better look out of the box is brilliant, and a huge improvement.

    Just trying to help out.

  • Langy
    Langy
    Posts: 364 edited June 2013
    I'd like to clarify - I didn't mean to imply that the page itself is ugly. It isn't! But I find the 'unused' space to the left/right/top/bottom of the content area to be unattractive. To be clear, this is the area above the campaign title bar, below the end of the white content section, to the right of the party/campaign stream column, and to the left of the navigation menu. I like the way the campaign background is visible behind the different elements and the general aesthetics of the design. I'd just rather the content section be larger and the design be similar in some manner to the campaign dashboard design, which I really rather liked.

    EDIT: Also, some of the things that I've tried with Edgerunners are what led me to believe the current content area is a little too small. Specifically, the "Armory":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/edgerunners/wikis/firearms section with all of its weapon tables would really rather have a hundred or so pixels of space more, so longer names and other things can fit in one line. Mind you, this could be fixed just by removing the secondary column and using that for primary content, and the majority of that secondary column really isn't needed on every wiki page anyways.
    Post edited by Langy on
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,956
    After looking at that Armory page (sweet, as always) I see the need for more space.

    Just trying to help out.

  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    Thanks for the comments. This is the kind of feedback we need. It's tough to hear, but it's important.

    To your points about the unification of the design, the main idea is that we will have 2 distinct parts of each campaign: the dashboard area and the public facing area. The dashboard will be designed to give you and your players quick access to your campaign from a more task-oriented viewpoint, while the public facing side will be more design oriented. We're trying to straddle a line where we make the site more useful to people who just want it to be a tool, while also catering to those who want a particular style.

    You make a good point about being a wiki site, and how it's different than other sites, like a blog. That does call into question the focus on optimal line length. That's more appropriate for something like a blog or a news site, which is where a lot of the web best practices discussion is focused. I'll definitely bring this up with the designer.
  • Langy
    Langy
    Posts: 364
    That 'two distinct parts' bit makes sense, Micah, and overall it's a good idea - but I think taking some of the better aspects of the Dashboard design and applying them to the public-facing side of the campaign would be a good idea. For example, the navigation menu in the Dashboard area is excellent - it's attractive, it can be shrunk if the user wishes, etc. I see no reason why that same menu can't be used on the public-facing side. It wouldn't make the campaign any uglier - just different and have more uniformity with the Dashboard design.
  • Quasimotocar
    Quasimotocar
    Posts: 12
    I've always thought of the Landing Page as kind of like the cover of the book - it provides the teaser art and text suggesting what treasures lie inside. I wouldn't want my Landing Page to look like the Dashboard, because they're used for totally different purposes. I think Langy's comments on use-of-space are spot on for the content pages (adventure log, wiki, etc.), but I like seeing that background on the Landing Page...it sets the mood before I dive into the rest of the work. If anything, my preference would be to remove some of the widgets like the Party or Campaign stream.
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,956
    The 2 parts idea is good, I agree- and there is also the rub. I have always tried to keep the "behind the scenes" exactly that- no dead links, all clean, etc- heck- I have 2 test campaigns. I actually am more in Quasimotocar's camp- make the landing as pretty as possible, without sacrificing content area. Leave the Dashboard stuff for the private view- and thanks again for letting us be a part.
    I especially agree with the focus being a wiki/web site, and less of a blog!

    Just trying to help out.

  • d20philia
    d20philia
    Posts: 1
    My knee-jerk reactions are: (1) Responsive layout is very much to be desired. Almost indispensable these days. (2) I’d love to see a mockup with just one sidebar column instead of two, perhaps melding the two into one. Having the navigation menu (and nothing else) in the left-hand column results in a lot of empty, wasted space.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    To free up more space for the main content area, we're going to experiment with collapsing the left nav down to a single column of icons. However, I'm worried that this would be confusing for a lot of people, so it will be a per-campaign setting. If you want a larger content area, you collapse the menu. If not, you leave it open. To be clear: We're just experimenting here. The final solution may be different. However, this is in direct response to the feedback here, so we are listening!

    Note: In general I hate these kinds of configuration settings. It's easy for them to get out of hand and you have 100s of settings that 99% of people never use and the codebase is horribly complicated. So, when someone asks, "Can you make XYZ configurable?" the default answer is, "No" But, I agree that having more space would be nice so I'm willing to bend a little.

    I'm not ready to get rid of the nav altogether, or move it to a horizontal layout, because on the left it will actually follow you as you scroll. We are also planning on putting in some helpful links on the left, like "edit this page" or "create a new adv. log post" so those controls are always close at hand. Like the rest of the menu, they will follow as you scroll.

    The design will be responsive, meaning as you resize the screen, the content will reflow and resize appropriately. That may make some complicated tabular layouts very difficult.

    Keep the ideas coming.
  • Andrew_Hart
    Andrew_Hart
    Posts: 22
    I really like the layout, I will echo other comments with regards to the amount of space given to the content- a little more would be better.

    I also quite like the use of transparencies. I do wonder if they would look a little better if they where slightly more 'solid' i.e. increased opacity.

    Looking good though.

    Cheers
    Andy
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,956
    Micah, I think that is a good idea, but am a little confused. So, we, the GM, have control on weather the menu is collapsed for all visitors?

    Just trying to help out.

  • MarkGiguere
    MarkGiguere
    Posts: 53
    Where is the link to the landing page?
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    @killervp - Yes, the GM would have the ability to expand or close the menu for everyone. Basically, you (the GM) makes the choice for the overall display of your campaign. We're also experimenting with some other ideas to open up more space. We may get rid of the left nav menu entirely, if we can figure out another place to put the navigation.

    @MarkGiguere - Assuming you mean the dashboard, that's a good point. You can always get back to the dashboard using the top nav (not shown), but it might be nice to have a link here somewhere.
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,956
    @Micah- Thanks! Awesome news.

    Just trying to help out.

  • kenurion
    kenurion
    Posts: 80
    I think just the icons are ok on the left hand side nav bar. I think they are intuitive enough for people to figure out pretty quickly. Also, the URL will show up when you scroll-over them like with all links, so the "text" is there. As an alternative, you could make the text run vertically so the nav bar is tall and skinny.
  • xb95
    xb95
    Posts: 6
    I like the landing page preview.

    In my mind, this is the landing page -- summary. You get a synopsis of the current state, the players, recent updates, and then have options to navigate deeper. I think a three-column layout seems fine on this page, and will help encourage people to actually summarize and make a landing page that is worth landing on.

    If I want to go read the Adventure Log, then I can click the icon and go to a page that is two-column with more room for actually seeing updates.

    I wouldn't suggest collapsing the icons entirely, but I could see them being icons with less text. Instead of "Adventure Log", you could see "Log" or "Diary" or something. That gives back a bit of space without giving up the usability of seeing exactly what it is you're about to click on. (And I wouldn't recommend doing any sort of mouseover thing; those aren't very accessible, particularly to screen reader users.)
  • Talonious
    Talonious
    Posts: 6 edited June 2013
    Could you not have a collapsing side menu? So it has icons and text, but you click a button and it shrinks down to just the icons. That way people can shrink it once they are comfortable with where everything is. I do a lot of WordPress Site builds and that is a feature for its dashboard. I guess the more I think about it I would probably want that more in the dashboard menus than a landing page.
    Post edited by Talonious on
  • Maesenko
    Maesenko
    Posts: 325
    Are we doing away with [links to] campaign forum, calendar, comments from the left navbar? If so, I have no idea how to get to them.

    What about a Windows-like sliding height/width option (possibly with text-wrapping) to allow for individually customized displays? Just throwing it out there.

    Oh, and +1 to Andy about the possibility of opacity adjustment.

    ~Mae

    CotM Selection Committee

  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    We're still deciding on how to handle the forum and calendar. They're more "private" than the other content, and I'm considering making them private-only, regardless of the visibility of the campaign as a whole.

    As to comments, I'm considering phasing them out altogether. They don't serve much purpose and I think it would be better to provide a way to easily communicate (privately) with the GM. Especially since the forum has come along and replaced any intra-group communication that the comments provide.

    We're still playing with a few ideas on how to free up more space in the middle. Shrinking to a single left column of icons is one idea, as is removing the left column altogether, perhaps moving to a top nav.

    Finally, as to opacity, it will always be modifiable via custom CSS. That's definitely sticking around.
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,956
    Definitely fine with making the forum and calendar private-only : very rarely have there been campaigns that I wanted to read the forums, and calendars are currently private only and I like that.

    Torn on the comments- There are over 100 on mine, but could people pm'd or said something in the forum? Definitely. I actually like the idea- that may not go over well with the community....

    Love the idea of moving to top nav!

    We all cannot wait! Any chance of showing the page with some of your proposed changes?

    Just trying to help out.

  • Llowellen
    Llowellen
    Posts: 15
    If a DM has more than one group/party in the same game world, it would be nice to be able to represent that on the campaign landing page. Which looks frickin' awesome otherwise!
  • Langy
    Langy
    Posts: 364
    What about integrating the Comments section with the forum? Make it so each campaign forum has a 'Comments' section in it that is public (with the rest private). Individual wiki/character pages could have a tab that would display up a specific thread in that Comments section dedicated to that wiki page (or allow the creation of one if it hasn't been made yet).
  • weasel0
    weasel0
    Posts: 433
    I'd like there to be a setting for it. I like having it be open as I'm using it as my game "table" and if I want to share with others what's going on...there it is. (as the campaign moves much to slow for "normal" log updates)
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