Author Topic: Website Critiques  (Read 3094 times)

stridera

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Website Critiques
« on: August 18, 2009, 12:02:15 AM »
So, one of the 'tips' given on Writing Excuses was to have business cards that linked back to your website.  As a fantasy writer, I figured I would want a website that also has a fantasy aspect to it.  I've looked around at a few websites of good authors (Sanderson, Jordon, Pratchett, King, etc.) and I really like Sandersons fantasy aspect.  King has a nice clean design that works well for him.  I really didn't like many of the other writers since they look more business/sales focused.

Also, keep in mind that I'm a programmer, not a designer.  I can make the page do whatever I want... but when I design stuff I'm told it looks bad.

So, with that said, what do you think of my sites.  I started with http://stridera.com/index.php/test and after advice on that made some changes and came up with a more complete template http://stridera.com/test.html

Also, feel free to add other websites that look good or have good examples.

Thanks!
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ErikHolmes

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 12:21:28 AM »
I think that's a good, solid template. It's pleasing to the eye but easy to read.

Hate me if you must, but I actually prefer something simple like stepheniemeyer.com more then how Brandon has his site setup.
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stridera

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 12:46:41 AM »
Brandon's site does have one major drawback.  There's not a readily recognizable system for getting to the pages if they don't have flash.  (There is a menu, but it's semi-obscure.)  Also, if they don't have flash, as all 64bit browsers don't, it's a giant blank area on the screen.   But what I do like is that I look at it and I know that he's a fantasy writer.  I look at Stephenie Meyer's website and the only thing I know is that she's doable.  ;)  (And that I miss Moab, Utah.)
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firstRainbowRose

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 02:16:44 AM »
I like the new design a lot better (although, mine seems to be screwing up because the red circle which I assume is supposed to be the bg for the main page is showing up as this huge image at the top.)

My only suggestion would be cut down the page size.  While it does work for a lot of computers that the younger people have, most people do still use the 1024X768 size screens, and I have to scroll size-to-side a bit to see everything.

It's always smarter to go smaller, and have it so your bg can repeate on the sides.  Either that, or make it ajdustable (which is a nightmare to do.  I remember designers hated it when customers paid for that feature.)
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stridera

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009, 02:32:31 AM »
I haven't really tested the size yet, but it's supposed to fill the screen at 1024 and I officially don't support anything smaller. :)  I don't know why the big circle is showing up over the top of the rest.  Strange.

Here are some designs a friend came up with:
http://nickguth.com/random/stridera.png
http://nickguth.com/random/stridera.03.png
http://nickguth.com/random/stridera.04.png
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Eerongal

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009, 03:59:49 AM »
Oh , my best friend,I miss you every much!This forum is very good, I like, I agree with that point of view above,I support you!


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« Last Edit: August 18, 2009, 04:16:58 AM by Eerongal »
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stridera

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2009, 04:06:59 AM »
Be nice to him!  He said i was his best friend!  I never had a best friend before!  Especially one that agrees with everything I say!  *sobs*  And my best friend wants to pay for me to get new shoes, a couple bags, and a shanghai escort!  Can it get any better!

btw.. if you're going to quote a spammer, at least remove the links :P
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Eerongal

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2009, 04:17:22 AM »
Be nice to him!  He said i was his best friend!  I never had a best friend before!  Especially one that agrees with everything I say!  *sobs*  And my best friend wants to pay for me to get new shoes, a couple bags, and a shanghai escort!  Can it get any better!

btw.. if you're going to quote a spammer, at least remove the links :P

there, that better? :P
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stridera

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2009, 04:39:18 AM »
Good for removing the links, but now you're quoting some lunatic... tsktsk  ;)
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Eerongal

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2009, 12:51:43 PM »
Good for removing the links, but now you're quoting some lunatic... tsktsk  ;)

And that's different from any other time i've quoted someone....?
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ryos

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2009, 06:34:41 PM »
Hate is a strong word, but I really really really don't like Brandon Sanderson's website design. It's ugly and hard to navigate. The only thing that makes it tolerable is that, almost against all odds, the text is actually legible.

Your revised design is decent, though the large background image feels unnecessary. Of your friends' designs I like the first the best, though it's not very expandable so you'll have a hard time adding content down the road. All of them have the feel of a video game fan site, which I assume is not what you're looking for in a writer's site.

Also, there's the issue of the title. Are you sure you want to use your forum handle for your professional site (especially when your handle is based on a character from the Lord of the Rings)? Anonymity is a fine thing for casual chatrooms like this one, but for a site you plan to put on a business card, it works against you. You want people to know who you are.

I'm trying to come up with a good example design to point you to, but I'm coming up pretty dry. Authors are not known for having good web sites; in fact, they're almost uniformly awful. Dragonmount is decent, but it's not an author's site. Orson Scott Card's site used to be pretty darn good...in 1996. The basic design hasn't changed since ancient times, and it's now an abominable hodgepodge of conflicting design language and visual clutter. I'm a fan of Dan Wells' web site design; it communicates his genre through the design, and it's both clean and usable. The only downside is that it's a bit pedestrian, but I'll take that to brandonsanderson.com any day of the week.

Good on you for trying to break the mold. I hope I've been at least a bit constructive with my criticism. :)
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stridera

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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2009, 09:35:55 PM »
Ryos, thanks for the feedback.

As for stridera.com... I've had the domain since about 1998 which is why I've been keeping it.  Also, all permutations of my name are already taken for the .com  (Matthew Jones).  I don't mind putting my name on the website and might do that.  I still have a while before I need to even consider looking for an editor/publisher.

As for the site looking like a game site... I guess that's only because so many games incorporate fantasy elements.  I've just been looking at making a website that looks fantasy oriented over professional.  While being professional does have it's place, I'm still trying to figure out how I want to balance it.  We'll see I guess...
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Re: Website Critiques
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2009, 09:57:29 PM »
I actually liked the color contrast that the blue lines brought in the original design. Also, having the transmutation circle (it looks like one :P) in the background of the site only is a good idea (use an alpha channel to have it show through the header if you want). But then the image in the background looks a bit grainy from upsizing. I like the glow on the dragons, but I still don't like the wobbly font. Kingthings' Petrock or Foundation, or something similar (LABrit is probably slightly too ornate) would probably look good. I'd actually go for something a little less Gothic than these examples, as the drawings of dragons are definitely not Gothic. Neo-Gothic with a touch of minimalist, maybe.
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