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  1. #1
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    [LAYOUT] Homepage for an original web series

    Hi everyone. I would be grateful for some feedback on a potential redesign for my website (the one in my sig). About Schuyler Falls is a longrunning, award-winning drama series, one of the earliest and most critically acclaimed "webisodics" online. Our episodes are in text format (much like a serialized novel, but with the ongoing nature of a TV show such as 24, West Wing, Lost, and so on). After a long hiatus we are starting to produce episodes again, and it's time for a reboot of our design.

    Our current site is still online, and while there are things I still like about it, it's old fashioned (I created it back in 2001) and needs a kickstart. I want the new page to be dynamic and energetic -- not boxy, which is what we have now.

    If it helps, the series is about a small city, particularly its community of complex people and their even more complex lives. Our overall theme is "the darkness within ourselves," and most of the storylines are mystery/romance/psychological drama. So I was looking for an atmosphere that seems mysterious, sexy, a bit foreboding, sleek. In redoing the design I used the general idea of a movie poster, coupled with a scrapbook motif (hence the photographs).

    The tag line for the series is "fall inside..." and I want people to get the impression that there's a big, juicy dramatic fictional world that they can explore and meet some unusual characters. They can look at character profiles, family trees, town locations/maps, newspaper articles, and so on.

    Anyway, a screenshot for the layout is attached. Sorry for the size. I guess some of my questions are:

    • Is it too busy? I think it might be. I'd like the homepage to seem full of life and content, but of course I don't want it to look too crowded. I fear I may have failed in that one.
    • Does it look ... well, attractive? Does it pique your interest at all? Obviously the text is standard Lorem Ipsum junk, so maybe that's hard to judge. I want it to look really pretty, sexy and mysterious yet elegant.
    • How are the colors? I went with mostly jewel tones, but I don't want things too bright (or too murky, either).
    • Is there too little focus in the design flow? I want people to look at the current episode ad first, then news and "about the site" and so on. Ooh -- the "news" box is intended to be a scroller, by the way. This may not be clear in a static image.
    • Generally any suggestions for navigation would be terrific. At first I had the menu placed on the top right corner (on the angled picture of a waterfall) but I decided it's best to make things more obvious.
    • Finally, technically speaking, am I crazy for thinking this can be done, or is it an example of a graphic design that won't work on the web? I want this to be done in CSS with few tables. Of course, I'll probably hire a coder to make this come true. But is this too ridiculously convoluted to work as a live site?

    Whew! Sorry for the length. Those are my questions, but of course I'm not expecting anyone to answer them all! Any feedback whatsoever will be very much appreciated. Thanks very much for whatever help you can provide!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Need a break from work? Visit About Schuyler Falls.

  2. #2
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    I think there is a little too much going on, I got a little overwhelmed. I don't particularly like the font or the torn page look. The blue box looks a little out of place too. The pictures along the side are well done.

    I wouldn't recommend mini scroll boxes either... they remind me of hard to navigate flash sites.
    Technically speaking, it is a pretty involved code job, but definetly doable within CSS.

  3. #3
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    I think the poster above me mentioned some good points to think about in brief. I'll try and give you a few pointers just from my own experiences.

    For the main content area I would get rid of the torn edges boxes and have one large box (with or without torn-edges) with sub divisions for different content. What works in the navigation is the backlighted/halo effect, however it quicly dominates everything on the page with the same thing applied to several boxes.

    I would rethink the purpose behind having those polariod-style photographs poling from the sides. In some 'casual' designs these work well in isolation - when inserting real-world objects into a interface such as a web site you have to control it, and make it appear natural in the design. I have tried this very same thing and it takes some time to get right. But you're on the right track. My suggestion would be to use this idea as a feature section, rather than just as they are now.

    For the footer area I think the pervious poster is correct in that the colour doesn't seem to match very well. Plus it is too starkly contrasting with the torn edges above. I like your ideas about putting background images on each section to give it a little more life and imediate meaning - however I would consider breaking them up further into 3 separate boxes rather than one with a continuous colour.

    Also the top right feature of the page needs attention as you have inserted an image of a waterfall which does not meet the edges of the 'torn' out take.

    Overall I think you are setting a nice mood with this design, and I think you can make it even better. The header image is very appropriate and makes me interested in the page as a whole. This can certainly be done in CSS with a little thought beforehand into how to go about doing it that best meets current standards.


  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict Newviewit's Avatar
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    couple quick suggestions:

    Play around with an off white text color...the white on black is a little busy. A slight shade of gray maybe

    Near the bottom of the page looks like you ran out of things in the main content and tried to squish in the right column boxes. Maybe try moving a few of the items from the right and make a larger footer

    Lastly the whole font pallet is too similar. Try out one size larger for your headings to make it easier to skim through the page


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