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Thread: RWIntNovels

  1. #1
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    RWIntNovels

    RW Interactive Novels (RWIN) is a community and collaboration site for readers and writers of next generation pieces using the full technology of the web.

    Our focus is on introducing relatively new forms of media that takes reader participation to the next level and promotes open/social story authoring.

    Please review us based on everything you can think of, usability, colors, layout, whatnot.

  2. #2
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    Hi general,

    First thing what I think when I enter your site: "It took a bit long to load (12s)" and "Where do I begin?".
    After this I find the switching news a nice touch.

    I do find a lot of things that I'd consider changing:
    • Top menu: when I mouseover the menu, the dropdown menu dissapears immediately when I hover over another link with a dropdown menu. But, when I hover over 'contact', a dropped down menu stays dropped down. It should dissapear immediately.
    • It isn't clear to me what the site is for my. At least not very fast: I really need to examine the page, read some stuff and then I find the 'our focus is' in the lower left: aaaaah. This is a bit to late for me - I would have left.
    • There is no logo.
    • I don't like the text growing bold and big on the links with the green bullet before it. It moves the whole page. I would go for a different mouse over effect.
    • The mouseover switch effect on the news seems to work over the whole horizontal line of the page. I can't avoid switching when I want to move my mouse to the top of the page. I would only use the space that the textlinks use to activate the switching.
    • Designwise, I'd like to see some more contrast of the different areas on the page. I find it very hard to see them now with sunlight in my room.
    • Some more questions that pop up when I browse: "What steps do I take to make use of this page?", "What can I do with an account, besides removing ads?", "Why is access denied to page behind the 'add...' buttons with the green bullets ?", "There are so many links, but what do they do exactly? What is their purpose?". To make it short: the page leaves me quite clueless, I'm sorry.
    • Reading the news in 'the site is OPEN', I almost dare not to critique the code But here it comes:
      • The doctype says it's XHTML strict, but the code isn't. To write XHTML you need to close every tag, write superclean HTML ect. If you are not doing that, pick another doctype.
      • There is an enormous list of javascript that is included at the top of the page. SEO-wise, this won't help you getting ranked well in searchengines.
      • I'm guessing you use a program to generate the code. So I don't know if feedback on code is going to be much of a use.

    I find your site's idea very nice. Also I think it needs a lot of work to make it accessable. Good luck!

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    to show yourself professional you need a professional layout.

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    Thank you very much Jawabba, your comments are very helpful and thorough.

    It took a bit long to load (12s)
    I'm not sure what I can do about that. There is a bit of a speed issue because of the size of the site, though on digitalpoint the report was that the site was fast. For me it's pretty fast because the site is heavily cached. I guess for first time users this could be a big problem. Are you able to tell if the issue is database loading or js loading or something?

    Top menu: when I mouseover the menu, the dropdown menu dissapears immediately when I hover over another link with a dropdown menu. But, when I hover over 'contact', a dropped down menu stays dropped down. It should dissapear immediately.
    Fixed immediately, this is something I never would've thought of, thank you.

    It isn't clear to me what the site is for my. At least not very fast: I really need to examine the page, read some stuff and then I find the 'our focus is' in the lower left: aaaaah. This is a bit to late for me - I would have left.
    I guess this is the summary of the main issue with the site. I'll guess I'll have to give the layout a rethink.

    There is no logo.
    We'll try to come up with one as fast as we can.

    I don't like the text growing bold and big on the links with the green bullet before it. It moves the whole page. I would go for a different mouse over effect.
    Found a different one.

    The mouseover switch effect on the news seems to work over the whole horizontal line of the page. I can't avoid switching when I want to move my mouse to the top of the page. I would only use the space that the textlinks use to activate the switching.
    This isn't something that can be easily resolved, and I might have to dump this effect entirely, cool as it is. I guess the thing to do on the front page would be to move the about site to the top and the news to the bottom, which would render the whole effect unneccessary.

    Designwise, I'd like to see some more contrast of the different areas on the page. I find it very hard to see them now with sunlight in my room.
    Can you explain to me why that would be neccessary? A lot of designs use low contrast.

    Some more questions that pop up when I browse: "What steps do I take to make use of this page?", "What can I do with an account, besides removing ads?", "Why is access denied to page behind the 'add...' buttons with the green bullets ?", "There are so many links, but what do they do exactly? What is their purpose?". To make it short: the page leaves me quite clueless, I'm sorry.
    Thanks a lot. Taken a few steps to address this. Guests now cannot see the add buttons, and is replaced with a notice to register in order to participate.

    Can you please be more specific about which links you are confused on. The menu links are an index/sitemap kind of thing. The links at the bottom go to stories, the ones on the right side show the latest updates. There are a lot of links, which ones are confusing?

    There is an enormous list of javascript that is included at the top of the page. SEO-wise, this won't help you getting ranked well in searchengines.
    Yes, that's the dropdown menu on the top. The JS is not SEO friendly, which is why I made sure to include... a lot of links on the page itself.

    And there's not much I can do about the code, what would be the advantage of changing the doctype?

    Thanks again for your comments, I can't wait for more.

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    Thanks again for your comments, I can't wait for more.
    Well, here they are

    I'm always glad to see that critique is made good use of.

    Can you please be more specific about which links you are confused on. The menu links are an index/sitemap kind of thing. The links at the bottom go to stories, the ones on the right side show the latest updates. There are a lot of links, which ones are confusing?

    I guess this is the summary of the main issue with the site. I'll guess I'll have to give the layout a rethink.
    The layout is indeed a problem as I see it. Maybe the following things will help you to improve it:
    • Your design wanders away from the standard layout of a webpage: title on top, menu horizontal or left, content, footer. In your design the title in under the news, there is a dropdown menu on top, but this seems more a handy tool for people who have an account. You can also not show this for unregistered people.
    • There is no clear structure in the content placement.
      • The top part shows news, but also some other stuff I'm not sure when I first see it (official blog? - Official of what? Highlighted thread? - Is this a forum?). I'd suggest naming it different: e.g. featured work instead of highlighted thread.
      • Underneath it is the name of the page. I wouldn't be sure that was the title, could also be a banner or something. I think it's better to comply with web standards as lots of people can't find or properly attribute the name of the site now.
      • Then the 'menu - tag - seach' field. There is no header, so I don't know what it suppost to do. What is 'chat'? What can I find in 'review'? Can I review them or can I see reviews or pieces that are up for review?
        How important is this part of the page? From it's position it looks pretty important (underneath the news and title), but from it's content it looks more like a handy tool that you can do without. A header would probably clear some confusing up for me to tell what it is for. Also I think it can be much smaller and in a not so prominent place.
      • Then comes a very important part of the site: explaining what the site is for. THe only problem is: it's almost at the bottom of the page. Underneath that is also an important part in the red box. Explaining what kind of stories are possible on your site.
      • and then some blocks that seem randomly placed on the bottom part of the page: users (I would call it Latest user activity), latest (I would call it something like latest comments), something unnamed which are the topics posted at the blog I guess (after clicking in the latest block, which shows the same titles), stories ('read stories' for another name?), login block (seems a bit low on the page, you have to scroll down, before you can log in), and ads.
        It's unordered mess.
    • I would look close at every item and see how important they are for new users and how important for registered users. Then dicide how much room every items should take, looking at the importance of the item. They you could correctly label each section so you don't have to figure it out. Then you place every item at a logical order as in most webdesigns (e.g. header, menu, content, footer). Then you should group things that are alike and make sure you don't group things unlike eachother. I think that will get the page a long way


    For the speed problem: Web Page Speed Report --> and the winner is .... javascript!
    I suggest looking for a better dropdown menu. Think about full css dropdown menu's while you're at it.

    Can you explain to me why that would be neccessary? A lot of designs use low contrast.
    I was watching your site with sunlight in my room and then I could hardly see the difference between lighter and darker parts. If you don't mind people not being able to see your site clearly in a sunny surrounding, then it doesn't really matter. Without the sun I can see the different colortones fine. So it's up to you if you want to make it some more accessible. I think it isn't top priority.
    And there's not much I can do about the code, what would be the advantage of changing the doctype?
    Honestly, I'm not sure. I do know that XHTML is very tight and it triggers the browser to use a certain parser. Your code is certainly not XHTML, because of too much unclosed tags and such. So changing it to HTML 4.01 trans or strict would probably give less errors and maybe better compliance by the browser. But I'm not sure.

    Good luck with it

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    The very first word that came to my mind when visiting the site (on a relative scale): confusing. Too much stuff taking up too much space; this is partly due to what seems to be an inefficient layout leading to an inefficient use of space (i.e. unproportional levels of white...well dark...space on opposite sides of the page).

    You should really think of a way to categorize all the content better, for some one who isn't very familiar with what your site is about...it will just be a frustrating experience trying to find what they are looking for.

    It's not necessarily that you have too much stuff on one page, but that's how its being presented. It would perhaps help to make your main menu (which ever one that is) in larger text so it stands out and serves as a focus on the page.

    Hope that helps.

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    It loaded quick for me, a second or two, but my browser did flash a lot of loading this and that file during that time. An all text page has to load faster then that, even if there are bunch of scripts.

    That brings me to the lack of images. I know its a writing site but get a logo or banner or something. It adds pizazz!

    The layout is too horizontal. The lines should not go beyond the text area. Make all the content boxes in each group the same vertical height.

    Where is your focus? Make a larger center section, somewhere.

    The login should be at the top right corner, it always is on other sites so that's where people look.

    Your header has too much blank space. Think "above the fold" which means what do people see before they scroll down the page. It's the most valuab;e real estate.

    good luck!
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    Site is down, nothing to review.


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