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Vote on potential changes to the main Dark Mod site.


Subjective Effect
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Vote on the suggestions  

24 members have voted

  1. 1. Suggestions you like

    • Having a centred and responsive site
    • Having the News page as the main page
    • Having the About info in a panel on all the main pages
    • Combining the Download sections
    • Having a mobile version of the site
    • Having Tapatalk enabled


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So the main site layout is a few years old now and it hasn't really kept up with modern tech, and has some repeated info/inefficient info placement. It looks good on small screens, great on iPads and 7" Android tablets, and the forum has a nice mobile version.

 

The style is great. I'm not suggesting any changes to it.

 

But there are things I perceive as wrong with it, in terms of layout and function.

  • The site is not responsive - it isn't centred so on a larger screen there is a lot of black space on the right side of the screen. Even on an 11"Mac Air one third of the screen is just black space. It should be centred and responsive to the device that is viewing it.
  • The News should be the front page - sites should stay fresh and have their most recent content up front.
  • The About page has very little unique info on it - this can be moved to a panel on the News and Team pages (which should be a standard template).
  • There should be one Downloads page - the Mod DL page already links to the FM DL page. And the Mod DL page is multi-layered; you go to another page to get the DL instructions/install instructions. This is should all be made more transparent by having all the DL info on one page, just in separate panels. With larger screens/resolutions (which are the norm now) this can be side by side, on smaller devices a responsive site will put the FM section below the Mod section and the page can have a responsive menu and "Go to" buttons that only appear when on a smaller screen.

I've made mock-ups so you can see examples of what it might look like.

 

New layout (for News, Team and Media pages) which is a template: http://imgur.com/Z4WyNAt NB: There won't be an About section - that text can go in the Latest Missions panel that is probably unnecessary.

 

Download page - larger screen: http://imgur.com/7xgcs7S

 

Download page - for smaller screens: http://imgur.com/QrtoNiu

  • There should be a mobile version - looking at the site on a mobile looks fine. But its hard to read because the text is too small. The mobile version doesn't need links to downloads because you're not going to be downloading on a mobile or tablet so it could just be News, Team and Media pages and a link to the Forum.

  • Mobile forum - the mobile version is nice. But it doesn't let you go to the last post in a thread and for long threads this makes it all but unusable. I think we should enable the site for Tapatalk (http://tapatalk.com), the most popular forum app. It's a simple script that lets people use Tapatalk on mobile to access the forum. It doesn't affect the forum in any other way apart from an initial pop-up when you first go to the forum on you mobile, asking you if you want to get Tapatalk.

That's it. Please vote on the things you like the sound of and if anyone has any other ideas I'd love to hear them.

Edited by Subjective Effect

I want your brain... to make his heart... beat faster.

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Hey. All the suggestions seem fine save for the "combining downloads". Also, I don't use Tapatalk so I don't have a preference there.

 

The new design looks fine.

 

I'm not keen on the "combining downloads" though. The menu bar "Downloads" with "Mod and Missions" underneath it doesn't look clean or right in my opinion.

 

Also, as a user, if you want to go to the site to get a mission/look for a mission, you should be able to go to the site and click Missions and browse.

 

No need for all the other extraneous download information about the standalone/updater/SVN/etc. The page with both looks cluttered IMO.

 

Would keep the "Missions" selection in the menu and have it and the 'other' downloads have their own separate pages as they currently do.

 

Also, if Missions page have downloads and the Game files page has downloads and they need separated, why name the page with the game files only, "Downloads" as that is an encompassing name. Why not just call it "Standalone" or "Game" or something that refers to the core files of the game. I'm not a fan of using the menu header, "Standalone" because many people don't know what that is.

 

I also don't agree with the menu order. Should be:

 

News Game Missions Forums Media Team

 

The About info could also be placed in a footer section on every page with a link to an actual About page. Or not. The "Team" page is really the About page, isn't it? I mean why not combine the Team and About pages because really that's about the game, what it is and the team involved. So lose the "Team" page and put it on the "About" page OR lose the "About" page and put it on the "Team" page. Personally I like the Team menu header so I would put the About info on the Team page.

 

My 2 cents.

Edited by Lux
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I'm not keen on the "combining downloads" though. The menu bar "Downloads" with "Mod and Missions" underneath it doesn't look clean or right in my opinion.

 

I think they still need to be combined somehow. If there's a downloads section, which is the first place people wanting the mod or missions will go, they'll assume anything else like "missions" is just details and screenshots rather than d/l links. You either need a downloads section and no redundant pages or no downloads and all the pages with their own links instead. The former is tidier, imo.

 

Also "centred and responsive" just sounds more like "make the website good and stuff". I think the poll could have been written a bit better with options to say no to some things. Then again, that's what posts are for.

Edited by Airship Ballet
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I agree with making the table centered. Although the background image should also stay centered as well, so it's not so far to the left. A centered table inside of a centered table can fix that.

 

The download section does need some love, but I really think it's wise to have it compartmentalized like it is in your image. I do notice tho you can get what you're after without several clicks, which from a design perspective is bad. I will say, anywhere with "Download the Mod" I'd change that to "Download The Dark Mod" so it stands out to the viewer more. Someone stupid may think it's a mod for the mod. People are stupid, they have to be spoon fed.

 

I don't see any about page. Only thing I see is the main text on the main page "Stealth gaming in a gothic / steampunk world" which I think should stay put and it's very good to have right up front, top and center for people to read as soon as they get to the page. I agree with nixing the news section and moving that to the main page, or calling it the news section and putting it on the main page as you've made the design.

 

I think a mobile version and adding tapatalk will both help with increasing the site views + forum community because many more people use their phones as their primary internet device now than ever.

 

Also, the arial font looks terrible, make sure you use the images that are already existing. That font is way better, and also classic to the Thief look.

 

So I think all are good ideas, but the implementation is key.

 

This is a good discussion. Hope more people can offer suggestive solutions.

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I think they still need to be combined somehow. If there's a downloads section, which is the first place people wanting the mod or missions will go, they'll assume anything else like "missions" is just details and screenshots rather than d/l links. You either need a downloads section and no redundant pages or no downloads and all the pages with their own links instead. The former is tidier, imo.

 

I'll agree that the former is tidier however I do not like the boxy dual column layout of the "Mod Download(s? is there only 1 file here?)" | Mission Downloads.

 

Removing the table borders would be a start but maybe just having 2 large picture/buttons with 2 links that go to the respective pages. The Dark Mod Core Files and Missions for The Dark Mod. That adds a click which isn't great but its more organized. Core files on one side, Missions on the other doesn't feel right. Missions are community made, Core files are TDM Team made.

 

Its confusing and cluttered IMO and not "tidy".

Edited by Lux
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I don't think we should be using html tables at all though, if we can avoid it. The site is built on Wordpress and we should just use that.

 

I do notice tho you can get what you're after without several clicks, which from a design perspective is bad.

 

I don't understand this statement. Please can you clarify it?

I want your brain... to make his heart... beat faster.

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Um, your "poll" doesn't give you any information because it's designed to exclude alternative responses. How many have chosen that centering doesn't matter? How many have responded that replacing the page with news is bad? All you've done is posted a list of bullet points you subjectively like and offered folks a way to +1 them.

 

Remember the 90-9-1 rule of internet usage/community contributions too, 90% of people aren't going to bother writing their disagreement, and the people satisfied won't bother responding at all. This gauges nothing about interest in change.

 

I vehemently disagree with making "news" the main site. That was very trendy back in the 2000s when people were turning blogs into websites, but when users get to a site and can't figure out what the site is about, because it's just a list of news that assume foreknowledge, it's useless.

 

The most important piece of info most should gain from the main page is what "The Dark Mod" is. News is just ego stroking, so should be secondary (scroll down to it, off to the side, etc.) We can't lose the Wiki documentation link, as that's the first stop for people to learn how to play, resolve technical issues, discover they can make missions, learn about setting, etc.

 

  • There should be a mobile version - looking at the site on a mobile looks fine. But its hard to read because the text is too small. The mobile version doesn't need links to downloads because you're not going to be downloading on a mobile or tablet so it could just be News, Team and Media pages and a link to the Forum.

Um, increase the size of your text then? All browsers, and especially mobile browsers, the user sets the text size. That's not a site thing, that's a user thing. I have no problem with the size on my flip phone's 1.5" x 2" screen. Site's should never dictate such things, that's a rule going back decades, and the design basis, "trust in your browser".

 

Why wouldn't people download on mobile or tablet? Then they can just copy it to their system to play when they get home. Or just connect their keyboard to play directly. Or if they use a browser that identifies as mobile on their desktop/laptop, download it at all. You also have to design a site to function for the next few years, and a couple years ago we started seeing the convergence of mobile devices and the reduction in standalone computers, so I wouldn't cripple things for "tomorrow's" systems.

 

Or worse, people might check out the site and figure it's not even publicly available yet. That suggestion is just asking for social media posts, "LOL, heard about something called the Dark Mod but it must be terribad 'cause they can't even figure out how to let people download it".

 

The main page should provide "what it is, why do I want it", IE, "about", as Deadlove said. You can't look at the site as a user, you have to judge it as someone ignorant, not even a gamer/computer savvy user.

 

A download link to the game (not "mod") could be on the main page, to reduce people having to dig through the site to get it (the marketing ploy to burying links and having customers jump through hoops to obtain something doesn't apply here).

 

Secondary to the main download link should be access to a download page providing source, Dark Radiant editor, etc.

 

The "how to play" and resources for resolving issues needs to be up front and center too (Wiki/support).

 

Be careful of jargon. Users don't know/understand what "mod", "standalone", etc. signifies, nor should they care. They want a reason to download/play, an ability to download/play, and an ability to interact for further info if they need/choose. (Even "wiki" is borderline.)

 

Team info, news and the like are critical to media contacts, but don't need to be primary focus. The dynamic aspects of those may be useful on the main page for SEO purposes, unless the info is old enough to make the game/site look dated.

 

Oh, and I'm not a fan of pop-ups, or what they say about a site. If this one had kicked off my pop-up blocker, especially asking me to buy Tapatalk just to read the forums...yeah, no.

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"The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out."

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I think it's a valid point about removing the "don't like" part of the poll. There's no way to know now whether 6 people like something and the rest don't care, or if 6 people like the change and 18 want to keep it the way it is.

 

A "don't care" option could be added to the bottom of each list if you have to vote for something.

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Having the main page centered would be nice.

But NO to combine Download and Missions.

Both are different things, and combining them would not gain much except for cluttering the screen, imho.

(Especially with the many ifs-and-buts concerning OS : Windows/Linux,Mac?)

 

Personally I would rearrange the menues in a more logical way, though:

 

- Main (adding 2 ot 3 nice screenies showing the architecture, AI in action, and a DOWLOAD button that leads me to the right page)

- News

- Media (screenies tell more then words as far as new Players are concerned)

- Team

- Download (First, you need to download the MOD...)

- Missions (...then you can take care of the missions)

- Forum

 

 

A few other suggestions, mainly for the Missions panel:

please change the default sorting to 'by Update timestamp'.

The current sorting by title does not help me at all figuring out if anything new was released.

 

Adding a 'minimum TDM version' for the missions might be good as well. (At least Mac players would be happy about that, I guess)

Edited by gnartsch
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I don't think we should be using html tables at all though, if we can avoid it. The site is built on Wordpress and we should just use that.

 

 

 

I don't understand this statement. Please can you clarify it?

 

I meant to say "I do notice tho you can't get what you're after without several clicks, which from a design perspective is bad."

 

As in saying that it should take the least number of clicks possible to get the download for the game. For instance, the download to the game should probably have a link from the main/news page, so it's right in front of someone's face and they're downloading it before they even know if they really want to. More of a chance they will download and play with it right there, with least number of clicks possible.

 

That clarify? Sorry for the first mistake on my typing.

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2 large picture/buttons with 2 links that go to the respective pages. The Dark Mod Core Files and Missions for The Dark Mod

 

That works fine. My reason to combine the downloads would be to tidy up the main hot-bar as opposed to having all downloads display on one page.

Edited by Airship Ballet
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I think it's a valid point about removing the "don't like" part of the poll. There's no way to know now whether 6 people like something and the rest don't care, or if 6 people like the change and 18 want to keep it the way it is.

 

A "don't care" option could be added to the bottom of each list if you have to vote for something.

I can only add 6 questions and if I kept the Don't like bit you HAVE to vote that don't like at least one.

 

I didn't really understand how the poll system worked tbh.

I want your brain... to make his heart... beat faster.

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I vehemently disagree with making "news" the main site. That was very trendy back in the 2000s when people were turning blogs into websites, but when users get to a site and can't figure out what the site is about, because it's just a list of news that assume foreknowledge, it's useless.

 

The info from the Main page - what "The Dark Mod" is would be on the News, Team and Media pages.

 

Um, increase the size of your text then? All browsers, and especially mobile browsers, the user sets the text size. That's not a site thing, that's a user thing. I have no problem with the size on my flip phone's 1.5" x 2" screen. Site's should never dictate such things, that's a rule going back decades, and the design basis, "trust in your browser".

 

You haven't seen the page on smartphone have you? It's not user friendly and just increasing the text size doesn't help. I'm sorry, but your flip phone is out of date. Look at in on a modern Android or iPhone.

 

Why wouldn't people download on mobile or tablet? Then they can just copy it to their system to play when they get home. Or just connect their keyboard to play directly. Or if they use a browser that identifies as mobile on their desktop/laptop, download it at all. You also have to design a site to function for the next few years, and a couple years ago we started seeing the convergence of mobile devices and the reduction in standalone computers, so I wouldn't cripple things for "tomorrow's" systems.

 

???

 

Are you seriously suggesting that people will download TDM on a mobile or tablet and then transfer it to their PC? When they get home? Are you suggesting that people will DL on their mobile data plans?

 

I find this highly unlikely.

 

Oh, and I'm not a fan of pop-ups, or what they say about a site. If this one had kicked off my pop-up blocker, especially asking me to buy Tapatalk just to read the forums...yeah, no.

 

Tapatalk is free. You don't have to use it - you can access the mobile version of the forums fine without it.

I want your brain... to make his heart... beat faster.

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There are a lot of good ideas presented here.

 

Something we're doing in our business website redesign currently is making our About Us page our landing page. It states our goals, mission statement, talks about our company and lets people know who we are.

 

The other thing we're doing specifically for SEO is having an identicle site summary footer at the bottom of every page. It is comprised of 3 columns in 8pt text size, what we do, who we are, and how to contact us.

 

For a game site like this, we could do something similar:

 

(column 1)

The Dark Mod

quicklink to download the game

link to installation

link to game settings

link to info about playing the game

link to SVN/DR page

 

(column 2)

Team

Paragraph about us

mentioning key things

and words

 

(column 3)

Community

Couple lines about the TDM community

link to Missions

link to forums

link to support forum

 

 

This is just a possible suggestion that would help increase search engine hits and add some quick links so people don't have to dig.

Edited by Lux
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What ever you do don't put one of those surveys on the front page that pops up after 5 seconds asking what you think of the site, for new visitors, it drives people away. I've had a few of them recently when going to sites I've never been too, and probably never will again. You can't fill in a survey when you've not looked around the site.

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I agree there are some great ideas in these replies.

 

I am confused about this now...

 

It's not user friendly and just increasing the text size doesn't help.

 

Um...

There should be a mobile version - looking at the site on a mobile looks fine. But its hard to read because the text is too small.

 

I'm not sure what conclusion you'd like us to draw here now...? It's fine on mobile, but the text is too small, yet increasing the size doesn't help?

 

Are you seriously suggesting that people will download TDM on a mobile or tablet and then transfer it to their PC? When they get home? Are you suggesting that people will DL on their mobile data plans?

 

Yes, of course. This isn't the 2000s anymore. Mobile devices connect via wireless nowadays, the same way desktops and laptops do. You have to pay extra to get a mobile plan/capability for a tablet or camera (both for the device and monthly). There are also wireless hubs that connect via mobile data plans to ease tethering multiple PCs/laptops. You also don't need a special cable to hook up your device to the computer anymore, as USB was made standard, or stick the SD card in, or sync it via cloud storage.

 

Yes again, why not? They have in the past, presumably will continue to. I used a mobile plan as my exclusive broadband connection from around 2002-2004, tethered to a laptop for TV, even used Second Life back then, which is a streaming bandwidth hog, it's no different than using a wired broadband line, other than latency. For most people nowadays, a mobile device is their primary computing device--and they often have no idea if it's using the wireless or mobile connection, they just do what they want to do right then and there.

 

I've also known of people who have caps on their old wired ISP, so do big data things on their mobile data plan to avoid caps.

 

Tapatalk is free. You don't have to use it - you can access the mobile version of the forums fine without it.

 

How is $2.99, free?

  • It doesn't affect the forum in any other way apart from an initial pop-up when you first go to the forum on you mobile, asking you if you want to get Tapatalk.

 

Our definitions of "fine" might differ? :-) (Yes, I realize there's an ad-supported version, but in a previous thread you claimed it didn't have ads, despite the company saying it does, presupposing the paid version--both versions having user tracking, an additional cost. Although I don't know if they track all forum users, or just their users.)

"The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out."

- Baron Thomas Babington Macauley

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The site as it is isn't made for mobile, so the text looks small. If you zoom in to get bigger text you have to pan to read everything and the menu is too big to fit on screen.

 

Simply increasing text size is not a solution to the usability issues with mobile viewing of this site, or many other sites. This is exactly why there are mobile or responsive versions of websites.

 

When I say it looks fine I mean the layout and colours are fine. Have you personally viewed this site on a smartphone?

 

I realise a mobile version isn't an absolute necessity but I'm trying to make the site more user friendly. You get by with a flip phone. I don't think you're my target audience.

 

 

Fine, leave the downloads available for mobile. I think it'll be rarely used though.

 

Tapatalk is free. Tapatalk Pro isn't. If you don't want to use it - don't use it. Enabling the forum for it only means that those that have and want to use Tapatalk can do so. How can that be a bad thing? I don't get the resistance here.

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Any changes to the forum would have to go through modetwo, so we should probably just keep this focused on the website for now.

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I voted only for mobile version, although they're all worth talking about. IMO a news feed on the landing page is fine if it's worth looking at... but what kind of stuff would be on it most months besides FM releases?

 

I agree with the general principle that sites should be browser-agnostic, but a mobile version is always good. Browsers right now don't do that great a job without a bit of help. I reckon most people do at least half their browsing via phone and sites fall into two categories: those nice modern ones with a mobile interface and those slightly shabby ones without one.

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  • Mobile forum - the mobile version is nice. But it doesn't let you go to the last post in a thread and for long threads this makes it all but unusable. I think we should enable the site for Tapatalk (http://tapatalk.com), the most popular forum app. It's a simple script that lets people use Tapatalk on mobile to access the forum. It doesn't affect the forum in any other way apart from an initial pop-up when you first go to the forum on you mobile, asking you if you want to get Tapatalk.

 

I only have one issue with the mobile version of the forum in that you cant go the last post in private threads.

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