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  #1  
Old 03-18-2011, 12:19 PM
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Shadow Shadow is offline
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Default Website update

Ok, so I'm planning on reworking the website a little bit. For the most part I like how it works from a functional standpoint, so I'm not likely to change much in that regard. What I want to focus on is making it look nicer and more professional. Since you guys are my audience, I would like you input. What do you think would make it look better?

Here's a screenshot of what it looked like when I wrote this just in case I have changed anything already.
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Last edited by Shadow : 03-19-2011 at 07:02 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-18-2011, 01:26 PM
ebarstad ebarstad is offline
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I would say go with large, stylistic concept art in the background. In the foreground, keep a dark colour scheme (not black) -- maybe use a leather texture on which to place the text.

Stay away from Flash -- too many game sites use Flash, which doesn't work on mobile devices (I like to view your site on my iPad).

After looking around a bit, it looks like I just described the Diablo III site. D'oh! But you get the idea.
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:57 PM
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This one looks pretty slick:
http://www.thesecretworld.com/

But definitely keep the functionality of the current site. I hate it when websites get all big and crazy and you sit there waiting for something to load.
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:01 PM
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Ok, some of the first changes are done. These were mostly just minor changes, but what do you all think so far? If you are still seeing gold lines, hit the reload/refresh button in your browser.
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  #5  
Old 03-20-2011, 01:08 AM
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It stands out much more than before
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:40 PM
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The buttons look much better. The rest of the golden rimmed buttons should go too.

I suggest putting your best graphics on the first page. The image of the human and lumen doesn't feel strong enough, especially because people who don't know the lumen might think it's some weird japanese kabuki character. Honestly I initially thought the lumen were just low quality art.

An image of some of the fearsome looking characters from DC or DoP would be really good -- something fiery and demonic looking. Even better if it's blasting a hapless hero.

Each game's page should have some graphics (not much) available right away, so it doesn't look anonymous. The graphics should be enough to distinguish between the games -- I don't think the logos (as cool as they are) are enough. Also, the most impressive logo is (IMO) kivi, and that's not the game you want to push people towards first. Maybe you should add ("a casual hack n' slash" to the bottom of the logo. This is a general problem with the logos as they are right now. DC is too small and narrow.

I really think, as I said before, that excerpts from reviews should be in large print as the first thing on the page. "Get this game. Get it now. Get it. Just get it." - Rock Paper Scissors (or whatever the exact quote is) should be the first thing you see, with a link to the review. Then the description should follow, with the embedded video off to the side.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:40 PM
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Maledictus Maledictus is offline
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Being a developer and web-site/shop maintainer myself I feel I'm allowed to chip in here, though you may find it a load of BS.

I personally do not believe in flashy websites. I know a bit about how people observe websites and things like speed and 'how to get to where I need to be' rate much higher than graphics do (unless you're part of the teenage iPhone brigade). Obviously you need to project a professional feel, but that is not achieved by flickering buttons and animations. In this particular case it's the products that pull in the people, and the website is the means to an end in getting info and games to the people. Most people that end up getting the game will have info on the game long before they see the website, so the site is the final step towards getting the game. As such it should be neat and clean, responsive, easy to navigate, and project your commitment to the game and to the people playing it (contact with the fans is a huge plus here). As far as I'm concerned it already does most of that now, but I understand your need to 'make things better'; I feel the same way.

An earlier post had a link to a particularly 'professional' (I say this with a hint of sarcasm) web-site and I don't believe that's the way you should be headed. If you stick to simple and clean, and make sure the atmosphere and soul of the games is reflected in the site (as mentioned earlier) you'll do fine.

Having said all this I do like the newer subtle look of things. As said, perhaps the somewhat crude gold rims of the left and right vertical button rows could use some touching up. Bigger and/or better impacting logos could make the game pages stand out more. Using more artwork from the games in the game pages somehow might spice things up a bit.

Using quotes ("but Mike, this is the best thing I've seen since sliced bread") on leading pages tends to be perceived as contrived and cheap, a better way would be to start a testimonial page and put links to reviews there. You already do this, so that's great. And yes, perhaps a mention of the good reception of a game on that game's page, including a link to a review, could work.

Finally, the usual suspects. Spelling and grammar (all your base are belong to us, anyone?) have a far greater effect than people think. Text spacing (no wall of text) and font choice (a sans serif type is easier on the eyes, especially when reading large pieces of text, though personal taste has something to do with it) play a part too. Make sure these simple things are okay.

So, in short, I think what you have now is good for what it needs to do. I tend to look at it like this: you are an indie developer and I come here to buy a game that is firmly rooted in indie philosophy. As such I don't expect a flashy website, I expect the things I wrote about in the text above. Obviously I can not be taken as an example for everyone out there, but I think I'm ... not entirely wrong.

Tip: using google analytics can help you gain insight in visitor behavior.

Last edited by Maledictus : 03-20-2011 at 07:51 PM. Reason: o irony; spelling
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  #8  
Old 03-20-2011, 07:53 PM
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I'm a webdev too, and I'm on Maledictus' side on the "Not flashy!" more content-driven. It's more attractive to the search engines anyway.

Here's what I've said before, and I'll say it again. HIGHLIGHT THE DEMOS. Your games are addicting. What is the goal of the website? What is the goal of the individual product pages? Thankfully on this website, I think it should be the same on all the pages:

It should be "Get them to try the demo." (just vary which demo according to which page they're on.

A direct link to the demo, front & center, on every page. A top-menu link to a page that has ALL the demos in series from Din's Curse/Demon War down....

In our modern ADHD society, people don't like to click. Make it so dumb-easy to find and download a demo they almost do it by mistake! They ended up on the site. The images & text are supplementary, and mostly there for those of us who are reluctant to even try something before we know SOMETHING about it.

Next: get in the ideal customer's head. You're not selling features: you're selling benefits. On this count, we can help Shadow best by "What EXACTLY do you GET from playing Din's Curse (or the others)?"

I get a surprisingly challenging game, tremendous replay value, fun to tinker with on the front & back-end.

Next?
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:12 PM
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http://www.amnesiagame.com/#main

Here's one more site that has some good take aways. It's actually a little bit ugly, but it does give some atmosphere while at the same time being very obvious as to where the links take you and doing a relatively good job of imparting information.

I should add that while the http://www.thesecretworld.com/ website has an unnecessary spinner on it, the aesthetic choices work very well in bringing out the atmosphere and being pleasing to the eye. It also does a great job of intuitively pushing you towards clicks/links without hitting you over the head with them.
For me it's a good balance of usability, speed, and candy.
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  #10  
Old 03-21-2011, 05:50 AM
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I mostly agree with what's been said above. I don't think using quotes is cheap though. It's true that people who read good reviews will already download the demo and buy the game -- that's not who the website is for (IMO). They've already been convinced to buy. People who already know there's something good to find here will find it regardless.

The website should do its best to attract the average customer who knows nothing about Soldak, and as Crisses said, to get him to try the demo. To do this, you have to fight the increasingly short attention span of people nowadays, and the preconception that an unknown game by an unknown company couldn't possibly be good. You need to present the best face of the game (some cool graphics -- just a little), have a large, appealing logo, tell what the game does best as fast as possible, and show the potential customer that even though he's never heard of you, important review sites really like your games. Video really helps with showing that even though the customer never heard of the game, it looks and plays well. All of these factors may help the customer decide to download the demo. I do agree the demo should be front and center. As I related previously, I know from personal experience that customers don't bother to click on different pages -- I'd been to Soldak's page 3 times before I bothered to download the demo (and then only because of Tom Chick's review).

I'd probably arrange the buttons at the top according to the order you want people to find them: DC first, then DoP, then Kivi.

In terms of graphics per game, DoP could probably use an image of a barbarian smashing a monster of some sort. DC could have an image of a demon attacking a human NPC cowering in fear.

I like the combined logo for DoP, DC and Kivi on the first page. It conveys the idea that they're all part of the DoP universe. It could probably be wider though, and Kivi should be smaller while the DC logo should be wider.

As a side point, do enough people buy Kivi to justify keeping the multiplayer a separate addon? It might be better to integrate them together to make the package more attractive, or to make note of the fact that you get a free bonus when buying Kivi in the form of the multiplayer expansion. Also, I think having a multiplayer expansion doesn't help Soldak's other products. People expect multiplayer to be a basic part of the game nowadays. I understand that it was a major effort to integrate multiplayer into Kivi at the time, but now that it's done, it's a basic feature. Should a customer happen to read on the main page that Kivi's expansion only adds multiplayer, she might reason that DC's expansion is probably just as minor (which it clearly isn't).

Last edited by Bluddy : 03-21-2011 at 09:10 AM.
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