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  1. #1
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    Large site - stuck for ideas

    Hi,

    I am overseeing a redesign of http://www.ultimatedallas.com

    We have pulled together a redesign but on further reflection it was ditched.

    Some elements created will be staying such a new flash top banner and a large flash promo player.

    But does anyone have any ideas or site examples of how to categorise large amounts of content.

    We have been hunting ideas but its so hard without it looking cluttered.

    The site is being featured on a Tv special in a couple of months so there is quite a strict deadline in turning the site around.

    Any advice would be most appreciated.

    Thanks

  • #2
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    Clutter

    Too much stuff, not enough whitespace (hardly any, really).

    Either don't try to stick everything on the home page (everything is competing with everything else so nothing sticks out; there's no focus) or opt for a larger window width (may not be popular with people still on 800x600; your site stats should provide you with the necessary information).

    Adhering the design to a suitable grid may help strengthen focus, but there's still a lot of detail that needs to be pushed down to sub pages.
    Regards,
    Ronald.
    ronaldvanderwijden.com

  • #3
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    Hi, just a thought

    I agree the site looks cluttered and overly busy with too many text links.

    I think your Dallas features column is on the right track as far as appearance goes. I like the colour scheme of the column and the use of images helps to alleviate the overuse of text links.

    I would suggest that the left nav bar sections use a single image for each major section of the nav bar. Each image could then link to lower order pages. My feeling is that each image should be the full width of the nav bar. The style of section heading and colour could remain the same - just replace the sub links with a single image.

    So for example, the left nav bar's character section could have an image that links to the character page, where you would have the more detailed links. The image could perhaps be a montage of major characters and that would give people the idea of what the lower order page is about.

    The same concept could then be used for other sections of the left nav bar.


    This way your front page would have a less cluttered "texty appearance"
    Whilst it is not exactly "whitespace" it will open up the page by removing an overabundance of text links.

    Anyway I hope I've provided a bit of food for thought.

    Cheers

    Barking Gecko

  • #4
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    I have a little different take on this ...

    I think that for the demographics, the visitor's you'll be getting,
    the design is right in line with other media/television websites.

    For example:
    http://www.americanidol.com/
    http://www.cbs.com/

    Just about all television media websites look "cluttered" ... but that
    seems to be common for sites like that ...

    You should make your site wider (like CBS) ... aiming for the large
    monitor visitors. Other than that, I think you're "right-on" with
    your particular design, for the audience your site is intended.

  • #5
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    Thanks for all the replies, much food for thought.

    mlseim I do agree with you regarding the current design, I think it suits current target audience well. I think in some way they actually like crawling through all the content.

    But you have all made me think about the size and it would be so much better if I it targeted bigger browers and would allow for a better layout.

    Unfortunatly a flash designer was hired to create a banner so I have gone back to them to see if there is any possibility of making a similar size to the American Idol site you mentioned.

    I also like the idea of using images more for the left hand nav and will investigate that. But will that impact search engine listings ?

    I am looking at adding an rss feed for the latest news headlines too, so I thought that could go into the Dallas Features area.

    One of the main problems we have is when we update the site. We are so limited for space, so if we have several items of latest news we are really restricted with how we display this without having to pull off other bits of news.

  • #6
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    Go for the larger size and if needed, adjust the banner to make the
    "home scene" wider or add something on the right of the banner.
    Don't worry about 800 pixel browser folks ... make it for 1024 or wider.
    Then, you could slightly increase the space between columns for a
    more appealing white space (so to speak).

  • #7
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    I had a look and the banner is 760 pixels, and it is rounded off on the right to give it a 'finish'. So I think it would look odd perhaps.



    So as you can see this is the right hand edge of the banner, resizeing it pixelates the images. So how could I fill the space next to it ?

    Any suggestions Thanks

  • #8
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    Pamela ...

    I'm not a graphics expert, but I can't explain it in words.

    So, here's sort of what I mean ... make the "town" larger ... similar
    to how I did it here in this example:

    http://catpin.com/dallas/

    The banner is now 1024 wide X 114 high.
    The page is forced to 1024 and will center the 1024 if the
    monitor is even wider than that.

  • #9
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    Thanks mlseim

    But maybe I didnt explain it well enough, we had paid a flash developer to make a new banner, its in flash and 760 in width so to expand it that much really doesnt look good.

    The image I posted is a cap of the new flash banner's right side, so thats how it ends. So now to make it bigger I have to do something to make it not look odd.

  • #10
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    oh I see now ...

    Don't know what to say about that.

    Can you post the new Flash banner on a test page?
    Maybe seeing it will trigger some ideas.

  • #11
    Senior Coder ahallicks's Avatar
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    Resizing the actually flash file should sort any problems out because, if it was actually created in Flash the images would be vector based, which means, on expansion they would not lose any quality. Just resizing the actual image would not have the same effect.

    Edit: This may not be important to you, but your site is extremely mucky, code wise. You have 239 errors and 7 warnings regarding the coding of just the home page! That's a hell of a lot, and there are also two javascript errors I'm getting with my little js checker. To promote a good site you might need to sort some of those problems out!
    Last edited by ahallicks; 03-27-2007 at 09:41 AM.
    "write it for FireFox then hack it for IE."
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    Domains are like women - all the good ones are taken unless you want one from some foreign country.
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  • #12
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    Thanks. We have tried to enlarge it but making changes to the width really increases the height so dramatically it looks huge.

    Also thanks for the tips on the code errors. Im not a coder, so its all dreamweaver.

    I think we are going to outsource this to a freelance designer/coder to do the homepage for us.

    Thanks


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