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Author Topic: onSite Reviews - Hollow  (Read 2685 times)

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Offline CorvusErebus

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onSite Reviews - Hollow
« on: February 05, 2010, 12:05:19 AM »
Okay. Today we'll be reviewing Hollow. For the Robot Overlords!


Not much to say on this one, so It will be fairly brief. This is a very well designed website.

ABOVE THE FOLD - 4/5

Over all the minimalist style keeps so much above the fold, even with the huge banner! If the banner where a more reasonable size, this would be a perfect 5. You simply wouldn't be able to squeeze much more in.

USE OF COLOUR - 4/5

The colour scheme is simply great. The tans and browns, contrasted with the blacks and reds, It just looks great. It's not distracting, it highlights the important areas. Really wonderful choices. My only complaint is the use of black for the comic area. The way it cuts off at the bottom to the brown feels a little abrupt. If we could get a subtle blend? Or perhaps make the background of the comic itself that brown texture as well?

Going from Brown, to black, then jarringly back to brown, then fading to black? It feels a little visually confusing. We expect it to either cut off or blend, but it does both on the same page. Truthfully I could have listed this complaint under colour OR layout. I chose colour because it feels to me like an inconsistent application of colour.

BANNER - 3/5

This is a good example of how large banners don't have to be a bad thing. Given the minimalist layout, the extra room taken up by the banner isn't missed terribly much. Still, the fact remains that It could be just as effective if the exact same image was presented at half this size. And the saved width would allow a banner ad to be overlapped on top of it, creating a nice transition effect. So it's certainly not a bad banner! But with such an obvious way to improve it, it's hard to fully justify.

NAVIGATION & LAYOUT - 4/5

This layout is wonderful. The minimalist style keeps everything close at hand, and leaves the focus where it belongs – The comic. The navigation is simple and straightforward, real easy to locate everything. Just the way I like it. Still, the sparsity leaves a little something visually to be desired. You could add some visual flare without increasing the size or changing the layout. Perhaps mouse-over effects on the links? Maybe a border around the comic backdrop? The possibilities are endless.

Finally, The News is shoved off on another page, instead of under the comic. This is NOT secondary Content. Instead we get this "Author Comments" section, which seems to be separate. Now, I see you're using the Author Comments” for News delivery. But having it split between two places can still be confusing, and not many people are likely to read a separate news section. This either needs to be integrated in to the main page, or removed all together.

SOCIAL TOOLS - 5/5

What is there to say here? This as close to perfect as you can get, given the layout. All the major social tools are represented, as well as your own twitter account, and your E-mail. It's all close and convenient. Very good design!

SECONDARY CONTENT - 4/5

The secondary content that there is is Wonderfully presented! It's clean, its efficient, and it looks good. Bravo. I have just two minor complaints. One is the amount. When you ignore the unnecessary news page, and the redundant "First Comic" link, there really isn't a lot. I would like to have seen an FAQ or some such device. Something to give me tidbits of info that don't really belong on the rest of the site. Maybe a Store, or an Advertising section (Or an FAQ on why such sections don't exist.) You get the idea.

The second is your archive page. It doesn't work. We just get Javascript:void(0) in the status bar. This really isn't good. Not much more to say on that, other then that it needs to be fixed.

TOTAL - 4 out of 5

One of the best sites I've reviewed yet. It's simple, but it looks good, and does its job very well. While there are some flaws keeping this layout from being perfectly executed, it comes very close!

NEXT WEEK: We review Underling! Keep up the Coding. By the Power of Greyskull!
« Last Edit: February 05, 2010, 12:49:09 AM by CorvusErebus »

Offline ran

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Re: onSite Reviews - Hollow
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2010, 11:02:33 AM »
Over all the minimalist style keeps so much above the fold, even with the huge banner! If the banner where a more reasonable size, this would be a perfect 5. You simply wouldn't be able to squeeze much more in.

The reason the banner was that size in the first place was because I originally intended it to be a side-saddle banner. It was tall enough for me to comfortably include a large project wonderful ad on the right hand side. That being said, we later decided that the website doesn't really have enough traffic to justify dirtying the page up with ads and just never added it in. This review came at the perfect time, because I'm about to do a total overhaul on it.

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My only complaint is the use of black for the comic area. The way it cuts off at the bottom to the brown feels a little abrupt. If we could get a subtle blend? Or perhaps make the background of the comic itself that brown texture as well?

The issue there is that the comic's gutters are entirely black---that's the way my colourist likes them, and I'm not going to lie, I like them that way, too. I tried alternative colours when I was doing the original site design, but nothing looked quite right.   

Quote
Going from Brown, to black, then jarringly back to brown, then fading to black? It feels a little visually confusing. We expect it to either cut off or blend, but it does both on the same page. Truthfully I could have listed this complaint under colour OR layout. I chose colour because it feels to me like an inconsistent application of colour.

Noted!

Quote
This is a good example of how large banners don't have to be a bad thing. Given the minimalist layout, the extra room taken up by the banner isn't missed terribly much. Still, the fact remains that It could be just as effective if the exact same image was presented at half this size. And the saved width would allow a banner ad to be overlapped on top of it, creating a nice transition effect. So it's certainly not a bad banner! But with such an obvious way to improve it, it's hard to fully justify.

Again, banner is definitely going to be different. I created the layout at a time where I didn't really have any pages to use art from, and so it fell to a piece of traditional art that was really hard to make it look like it fit with the rest of the site. That is absolutely not the case now, and it's one of the main things that will be changing with the overhaul.

Quote
Finally, The News is shoved off on another page, instead of under the comic. This is NOT secondary Content. Instead we get this "Author Comments" section, which seems to be separate. Now, I see you're using the Author Comments” for News delivery. But having it split between two places can still be confusing, and not many people are likely to read a separate news section. This either needs to be integrated in to the main page, or removed all together.

Honestly, what goes in my actual 'news' page is few and far in between. The only reason it exists is because I'm hosted by smackjeeves, and it's part of their default package. It's really easy to get rid of, though, so no problem there.

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redundant "First Comic" link

Again, part of the default Smackjeeves layout code is a tag that loads all relevant pages. It's easy to edit, and therefore easy to take this out, which i will be doing.

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I would like to have seen an FAQ or some such device. Something to give me tidbits of info that don't really belong on the rest of the site.

Quote
Maybe a Store, or an Advertising section (Or an FAQ on why such sections don't exist.)

The issue with these two points is that we really only have like 13 pages of comic. We don't have enough to justify a store, or advertising, and an FAQ would generally require people to actually ask those questions. It never occurred to either of us because no one has.

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The second is your archive page. It doesn't work. We just get Javascript:void(0) in the status bar. This really isn't good. Not much more to say on that, other then that it needs to be fixed.

Yeah, it was working last week, and this was one of the reasons why we're doing an updated layout--Smackjeeves is always evolving, and so is it's code. While that doesn't usually affect things like your archive, there was a complete overhaul of how your archive works with the introduction of a chapter system, and i accidentally rendered my custom archive code useless by switching over to chapters.

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One of the best sites I've reviewed yet. It's simple, but it looks good, and does its job very well. While there are some flaws keeping this layout from being perfectly executed, it comes very close!

Thanks! I do webdesign as a job, but I'm entirely self taught. Good to know I'm alright.