Register to post in forums, or Log in to your existing account
 

Post new topic  Reply to topic     Home » Forums » SlightlyMorbid
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:57 pm   

Suggestions for improvement of the SlightlyMorbid home page
 
I've been looking at the home page and come to realize that I've looked at it too many times myself and am no longer objective. Part of me thinks that there is just too much text on the page and that people are not going to bother reading any of it. While it's great that there is so much information and a very complete FAQ help page, most people only spend a couple of seconds looking at a web site to decide if it's interesting for them. Asking them to read so much text is probably a turn-off for many.

So what can be done to improve the first-impression of the home page? How do we make it more interesting to get people to move from "that's an interesting idea" to "that's great I want to buy this!".

Now, I'm not going to do a fancy "flash" site with tons of video/graphics/etc that takes forever to load. And I'm not going to implement any of those annoying marketing gimics that give a popup when you try to leave the site, or anything like that.

I just want some help on how I might reword the home page, or what other graphics I might add to make the page more interesting. I've had a hard time coming up with "appropriate" graphics for the site.

So, let me know what you think. I can't promise to make any specific changes, and I know some of you have been reading the site as long as I have. But I'm hoping that some fresh input might help. Thanks.
Reply with quote
Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:32 pm   
 
Well you could move all the text except for the first and 2nd last paragraphs to a "How does it work" page and a Cost page respectively (or even the same page). Dunno if that's any better though. There is quite a lot to take in on the home page, but at least you don't have to hunt for the information, and it's all good so it's good for people to read it so I think it's OK to have on the home page.

I think you might want to think of creating a fun cartoon or comic strip to illustrate what the site is for. Maybe put that on the home page near or at the top (depending on how good it is!). I was thinking of sort-of recreating your story in a brief form, or a similar one, as a comic strip. (i) One person (or animal) says to other person 'Have you seen X?'; Other replies 'No, not for weeks - I wonder if anything has happened to him!'. (ii) etc.

You could use diagrams to illustrate how the service works too.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:26 pm   
 
Seb, I liked your idea about putting a "diagram" on the site. So last night I spent some time with my graphics software and put together something that I think turned out pretty nice. Take a look at the www.slightlymorbid.com page now and everyone let me know what you think. By putting it in the second section describing how the service works, it helps force people to scroll down. Hope everyone likes it!
Reply with quote
Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:21 pm   
 
Yeah, I think your diagram illustrating how the service works is very nice. One suggestion on making the animated gif more user-friendly (because the transitions are quite fast when looking at it for the first time) is to maybe have a little Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4 toolbar at the bottom which forces the page (via JavaScript) to display the appropriate non-animated gif so one can 'freeze' the display by hovering the mouse over the appropriate step (highlighting the 'button' you are hovering over to show it is 'pressed'). You'd also want to preload these gifs. Or take the four gifs and put them up separately like a comic strip. It's easier to understand the service if you can see all the steps at the same time.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:24 pm   
 
I tried the comic-strip idea but it just took up too much space. And the images get harder to read if they are made any smaller.

The Step 1,2,3,4 links with Javascript to load fixed images is an interesting one, although I'd start to worry a bit about the total amount of images being downloaded. An animated gif takes a lot *less* space because it only stores the differences between the images I think, compared to having all 4 images downloaded. But I'll look into it.

I'm assuming you are talking about using Javascript to change the image from the animated to a fixed image, right? Not some magic way to tell an animated gif which frame to show?

I could also slow down the transitions a bit more. Or, what I've found is that you can just watch a few cycles to get the hang of it. The nice part about it being animated is that it does draw your attention down the page compared to a static image.
Reply with quote
Tech
GURU


Joined: 18 Oct 2000
Posts: 2733
Location: Atlanta, USA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:37 pm   
 
I really like the graphic. It quickly and effectively told me what the site was about without having to read the text. It was a great addition.
_________________
Asati di tempari!
Reply with quote
cmurphy54
Beginner


Joined: 09 Aug 2005
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:03 pm   
 
I would pay someone to create a real logo for you and get rid of your current site header.

The rest of the site is decent (but I'd probably change the color palette), but that header just gives off an amateurish impression. If I'm paying up front for a lifetime service as well as going through this hassle of sending friends certificates and telling them to store them someplace safe, etc., I want to feel like the site I'm doing that for actually has some financing behind it and is going to be around in the future.

You can get a decent logo created on elance, etc. for pretty cheap or you could choose to go with a service like 99designs.com which is a pretty neat crowd-sourcing concept which can generate a ton of options to choose from.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:47 pm   
 
I don't want some boring "serious" logo. Honestly, I've dealt with so-called "professional" designers in the past and have never been happy with the results. The purpose of the logo is to be less serious, which goes with the site name. Maybe this turns off some potential customers, but for the younger crowd I think it conveys the correct impression.

What would you specifically be looking to change in the graphic?

We've also used the same graphics on our SlightlyMorbid business cards, which we have shown to dozens of people, including local business and press people. In *all* cases we have gotten positive response to our logo and graphics. In conveys exactly the kind of impression we are trying to make. It's memorable and different. Just like the site name.

The color palette comes directly from the sunset graphic, and was intended to give a "Halloween" kind of color scheme. You can't find *any* color palette that will please everyone (that's why everyone has different favorite colors).

As far as whether we are going to be around in the future, anyone who is interested in that should click on the About Us link and learn that we have been in business for over 12 years. We aren't going anywhere. The SlightlyMorbid service doesn't require huge bandwidth or costs and easily supports itself. Our reputation and past business record speaks more than any so-called "professional" graphic would in my opinion.

Maybe I just haven't ever found a good designer. I consider myself to be more experienced than most of the people I have seen who claim to be a designer and all they did was take some class somewhere. Well, I've taken classes too. I have an art background, and a strong background in calligraphy.

I respect your opinion on the site, but look at the old http://mylastemail.com/ site that has been linked elsewhere in this forum. That's exactly the kind of "serious" look that we are NOT trying to have. Looks like a site run by a bunch of lawyers or something. Just throwing up pictures of people sitting around a desk doesn't necessarily make a site "professional" in my opinion.

They probably paid a "professional" for that site design, and it's full of problems. I personally don't like it's color scheme (again, a subjective opinion). Their default font size is too small. They have an ad for some "Internet monitoring" software that has nothing to do with their service. Their site produces 67 errors from the W3C Validation. It's just a messy site. In my opinion, our site is cleaner and easier to read, and targeted at a younger audience of online gamers.
Reply with quote
Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:20 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
The Step 1,2,3,4 links with Javascript to load fixed images is an interesting one, although I'd start to worry a bit about the total amount of images being downloaded. An animated gif takes a lot *less* space because it only stores the differences between the images I think, compared to having all 4 images downloaded. But I'll look into it.

I'm assuming you are talking about using Javascript to change the image from the animated to a fixed image, right? Not some magic way to tell an animated gif which frame to show?

I could also slow down the transitions a bit more. Or, what I've found is that you can just watch a few cycles to get the hang of it. The nice part about it being animated is that it does draw your attention down the page compared to a static image.

I agree that the animation draws the attention (which is why we have so many flash animated adverts these days - and why we used to have so many animated gifs). Well, in these days of most people on broadband, I wouldn't worry about a few extra gifs being downloaded, especially when done in the background. Yes, fixed images: I don't know of a magic way to tell an animated gif which frame to show. It is true that you get the hang of it after watching for a few cycles, but I felt one would get the hang of it quicker if one can control which frame was displayed...
Reply with quote
Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:26 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
I respect your opinion on the site, but look at the old http://mylastemail.com/ site that has been linked elsewhere in this forum. That's exactly the kind of "serious" look that we are NOT trying to have. Looks like a site run by a bunch of lawyers or something. Just throwing up pictures of people sitting around a desk doesn't necessarily make a site "professional" in my opinion.

Yeah, I agree: I mean just because you can buy (for a small amount, or get free) some stock professional photos doesn't really impress me, particularly when they are not even really relevant to the site. I think your banner graphic is much better; much more appropriate.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:50 pm   
 
cmurphy54: I actually apologize a bit for the tone of my response above. I didn't mean for it to come across that strongly. My problem is that I was burned by a "professional" designer many years ago who wanted to charge $3000 for redesigning our Zuggsoft logo. Saying "you should have your site/logo designed by a professional" comes across a bit insulting to me because I consider myself a professional and because it doesn't actually say anything specific about what might be wrong about a site.

But I apologize because I responded before I actually took the time to look at the 99designs.com site that you mentioned. I didn't really know how that site worked, and didn't realize that there are actually some good quality designers on that site and that the prices are much less than my typical experience with professional designers.

I'm still going to stick with our own graphics for the SlightlyMorbid site for now because we have gotten so much positive feedback on it. But since I've been bored with our standard "mountain" graphic on the main zuggsoft.com site, I might test the 99designs.com site with that banner first just to see what kind of results I get. If I have a good experience with them, then I can move to site like this that have a broader audience.

So, thanks for the good link. I knew about elance.com but I wasn't aware of 99designs.com and it looks like a potentially interesting site.

Seb: Sometime this week in the evening I'll take a look at the image loading, especially if I can find a good way to do it in the background after the rest of the site has loaded. Right now I'm back to working on the CMUD mapper rewrite during the day and doing my graphics "tweaks" to this site in my evening time. The combination of the animated image along with some buttons below it to display a fixed image might work well.
Reply with quote
Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:09 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
Seb: Sometime this week in the evening I'll take a look at the image loading, especially if I can find a good way to do it in the background after the rest of the site has loaded. Right now I'm back to working on the CMUD mapper rewrite during the day and doing my graphics "tweaks" to this site in my evening time. The combination of the animated image along with some buttons below it to display a fixed image might work well.

Putting "preload javascript image" into Google gives lots of relevant results but they seem to preload the images in the <HEAD> which I believe will slow down the page loading, rather than doing it in the background after everything else. Here is a way to do it in the background though, I believe: use the <BODY onLoad ... event, which fires after the body has finished loading:
Preloading and the JavaScript Image() object or Google "preload javascript image body-onload".

*nudge* Any feedback on my mapper rewrite related posts from 10 days ago?
Reply with quote
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic     Home » Forums » SlightlyMorbid All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
© 2009 Zugg Software. Hosted on Wolfpaw.net