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TUG homepage design contest

TUGBrian

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Ok...so ive been tinkering around with changing the look of the homepage for awahile now...and i havent gotten far...but I figure before anything officially changes...im going to get an approval from all you members anyway =)

and if im a complete failure at this...ill get professional help. However the old homepage has existed fine for 15 years, it just needs a bit of cleanup!

Ive only started on the top part for now, but wanted to get thoughts.

Tell me it stinks...tell me you love it...any and all feedback is welcome. Just because I think its a good change doesnt mean everyone will, and while I realize there is no site out there that makes everyone happy...majority rules here =)



id perhaps like to add some color to the top section...maybe a background picture of a nice hawaiian beach sunset or something...we shall see.

this top part of course would eventually replace the famous "red bar" that exists on most if not all pages now to make things a bit more user friendly and easier to read.

while I wont be adding EVERY link to the bottom of this new page from the old site, i will obviously need to add quite a few.

id also like to add a section for "Ad of the week" and "thread of the week" and current TUG news/announcements etc.

so...talk to me and tell me what you want the homepage to look like.

EDIT - CURRENT REVISION OF THE NEW HOMEPAGE IS HERE

http://tug2.net/testform/tughomepagenewdesign5.html
 
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Bill4728

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So far so good.

PS I love the new google search of the TUG site

Sure is a lot easier than typing in

"xxxx" site:tugbbs.com
 

dmbrand

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I like the new page if....you are keeping it this simple. I am a firm believer in less is more. I liked the bold red top; made it easy for me to find what I was looking for as a returning member. When I first found Tug, I thought the homepage was a bit too busy for me, until I learned the ropes.
Maybe you could shade the background of the new blocks to emphasize them. Just a thought. Whatever you decide will be fine, we all adapt. The content of the site is most important, and a valuable resource. Thanks for all that you do!:whoopie: DawnB
 

JoAnn

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The new one really 'caught' my eye...brighter and easier to find what I'm looking for.
 

Fern Modena

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I like the new design (or proposed new design). Its clean, and eye catching. Not junky so that it is hard to find things. Web design has changed so much over the years.

I'm hoping that you keep it as simple as it looks. My pet peeves on home pages? Music and flash. Neither is necessary. Music is especially onerous if you are surfing in the middle of the night and your speakers aren't turned down.

Thanks for all the work, Brian.

Fern
 

Carolyn

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I like it too! Possibly a different graphic for "Join Now" (maybe a welcome sign??) since it's the same for "Advice" JMHO :)

Carolyn
 

TUGBrian

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there will be zero popups, music, or flash animation gimmicks on the homepage ever =)

while obviously i need to add much more to the main part of the page...im going to try to keep it clean and simple. with links going to various subpages that will contain the bulk of what was a direct link on the homepage previously.
 

susieq

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I really like the new design too ~ much easier to see and get to just what you want. I like the google search also, and I agree with Fern ~ music and "flashy stuff" only serve to confuse and annoy.(me anyway!! :confused: ) Good job!!

Sue
 

clsmit

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Can you add an easy place to log in? I have the hardest time figuring out where to log in...

And then the copyright notice at the bottom, and maybe about us (really about you!), and all that other normal website stuff.
 

stmartinfan

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It's a big improvement - and I agree that simpler is better.

I would suggest that you look at making the block of sentences under the "Welcome to TUG" easier to read. It's hard for most people to read such long lines of text - our eyes just don't like to scan such a long distance. You could look at splitting it into two columns, or just make the lines of text shorter.

Also, most internet readers don't like to read big blocks of copy - this isn't huge, but still may not get read by first time visitors when it's all one block. You could consider turning the couple of sentences that cover the different services TUG provides into a bulleted list with an intro like: Here's what TUG provides its members: (and then listing the reviews, BB, ads, etc., That allows you cut some of the words, too, while still making it easier to catch what TUG offers.
 

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I would also like to see a light shading to make the top banner stand out and an easy to find login area. Thanks!
 

TUGBrian

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hrm...issue with the shading as ive just discovered the main tug logo is 99% transparent...ill need to fix that. when adding a background it just looks terrible.

ive trimmed up the intro paragraph to make it shorter to read but still get the point. hopefully that meets everyones approval!
 

MULTIZ321

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Brian,

Great changes! I agree with others - less is more.

I would consider some additional reorganization - same content but in different
location on the home page. I think moving the top Tug Row to more in the middle of page. Thus when the home page comes up on one's monitor the primary links are located more at eye level, invite action, and are at the center of attention. The viewer would be less distracted by the Tug Banner Ads advertisement that now draws initial attention because of the video stream of the ad and is probably not the reason a viewer went to the home page.

Also, I would suggest moving the Tug Google search box to the Left side of the page in reverse with the Tug Free Reviews Link. Kudos for the great Google search feature! Since most of us read from left to right orientation, I think it's easier to initially spot if on the Left side of the page.

Best regards,

Richard
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
No Argument -- Less Is More For Sure. But Where Is It ?

Great changes! I agree with others - less is more.
I must not be looking in the right place.

Everything looks the same to me.

What's the link for what's changed ?

Is it possible to put up a dedicated Before & After page, just to add some conspicuousness to the revisions & improvements ?

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 

TUGBrian

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yes..i havent actually made any change to the "actual" homepage. as its a work in progress. I may start gradually implementing new changes as things get worked out. Just trying to clean a few things up and make it easier to read/navigate!

I do plan on going a bit different route for the main body of the homepage. ie using large(r) graphics to direct people to the correct areas of the site. IE something like "how can TUG help you"

with the first graphic being titled "I have a timeshare I want to sell"

second being "I want to learn how to rent my timeshare"

3rd being "I want to learn more about Timeshares and Timesharing"

"I want to learn more about TUG and what are the benefits of joining"

"I want to read up on current TUG events"

"I want to talk to other owners online via the TUGBBS forums"

"I want to view all the links available on TUG (Sitemap)"

"I am a TUG member who needs membership information"

and so on and so on. making navigation off the main page more easily done and get people to where they want to go.

Each of these links will go to a landing page providing all the information TUG has about each of these topics etc etc....vs having a single link to everything.
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Got It. Thanks.

Click on the "Tug Home" link in the small red tool bar at the top of TUG pages, then contrast that with the link Brian provided in his first post in this thread.
Less is more.

New & improved experimental prototype web page of tomorrow looks OK -- nice & clean & uncluttered.

The main problem I see at 1st glance (& it's not really much of a problem) is that the little clicky boxes up top look too much like little display ad spots -- need to be tweaked or redone so that they have a more instantly recognizable "menu" look.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

TUGBrian

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not quite sure how I would tweak them to make them look less like ads and more like a menu...do you have a suggestion?
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
No Help Here -- Unfortunately.

not quite sure how I would tweak them to make them look less like ads and more like a menu...do you have a suggestion?
Shux, I'm more of a web page doofus than I am a timeshare doofus -- & that's saying something.

If you want, I can ask my nephew if he has any semi-simple ideas for improvement. (He's a world-class web-page design artist -- not just some hacker-clacker who messes around with html, but an actual & successful commercial artist who just happens to work in the medium of web pages.)

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 

TUGBrian

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well...im more interested in feedback from members vs a professional web type person.

I want to build what YOU guys find interesting and usable.
 

tashamen

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Maybe I shouldn't say this (since you're going to the effort of redesign) but I never go to the TUG homepage, and probably haven't been on it since I first signed up. I go directly to the forums. Just curious as to how many folks do the same.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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As with tashamen, I seldom visit the home page. My "portal" is the "New Posts" link to the BBS.

That being said, I think the proposed redesign is a considerable improvement. I've always thought the home page was far too cluttered.

Re the redesign:

I don't like the links located where they are on the top of the page. My sense is that the top of the page should be intro related. I like seeing a logo and graphic at the top of the page, with content links below that.

When I start looking at a site for primary content and links, I look toward the bottom two-thirds of the page. In fact, when I first looked at the redesign one of my first reactions was that site links were missing. Only after looking a second time did I see them located at the top of the page.

Another approach, and one that might be even better, would be to relocate the links from the top into a frame on the left side of the page. Then put the TUG logo and graphic on the top, and introductory content below that.

I also don't like pure white backgrounds; I find them harsh and they often cause eye strain. A cream color background is much easier on the eyes - personally I like RGB(255,255,229) (hex #FFFFE5).
 

TUGBrian

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i do plan on altering the background color...just need to redo the main tug logo first.

maybe ill do a few different designs and see what people like best.
 

KristinB

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Shux, I'm more of a web page doofus than I am a timeshare doofus -- & that's saying something.

If you want, I can ask my nephew if he has any semi-simple ideas for improvement. (He's a world-class web-page design artist -- not just some hacker-clacker who messes around with html, but an actual & successful commercial artist who just happens to work in the medium of web pages.)

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
well...im more interested in feedback from members vs a professional web type person.

I want to build what YOU guys find interesting and usable.
Brian,

If you don't mind my saying -- a professional like Alan's nephew knows what works for the majority of users, not just the small sample that may post here on this thread. If Alan can get him to offer his expertise, and he's generous enough to make a few design suggestions pro bono, I'd jump at the opportunity. I'm a web professional, though not a designer, but I do know a bit about usability. I also know well enough when to defer to an expert. :D
 
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