Topic: The Website Design Thread

So, we come to the point where we're about to start designing a website for the community and launch it with its own domain. Seeing as I seem to have become the instigator of all this, I hereby make a thread dedicated to this project. Anyone can take part or give opinions. Just keep in mind that we're all doing this voluntarily. If you're going to criticise, try to present a viable alternative.

At present, we have four people directly involved in this project (in chronological order of volunteering):
Myself - Initiator, designer and superficial code handler.
Oluf - Designer.
skanx - Server provider.
Nuala - Mistress of the Code.

As previously stated, we'll be using the CMS (Content Management System) known as e107. Further information about it can be found at

As I'll be continuing to push this project forward, and likely be a main part in its design, I'll post some of the principles I find pertinent and necessary for the project and site to work well.

It may all seem very serious and grave, but I'm just trying to make a solid base for us to avoid confusion in a later stage. This is all good fun, but let's make it fun that leads to good design. wink

[big][death]Design Principles[/death][/big]

• K.I.S.S.
Keep It Simple, Stupid - i.e. don't complicate things unless you really, -really- (really!) have to.

• Avoid Clutter
Many websites today are chaotic jumbles of features with front pages that take forever to initiate. We should strive to keep our layout simple and functional (though, of course, aesthetically pleasing.) If you want to know what my preference is, have a look at my website (

• Avoid Redundancy
This is particularly important since we have a pretty powerful forum (courtesy of Nuala.) We should decide where features like calendars and news should be and stick to what we decide.

• Minimise Database Queries
The server efficiency is dependent on traffic minimisation. The fewer DB queries we have, the better. This is yet another reason to keep the design simple. For example, a calendar on the front page would cause a smattering of DB queries for each user that loads the site. This is bad.

• Large Text Bodies Should Be In Serif Fonts!
Yes, sans serif looks a lot sexier, but every single publishing guide and report on the topic says the same thing: the brain recognises and interprets serifed text much faster. The eye also recognises serif text in smaller sizes. Sans serif should be used for headers and notices - things that are there to catch attention.

• Minimise Maintenance and Upkeep.
Everything the Seed community does is based on volunteer work. As such, the people involved will work when they have the time, energy and inspiration. This means that we can't have systems that require continuous attention and daily management, and that we must strive to keep the necessary work to a minimum.

• Shared Privileges.
Being a spare time community, we will have people dropping off and coming back on an irregular basis. This poses some trouble if a person who loses touch holds exclusive privileges to one of the systems the community depends on. To some extent, this is unavoidable, but as much as we can, we should at least try to see to that one other person (that we feel we can trust) has access, so that if something happens, we can at least get to the data.

As for graphical design, my initial thoughts are along the lines of trying to keep the image size/count down to some extent, to make the impression implicative of the game we all love and miss, but not directly derived from it (except for the logo) and to try to make it as accessible and easily handled as possible. The latter is always a challenge, and I hope to bash heads with Oluf a lot over the matter.

That's all I have to say for now. Comments, ideas, rants?

Re: The Website Design Thread

I'm already thinking of the forum integration in the web site.
There are serval solution:
- Basic : a simple link between the website and the forum, it's the easier way.
- Precise integration: we keep the left (and right?) menu and the header of the web site, and the  forum is open in the middle, where the news usually are.
- Mega integration: same than above, but login and password are shared by the forum and the website. a little more difficult to do.

If we choose a real and nice integration, we may need to know who have and what is the lowest screen resolution. if it's 1024 it's ok if it's 800/600 we may need to modify the forum appareance.

edit: i had a look for the integration, it's quite easy to do, so I only have to see how to share forum and website user. and that will be harder :sweat:

Re: The Website Design Thread

In case you need any help with image-editing, backgrounds, buttons and the like Ill be happy to lend a hand.

Re: The Website Design Thread

imo it would be best if we go for what you call mega integration nuala... but of couse this may take a lot of time

do we have to have a fixed screen res? cant we make it adjust to the users screen?

Re: The Website Design Thread

the forum is 800px width, that's why under a 1024 rez, it would be ugly, higher it's ok.

Re: The Website Design Thread

I think you can safely say people use 1024x768 at least.

Re: The Website Design Thread

It's kind of against Sensible Policy(tm) to go above 800x600 for any set resolution, because of the various possible configurations.
Personally, I run 1600x1200 but I don't want the browser window to be much larger than 800 in width as I generally do several things at once.

Also, keep in mind that we're aiming for a simple website layout. With some smart fiddling (for example, a horizontal menu bar rather than a vertical one) we can fit the forum into the website without having to make the layout overly wide.