I decided to break down what i have done throughout this project into a series of important posts to give an overall impression of what i have done and learnt along the way.
PART 1 Website development
Part of my brief was to take the old SOL website and revamp the layout and structure to accommodate a more user friendly approach plus if possible integrate a new system for the clan’s invite’s and games. All this was to be done to the needs of the client which would turn out to be my biggest restriction.
I took the website and decided what the Clan Needed, Wanted and was useless. There was a contact form that was unnecessary a chat box on the homepage which was open to anyone and liable to spam then another chat box for members only which was not used. The homepage was not very welcoming to new people and the invite system was hard to maintain. Using the CMS the Client had chosen in this case Enjin i began to look into the invite system and quickly came across the “Events” module this was a calendar which you could set “events” then invite users to attend. This is now the new invite system in which the Client was VERY pleased about the maintain of the system is easy plus it is colour coded for each team with quick links on the chat box.
The Design of the website was OK it served it purpose and did what was needed however it is very generic. This was the element that the client wasn’t too worried on however. For the look of the website i decided to a background image plus header image that showcased the games the clan played plus was more related to the genre of the clan. I also added a homepage image slider in that linked to the social media sites such as Twitter, Youtube etc. I created custom images that fitted in with the SOL style.
User Friendly was the main aim of the site to keep the design relevant and easy. The old site was a mess in terms of layout the pages had various amount of side bars and modules all clogging up the site and making it harder to use. I evaluated the needs of the clan and took each page back to the main content on the left and a sidebar on the right. The amount of modules was limited down as well the main additions where a set of quick links to twitter, youtube etc. on the chatbox so people could reach videos etc easier. Twitter stream below chat for updated access for all.
The Chatbox was moved from the homepage to its own page where anyone who was a registered user could access. This was a great addition and the most used page on the site now.
The last addition was Ad sense banners to the top and sidebar of page to help make the site more self sufficient this was at the request of the Client but was also apart of the brief i wrote for myself.
After i had finished what the Client had wanted i decided to make my own custom version of the SOL site that had more creative input from myself. I originally was going to make a Photoshoped version of what it could have looked liked but took it a step further and from scratch designed the home page to the SOL site. The site if needed could be taken and put into Expression Engine fairly easily as i had this in mind. The site is a lot more creative whilst still being the classic “Clan” website. It features social integration on the blog posts a similar Homepage slider. Red Theme, cleaner font etc. Overall i am VERY happy with it i belive it looks a lot better however functionality wise it would work the same but i did not have a working invite system on this site however. (Image below is of the website) This was the first Web Design i have done in which i can see myself applying profesional practice. The repeated structure and working buttons created using new CSS3 techniques are all professional standard also the colour scheme following suit and working slider. The site has its own set backs however mainly the lack of responsive web design and non working log in (no log in as wasn’t needed for this tester) I would also in future look into working on the title’s of the Blogs and widgets.