SOL Alternate Web Design

I decided to make an alternate Web site for SOL as the current one was limited in terms of design it stuck very much to the Clan web site. I started to look at other Clan websites and the CMS’s that they used most of which where the same either Enjin, WordPress or Vbulltin which are fine but many use the same template and look similar. I created my website with Expression Engine in mind its easy to use and very open to customization.

I started by using the SOL current colour theme of Red adding it in to use for links and graphics. The header was custom made for the website with a new style that was more modern it also helped set the pace for the website. The background for the body was a Carbon fiber effect that gives a nice gritty feel. The typeface was a popular lightweight font that i thought was a nice clean look to it however this was one of the comments that the Client said would want to be changed.

The production of the Website took around 2 weeks from conception to completion and is highly adaptable for actually live production.

I presented the Website to the client and asked for him to give me feedback so i could improve on it. These where his comments-

“Evening Peter

Thank you for your prompt response to our need for a new working website. It follows the brief accurately and we are happy with the majority of the changes, there are a few areas which could require some further work which are are noted below. If you could get back to us with your thoughts on the proposed changes, and the practicality of putting it into practice that would be much appreciated.

The new header looks great, although for the main ‘Sons of Locust’ text I’d rather have a look at some other fonts/designs if possible, although the surrounding design looks great.

The general layout of the site looks well and the social media icons throughout are much better, although again I’d like to have a look at some other fonts, which I don’t feel look quite as good in their current state as they did prior to your changes.

As a final point, I actually liked the previous site background you had put in place and wonder if it would be possible to put that back? I feel the site now lacks that creative punch that it did previously, and although simplicity sometimes works, I liked the ‘busy’ look that the old background provided.

Its worth mentioning that we are very happy with the actual body of the site and feel it is an improvement to what we had previously.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts in regards to the things mentioned above.

Regards
Lee”

I agree with multiple points and was actually fairly happy with the response surprised to that it was prefared however. I thought that the Client would be stubborn and would prefare  his original website. The website background on my website i liked more however the client liked the one on his current website which i originally produced for him.

 

The typography was a comment he made and although i have submitted the current version i have made a few changes including the typography.

 

 

 

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Part 4 Summary Most improtant Post!

Part 4 Summary!

This post is simply to give a summary of my thoguhts of it plus a list of what i have learnt and would change etc.

The biggest part of the assignment has been what i have learnt! I took on a massive job and was able to come out of its fairly happy with the production but on reflection there is a lot that could be done differently too.

List of learning outcomes-

  • Sony Vegas SoftWare
  • Working to the limitations of a Client
  • Client nagotations
  • Creating EE websites
  • After Effects software!
  • Social media use
  • Content means nothing its about the marketing 😦
  • Activity in online is needed!
  • Dont try to advertise a dead game!
  • Recording Game footage
  • Format type’s and compression for Video

This list enables you to get a quick glance at what i have learnt but doest truly give justice to the process and time this project has truly taken up. The little things likes talking with the Client and making Tweets start to take up a lot of time overall and takes time away from the important design elements. The biggest learning for me was Social media (Mainly as i have no personal twitter or Facebook account) so learning how to use and make the most of these was hard work.

Working with a Client is also hard due to the different ideas. I was VERY restricted in terms of design as i wasnt able to create a whole new design as it would be TOO different from the Status Quo. I did however manage to produce a Alternate website which i was very happy with that conformed to the “Typical Clan website” and to my own design needs.

After effects was also a massive learning curve i hadnt used it before except in the first year and the projects i previously did didnt use any of the elements i used this time really. however i was able to produce a real profesional intro in which i recived many comments on Youtube and from the Clan about.

Although a Web Design student creating websites with EE in mind i hadnt really done yet as we have only just been introduced to the CMS however i took this on board and applied it to my Webdesign for the SOL clan

 

Summary

I think overall The project outcome was a success the Clan has recived  hightened online activity on there website plus more than tripled the Video views and subscribers on Youtube. Twitter is up and running with a steady amount of follower’s. Most of all the Client is VERY happy commenting many times on the work produced. The clan is becoming more self suffeciant Money wise and from having 1-2 teams we now have 4 teams up and running in a game that only sold 1/3 the aount of coppies of its previous version.

I would like to go back and use twitter more effectivly i have only just realised the value of Tweeting well respected Gamers and developers to comment about them it gains more views and more followers than simply tweeting about the activity of the Clan.

I would also like to go back and impliment the Website design i have created as i think its a better more custum website not so generic.

 

Part 3 Marketing & Social Media Important

Part 3 Marketing & Social Media

Part 3 of the the recap is about the Marketing stratergy i have taken on aswell as the social media which combine really.

The SOL clan had no real name and where fairly unkown except within the league they competed within. Part of my breif was to reach a wider audience and bring new people to the attension of the SOL clan. The ways i did this where youtube, Twitter and Forum’s. This would also be the marketing of the Clan aswell with the stratergy being create content and be active in the social media then people will begin to follow. It is a slow and on going process however i have now set up the start of Clan’s online presense and it will continue to grow with time.

Twitter is a relativly new Social playform that is widely known and is used internationaly. It provides a free and easy platform to communicate with masses of people at one time also with mobile support enables people to access new info from there mobile Phones. SOL did not have a Twitter account so i created one and managed it for the duration of my project. I gained 40 followers made over 100+ tweets and followed 100+ relevent people. This was a big part of the marketing stratergy through gaining a following on twitter i am able to release a video and tweet it out gaining extra views quickly also linking people back to the SOL website for tournements etc. It also had been used to anounce up coming games as a reminder for the team members.

I have allready talked about the Youtube side so i will skip most of this however this was a big part of the Marketing for every important video created i would follow up by tweeting this out using popular related #tags then also create topis within the Official Gears of War Forum (Below is an image of created topics and views of those topics). I also combined with a Youtuber with 600 followers to work on a dual commentary plus he joined the Clan and started to produce content for the clan also.

I would have been entering the WGL Video spotlight and video of the week comp however due to the Client wishes not to be accociated with The League after leaving to create his own i was unable to do as i originaly wished. I belive if i had used this media form i would have been able to gain a higher following and  tap into another group of individuals. I was however able to agree tieing SOL media in with The RLG (ReZpect League Gaming) realease. The RLG was a new League being released. This meant we used the SOL account to create videos premoting the RLG and the RLG to premote the SOL account. We also ran a tournement through the RLG with over 32 Teams in which SOL members helped organise so we where able to tap into that audience aswell. This although was not physical producing anything was all to promote the two sites. The tieing in with the release of the RLG has worked a little however the RLG is only in early stages once the RLG starts to take of more the link will be even more helpful and enable the Clan to gain a bigger following.

The work i have done has gained a bigger following without a dout however a lot of the Marketing will come more into place with time.

 

 

 

Recap Part 2 Youtube important post

Part 2 Youtube!

Youtube was a big part of the Clients needs. An online presence to not only help for recruiting but chances of sponsorship and gathering a strong following. Coming into the start the SOL Youtube had 14 followers and around 700 video views most of which where from the 2 recruitment video’s. The Client also requested a short Video intro to be created to be used before every video one that advertised the Clan.

I started with the Video Intro as all video’s after would need this at the beginning. I have made a post on the process of the video. The main issue for this video was my utter ignorance of After Effects. This would be the piece of work which was most out of my comfort zone. I study Web Design however i was able to use Video Tutorials and create a very decent Video Intro which i and the Client was Extreamly proud of! i have even gone on to make one for the ReZpect League Gaming as a result.

The SOL Youtube also had a horrible background image with a weird layout choice so i made a new image for the background one that tied in with the SOL website then chose a new layout that suited the Clan’s needs more.

I made a plan of videos to make however along the way this simply changed to the needs of the client and current games they where playing. The actual creation of videos was fairly easy as the majority are simply recorded game play with minimal editing. I was however able to make a few “Primary” videos that where to be the most exciting. I used Social media and a current trend to create a Harlem Shake video this currently has 700+ views which on its own is more than the Clan had before my help This was one of the biggest successes in my mind for the Clan and gain multiple subscribers.

The other video which was a more challenging editing process was the Gears of War 3 Montage which although views wise wasn’t the most successful was probably the favorite within the Clan and also required the most knowledge of editing and pacing. The video did also throw up some interesting challenges mainly because Premire Pro CS6 had a Bug meaning i wasn’t able to edit the File Type the recorder spat out. So i had to use a program i had not previously used “Sony Vegas Pro” which in my mind is horrible and i hope to NEVER use again!

Another video which was easy to make but i thought might help for views was a simple Damage test video. When GOW:J was released there where lots of people complaining about certain weapons so using split screen i created a quick video to show the level of damage each weapon caused from different lengths. This was relativly successful as its read about 350 views plus on the EPIC forums gather a lot of comments subscribers also went up as this was released.

I will do a final summary recap to cover exactly what i have learnt plus the success and failures.

Recap Part 1 Important READ

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.

Website

Youtube Videos that have been produced!

This is a post to put all of the Videos i have produced for the SOL channel and that have been published. I will include those done by other members but will seperate into a differnt section as this we mainly orgainsed by myself aswell altho i did not produce them i arranged for some of these to happen.

These are the vids i have done:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11tcMQhiWw4&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA&index=22

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB3mgwoIcxk&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Szkq4tbGCSw&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqR4KmrZiEI&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJJF98t9-UE&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjqRX-mGFt8&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwtl4ozsKw8&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdqbnRj_KmA&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55oyvQtaIYw&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-LWQqH4SEM&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

 

Video’s others have done:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlqqrkUhj7c&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jySShstmXk&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGgUUSYIC1Q&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL7JFnjqKU8&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUgnPxPM6Y0&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr1CYFKzSBs&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyOQTymed4s&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UkSkqfO8Po&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZXhmwOuMTk&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dij67pae0bk&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCpzgYHgdc0&list=UUc5X1yQu1RjTc1V7ZcIylCA

 

Problem arising with the Viral advertising

I have run into a small issue with the advertising. TheWGL who i was planning on advertising to and was sure would help get me a bigger following, The Leader of SOL has now asked me not to due to him setting up a rivial Gaming League. In my oppion this is a mistake i would personaly still use theWGL to advertise however i will follow the Clients Needs.

I have decided to try and realease content and link it in with this New league as a Dual release as the Website get up and running and gains its own following i will tap into this and use realeases across both channels and tweet each other etc.

We also have a new member to the Clan who is actuly does his own Youtube videos and has his own following plus helps for another Youtube clan. I have asked him and he is willing to produce a few videos for us link us in on his channel and try to help us on this front. This will be a massive help and we plan on doing a couple of dual commentary’s in which we put them on both channels.

So it was a slight issue but i have adapted and tried to make it work as best as possible. The new method could be just as good and should gain us more and more of a following.