Site revamp - ideas would be great!

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Site revamp - ideas would be great!

Postby Sketch Country » Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:43 pm UTC

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EDIT: (Original post below)
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Ok, so I didn't quite get the site revamp together as quickly as I would have liked but ch-ch-check it out:

http://www.sketchcountry.com

I've taken on board a lot of your comments, so many thanks for the advice.

TO DO:

Get rid of the red background (I'm really struggling with this, I have the new background ready, but just can't get rid of the red!)
Get the shop up and running - I'm selling (in the UK) in a physical shop, but I'd like to get the online version up and running.






After almost a year of webcomic effort I feel like it's time for my site to get a lick of virtual paint.

I'd be thrilled and grateful if you would consider taking a look at http://www.sketchcountry.com and suggest:

- Ways to improve the site layout\design (small changes rather than a wholesale redesign).

- Things to add to the site

- Things to remove from the site

- Things to improve usability

- Things to improve visitor numbers

I'm planning to compile a list of changes and make it my goal to execute them within a month - score on for self-imposed deadline! I already have 'add links to other web-comics' nad 'add better RSS links' on my list.

Many thanks for any time you can spare, all comments will be gratefully received!
Last edited by Sketch Country on Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:07 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Site revamp - ideas would be great!

Postby alden » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:00 pm UTC

Comicpress makes it nice and usable. I had no issue with moving around. Clicking on the dates on the calendar brought up smaller versions of the comic as "search results" (I guess) rather than just going to the page for that day. Don't know if that can be avoided. Not really a big deal.

The first thing I noticed was the glaring bright red backround. I would personally make it white, which is less harsh on the eyes and I think would also allow your other use of red and other colors to be a better accent to the black and white (I like the use of color in the comic!)

The image over the calendar appears grainy/pixelated to me.

I would personally center the three links at the top of the page, but that's nitpicky :)

There's a typo on the Shop page: attractt


Um, yeah! It is easier to criticize than to create, etc. Good luck!
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Re: Site revamp - ideas would be great!

Postby weex » Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:08 pm UTC

I like very minimal design because I feel the comic should be central...after all people are coming to read your comic and not necessarily the administrative content. So I would see if you could reconfigure your layout to shorten the stuff above the comic and add previous and next links above. Alden's comic does a nice job of making it easier to navigate by not requiring a scroll step. It's true in doing this that people may not see your whole comic but if it's good they'll want to. If not at least they'll be able to get through them quickly. (as I write this I don't have next and prev above the comic but will add them posthaste)

I also agree with Alden about the red. Make it white or replace it with something that is both less saturated and adds some artistic flare.

About the shop page. How about offering one or two of your most popular comics as a print, t-shirtand/or coffee cup. The current text on that page puts the onus on the user to do too much work(i.e. pick a comic). Another plus is that it gives people a couple of comics to view with deeper interest since they're ostensibly better than the others.

Also this might be a touchy thing but the k in sketch in the top title bar makes me think R too much.

Lastly and similar to the shop page idea, how about picking a few favorites and putting thumbs of them on the right column? see xkcd for an idea. Once I have some favorites, I might do the same.

If you want to improve visitor numbers, post each new comic in as many places as you can(don't spam of course as there are plenty of dedicated forums and sites that want quantity of posts to find some quality ones). You'll quickly find out which sites work best for you.

Really lastly, enable an archives page to let people jump around based on titles rather than just dates.
Salvador Dali wrote:Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.

Simple Pen Art, now with an Archive page.
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Re: Site revamp - ideas would be great!

Postby Omegaton » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:09 am UTC

Hmmm, what's the "about" page really for? I actually don't see much value in it.

I have to agree with the others about the red background.

alden wrote:Clicking on the dates on the calendar brought up smaller versions of the comic as "search results" (I guess) rather than just going to the page for that day. Don't know if that can be avoided. Not really a big deal.

If this is possible, I agree.

I would personally center the three links at the top of the page, but that's nitpicky :)

FWIW, I like it better left-aligned.

weex wrote:So I would see if you could reconfigure your layout to shorten the stuff above the comic and add previous and next links above..

I agree with this. After looking at the logo, I noticed that the angles of the shadows are incorrect for the angle the light is coming from. By changing the angle alone you should be able to shave off quite a few pixels.

weex wrote:About the shop page. How about offering one or two of your most popular comics as a print, t-shirtand/or coffee cup. The current text on that page puts the onus on the user to do too much work(i.e. pick a comic). Another plus is that it gives people a couple of comics to view with deeper interest since they're ostensibly better than the others.

Something I might try would be putting a "Get this comic as a print!" button under each comic leading to the shop page. This way, people know that you are providing prints of each comic, and they can go to the shop page for more information. With just the shop link, people might not necessarily know they can get a print of their favorite comic. Furthermore, a proper archive page would help this so that people can easily go find old comics they might've liked.

weex wrote:If you want to improve visitor numbers, post each new comic in as many places as you can(don't spam of course as there are plenty of dedicated forums and sites that want quantity of posts to find some quality ones). You'll quickly find out which sites work best for you.

To add onto this, other ways to get readers include telling friends (not incredibly effective since most people don't have a lot of friends relative to the number of readers they'd like), having link-sharing site links on your page (good if your comic is good enough that people want to share), and posting on forums but ONLY having the link in your sig (which is more modest). However, I think many professional webcomic artists would chalk their success up to word of mouth, which basically means making your comic good enough to talk about, as well as time and simply plugging away at it.
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Re: Site revamp - ideas would be great!

Postby styrofoam » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:02 pm UTC

In rough order of importance:
* +1 on the bright red background. Desaturated red (maybe), grey, or white.
* The pictures above the calendar look blurred (pixelated, perhaps?).
* The shadows in the header need changed. They're wrong for the sun, and if they were fixed, it would make the header smaller, too.
* Your feed only includes the latest comic. I'd at least contain the most recent two. If the user doesn't update often enough, they miss comics.
* "Get this comic in print" sounds good too. Let them know what's in the shop.
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Re: Site revamp - ideas would be great!

Postby Sketch Country » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:11 pm UTC

Well those are sound ideas and suggestions all-round - now I just need to find the hours to make all these changes!

I'm determined to have everything done by the end of the month...
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Re: Site revamp - ideas would be great!

Postby Sketch Country » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:07 pm UTC

It's a little late, but I've been working on the site revamp - it's a work in progress at http://www.sketchcountry.com (update above).
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Re: Site revamp - ideas would be great!

Postby webheads » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:41 pm UTC

I like how you've hand-drawn elements like the RSS and links icons to give the site an aesthetic unity. And the thumbs along the right side. The sandy color and all the i's evoke a Sumerian cuneiform quality which is interesting.

The About page still seems obligatory. How about combining it with an Archive to beef up the content? And the 'K' in the header image does look pretty 'R'-ish. I giggled at the prospects of touring "Retch Country." :wink:
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Re: Site revamp - ideas would be great!

Postby Sketch Country » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:59 am UTC

"Sumerian cuneiform quality " - I may have to borrow that quote!

Fair points on the about page - I suppose an archive wouldn't be too hard to implement, possibly just a list of links to comic names...I will ponder this further!
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