|We've been reviewing the current format of the Utopia homepage, and we've decided the layout could do with some adjustments, mainly to improve functionality and its visual appeal. This will hopefully help attract new players and make the front page more convenient to use for everyone.
We feel that the layout is currently a little confusing for anyone not familiar with the game, and want to give the home page more focus. We would like to display up-to-date information on the games, game changes, and news items, in one convenient place. In conjunction with this, we would like to update some of the graphics for the site, to give it a more unified look.
Some of the current changes/ideas we have in mind are:
- Maintain the current format: menu on the left, banner on top
- Maintain the current width of the home page
- Remove some obsolete links - e.g., the Swirve links, on the top bar.
- Remove the "New to the Game?" box, instead advising new player as they create an account
- Move the account creation option to a more prominent position, and have only one choice - i.e., currently both Gen and WoL have a "Create Account" option
- Allow login to the games via the front page - perhaps with a small login form beneath the menu
- Reduce relative width of the menu, leaving more space for content
- Change aspects of the menu/banner colour scheme - background will still be black, but we may change from grey/white to a darker colour
- Introduce a blog feed/news/information box to the front page
The home page changes will have very little impact on the current in-game interface, as the in-game layout and homepage are very different in terms of both style and function. Initial plans are to make minor in-game adjustments, such as removing some of the frames, reorganising the menu a little - e.g., Send & Receive Message should really be one screen, that sort of thing. We would also like to make other small changes, such as adding acres to the top bar, perhaps clickable locations, and adding fortified ME effects on the Military Advisor page, amongst others. Later we will be making more advanced changes, and adding some useful features that have been much requested.
These are our ideas so far - we'd like to know if there's anything in particular people would like to see - or not see - on the front page. We would also like to hear from you on suggestions for in-game UI improvements. I've already received quite a few good ideas via email and by reading the forums, so now I'd like to encourage people to specifically direct their suggestions toward these sorts of changes. I have created a thread in the B&S forums specifically for this purpose, here.
Generally, we want to ease entry into the game for new players and encourage them to get in touch with their kingdom mates and the rest of the community - hopefully they'll want to continue to play! Any initial UI changes will try to reflect that sentiment, and we'll be working toward this goal - making improvements to the game manuals, and making it easier for players to communicate in-game, amongst other things.
We would hope to start making the front page changes over the next week, and then start working on the in-game UI changes that you suggest, afterwards.
I would ask you not to use the blog comments section for game suggestions/improvements. Just use it for personal comments or comments on the blog in general - keep game suggestions in B&S please. (Original post)