AA Neo Mockup

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Obviously this is way too minimalist, but this is an idea of how the finished site could look.

I apologize for my lack of drawing abilities in advance.

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Mark Vergeer
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My mock up of one of the

My mockup of one of the ideas I have for site, never mind the colour.... ;)

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Mat Tschirgi (not verified)
That mock up is very nice...

That mock up is very nice... It keeps the simple and clean look we seem to be striving for.

Would the "drop down menus" be done via JavaScript?

My mock up was kind of a spoof and very retro/trash art looking. :)

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=- Mat Tschirgi =- Armchair Arcade Editor
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Mark Vergeer
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Thanks, liked your idea

Thanks, liked your idea aswell. Very retro.trash looking indeed. Would be great for a spectrum review section....
Drop downs could be done in javascript reading the neccessary data from files generated from the database (like new news items etc).

Here's some info on how that can be done....
http://www.mywebstuff.com/02_css/css_07.html
http://www.alistapart.com/articles/dropdowns/

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Bill Loguidice
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Comments on Mockup; Logo Suggestion; Art Theory

Discounting the outdated menu structure based off of the old Website, I like the basic design a lot, Mark. I think we can get away with a bit more of a graphical flourish, with visuals interspersed in key places, but clean, with a white background is probably ideal. It reminds me a bit of this Website: http://www.acheckamerica.com/index.html

I also suggest we do a new logo. Seb did an awesome job, but I think at this point we're safer doing things in-house as it were and having no permanent fixtures that are not from the core team. It shouldn't be a big deal anyway, as it's just "flashy text" as it were.

Every piece of art that we create should be a vector source whenever possible or done at an extra large scale so it can be cleanly utilized on as many things as possible (no scaling or resolution issues). I'm very much of the opinion that anything we create - particularly in regards to art - be reusable as much as possible (merchandise, print, whatever). No reason to put in the effort and not be able to take full advantage of it.

Also, let's keep in mind that we're getting away from the online issue format. We'll post articles as we do them, basically. However, these will be compiled into some type of print issue, so we have the best of everything.
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Bill Loguidice - Armchair Arcade Co-Founder and Editor
www.billandchristina.com (includes Videogame and Computer Collection)
www.mythcore.com (creative development company)

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Matt Barton
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Some Thoughts

From a usability standpoint, less is more. That's one reason why a forum marked "GENERAL" or "MISC" tends to get 300% or more activity than a highly specialized forum with things like Apple II, Amstrad, etc. People don't like their work being pidgeon-holed with that kind of system. That's one reason why Drupal is beloved by so many people--you can select multiple tags for things and can thus avoid this problem. So, you could tag something Atari 2600, but also RetroGaming or Modern Remakes or the like. We should keep this multi-tagging capability in mind when we think about menu layouts.

What I expect the typical AA visitor (not necessarily the forum regulars) would find useful would be a neat and tidy organization. So, we have a button marked "Features" that will take them directly to full-length, "published" articles. Another button marked "Reviews" will take them to our games and hardware reviews page (I think a separate section like this is vital if we want to get more freebies). We could have a button marked "BLOGS," but it seems that we're leaning more towards calling this "NEWS" or "EDITORIALS" at the moment.

A good "splash page" at the top would have a space designated for the latest feature article (and the titles of some older ones right underneath it). Since this is the prominent bit, I'd suggest top left for it. We'd also have a spot somewhere with the titles and snippets of the latest "NEWS." This could be streamed along the right. Perhaps the latest reviews could be mixed in here as well. The "STORE" could be a button on the menu, but I lean more towards it having its own tasteful box somewhere lower on the page, preferably with a small pic of the hottest selling item. Finally, a button marked "TOPICS" would allow users to browse by subject matter (so, they would see a button marked "AMIGA" that would show them a list of all the blogs, features, forums, and reviews that we've tagged as such).

A few things I'd like to avoid:
(a) Long lists of anything. I can't stand to see a site with some massive list of "Other Sites," "News Items," or anything that involves some cumbersome list streaming all down the mainpage. The last five posts in the forum or some such is okay, but this kind of thing can quickly get out of hand and make a page look unkempt.

(b) Flashing crap. I don't think anyone likes this stuff, but let's just decide that we don't want anything popping up or irritating anyone by flashing at him.

(c) Too much menu. We don't need to give users too many options at the menu level. Let's just give them basic buttons and encourage them to explore the site at their leisure. There is a tendency to have a button for everything, but this soon becomes more cumbersome than useful. Someone who just wants to go quickly to the general forum can make a bookmark to it. There's no reason to have a "GENERAL FORUM" button on the main menu.

I'm not making demands here; just asserting my opinion on these things.

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Mark Vergeer
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Sort of indeed....

If we were to use a menu it would have to be simple, I think the one I mocked up is simple enough. But perhaps there are other ideas.
I find the current way Durpal organizes our blogs dreadfull.

A top banner on the left or right with news items streamed next to it would be excellent.

Long lists are awfull.

The site should look classy not flashy.

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Bill Loguidice
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Well, let's not give up on

Well, let's not give up on Drupal just yet. However, if we have to, there are plenty of other content management systems we can turnkey...
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Bill Loguidice - Armchair Arcade Co-Founder and Editor
www.billandchristina.com (includes Videogame and Computer Collection)
www.mythcore.com (creative development company)

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Matt Barton
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Drupal

Well, I've scheduled this weekend to work on this site a bit. Hopefully will get a better understanding of the layouts and start thinking seriously about the new site. Free Software Magazine and Academic Gamers have recently switched from homebrew to Drupal, and the improvements are significant. I'm not some blind devotee, but everything I see and hear about this suggests we're on the right track. Just have to do the footwork...!

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Matt Barton
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A Tool that Might Be Helpful

Mark--wanted to point out this tool that you might find very helpful:

W Bloggar
I know people who swear by this, so please let me know what you think.

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I'll take a look at it. I've

I'll take a look at it. I've been browsing some of the premium user sites of this software.... I like the menu of this site...

http://www.jamesworley.com/

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