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General Page Layout

General Page Layout – July 22, 2010 1:32 PM (edited 7/22/10 9:32 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
The Campaign Suicide site has to have a consistent overall layout. There are a number of things to be decided on, so here are the obvious ones. Suggestions for both solutions and other things to worry about are more than welcome.

Basic Branding
It's kind of a given that you need to splash your site's title on the main page somewhere, usually the top left. But how big, and what color scheme should I use? That is the question.

There are two basic sets of potential navigation tools: a top bar, and a side bar. These days I've become more inclined to go with top bars, since they can be scrolled off and not really take up space, but a module-dependent sidebar can still work (perhaps for editing tools or subsection navigation). There are a few models for navigation, and I'm sure more I'm not listing.
• Top bar tabs can make a nice office-file-folder feel for the site, but they are fairly limited in how many you can squeeze in there. This could work well for Campaign Suicide if we section it off into very distinct areas (edit campaign, play, forums, whatever).
• Top bar drop-down menus, on the other hand, allow for a lot of options in a relatively small space. They are especially useful for dynamically changing lists, such as active threads in a forum. However, I'm not sure how useful they will be here.
• Sidebar lists, like the one on the Gamer Corner, tend to take up space (as mentioned above) and cause formatting problems, especially for non-fixed-width sites, which I intend Campaign Suicide to be. However, they could serve as a toolbar for editing, navigation for campaign stuff, or whatever.
• Sidebar expanding menus are like top bar drop-down menus... but sideways! I can't foresee having enough links to justify these here, though, and plus I hate navigating menus horizontally (there's just not enough margin for error). But they are an option

Search Feature
It's always nice to have a search at the top of your site, but what would this one search for? I need to decide early if it's worth having a site-wide search, because that requires indexing all different types of page. So is this useful?

This will be a user-driven site, so we need a good login UI. I'm fond of my little top right thing that I use for most sites these days, but perhaps a link that opens a hidden login window is a better use of space. (For some idea what I mean, look at the feedback form link on any random GC Guides page.)

Other Stuff
Beyond that, most of this is fluff. For instance we have the random quote here on the Gamer Corner. So is there anything else to put on the every-page UI that I didn't think of?

Chat Page Branding
One other important question is, while the general site menus will clearly be on every non-game page, what about when you're actually playing? Assuming no sidebar, space shouldn't be an issue, but should I nonetheless have an entirely separate "play game" page?

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