Pack Site Creation Help

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Grin
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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Grin » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:25 pm

Thanks for your suggestion! I will actually add up a few other support sites for some of the hosts now.

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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Zethra » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:04 pm

I personally think that this topic should be stickied, so I'm going to go and sticky it for yah Sethos. :3
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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Pallatsera » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:13 pm

I can help with any graphics if you need them Sethos and thanks for stickying this Zethra!

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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Paisley » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:34 pm

Since I've built websites in HTML, Javascript, CSS and worked with PHP, I can volunteer for helping with coding.

----------
Also, critique please:

Name: Paisley
Pack Name: Undine Falls Pack
Pack Topic Link: http://wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=45975
Pack Site: www.undinefallswolves.com
Other: The private section of our website isn't available to guests. We're also going over 'renovation' and will have a completely different layout on the site soon, so it'd be useful to have some comments on what should/could be changed.
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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Grin » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:56 pm

Alright, well if you do wish to help, feel free to private message me an application. =)

Also, I see that you aren't the owner of the UF pack topic, but do you help with the creation of the site? I forgot to add on the main topic that only pack owners/leaders should request critique, not regular pack members. However, as long as the owner or leader gives you permission to request critique, than we can.

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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Adalae » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:08 pm

I am liking this idea a lot (: Great job on the front post, Sethos!
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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Paisley » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:30 pm

Sethos wrote:
Also, I see that you aren't the owner of the UF pack topic, but do you help with the creation of the site? I forgot to add on the main topic that only pack owners/leaders should request critique, not regular pack members. However, as long as the owner or leader gives you permission to request critique, than we can.
Actually, Undine Falls doesn't have a leader; the council makes decisions together, I host the server and made the website, and Blackfur handles the WQ thread. I do have permission from the council, though.
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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Grin » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:19 pm

Alrighty then, here you go. :]

Undine Falls Critique

First Impression - The layout is clean and simple.
Appearance - 7/10
Again, the site is simple and not cluttered or busy, which is good. I like the color scheme as well. Normally, green and blue don't go well together, but it works for this site.

On some pages of the site that contain a relatively large amount of text, nothing captured my attention. For instance, on the Meet the Pack page, yes, there are pictures for each member, but as I scroll through that page, I basically see one large block of text. Perhaps add line breaks in between each member and underline/bold/etc. each section of all the members' profiles. That would break the text blocks apart a little bit and then the page wouldn't seem so "intimidatingly" full of text.

I also noticed that some of the background images repeat as you scroll down the page. I would suggest setting adding background-attachment:fixed; to the css that affect's your background so that it doesn't repeat or scroll along with the rest of the page. However, some of the backgrounds on your site don't stretch all the way across the page (and some viewers most likely have a wider screen than my PC), so fixing your background to a certain location (background-position css property) still wouldn't allow the image to span across the entire background of certain pages. So, if this suggestion was followed, than I would say either find a larger image unless you are content with the background-color being visible on areas where the picture doesn't stretch. I have used gradients on background images so that they appear to fade near the edges into my background color as well. That is also another possibility.

I like how you incorporate WolfQuest in-game images into the site's graphics. Most packs use actual wolf images, although I do spy a few here and there. Speaking of these non-WolfQuest pictures (including the background), do they too belong to Undine Falls, or were they free-use images from the web? It might be nice to specify in the copyright section of your site's footer where these images are from, unless they were all taken by members of the pack. Copyrights are fancy critters, anyways. :]

Coding -
I like the site's main template and how the left green bar serves as a place for content on each page. I would suggest, however, adding something to this side bar. It always appears as plain white text, which also masks the site's links since they are white as well. Maybe make a different id for links found in the side bars or change the text color.

The site's navigation system is a little disorganized. It's like a maze of links because the navigation often changes when different pages are being viewed. I would suggest having a navigation system for your site that incorporates all of the site's links, such as a drop-down menu. It might be nice if this menu didn't change from page to page as well. Wouldn't want any members or guests to miss out on any of the pages. ^^
The dashes in between the navigation links are unnecessary as well. If they were added to create wider gaps in between each link, remember that you could always add the following div tags around each link too:
<div style="margin-left:5px;">Link code here</div>

I'm sure you know how to fiddle around with the margin properties from there. Also, if the dashes were added for aesthetics, than I can understand that. Borders, background colors/images, etcetera could also be used to decorate the navigation links too. That way, they aren't simple text links.

Also, as I was wandering through the site, I noticed that there are several links that either take me to an image (which I believe is the site error image) or the page simply isn't found, such as the Shout Outs page. A page or two are also empty and state that they aren't meant to be up yet. If they aren't, than I would suggest not linking to them at all. It can become a little perturbing to navigate through a site that is half empty.

Lastly, the one art gallery that works simply showcases art on a blank white page. Perhaps link to a page with the site's main template intact that shows all of the images in the main content area? It would be more organized and aesthetically pleasing.

Creativity/Uniqueness - 8/10
I am quite sure that Undine Falls is the only self-hosted pack on WolfQuest, which allows for a very unique site. It is, and the content of your site is definitely different than what most packs showcase on their sites as well. So much can be done with a self-hosted site, and yet in my opinion, this pack's site has so much more that it can offer. Play with the creativity design-wise a little more, perhaps, and try to organize the content a little better so that pages don't look so monotonous and unvaried.

Advice/Suggestions -
Most of my suggestions were given throughout the above.

There seems to be a lot of pack-related business that members are participating in, but I still don't feel the members "shine through" on this site. It appears very factual, professional, and information-oriented on its main subjects: wolves and WolfQuest. Although these traits are great to have, I want to know more about the members. What do they think? Is this pack even fun to be a part of? Yes, the site has a page on the member's wolf characters and there is member art, but other than that, your pack's activity seems very secretive. And I did see on the membership page where it shows the benefits of being a member, including have access to your pack's forum, but there is no way for guests to know if your pack is active or not. I'm not supposed to judge a site's actual content, but my main point is that perhaps if your site somehow showed evidence of all that signing up promises, than it would be more appealing.

Comments - I hope that I didn't sound rude throughout any part of this. It really is a great website. <3

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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Seranda7 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:01 pm

Name: Seranda7
Pack Name: Thunder Coast Pack
Pack Topic Link: http://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=51587
Pack Site: http://thundercoastpack.forumotion.ca/
Preferred Delivery: Please post it here, I learned a thing or two from reading your critique of the Undine Falls site ^^.
Other: I have sent you a PM with account information for a 'Critique' account, where you'll be able to view all of our categories, not just 'Guests'. Ignore if the form isn't accepted. ^^"
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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by MsGoldenMC4 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:15 am

I am making a Pack Website and I was wondering how you do those tab things like on the board index where it says WOLVES and with all the forums under it.


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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Grin » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:48 pm

Alright, Seranda. I'll get to your critic as soon as I can. =)
-x-Rebecca-x- wrote:I am making a Pack Website and I was wondering how you do those tab things like on the board index where it says WOLVES and with all the forums under it.
Wolves is called a "category", and the forums that show beneath it are referred to as forums or boards. What host are you using to create your website? Creating categories and forums can vary depending on the host.

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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Seranda7 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:12 pm

Sethos wrote:Alright, Seranda. I'll get to your critic as soon as I can. =)
Alright, thanks Sethos. ^^
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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by 1BitJay » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:47 pm

Sethos, I sent in a critic request. Please reply soon!
I ᗯOᑌᒪᗪ ᔕᗩY TᕼᗩT ᗰᑌᔕIᑕ Iᔕ TᕼE EᗩᔕIEᔕT ᗰEᗩᑎᔕ
Iᑎ ᗯᕼIᑕᕼ TO E᙭ᑭᖇEᔕᔕ, ᗷᑌT ᔕIᑎᑕE ᗯOᖇᗪᔕ ᗩᖇE ᗰY
TᗩᒪEᑎT,
I ᗰᑌᔕT TᖇY TO E᙭ᑭᖇEᔕᔕ ᑕᒪᑌᗰᔕIᒪY Iᑎ
ᗯOᖇᗪᔕ
ᗯᕼᗩT TᕼE ᑭᑌᖇE ᗰᑌᔕIᑕ ᗯOᑌᒪᗪ ᕼᗩᐯE ᗪOᑎE ᗷETTEᖇ.

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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by Grin » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:06 pm

Okay Jay, I'll look into it. =)

Thunder Coast Pack Critic

First Impression - The background appears to be the dominant graphic on the site, so it catches my eye at first.
Appearance - 5/10

Overall, it has a nice layout, but I find it to be slightly plain. The color scheme and background do not correlate well together. I would suggest either creating a green background or making a new skin that matches the current one. Perhaps you could give the current background a green hue in order for it to match, but I don't know how well green wolves would look.

The forum index itself is what's so ordinary. If you made a skin that matched the background, I'm sure you could "spice up" the forum by creating forum icons out of the wolf faces as well. The floral patterns on each category seem very repetitive due to the very brief forum descriptions too. If they are going to be short, it might be best to use a solid color, gradient, or a subtler pattern so that when one scrolls down the length of the forum index, it doesn't seem so redundant. These images should be set as the background-image of your th
(table header), in case you do decide to switch it out.

Also, as I mentioned under First Impression, your background is the eye grabber of the site. It would be neat if you had a banner of some sort in the header. In doing so, I believe it would also take away from the plainness of the site and make it much more appealing. After working with Forumotion sites a while, I've noticed that customizing them is much more limited than other forum hosts. For instance, you cannot add widgets or tables above the forum like in Proboards or Invision Free. However, you can add widgets along the side of your forum and even create your own custom ones. I'm mentioning this because I think that adding some sort of side bar might do your forum index some good. You could add things such as a welcome message, updates, contest information, or anything you can think of. That would give your site a more personalized feel. For instance, when viewing the forum as a guest, the only thing that tells me this is a pack site is the forum header and your scrolling announcement. There's nothing for guests to read through about what's currently going on inside the forum. Consider a side bar as a lure of sorts. If it sounds like your members are actively participating on the forum and there are plenty of things to participate in (such as role playing), it would make your site much more informative and interesting.

Coding - 8/10
There isn't much for me to critique when it comes forumotion coding, especially when premade skins are used. However, one thing that I can suggest is perhaps fixing your background in place. That way, it doesn't scroll with the rest of the forum. Even if you didn't do this, the background still looks nice. =)

Creativity/Uniqueness - 4/10
As long as you personalize your site like I suggested in the appearance section, the creativity and uniqueness of it will definitely increase. You made the awesome background, so take your skills a step farther and work with the forum itself! :D

Advice/Suggestions - given throughout the above
Comments - none, really ^^

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Re: Pack Site Creation Help (requests, critiques, and more)

Post by MsGoldenMC4 » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:52 pm

Sethos wrote: Wolves is called a "category", and the forums that show beneath it are referred to as forums or boards. What host are you using to create your website? Creating categories and forums can vary depending on the host.

I am using Forumotion for the pack site.


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