Back with a question... general site input.

Hey guys, been out of circulation for awhile- dodgy internet connection and no time to myself- but now I'm back, and I bring with me various promises. Firstly, to people expecting reviews from me- you know who you are- I shall be getting around to writing those ASAP. Secondly, I'd like to request some input from the group.

(...Good God, it sounds as though I'm appealing to Alcoholics Anonymous.')

...Anyway. Me and a couple of friends are in the process of setting up a site, which I hope to submit to WFG once it has a decent amount of content... and once I get those reviews done. We're a bit conflicted over the general look of the thing and, well, who better to ask for opinions than you guys. The link is below:

And any advice, constructive criticism, destructive criticism or outright abuse you have to offer would be great.

(P.S. We're also taking potential names for the Bird, if anyone has any suggestions).

Overall, it looks good. I like the color scheme.

I find the text in the right menu bar to be a little small for my taste.

Also, there were like, 3 steps to get to Living History. There was the link in the side, with a short description. The slightly longer description that link led to, and then the abstract page and I still haven't seen the story. I think you can make the trip to the content shorter.

As for the bird - it's a cardinal. My sense of humor says name it Stanford.

Hey Reyben!

Personal opinions? *evil grin*

- Brighten up the text. White, or at least a lighter grey. The low contrast hurts my eyes.

- Like the colour scheme.

- Cute bird.

- Bird's border is too jagged. Needs a smoother graphic, or a smaller one (might be my browser resizing it that's causing it)

- Some readers won't care WHO writes it, they'll just want to see what you have. Maybe have an aggregated menu as well?

- Given the uncertain update schedule... RSS feed?

My only problem with it is that it's not immediately clear that this is a writing site versus ... I dunno a bird watching site.

Oh sure, if I actually read the text it's clear what it is, but most web visitors don't. They want an instant understanding of what they're looking at and will jump to conclusions as fast as they can, then they push the back button.

So ultimately how much of a problem this is depends on who your audience is and the purpose of the site. If you're putting it up for friends, current fans, etc ... people who are going to take a minute and read to figure out what they're looking at because they know you and are interested in your projects I'd say it's fine. Maybe make the design modifications that others suggested.

But if you're looking for a wider audience, I'd change the layout so that the visuals at least fit the subject matter of the writing itself (unless you write about birds ... in which case by all means keep the cardinal) and the site conveys some overall sense of "this is a website where (fiction) writing is published." Because, honestly, most web visitors have the attention spans of gnats. If you want the gnats that are interesting in web fiction, you have to give them something that they identify immediately as "web fiction"

Thanks for the suggestion, guys! Unfortunatly my internet access is incredibly choppy at the moment, so I haven't been able to implement them yet... although one of the other site admins has added an index page, to make the stories easier to get at. We're all a bit baffled as to why the News Updates insist on making you jump through three steps to get anywhere- its part of the template, I think. Will try to work it out.

Colour scheme tests are in progress too. Keep the suggestions coming! Oh, and allantmichaels, I give up- why a Stanford?

Because Stanford University's mascot is the cardinal (although they mean the color).

I am colorblind. Anything but black on white or very light background is unreadable.