Some kind of critique request

I've been lurking and reading through the forum here, especially various threads regarding promotion/advertising. I've been very limited to what I've done so far, focusing mainly on friends and various social networking sites, with the intent of broadening my scope once I'm happy with the "product".

Which is where this comes in. Now, I've got the usual artiste's problem of never being happy with what I produce. That's why it's taken 4 years of work just to get this far! But I have to make a compromise somewhere, and I've decided to ask if anyone has any constructive criticism that might help me.

It's also far easier asking strangers than people you know. That always goes wrong!

So if anyone could be so kind, I would be more than grateful for any critique. Even if it's just a 30-second-this-doesn't-appeal-to-me-at-all opinion! I'm not looking for story/writing critique, though feel free to go that way if you want XD

There are a few issues I'm aware of:

- The logo/title graphic is very much a stand-in until I can come up with something better. I'm also not too keen on having "an online story" etc. there, but figured I ought to have *something* alerting people to the site's purpose.

- The colour scheme still needs a bit of fiddling with. Mainly the link colours. I want to maintain a "white" theme, but at the same time I need some colour, so I'm torn.

- I'm worried the 'Story' page might be intimidating. There are a lot of pages, and I wanted to include direct links to them as I felt it would be easier for people to navigate. On the other hand, it makes it look like there's a lot more content than there really is. Each page is about 500 words, or thereabouts, as I wanted to minimise scrolling.

- Images. I had this issue way back in 2001, when I last dabbled with web serials. You illustrate a few things, and suddenly everyone expects EVERYTHING to be illustrated! I don't have that kind of time (the chapter covers are at least a few hours of work each - if I used colour for them, triple that) At the same time, though, do you think the 'lack' of images is an issue? Does the site look too plain? Or does it give the impression the story is a webcomic, when it's not? (although I will be experimenting with 'mixed media' storytelling at some points)

Apologies for the overtly wordy post. I have a habit for such things!

Hi Dary,

Overall, the site looks good. It's a bit twee for my tastes, but, then I'm male and in my 30s, so that's probably not a shock to you. The text pages themselves are clean and easy to read, and navigation from chapter to chapter is excellent.

You should probably put a link right to the first page of the story from the home page -- don't make people have to load extra pages or go through a table of contents to start reading. Also, in terms of the illustrations, you might want to put them on a page with text. I'll admit I did initially think I was leaving the prologue and starting into a comic, when the first one came up. If you put them on a page with text, it will be less unexpected.


I agree with Chris, except that, in addition to the link you have on the home page, I would make a page that redirects to the beginning of the story so it would show up in the header navigation--a "Start Here" or something like that. I actually got this idea from MeiLin, and I think it's a good one.

Another thing I really like but is not necessary is to have a table of contents visible on each page of the story--in the sidebar or at the bottom of the post (or both, which is what I do). Since your pages are quite short, I would recommend against putting it in the content area, but having a complete ToC in the sidebar could be distracting. Maybe a ToC with each chapter shown but only individual pages shown for the current chapter, if that makes sense...

I like having the ToC available because readers can get a sense for where they are in the story without leaving the page; so if you wanted to know if you were close to a good stopping point you could just look. Just makes things a bit easier for the reader.

NOTE: I saw the "Start at the beginning" link in the sidebar as I was talking about the ToC. Good idea. Still, the fact that I missed it may tell you something... Try making it more prominent: bold, bigger, different size, whatever. In fact, I would try making your page navigation text a bit bigger too.

And a definite second to Chris' idea about the pictures going in the text.

The actual story pages look great, otherwise. Very readable and uncluttered. The cast pages, too. Good on ya.


Thanks for taking the time out to have a look at things. It's greatly appreciated! I've started working on some changes to try and address some of the issues.

My only concern with a full contents list in the sidebar is clutter. That's why I kept it to just current/recent/beginning links. I can, however, see the benefit of such a system. It's something I'll have to experiment with.