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So, we've got a fair number of notions for the redesign of the OA site, mainly the site main page. Do folks have any notions for improving the EG itself or the 'business pages' of the site (the FAQ pages, Introductory pages, Contest pages, etc.)?

If so, please share them hereSmile

One notion I'm sort of intrigued by is adding the option to make pages with more than a single central column of text. Perhaps two or three columns, each displaying different information might be handy?

Another idea - use more diagrams, charts, and tables in the EG to convey some kinds of information. These might be easier/faster to produce than full color images and might convey a lot of information beyond what our mostly text based approach to things does. We have a few pages in the EG that do this and more might be very helpful.


It did occur to me that IF there were a way to restrict access to only those who have the right permissions to make edits, some form of Wiki software could be of use for EG. People are used to that format of navigation and that also might make templates easy to design and create if you know the right Wikicode. I would not recommend, however, using Wikia, but staying with your own hosting, because the ads on Wikia are becoming more obnoxious and functionality-breaking by the day.

Of course, importing into a Wiki with a project this size would be a massive undertaking. But then again, so would any EG-wide reorganization.
Include the option of putting in columns in the EG (three perhaps). so that different information can be put in parallel. Possibly include 'advertisements' in the right side column similar to how modern websites do it. Or maybe do that somewhere else in the site?
Hello All,

So, for the past few days, I've been noodling around with both compiling the various ideas for the site redesign and creating a mockup of a proposed new look for the OA main page. The results can be found in the three attached documents.

Please note that this is not 'official' (ie sanctioned by the Board) just my thoughts and ideas and the compilation of ideas from several folks.

The two idea lists look at actual physical changes to the OA website functionality and at things we might be able to do with our current systems, it just being a matter of deciding to do so.

The mockup image is based on a combo of the two websites I reference, the Adobe homepage primarily. I've tried to explain my thinking on the various pieces and parts with notes, but if something isn't clear, please don't hesitate to ask about it. Also, please don't hesitate to offer suggestions for changes or even entirely different designs.

On a final note, I've spoken with Trond, our webmaster, and although he's currently rather tied up finishing his Phd, he estimates that he should be available to start talking site redesign around the middle of 2014 - which is really not very long at all as OA measures things. Some (perhaps many) of the more 'policy and procedure' items might be implemented well before then. And of course, there are the results of the 'what can we do better/different' discussion, which I'm aiming to start looking at and implementing in 2014 as well. More on that later.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Hey all,

Recently I talked to our webmaster, Trond and he'd actually like to start discussing the site redesign sooner rather than later. Since the book is kind of in a waiting place atm, I thought it would be a good time to get the discussion started.

With this in mind, are there any thoughts, ideas, concerns, etc. that folks have re the site redesign? In particular, I'd like to know what ideas folks might have for improving the site that we haven't touched on yet. In particular the EG and business pages. We have a lot of notions for the main page, and some for the EG (some of which can also be applied to the business pages), but are there any other things people have thought of?

Please post your ideas here for discussion and possible adding to the 'punch list' that has been put together and posted to this thread.


My first suggestion is to get the words Orion's Arm on every page. Although most readers who are familiar with the site will know what the deal is, someone finding the Dyson sphere page or the magmatter page might think they were on a site called 'Encyclopedia Galactica'.
I'd suggest adding an 'Additional Information' tab option to the EG pages, similar to how we now have design notes. This could contain links to related information that does not directly contribute to the EG entry. Examples could be stories or art galleries on that topic, non OA works that are relevant and perhaps other stuff. An example of this, using the Design Notes tab already exists on the site here:

I'd like to see more of this kind of thing so that a reader gets more of a full 'holistic experience' of something in OA, all from a given location instead of reading an EG and then only later finding a story that relates, or pictures, or a white paper or whatever.
So, I came up with a couple of additional possible 'looks' for the redesigned main page. As before they are very rough and will look much better when an artist has done them. Please look them over and share any thoughts or ideas you have for improving them (or alternatives to them) and also which 'design' you like best. Please see the attached.

here's some spruced-up/ enhanced versions of those designs
These are both quite nice and Image 1 is very close to Mockup 2.

Regarding Mockup 3, I should probably explain that one better. I'm basically seeing it as sort of a hybrid between something like the mockups you did earlier (bother, the forum won't let me load the file, it's too large) that were similar to the Eve Online webpage:

Basically a big static background image that is very iconic of OA (have some thoughts on that), with a 'window' in the center. Initially the window is a semi-transparent 'screen' that shows the OA intro text, but you can also see the background image through it. It has forward and back arrows on each side as you have here.

When you click the forward/back arrows the image slides to the side and new image takes its place. These are full on images, like the Mckendree cylinder you have here (I hadn't thought of the intro EG text (and presumably a link to the full article). I like itSmile). Maybe 6 or so each representing some major aspect of the setting. You can cycle through them (forward and back) using the arrows until you get back to the main one containing the intro text. The intro text and maybe others have links to other pages.

Below the main image (as you scroll down or click the Explore button at the top, which jumps you down the page) you get to the News Net (which would also have forward/back arrows to scroll between headlines that would be links to the relevant EG) and the thumbnails for the EG, V:FT, member artwork, etc. At this point the background image seques into just stars such as you have in Image 2 or maybe a nebula like the Eagle Nebula (something colorful?). The individual panels for V:FT and the other 'buttons' might have frames around them and look like they are 'floating' above the background (no idea if that is hard to do:/ - just throwing out ideas at this point).

OR (just thought of this idea).

Again, have the large, static background image ala Eve Online with a central window/frame as mentioned above (but no forward back arrows this time. Maybe have it be something like a gas giant with some moons. But the moons are terraformed or worldhoused, and maybe there are some dyson trees in orbit, and a McKendree cylinder. There's a bright point peaking up around the limb of the planet (a DWIZ) and the planet might have a belt of 'terrestrial planet' around the equator from a mass stream supported habitat platform (or maybe hexagonal plates scattered around on it?).

Over each of these 'OA iconic' bits are some kind of indicator (a red dot, a 'target', something to indicate that you should mouse over them). When you do, the central window displays an image/intro EG such as you have in this mockup for that item. When you click on it maybe it takes you to the relevant EG (unless that's a pain technically or we want to keep people on the main screen initially and have them enter the EG/setting in a more controlled fashion.

Below the main image is the same set of EG/V:FT/etc. thumbnails/links as described above. The user scrolls or jumps down to them as described above.

As mentioned, not sure how easy/hard any of this is, including creating a large scale image to act as the background. But figured I'd throw it out there.

What do y'all think?

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