View Full Version : Design Suggestions

10-02-12, 11:59 AM

Although I really like the overall feel and look of the design, I think it could be a lot tighter, and IMO eliminating a lot of the wasted space would really help usability.

As it currently stands, measuring from the top down, there are over 520 pixels of headers, navigation, logos, whitespace and titles before you get to the top of any new content in a post (ie measuring from the top of the site in a browser window to the top of the content in a post). When you add the overhead of the browser itself (circa 100 pixels) that means that any post content is going to be towards the bottom of the majority of users screens.

I think it would be an idea to rationalise the design to save a bit of space. On my PC a forum page containing original content roughly renders like this from the top down, with each entry taking up visual depth:

Social Media Bar 1 "Hello and Welcome etc"
Main Logo
Welcome Nav Bar
Forum Nav Bar with Search
Forum Nav Bar 2 with Advanced Search
Forum Nav Bar 3 (breadcrumb nav bar)
Large Block of whitespace
Reply to Thread Button
Thread Title version 1
Social Media Bar 2
Day and Date
Thread Title version 2
Finally Original Thread Content

Plus a lot of the elements above have a pretty hefty dose of CSS padding applied.

My suggestions would be as follows:
1) remove the duplicated & redundant elements (eg the multiple thread titles, social media bars and so on)
2) remove the straplines "the place for domaining professionals" & "powered by Hubbard Media" from the logo and reduce the height of the logo
3) reduce the padding on navigation elements
4) rationalise the navigation so that it fits into a maximum of 2 navigation bars.
5) consider aligning some of the elements side by side - eg there's no real reason why the welcome nav bar can't sit to the RHS of the logo, rather than to the right and underneath.

I think that this would help on three main counts:
Usability in terms of less scrolling to see content on high end PCs
Improved performance on smartphones, iphones, ipads, netbooks and the like where screen real estate is generally reduced.
Better search engine rankings, especially if you introduce advertising - remeber that Google recently announced they were starting to penalise sites that displayed the original page content below the fold.

Hope that this helps, and I'd be interested to hear other's thoughts on the above.



10-02-12, 12:55 PM
Thanks again for your input, Ty. You make some good points again. We're running around like headless chickens trying to juggle the forum launch and our other businesses, so will come back to address these types of design/usability issues shortly.



10-02-12, 12:59 PM
I hear what you're saying Ty, I'd definitely drop the top social media bar (perhaps after the first page impression), and the padding could go for me too.

I'm not sure if there's any chance of you getting penalised for now, I guess it depends on what you call excessive.

Looking at Google's browser size, 80% of people should be able to see the start of the 'original content' without having to scroll, which I don't think is terrible, but obviously could be better? I wouldn't be suprised if a few people in that 10-20% bounced.


10-02-12, 01:12 PM
Nice graphic Dave :)

I meant that people will generally have to scroll if the content is more than a few lines long, but 1/5 not even seeing the first line is a pretty high %age IMO.

Penalties would only kick in if there was significant advertising above the original content as I understand it.

10-02-12, 02:17 PM
I would guess the audience is pretty tech savvy, and would wonder if anyone is using low res on here?