I like the direction it is taking and will wait to commit to a real opinion until it is said to be final. I gather it's a work in progress at the moment.
The way things hang out in space off the left and right sides of the white space (ostensibly the "paper") makes it look amateurish and haphazard; unintegrated into something more cohesive. Everything on a webpage should look integrated and supported in a physical sense. The menus and graphics hanging off both sides appear to be defying gravity. So it looks awkward. That's my big complaint and suggestion for improvement at the moment. Compare with http://TheDigitalBits.com to see what I mean about an integrated layout.
The content and layout within the white space seems better thought out.
(This post was edited by JWPlatt on Oct 18 2012, 4:03pm)
But I preferred the way the old one looked (was quite a surprise coming on today and the seeing the new look!). I just found it much easier to see all the latest news as you could could just scroll down daily to see the new items. But there's nothing wrong with the new design at all.
So while I do agree that The Digital Bits has a nice layout within the white space, the black background around it turns me off.
And yes I understand that I can re-size my window to eliminate the black background. But I'd much rather just have a lighter background that I don't have to take an extra step to eliminate or work around.
Yeah, TORN might like to use some sort of Middle Earth mural for a background like the one released for The Hobbit, but representing the entire history of Middle Earth in some way, from creation to whatever is told of the future. Is Arwen's death the last thing we are told of? Someone good at graphic art could do something up in less than a day; maybe a few hours.
Oh, and when I wrote, "The content and layout within the white space seems better thought out," I meant that about the TORN site as a comparison to what lies outside the white space - not as a comparison to TheDigitalBits.com. Reading my comment again now, it seems ambiguous. The content within TORN's white space looks pretty good. What lies outside the white space on TORN looks like they just put things there because it had no where else to go.
(This post was edited by JWPlatt on Oct 18 2012, 11:34pm)
I haven't gotten as used to the old webpage as some.
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However, this may be telling. I am suddenly feeling that TORn has many more features available than it had before which probably really means that the layout is working .
I think the overall look is pretty appealing and has a bookish/scrollish feeling to it. I could imagine a few more artistic touches here and there to bring out more of the book/scroll feeling of things but that may not be necessary. I like the clicky menus between The Hobbit, LOTR, and the Library (and something else).
You made life difficult for yourself by choosing such contrasting colors for the background of text and then committing to a single color scheme for all the text (in my opinion). It may be possible to play with that a little bit more because if you make the green any darker then it will be too dark against the brown but I think it is already kind of light against the white (so is the grey). Is it really necessary for totally uniform colors? I know there should be a common color palette but it seems like the tweets and recent posts on the sides are a different kind of thing and could maybe have a different color than the main news stories so that it is as easy to read as possible.
I like contrast because it makes things easier to read, especially if your demographic has any significant group of older (read: over 25) people. Color uniformity becomes more appreciated while attributes such as bold and point size can make headlines and titles stand out.
I guess I'm pushing for everything except the background to be entirely on the white page, so that would address almost all your concerns. You can do anything you want on white, except white text. And dark print on light paper is generally preferred for ease of reading and it is less fatiguing.
What about that same dark-brown leather color to replace the green against the white? Just a thought ... because that doesn't break with the nice color palette that is already there (and would give more contrast to the lettering against the white background - it would also differentiate between the news stories on the main scroll page and the side branches) ...
I agree about bolding (and you must have read my mind about the eye-strain and its impact on various people ... )
By the way, I love the fact that I don't have to scroll my browser down anymore to get to the message boards - just hover and click - nice!