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TPR's Front Page - What do you like/dislike?


Do you think TPR's Front Page needs updating?  

190 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you think TPR's Front Page needs updating?

    • Yes - New hotness, please!
      85
    • No - It ain't broke - so please don't break it!
      105


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Hey everyone!

 

Those of you who have been members of TPR, or following the site for a while know that we are of the philosophy that we do not like to make changes to the website without there being a significant benefit to our readers. Basically, we are not the kind of website that makes "changes for the sake of making changes..."

 

That being said, it may be time to update TPR's front page of the website, mainly because the front page was originally developed for non-wide screen computer monitors. And as browsers get more sophisticated, and displays get wider, there is an opportunity to take advantage of all of that.

 

BUT... if it ain't broke...why break it? Right?

 

This is why I need your help!

 

Take a look at TPR's front page: http://www.themeparkreview.com/

 

What I want to know from all of you is:

 

1. Do you think it even needs updating at all?

2. What elements of the front page do you really LIKE, and would hate to see go away and/or change.

3. What elements do you feel are MISSING from the front page?

4. What other changes would you suggest?

 

Please feel free to answer as many of those questions as you want, or add in your own comments. We would not be making any changes to TPR's front page until this fall at the earliest, but it's always great to start thinking about things sooner than later!

 

Thank you for your help!

 

--Robb

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Right now I think the format's fine the way it is...we've got a column for TPR updates, one for general park updates...easy enough to follow for me! So I say leave it, if it's not broken no need to fix it.

 

And to answer the questions:

1. Not really, it's fine how it is.

 

2. I like the separation of the TPR-related updates, and general park updates...and the random TPR update at the top as it breathes life into past trips.

3. Personally I think everything's covered...no need to cram even more into the front page, it's already got a lot to it. If anymore were to be added, it would start to feel like having a page that tries to do everything, becoming a huge mess.

4. No changes, just keep the TPR awesomeness going!

Edited by Angry_Gumball
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It needs more saturation and a watermark across it, that's what it's missing.

 

*serious time*

 

I like the front page, the only thing I can think of was maybe a drop down forum button that navigates you to the sections of the forum when you hover over the forum button, I don't know if that's do-able but it'd be nice.

 

That's pretty much the only thing I can think of, I'll come back to this later if I can think of anything else.

 

 

 

- Oreo

 

P.S. My suggestion isn't even necessary I'm totally fine with clicking forum and scrolling, just thought it'd look cool. =P

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My opinion? TPR is all about CONTENT .. The main page features a lot of content. I'd go two ways this.. Either leave it exactly the same, but maybe update the graphics and layouts to something more current or go the way the way of other sites with one or two really high res flashy graphics and two or three really current stories.

 

MSN found out that by removing a lot of the content from their main page and adding larger graphics, people were more likely to click through more links, but with TPR content is king and I really like the way things are.

 

One other thought, the diamond pattern behind the title bar menu gives me seizures (so does playing street fighter 2).

 

 

 

Chris "just my thoughts at the time man" Connolly

 

 

oh yeah.. I'd definitely add more watermarks everywhere.

Edited by Chroniq
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I don't think the website can get any simpler to use, other than that mouseover drop-down menu ^^DoubleStuff suggested. I like being able to maneuver through a website easy and not have everything jumbled up, hard to see or read, millions of links on the first page, etc.

 

The ClubTPR drop-down menu can have listed *join *View Benefits *Events *Code of Conduct *Contact *Login. Just an idea.

 

The current website is easy for me to navigate around, but change is always nice. The Park Index came out brilliantly, so I wouldn't mind seeing something new. If I had to choose a side and stick with it, I would say keep it the way it is because there is nothing wrong with it.

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1. Do you think it even needs updating at all?

Honestly, TPR's front page has essentially been the same ... FOREVER. It's familiar, inviting and I don't think it needs to change. Some sites change their front page weekly (it seems) and it get's tedious.

 

2. What elements of the front page do you really LIKE, and would hate to see go away and/or change.

LOVE the Random stuff, sometimes I find things that I never saw when they were originally posted. Although I have seen a few repeats, maybe just add more stuff to the "Randomizer"?

 

3. What elements do you feel are MISSING from the front page?

A bigger disclaimer.

 

4. What other changes would you suggest?

None

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1. A little tweaking in my opinion, explained more below.

 

2. I like the "general" column of updates on the right side, but the left side of "TPR updates" really has never done anything for me. I guess I usually just see the big updates in the forum, and I could see how it helps for incoming viewers, but for me I mainly ignore it.

 

I do like the random update generator, but I feel like it and the announcements section just push the "general" update column further down the page and it makes it harder for me to see the newer updates.

 

Also, the line of white text at the top of the page under the yellow text in the header just seems too much, and I feel like they can be better merged into one line.

 

3. I've always wanted to see a video on the front page from a recent TPR filming session, whether it be from Coastertube, DVD segments, or POVs. I think it would help promote Coastertube and the Youtube channel, if properly done right.

 

4. Going off of the whole wide screen thing, all of the text and pictures sometimes seem too cluttered for me, just like being bombarded with text and there's so much going on.

 

Just my opinions! I'm sure whatever ends up on the front page will still remain awesome

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1. Do you think it even needs updating at all?

Honestly, TPR's front page has essentially been the same ... FOREVER. It's familiar, inviting and I don't think it needs to change. Some sites change their front page weekly (it seems) and it get's tedious.

Keep in mind that if we were to "update" the front page, it would be an "update", not a "change." So I think whatever we would do would still be familiar....

 

But having said that, this is all really great feedback!

 

I mean, I'm not about to change something if people don't think it needs it.

 

My biggest issue right now is that when I look at the page on a wide screen monitor I think to myself "What can I do with all that empty space on the sides?"

 

I mean, how many people out there DON'T have a widesceen monitor these days?

 

--Robb

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I wouldn't mind seeing the front page get some updates.

 

I like the general organization of the page, and I think that's something that should be left fairly alone. I think that having the pictures next to the update info is a great choice, and should definitely stay.

 

I think that the style of the page (font, color, background, etc) might be updated to something a little more modern. I think the thing that is lacking the most visually is the menu bar at the top of the page. There's a lot going on up there, and it could be a little bit more sleek. I think it is crucial to keep that aspect of fun in the style of the page, but at the same time I think it could look a bit less dated. I agree that the announcements section could take up less space. I think it's necessary, but perhaps without the pictures, or something along those lines, so that the updates aren't as far down the page.

 

I do think that having the two slogans (the first in the header and the second in the white line of text) is a bit much. The white text is fairly redundant, as everything that's stated in it is also in the menu options. I don't think the menus should have drop-down stuff, as that can get a little annoying and I don't mind clicking to the Forum page before going to the different forums. You might also play with relocating the search bar. I'm not sure where it might go, but the spot it's in is kind of bizarre because it takes up a ton of space.

 

The last thing I think that you could do is play with color. The header has some very bold, distinct colors that are then never repeated in the design of the home page. Instead you have the yellow and orange text. I think that keeping yellow somewhere in the text is important as it is the primary text color of the forums, but I also think that the orange could go away. Perhaps you change the color of the headers to each section ("Announcements" "Random Stuff" etc).

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1. Do you think it even needs updating at all?

Not really. It looks good the way it is. Easy to navigate and inviting.

 

2. What elements of the front page do you really LIKE, and would hate to see go away and/or change.

I like the whole thing in general. Everything is easy to find, lots of content and it looks good.

 

3. What elements do you feel are MISSING from the front page?

Needs more Prince Desmond.

 

4. What other changes would you suggest?

None that I can think of.

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I think the front page is great as it is; however, I do have a small suggestion. When the 'more' button at the bottom of the front page is clicked, it takes us to a page listing the same links on the front page. The two at the bottom of that screen must then be clicked to actually access more links. I believe it would be more convenient to have the 'more' button take us straight to page 2.

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Do you think it even needs updating at all?

I am in general a fan of the front page, although I agree with Starr that a "video" of the day may be cool, which is what coaster tubesday seems to be for. Also maybe a bit more about the club... which I still need to join... stupid being broke! Overall it is welcoming and fairly easy to navigate.

 

What elements of the front page do you really LIKE, and would hate to see go away and/or change.

I really like the current format!

 

What elements do you feel are MISSING from the front page?

The only thing(which is beginning to happen a lot more) is that as a community we have a lot to share, and it's cool to start seeing some of our gaming things on the front page. I know not everyone reads that forum and it is cool to allow a wider spectrum of people to see stuff we made, regardless if it's anything from screens to a full download.

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1. Do you think it even needs updating at all?

 

My biggest issue right now is that when I look at the page on a wide screen monitor I think to myself "What can I do with all that empty space on the sides?"

 

I mean, how many people out there DON'T have a widesceen monitor these days?

 

--Robb

 

That's exactly what I was thinking. Otherwise everything is great as is.

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To be completely honest, I don't spend that much time on the home page anyways. I have it bookmarked so I'll go through it each time to get to the forums, but I'll only stop longer than a couple seconds if a new thumbnail catches my eye.

 

That said, I'd suggest integrating the user accounts from the forums to the home page by offering a "Welcome back! Here's what you've missed since your last visit..." or a "What we have to offer" blurb for those not registered. I'm actually kind of surprised there's no kind of feed for new uploads in the Exchange. You guys have done a lot to promote it with the coupons and all that, but it would go pretty unnoticed to a first time visitor.

 

I'm not sure what you guys think about graphics and all that, but I've always though TPR could use some sort of patterned background or maybe a silhouette of a coaster.

 

Looking forward to what you guys come up with!

Edited by asimowalk
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1. Do you think it even needs updating at all?

Nothing's necessary, and it's good that it's basic, as it helps the site be easy to access, especially on a mobile device (phone that ISN'T made by Apple and as such can't really handle insanely detailed sites). All the features are pretty good as is.

2. What elements of the front page do you really LIKE, and would hate to see go away and/or change.

Everything there is pretty great, would be great to keep what's there there.

3. What elements do you feel are MISSING from the front page?

I'd love some more "Random" content in the randomizer, I love that thing when I'm bored but I swear I've read everything at least twice, maybe more. Also, maybe the two current "content" columns could be condensed (since it's usually only one update every day or two anyway) and the other column could be given to hot discussion topics or game forums stuff.

4. What other changes would you suggest?

That's about it really.

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I'm viewing this site on a 16:10 monitor and think that it looks fine. Very few websites take advantage of the full width of a widescreen monitor, and in general I think this is a good thing. For example, if I am using Windows 7 and snap the browser to the left or right side of the screen, a fully widescreen website would require horizontal scrolling just to see everything. In other words, if you completely filled the full field of view available, then you would force people to view your site with the browser maximized. Finally, there's also legacy support to consider. If someone still has an older 4:3 or 5:4 monitor, they would be forced to scroll horizontally no matter what (you could provide an alternative narrow layout, but that would just be more work to create and maintain).

 

As far as the site's design, I think that it works very well from a functional/ease-of-use perspective. No, TPR is not the prettiest site when it comes to all the fancy new "Web 2.0" crap, but I don't think that matters. As others have said, people come here for the content, and the content that is here is pretty well organized (If you haven't seen this comic about web design, it might be a good thing to check out before committing to doing any serious changes: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/design_hell).

 

But, if you are really dying to use that extra space, there is one good option: advertising! A lot of websites have full background adds to replace the whitespace on the sides of the website, and I actually find this to be one of the more effective ways to advertise as it doesn't displace your content or get in the way of the user experience; it's just there in the background. With your site's traffic, I could easily see you guys getting some good deals from theme parks or travel-related companies.

 

By the way, do you guys do your own web development/maitenance, or do you hire outside people?

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To answer the questions:

 

1. Yes and no, I think that the front page needs to be wider and contain more updated aesthetics. But nothing needs to change dramatically though.

 

2.I Absolutely love the "Random Stuff" and "TPR updates", and would hate to see those go away.

 

3. In the age of social media, I feel that there needs to be more social networking site integrations to the front page. I also think game exchange needs to have a little column for news and whatnot. Last but not least,I think it needs to be wider (Who doesn't own a widescreen nowadays)

 

4. They're really no other changes that are necessary to me, I just stated some possibilities above.

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My biggest issue right now is that when I look at the page on a wide screen monitor I think to myself "What can I do with all that empty space on the sides?"

 

I mean, how many people out there DON'T have a widesceen monitor these days?

 

--Robb

 

I'ts really hard to make a website scaleable in that direction. Almost every website in existence is fixed width. It can be done it's just better not to so the site always looks the same for everyone.

 

I think there are a few simple changes in styling though that could make the homepage look better.

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1. No, I don't necessarily believe that the front page needs any major updating.

 

2. I really like the two separate columns. One for TPR updates and another for park news and trip updates. I also like the "Random Stuff!" section, although I don't really like how it takes center stage at the top of the page.

 

3. I honestly can't say that anything that I would normally look for when I visit the site is missing. Everything is there if you look for it.

 

4. I do think that the space on the sides of the page could be used quite efficiently, not necessarily for new content as much as spreading out what already exists. If I was a first time reader opening the TPR webpage for the first time I would be a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information that appears to be on the front page. I do however think that the bar at the top of the page that contains the link to the forum and park index looks great as it is. I just believe that the extra space on the sides could be used to allow for some space between all the announcements and updates. I don't think that there is too much information on the page, however the way everything is arranged and put right next to each other could lead to some people believing the opposite.

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(If you haven't seen this comic about web design, it might be a good thing to check out before committing to doing any serious changes: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/design_hell).

This is actually one of my favorite comics...ever! In fact, I've quoted it on my personal Facebook page at least five times (since everything in that comic also applies to video game design) and I even just quoted it again about a week ago!

 

So, yes, I've seen that...and I believe in it!

 

Great feedback everyone...keep it coming!

 

--Robb

 

ps. You know, I had not even noticed that we have "two slogans" on the front page until someone pointed it out! I mean, I knew they were there, but I'm so used to seeing them, that I just haven't noticed it lately!

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