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TPR Front Page RE-Design Contest!

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^ I appreciate everyone putting ideas and suggestions out there, but I just want to make it clear that this isn't as much of a "fun" contest, like the Prince Desmond stuff, and more "real", like when we did the Club TPR Logo.

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Yeah, trust me, no offense Chris! There's a reason you don't even see Robb and I trying to sketch out what we want...we're TERRIBLE at graphic design!


Did I ever share with you the time my art teacher yelled at me in 5th grade and made me clean up after everyone else because I was so poor at elementary art?!?!

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I'm lousy at art too... thus why you won't see my 'designs' out there...


However: Since this is for TPR's front page- could we, the people of TPR, make suggestions as to how it might be improved?





I *DO* encourage our members to also make suggestions, but please do not be offended if either Elissa or I may shoot down any suggestions.


In this case, I do ask "Which print needs to be larger?" because to be honest, I think the 10pt font that we have on the front page (which is also the same as here in the forum) is the largest I want to go with the normal "text" boxes. Not sure if for whatever reason it's show up smaller on your browser (which one are you using?) but I think it may look a bit silly with large text.


I dunno, let me ask our readers - how many people think the normal text on the front page is too small?

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Understood, Robb- this is your site, and a great one at that.


Here's where I find some visual issues (Mind you, this is coming from a -very- nearsighted man who's in hefty glasses already...)




Arrows, from top to bottom:

First Arrow: Looks fine, just right in size, and clear.

Second Arrow: Print could be bigger, perhaps in bold for 'pop' visually

Third Arrow: Print SHOULD be larger- perhaps 25% larger overall

Fourth Arrow: Print should be larger- and perhaps 'bolder' overall.


And again, these are suggestions based upon my crappy eyes, but I think in the long run they will make a lot of sense overall.



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Here's something I put together in about an hour. It's very basic so I welcome others to take the idea and run with it if Robb & Elissa like the concept.


I got the idea for this design from the popular Pinterest website. I don't use the website but I do like its overall design. Now this design won't use the same functionality as Pinterest, but the way the site's content is laid out is noteworthy.


TPR has an incredible amount of content. Unless someone visits the site every day or every few days, they're likely going to miss some updates. That's just the reality of it. I think the current design wastes a considerable amount of space (one whole sidebar) on updates that span almost an entire year. That's valuable real estate! Also, I don't believe that the homepage should have "one big picture." There's just too much going on at the site. I can't think of one thing that is more important/exciting/interesting/etc. than everything else.


My design gives every update, video, trip report, news bit, etc. the same importance. However, I'm sure you guys could have the option of making a few of these "boxes" stick around at the top so that more people can see them. (Wordpress software calls this the "sticky" feature). That way if there's a blurb about a trip or event, or a very popular update, you can have it stick around near the top for a few weeks.


I didn't include this in the design, but category toggles could be added to the front page to allow visitors to choose whether they wanted "Official TPR Updates," "Videos," "News," "Events/Trips," etc. to display. Let your visitors choose what type of content they want to see.


I know this design is "out there" and might get shot down quickly, but I thought it was worth posting. My motto is "simple is always better." The current homepage is definitely content-heavy and on the simpler side, but I believe you could simplify it even more without sacrificing the functionality.


Here's a hi-res image of the design: http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/8995/tpre.jpg


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^ Agreed. It's a bit too "dis-jointed" for what I think we're looking for. We need something that flows a bit easier, especially considering that TPR has been kept on an ongoing timeline for the last decade and a half.


Keep in mind, I don't want people to "re-invent" the TPR front page as much as I want it to be "updated."


Hope that helps.

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^I like small text...you're just old!


Seriously though, can't you just use the options on your browser to make the text size larger if it bothers you enough?


Yeah, yeah, yeah... I'm old. Pbbbbbtttt... Not Jeff Johnson Old, but old.


Try holding down CTRL and scrolling your mouse wheel or something to make the text bigger/smaller. TPR does support this feature in most browsers.


OK: I never knew that this was available- as when I've played with the resolution on other sites (FB, for example) I end up getting really crappy image issues- but this works well for me. It does make things larger for those of us using canes and braille... (JOKE, everyone, JOKE).


As for the print being larger as I'd pointed out: The white print was the one causing the worst issues for me visually;being able to adjust things via Robb's suggestion does work for that. The other prints not so much- but I think (From a 'marketing' point of view) they should be as I noted- it would be more attention grabbing.

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Ok, current text on the homepage. Size seems fine to me but if it gets any bigger, you'll probably start losing some real estate to work with for saying what that update is about.


But maybe the issue isn't the font size and white text on the gray background?


Also what about something like that had been mentioned with the six flags site with the different stories rotating through? I've always thought that the home page just seemed a bit busy with so many updates. Which I understand with a site of this magnitude that there are a lot of updates that are constantly changing. But I remember first coming to the home page and being a little overwhelmed at all the information there.

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Here's some icons I'm working on to include in my layout. Still preliminary of course. They would be laid out just like the corresponding words are now, keeping the site at the same horizontal resolution it's at now, which is 880px (not including the advertisements).


Actual size.

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^^I agree that the current page may come off as "too busy."


I'm trying to address this issue in my design. I believe that as far as "official" updates go my method works well. One large "featured stories" and limit the sidebar to 5 stories with a link to more. I believe that this 5 story cap will still give users at least a one day grace period before missing a story on the homepage. And even of they do they'll be able to click the "even more" link.


^AJ, like the icons. I'm excited to see how you layout your design.

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One of the things I feel works very well in our current design is that for frequent visitors, it's VERY easy to see what our most recent updates are. We pretty much keep the right hand side column updates as the most current, and then either let those updates drop down as time passes, or move them into "announcements" "features updates", etc where they are applicable.


I think most people would agree that it takes no time at all to find our most current updates, and that is absolutely the most important feature of the front page.

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I have crap eyesight, and think the text on the front page is fine. I just use the resize option in firefox if I need to make text bigger (this came in really handy when I was getting eye surgery a few years ago!).


A.J., liking those icons. I do wonder if you'll still be able to see the detail when they're shrunk down. But they're a cool idea.


Like Robb, I agree that having the most recent updates clearly visible is super-important. You want anyone coming to the page to be able to instantly find them, and I think the current page does that very well. Perhaps there don't need to be as many on the page, but then again, there have been days with crazy amounts of park news, so five might not be enough.



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I just realized something I should have pointed out to begin with. The "Park Index" is the most recent design we've done on TPR, and while I'm not looking for a design which looks exactly like those pages, I do think its important that TPR's front page looks like it comes from the same "family" if that makes sense.

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Though I'm not exactly up for the challenge of creating an entire new webpage, I do have a suggestion:


What if TPR users could pick their own homepage backgrounds? There could be a large gallery of pictures somewhere (similar to what Gmail users can do on their Google homepage) and everyone could come to TPR, welcomed by a photo they really love! This feature could be awesome if done right!

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