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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:39 pm 
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When you look at all the Guilds' websites, it quickly becomes plainly obvious they were designed at different periods in time, by different people, each following a different style. Speaking as a relative newcomer to Myst Online, however, I must point out that this might be confusing or disappointing to people thinking of joining the guilds (or whom, like me, merely like to browse the websites). I speak mostly of the Guild of Greeters' and the Guild of Cartographers' websites, which, frankly, just look plain outdated. They are in stark contrast with the modern looks of the brand new Guild of Writers' website. Speaking of which, there is style. I imagine it must have taken them a lot of time and a lot of work to produce that look. Granted, the forum and wiki aren't integrated yet, but overall, it just looks fantastic. Next, I would pick the Guild of Messengers' website, for its clear presentation of news articles.
So what am I saying? Guildelines need to be defined. They don't need to all look the same, but they should at least have major things in common, including navigation, links to the other websites. They should all look modern (I'm looking at you, GoC) and inviting. They should integrate their services well. They should have similar domain names. They should, they should, they should...
And here, I stumble. I think most people might agree with me about more consistency, but who will do it? People are busy, and most of those websites seem almost dead. Maybe they're abandoned, by all but a few visitors. I don't know, and have no way of knowing. The fact they're all using different CMSes (or even none!) would make such redesigns even more complex.
So what do you think? Is such a massive, united redesign possible, or are these websites doomed to go their separate ways?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:14 am 
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If you want to see older sites updated, try to work within those organizations to get the updating done. It's easy to make suggestions, but most groups could use more people actually helping out. I think you'd talk to Nalates about the Guild of Cartographers, or she'd at least be able to point you to the right person to ask.

Personally, I don't find the Greeters' website to be too badly out of date, though I know that will change as time continues to advance.

Each site serves a different purpose and audience, and is optimized to those goals. Further, the guilds don't expect most Myst Online players to visit each and every guild site... I expect most players (who bother at all) to pick -a- guild to work with. (FYI, nothing bars you from working with multiple guilds, but everyone has limits to their time and availability. Don't stretch yourself thin.)

Making the sites more consistent with each other would hinder rather than enhance the accomplishment of their primary objectives. Aesthetics isn't really a reason for me. :)

PS: Check out rel.to. It exists (in part) to help ease the burden of the site naming inconsistencies that you mentioned. If you have suggestions for rel.to, please direct them to Leonardo or to the rel.to suggestions thread at the GoMe website.

The above is my opinion.

On behalf of the Messengers, though, thanks for the compliments on the Guild of Messengers site.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:32 am 
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Marten wrote:
If you want to see older sites updated, try to work within those organizations to get the updating done.

I was actually considering a proposal for a design. A sort of template they could use if they want to. The GoMe seems to be the most flexible layout, so I might base it off that.

Marten wrote:
I think you'd talk to Nalates about the Guild of Cartographers, or she'd at least be able to point you to the right person to ask.

Thanks. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:45 am 
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Consistency in fan web sites… probably will never happen. But, I understand Lyrositor’s point that they do NOT present a consistent experience to players. I also have no doubt that some players will be confused by the widely divergent array of web sites. But, then I’m of the opinion that most casual players have no clue what the guilds are about anyway. I wrote the blog posts Myst-Uru Guilds just so I would not have to keep explaining it, I can just link. I think if all the sites were similar in appearance that would foster more misunderstanding of what the guilds are. So, I think the different appearances are a hint about the true nature of the guilds.

Also, we are not a harmonious group. Adam that manages the GoW (Guild of Writers) forum likes red and black and that works well with Cyan’s choice of color for the GoW. But, not all of us like red and black with is obviously absent in the home page. Will the GoW propagate the home page (nice looking page) look through the rest of the site? Forum, wiki, … I suspect not. However someone may step up and do it.

The original GoC site at home.­att.­net/­~cartographyguil­d/­about.­htm is now gone, after lasting from 2004 into 2011 (I think it just recently disappeared). That leaves the GoC Technical Data site, which is in one of my bosses’ hosting accounts and may move this year. It was never intended to be the home of the GoC. The historical home of the GoC is Uru Obsession. So, the GoC people really have no control over UO’s look and feel. But not much is happening at UO. So, it would seem a good idea to move the main contact to the MOUL Forums, but email notices from MOUL Forum are broken and the forum is running on old software. UO’s software is new and mail works. So, toss coins…

The Grand Master Aiden’s GoC site disappeared when he did.

I plan to change the GoC Tech Datasite. I’ve been planning to re-write the IC home page just to clean up the story. I also may move the site to my SL blog’s host and combine them in a web site that splits into sub-sections so the Myst-Uru section appears as its own web site. That would allow me to start a forum, which I’m not too keen on. I'll probably change the appearance at the same time... or not. Or may be the GoC will just move to Facebook and compete with those cartographers... or Twitter.

So… another set of ideas someone thinks are good but fails to consider the nature of the community and those that actually will have to do the work…

However, if someone wants to create new web sites all with the same look and feel and host them… no one will stop them.

See a need... fill it.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:53 am 
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Nalates wrote:
\
Also, we are not a harmonious group. Adam that manages the GoW (Guild of Writers) forum likes red and black and that works well with Cyan’s choice of color for the GoW. But, not all of us like red and black with is obviously absent in the home page. Will the GoW propagate the home page (nice looking page) look through the rest of the site? Forum, wiki, … I suspect not. However someone may step up and do it.


Uh... Forum integration is planned, and a good wiki theme is also planned..

Right now though, a whole bunch of us have more important things to do - like prepare new content, write code, help others to do similar things.

I also believe the real reason for the red and black of the GoW forums, is due to Cyan's choice of our colours, not because Hoikas (Adam) specifically likes red and black.

In any case, to the OP: I don't think you'll ever get the various groups to unify their designs, and there is no requirement to abide by guidelines made by anyone other the group themselves. They are not run by Cyan, they are independent, fan-run groups. The different designs are the choices of the guilds that use them. =) But, however, if you wanted to make suggestions to each of the guilds, individually, you might get a better reception and reaction than trying to regulate them.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:53 am 
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kaelisebonrai wrote:
But, however, if you wanted to make suggestions to each of the guilds, individually, you might get a better reception and reaction than trying to regulate them.

Do you all recommend I attempt to create a design?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:00 pm 
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lunanne wrote:
Not every guild is still alive and the ones that are have other things to worry about, like "not dying" .
ROFLOL You are a bad person Luna but funny. :D

If you want to do a design then I would suggest you ask the groups concerned before you even start.

What I have always wanted was some sort of connectivity to each Guild/groups, a web ring if you will. All hooked up via RSS feed or whatever. Yep I have no clue what I am talking about. Web sites, it's all voodoo magic to me.

But I find the individuality of these site better than them all looking and working the same. But I understand what you are putting forward and hats of to you for making the effort. That is what MOULa needs, doers not talkers. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:20 pm 
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Lyrositor wrote:
Do you all recommend I attempt to create a design?

I think the answer to this question depends entirely on your confidence in your ability to create something that will appeal to the majority of current site operators. Without anything to show them, it's probably pointless to ask their opinion as they'll probably say no. So, the question is do you want to invest the time on it and then try to sell the idea.

I work with a statewide volunteer program with over 30 local chapters, each with their own website. When the program began with just a handful of chapters, each one created their own website. Then, the state paid for a service to provide their websites so they'd be uniform. New chapters took advantage of the service right away but, as you can imagine, most of the chapters with established websites resisted making the change because they'd invested so much into creating their own. But, the service was excellent and the websites looked professional, so one by one, the original chapters changed over.

So... perhaps you should look to some of the minor guilds who might have fewer resources and less invested in their sites; maybe you can get one or two on board to utilize your design and be an example to show others how it will look when it's actually used.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:32 pm 
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I have a lot of time on my hands, so I think I'll try a few designs, which I'll then show to the major and minor guilds for their opinions.
I just started this about a half-hour before. It's heavily inspired from the Guild of Maintainers, with a few elements mixed from the other ones.
[spoiler]Image[/spoiler]

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Last edited by Lyrositor on Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:53 pm 
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It would be nice to get the guild sites (at least the main Cyan Guilds) to use the same template. Not only would it provide a uniform experience for the visitor, it would also demonstrate how the Guilds can work with one another. Although I'm sure the GoW would be less than thrilled to have to change designs so soon after they got Tweek's awesome design (perhaps Tweek designs all fan websites from now on? :P)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:03 pm 
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Whilyam wrote:
perhaps Tweek designs all fan websites from now on

In my opinion, the GoW has the best looking website of all. However, to me, it seems also the least flexible design of all, with no possibility of having the other Guilds use the same layout without looking exactly the same. Again, in my opinion, my temporary design allows for more choice and personalisation. The header at the top can be changed. The navigation bar is big enough for quite a few links. The header isn't so big as to block out content. A toolbar will be added to the right, but it could work just as well to the left. The "action bar" will host non-navigation tasks, like login, although it can be removed if it is not needed.
I guess I'll never convince the GoW to change their layout (vastly superior over my feeble designing attempt). Others, like the GoMa could use this layout with next to no difficulty, and I can easily adapt it to work with Mediawiki, phpBB, and so on.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Agreed with Lunanne XD

I would be interesting to have a common template, really. But creating a template for our website (which runs on Drupal) is much much more complicated than just writing CSS and HTML. So it would take time to really understand the Theme Layer of Drupal and how to create a new theme....time that I really don't have on my hands. (rel.to has been waiting for my changes for 6 months and I don't have anything done yet). Without considering the fact that I'm just really bad in making graphics XD

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Adapting a theme that works for the various blogs, forums, and wiki software packages in use across the community is a big task. Creating the look and feel is the easy part.

Then there is the problem of the sites using free services. Some of those are restricted in what they can change.

Then there is the problem of sites run by fans that are not web designers or programmers.

Then there are the software updates for forums, wiki's, and blogs that wipe out custom themes.

Like Leonardo wrote, time is an issue.

So, all the people that want a unified look for the all the community sites... get together and create the sites.

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