Website Mockups for Ongoingworlds.com
I’ve created and attached some wireframe images (using Balsamiq) that show what I want and where, so that the designer knows what to design. It looks basic at the moment (as it’s a wireframe!)
The first (and one I’m least happy with) is the Homepage. A lot of designers start with the homepage first, mainly because clients always want to see that first. I actually think the homepage is the least important design, as it’s the one you’ll be looking at the least. Maybe your first visit to the site it exists to promote the site and encourage you to go further. But after that, it exists as nothing more than a landing page with a username and password box to login.
Anyway I’ve tried to show what the site is for without too much explanation, hoping that people will work it out from seeing examples of other games. Something I hate about lots of RPG or PbeM sites is that they don’t really tell you what’s what on the homepage, you have to go into a separate section to see the game posts.
I want to show on the homepage the most recently updated games, so that people don’t think it’s one of those RPG sites that died in 1998 and has been static ever since.
The homepage of the game. This one will be seen a lot, so I wanted to show as much information as possible about the game, like the latest posts, and game information.
This page needs to exist as a portal to all other important parts of the game. Characters, Posts, etc. But I don’t just want to have buttons for these pages, I want to show some things on the page. So I’ve pulled through some of the latest posts. I think this is important as it allows a user to instantly see when the game was last updated.
I want the GM of this game to feel ownership over it, so I want as many things as possible to be editable. There is a description field on there, as well as an image that can be added.
I was planning to have a calendar just like you get on your group homepage on a Yahoo group (see an example here), but its a lot of work for now and I think we can launch the site without it. You only need it after about a year’s worth of posts to flick through anyway, so I’ll do it as a phase 2 thing.
Initially called “Characters”, but I am planning to have an option so that members can rename it “crew” or whatever. This lists all active characters. I have a separate page for inactive or dead characters.
I’ve listed them simply by group, and not brought through quite as much information through to this page as we do on the Blue Dwarf crew page (http://www.bluedwarf.co.uk/crew) as I’m trying to keep it simple and encourage to click through to the profile for more information. A photo is a big definite here.
Overall design style
I’m really stuck with this. To think about the look-and-feel of the site we have to think about the audience. Which is people like you and me who are interested in online roleplaying games. And as this is all about PbEM sites, like to write about character’s create stories, and love creating and playing in fantasy worlds. The age range could be teenage to old, so I don’t want to do a design that will put some people off.
I could go down the route of other RPG sites and give it a clear fantasy style, like http://www.battleon.com or http://www.renaissancekingdoms.com or http://www.4story.co.uk, http://www.dofus.com and of course http://www.worldofwarcraft.com
Or it could even be very neutral like http://www.epicwords.com who by the looks of it are doing a similar thing to ongoingworlds. Their website is very graph paper, and torn stick-on notes. Its simple and neutral, so people who like scifi and hate fantasy won’t be put off, and vice-versa. Similarly http://madbrewlabs.com is quite genre-unspecific whilst still looks okay.
Similarly with scifi PBeMs, there are some VERY scifi looking sites. I would link to some, but I cant find any with a design that’s even worthy of being in this century. There are many that just look so incredibly dated.