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Website Redesign

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9 months ago
Our website's definitely a bit dated. Looking to put a team, together to revamp it & get it on par with BAR's (https://www.beyondallreason.info/).

======
Goal:
1) Update the zero-k site so it looks like a modern 2023 website.
2) If possible, break Zero-K-Infrastructure into more modular chunks (zero-k-website, zero-k-lobby, zero-k-ect. Need to look at the repo more to see if this is even a possibility.

===
Who we need: (We really only need one of each, but multiple would probably help speed up the process.

Designers (1-3): Anyone who has experience designing websites or just wants to learn it and get experience
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Front End Engineer (2):
-ghughes13 (me)
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Any other engineers who want to help


===
Also if you have any cool screenshots from the game, feel free to throw them in here and they might be used in the redesign.
+9 / -0
9 months ago
https://zero-k.info/Wiki/Media#Screenshots
+0 / -0


9 months ago
A more modern look would definitely be appreciated. My guess is that it would also involve some sort of modularisaton of the landing page and the forum/replays/maps areas. Tackling the whole website at once sounds challenging since, basically, the ZK site handles a lot more than the BAR site. Anyway, tell us how we could help out.

Here are some screenshot sources from Steam: https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K-Artwork/tree/master/Steam/screens/v2

Here are some screenshots I have lying around: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oy0deM9CBYkkOtxJm5jK7stXJKI7EmSB/view?usp=sharing

They vary in quality but should at least work as a starting point. Also, I have a lot of 1920x622 banners of more consistent quality, if that helps, as well as a bunch of 800x450 images. The smaller images are probably too small though.
+4 / -0

9 months ago
Hey, I'm interested in helping out here. I have some experience with running the ZK Infra, so could potentially help with running/testing
+5 / -0

9 months ago
if you decide to use angular, i could assist.
+0 / -0


8 months ago
I think the most important thing is the landing page. The page new people see when they visit the site. It sounds much much easier to redesign and most of the benefit will come from optimising it. The landing page also has relatively simple requirements compared to all the stuff managed by the rest of the site.

For reference, the landing page looks like this.


It looks very busy. There are seven distinct regions (three bars, one main area, three things on the side) on the screen with two more on the right side when you scroll down. It is cluttered and no brand new player needs this information.

I propose something like this.


Reduce the number of areas to a top bar and a main area. The top bar should be curated to only have the relevant menus, and the option to log in should be placed on the right side (because existing players need a way to log in). The search box can also be removed.

The main area grows to take up the space left by deleting the bars to the right. The text should be reworked again to be a bit less overwhelming. It reads a bit like we are trying to list everything.

If we want to get fancy the images could be a bit squarer and alternate left and right as this seems like something landing pages should do. The Steam and Discord (and possibly Github) links can be put somewhere near the bottom.

The content could be moved down significantly to make room for a screenshot, USranktherxyy suggested this:


Basically, I think a full website redesign would take a long time and be quite complicated given how much more the ZK site does than a site for your average game (replays, maps, forums, a bunch of admin tools etc). But the majority of the benefit of a site redesign would be a more enticing landing page, so why not just redesign the landing page? We don't need anything extremely fancy, just something much less cluttered within the current framework.

USrankcabinboy posted these examples:
Look at them rather than https://www.beyondallreason.info/ and https://www.faforever.com/
+1 / -0
8 months ago
One thing I find strange/annoying is the background picture (what you can see left/right). I can't really see what's happening there as most pictures have the focus more towards center so you are left with the sides that are less than impressive.

Another thing that I like about bar site is that it is responsive (which is a term used to mean that it adjusts well to different screen sizes). For me (and probably many gamers) zk uses ~1/3 rd of the screen space, which feels really... old school?
+3 / -0

8 months ago
There is an open source CMS for gaming websites. It can save a lot of low-level work.

https://github.com/Azuriom/Azuriom
+0 / -0
8 months ago
Mockup File - https://www.figma.com/file/ARrRKX0oitob021ee5cUIP/Zero-K-Website-Redesign?type=design&node-id=0-1

I'm a developer not a designer, so anyone who has feedback please leave comments. If any designers see this and want to help, let me know and I'll add you as an editor to the file.
+2 / -0

8 months ago
This is 100% something I would love to get in on. I have a significant amount of experience in C# as well as web design and have attempted multiple times to get going on this but the codebase always proves too incredibly complex to unravel but it would be incredibly gratifying to get the ZK site modernised an a coordinated team effort has promise to me.

Let's not forget that Maaackey has been hacking away at a (albeit slightly abandoned) but very promising redesign: https://github.com/maackey/Zero-K-Infrastructure search by messages from them in the Discord that contain images and you can get some good views. I think that this would be a great starting point for any potential teams.

Some pictures from maaackey






That being said the figma mockup ghuges has included looks amazing to me, a really great refresh without moving the buttons too far from familiarity and really sticks true to the origin of zero-k.
+2 / -0


8 months ago
The build instructions for the site were tested and updated just recently.
+1 / -0


7 months ago
Thanks USrankHigherFlyer for the pics/shoutout. The codebase is definitely one of the larger issues -- not so much it's size and complexity (although I do have a leg up after spending a bunch of time going through it all) but the fact that everything is hard-coded, styles are inline, including any new features that get added. This alone is a huge problem for me, because it makes it much more difficult to apply consistent styles throughout the site, and any new thing that isn't friendly to CSS is another shovel load onto the pile of work.

The second issue is one of design -- I'm not a professional designer either, although I've been doing a bit more recently in my normal line of work. I remember getting stuck on the redesign of the battle screens specifically, however there's also some bleed through to forums and lots of things are interconnected, which is good -- however it does make the design aspect a bit more involved, as the Zero K site (especially compared to BAR's -- which I think everyone can agree is fantastic) is quite feature rich, and there are lots of little things to consider.

Regarding modularity, that was indeed a big focus of my redesign. I believe I was able to make partial views for most things - even if they need a bit more elbow grease to look good the foundations should be there to make it possible, at least as far as I remember. I haven't touched it in a while, but wouldn't mind jumping back in especially if it's not a solo venture. This presents the third big problem in that there's a lot of fundamental upheaval so incremental changes are difficult to plan/push to live, without breaking existing functionality.

FRrankmalric yes, the Zero-K site is indeed very old. Not being able to use the site/forums on my phone was a big part of the impetus for wanting to refresh it. It is long overdue.

While I haven't been quite as active lately, if there is still serious interest I'm generally around and available -- feel free to ping me on discord and I'll be happy to join any redesign efforts.
+1 / -0
AUrankAdminGoogleFrog
quote:
why not just redesign the landing page? We don't need anything extremely fancy, just something much less cluttered within the current framework.


It appears that neither USrankghughes13, USrankHigherFlyer, nor myself are professional designers, but rather developers. Making stuff pretty is not quite the same skillset as making stuff work, so it's not quite as easy as the question makes it appear. Additionally, the code base is not insignificant; but rather large and intimidating. Those most likely to have mana (fresh out of or still in school) might find it hard to breach and especially with the requirement to fit "within the current framework" is an additional hurdle (that I don't think is entirely possible*)

I do agree though that 80/20 just slapping on a standalone entry page would definitely give the most ROI. But again, there's no designers here to design a nice page. But it's not just the design of the page, also navigation and login. I think the easiest (not best) thing is to just create a new page with it's own layout and navigation completely separate from the existing navigation bar -- because *changing the nav can have wide ranging effects for the rest of the site.

As for me, I don't really have any vision of what that standalone page should be. FlyerHigher posted a screenshot of something I had in progress, but its missing screenshots of the game and doesn't wow or impress me even if it did. Also I don't get inspired by sweeping dirt under a rug -- so there's not really any motivation for me to add just a landing page -- no money or gun to my head either. It is certainly needed, no doubt -- but a compelling design for the page doesn't yet exist, which makes implementing it a bit tricky.
+1 / -0


7 months ago
quote:

I'm a developer not a designer, so anyone who has feedback please leave comments. If any designers see this and want to help, let me know and I'll add you as an editor to the file.


It looks good. I'm not terribly familiar with figma, but I've got plenty of comments/questions I can put here (please excuse me if I'm blunt, I'm tired I just gotta get through these thoughts).

1.) duplicate social media links -- if they're in the footer they don't need to be in the header

2.) download button -- I like it front and center, in "Home". I don't think it's quite necessary to include it as a top level element in the navigation though (certainly as a subelement under "play" is fine). Once you've downloaded the game / have an account, how often are you redownloading the game? Its important to draw people in, but we don't need to drown them with download links everywhere IMO.

3.) All rights reserved (by whom exactly) -- doesn't quite fit with the nature of an open source game, perhaps?

4.) I like the elements in the footer. I might also add donate to that section. Also remove the duplicates from the top menu.

5.) I'm not in love with the word "Shop" for the unlocks

6.) Map bans -- what is this? If it's player preferences for matchmaker, wouldn't it make more sense under "Play"? or as a setting somewhere on the player profile page? Omg. I just realized you split it up into "current" and "new" that's where it is in the site currently. eek.

7.) I don't like pulling the home submenu out into a secondary top level menu. We've got plenty of categories in one top level menu as it is.

8.) Combining Play, Media, and Wiki into Information -- This makes this submenu rather needlessly heavy, especially incorporating the Play submenu. I think a better solution is to keep Play and Wiki as it is, delete media altogether (videos/screenshots are part of the wiki, a better splash page obsoletes the need for a menu item showing off pictures/videos) and Play has tons of in-site functionality that is very distinct from the Wiki -- they don't go together. (And also isn't news information as well? why wouldn't that be included)

9.) News -- I have news as a player controlled module in my redesign -- some people migth be interested in news while others might not care as much. I don't think it really needs to be it's own separate top level menu item.
+0 / -0
7 months ago
I like the website as it is now. It may look old, but that look from old times is part of the reason I like Zero-K so much overall. Website works fine, everything is available in 2-3 clicks and you don't have to scroll like a madman while waiting for various animations and Javascript to load. Lack of that scrolling which is so incredibly annoying on other sites is what I like the most on this site, you see everything immediately. This site stands apart from many others just because of its old and functional design without any super-hyper modern tiresome animations and flashing fading shit that makes it incredibly irritating to find any things you actually need there. If you made this site more like BAR's, it would just become generic like literally everything else you can find on the internet now. It's fine the way it is, leave it be.
+0 / -0


7 months ago
AUrankAdminGoogleFrog
quote:
Anyway, tell us how we could help out.


A feature freeze legitimately wouldn't hurt. The Map Bans feature is a prime example. It's a new nifty feature that feels like it just got tacked on -- it's not integrated with maps or the rest of the site, it feels out of place in Home vs Play menu navigation, its not user friendly -- you have to know the name of the map and manually type it in, there isn't even an editable dropdown to choose from, much less image previews of the maps themselves.

Like I get that sure, all those things might take some additional effort -- but the leading reason I got burnt out is was I felt like I couldn't keep up with all the new additions, that have absolutely zero (k) regard for user experience. It's a constant uphill battle where the hill just gets bigger the closer I get to the summit. I also didn't feel like there's much buy in from others -- I can ignore bozo opinions, but your exact words were "We don't need anything extremely fancy" -- this to me doesn't really indicate that you want or support a redesign at all (although you do appear to be open to it in other comments, but seems somewhat indifferent).

And to be clear I'm not saying I don't like the idea of map bans -- I think it's a great idea, just lacking a bit in implementation. Map Bans seems like it'd fit really nicely in Maps, and I cannot fathom why it wasn't. New features that are just bolted on like frankenstien make designing around them incredibly difficult.

I don't want to be a bottleneck and prevent people from adding new things, but at the same time I realize I'm not a speedy prolific developer that can stay on top of all the changes constantly. Although maybe that's just unfortunate timing as I haven't been terribly active -- maybe new features aren't popping up constantly. But even if they aren't new, there's a huge depth of features in the legacy website that I don't want to break, which is a massive challenge, cause everything could benefit from massive improvements.
+0 / -0


4 months ago
USrankAdminmaackey
quote:
A feature freeze legitimately wouldn't hurt.

The website is already changed very slowly. How long would you feature freeze be to account for this already slow rate? A year sounds like far too long, less than a year is approximately the current rate of change anyway. I am no expert at reading the infrastructure commit log, but it looks like the only site change in the last 10 months was a tweak to some text for clarity.

quote:
Like I get that sure, all those things might take some additional effort -- but the leading reason I got burnt out is was I felt like I couldn't keep up with all the new additions, that have absolutely zero (k) regard for user experience.

Again, how fast are these changes? But also, trying to polish absolutely every corner of the website in one go sounds foolish to me. Map bans are a niche feature. They have no bearing on first impressions or new player retention because people barely know they exist. Sure, making people aware of them would be good, but it would be a bonus, not a requirement.

quote:
I also didn't feel like there's much buy in from others -- I can ignore bozo opinions, but your exact words were "We don't need anything extremely fancy" -- this to me doesn't really indicate that you want or support a redesign at all (although you do appear to be open to it in other comments, but seems somewhat indifferent).

We don't need anything extremely fancy. I stand by that. Even something relatively standard/simple would be a big improvement. But you have conflated "we don't need X" with "wee need not X". I say "We don't need anything extremely fancy" when it looks like people are daunted by how much work it would take to make something extremely fancy. If I meant "We need something that isn't extremely fancy" then I would have said that.

The website does a lot, but what is wrong with this? https://zero-k.info/Forum/Post/259097#259097
+2 / -0
4 months ago
It's all about what the developers intend and wish for the future. If the developers want the game to remain at a stable playerbase and stay true to its old players, then what we have now should be fine. However, though, if the developers want to expand the game and make it grow, a better and more up-to-date website is needed to be able to compete with other games in the genre.

This also kind of ties in with the whole concept of advertisement, which is all too talked about on the forums but never actually attempted to much of a degree.
+0 / -0
Hi, I was wondering if I could help with designing, idk if 17 yr olds are allowed or not, but I got an A+ in my web design class and made a few friends/class exclusive websites, I know a lot of html (<p>, <body>, <img src=“blank.jpg”>, etc) I’ve been collecting and playing a lot of old Strategy games, so I think it would be awesome to volunteer for helping modernize the website
+2 / -0


4 months ago
quote:
The website is already changed very slowly

You're right, perhaps it was just poor timing I noticed some new feature pushed out of the blue that just added on to the pile of work, and I had already bitten off too much at once.

quote:
We don't need anything extremely fancy. I stand by that. Even something relatively standard/simple would be a big improvement. But you have conflated "we don't need X" with "wee need not X". I say "We don't need anything extremely fancy" when it looks like people are daunted by how much work it would take to make something extremely fancy. If I meant "We need something that isn't extremely fancy" then I would have said that.


It's not even about making something extremely fancy. It's a daunting task to get a simple, clean, basic update -- because the required infrastructure of divs with proper ids and classes simply isn't there in order to support proper stylesheets. And any time someone adds something without ids, or classes, or inline styles that would override and break stylessheets -- it's just one more thing that needs to be reworked.

quote:
Hi, I was wondering if I could help with designing, idk if 17 yr olds are allowed or not, but I got an A+ in my web design class and made a few friends/class exclusive websites, I know a lot of html I’ve been collecting and playing a lot of old Strategy games, so I think it would be awesome to volunteer for helping modernize the website


Not only are 17 yr olds allowed, but welcomed and encouraged :) It's just a matter of installing Visual Studio, getting a test database set up, and learning a few Git basics -- all of which I'm happy to help with, and so will others in discord prolly. Not only could it help the community, but also with your resume/CV if you find it's something you're interested in pursuing as a career. If you know how to do those three things that puts you far ahead of most applicants already :P
+1 / -0