Impending website redesign

Poll time; please take a moment to answer this, as the more responses I get, the better.

I’m preparing to do a fairly substantial redesign on my website, including (among other things) a visual facelift. I always meant to make it more colorful, but never did decide where I was going graphically — which, as it turns out, is the subject of this poll. I know I want to change the color scheme and provide some kind of image at the top and/or side(s), but I frankly have no idea what that should be. So I’ve put together this handy poll, to see what ideas you all have, and whether those nudge me out of my current waffling and into a useful direction. Check as many boxes as you like; if you like several but prioritize one choice over the others, say so in comments.

Feel free to get as detailed as you like in the comments. (And if you’re coming here from outside LJ, you don’t need an account to comment, though it will help if you sign some kind of name.) This is a mass brainstorming session, basically, so let’s bounce ideas around until something comes out.

0 Responses to “Impending website redesign”

  1. fjm

    Please take pity on those of us on the migraine/epilepsy spectrum and stay away from lime green or any kind of flourescent type colour on a dark background.

    • Marie Brennan

      Seeing as how I detest flourescent colours in general, you’re safe. The green used in my LJ template is the brightest I’ll go.

  2. houseboatonstyx

    Dark text on light background — plenty of contrast. Arial font is good.

  3. kthanna

    On a paler background with dark text – definitely.
    As to the artwork, perhaps something inspired or directly relating to the coverart of one of your books? Otherwise some celtic knotwork and intertwined leaves – mixing the two.
    Just suggestions 🙂 Happy designing!

    • Marie Brennan

      I’ve been debating the cover-art-based idea, for several reasons — chief among them the fact that I have two series already, and hope to have more. So which series do I pull from? The most recent one, maybe, and swap it out as time goes by, but I’m not sure what hoops I would have to jump through regarding permissions, since the art is neither stock to be easily licensed, nor something of my own making (or my web designer’s).

      It does have the virtue, though, of being something specific to my work, rather than generic abstraction that might be on anybody’s site. And that’s what I’d really like to get, here, but I’m not sure what I’m aiming for.

  4. unforth

    I agree with folks about light backgrounds and dark text. While I personally like the black background white text look, I think it’s kinda heavy and there are lots of people who find it headache inducing. I’m thinking maybe a lightish green with black text and gray accents. Also, a textured (instead of matte) background might be nice (as long, of course, as it’s a very subtle texture, cause non-subtle ones are also headache inducing). 🙂

    Also, I’m the “other” for borders – I think an architectural motif (not a photo or towers) would be nice, so I’m tossing it in as an idea.

    I think this is a great idea! If you want a hand with CSS, does a lot of web design, I bet she’d be willing to help…

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m not very fond of light greens, which is why I’m probably going to go with a pale grey background and black text, then use the green (of a dark/forest/hunter/emerald sort) for accents. Good point about the texture, though.

      I’ve got somebody handling the CSS for me; she just needs to know what I want her to do with it. 🙂 Any further thoughts on the architectural-motif thing? Inasmuch as I’ve managed to have any idea take shape in my hindbrain, I think that’s the closest I’ve come — maybe something column-like along the left side, bending into an arch at the corner to start something else along the top? Maybe? <sigh> Some things I can visualize easily; this does not turn out to be one of them.

  5. myladyswardrobe

    Echoing the issues with light text on dark background. It gives an instant migraine those of us who are susceptible.

    In terms of artwork – The celtic; vines; swans or towers would be nice.

    How about Swans and Towers?

    • Marie Brennan

      Any suggestions for how to arrange those elements? I tossed ’em in there because, well, Swan Tower, but I’m not sure what to do with them.

      Hmmm. Thinking about the architectural-motif suggestion made, and what I suggested in respose — maybe rather than an actual photo-of-swan, the stone (if I go with some kind of stone-structure look) could have a carved roundel of a swan in the upper left corner.

      And vines, because I want some color in here. Dark green vines winding around the stone. Hey, an actual idea is taking shape! I’ll definitely need an artist to make the image for me, but that’s easy enough to arrange.

      • myladyswardrobe

        Building on your idea thats taking shape…

        How about this:

        Pearly grey background.
        Artwork itself:
        Perhaps a tower in various tones of grey to black. Perhaps its depicted in twilight so you get nice shadows.
        Green vines climbing the tower.
        Lake surrounding it/just behind and to the side of the Tower?
        Swan and celtic motifs on the tower.
        Perhaps swans in flight, flying from or to the water?
        Moon in the sky?

        • london_setterby

          If it’s night time, you wouldn’t be able to tell the vines were green, though, would you (in real life)? Just a thought. Otherwise I second this idea!

          Sorry to post twice. I think I’m having too much fun thinking about this. I obviously need to go work on my website. 🙂

        • Marie Brennan

          The issue I keep having with landscape-y ideas (even though I liked the concept of them) is getting it in there without looking a) crowded or b) excessively romantic, in sort of the early-19c sense rather than the genre one. That’s why I’m leaning toward a column for the left side rather than a tower: it can fill the space in an organized fashion, fade out under the navbar, feature a swan in the carvings at the capital/upper left corner, and otherwise stay simple. I’m still not sure what I want to do along the top edge of the screen, though.

  6. celestineangel

    According to the training I’ve had while studying web development and design: black text on a white background is not only the most professional combination, but also the easiest on the eyes. It may not seem like it, but white text on a black background causes strain on our eyes to read, as does most other dark background light text combinations.

    If you just really don’t want the white background black text, then a dark text on a light background is best.

  7. j_cheney

    I started off with a black background, and my mother (who is on-line all day) complained that it’s hard for her to read those. So now I have a white background with dark text on everything…

    Because if mom’s not happy…

  8. Anonymous

    (1) extremely pale, but still visibly “not white”, background with dark text (perhaps a very deep green, about #006622) and accents from the warmer deep blues (#3366CC or so); this will help readability in a variety of lighting circumstances

    (2) dump the light-text-on-dark-background, except perhaps for reversed headings; no red text anywhere, please, with the green elements!

    (3) top: just about anything that doesn’t take up more than 1/6 of a reasonable screen size, and consider putting it on a rotation behind a strong text element (changing every week or so)
    side: no pure graphic elements; instead, text-plus-graphics. This is where the “buy my books” with small covers goes; this is where the “now reading” or “buy my friends’ books” with small covers goes; and that would create instant clash with any permanent graphic element. Plus, if a reader is stuck with a slow connection (like at an airport), an extensive graphic down the side will just load like molasses and increase frustration; any graphics need to be relatively small and independent.

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