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Fresh Stew in the Pot: Gnome Stew Redesign

Posted By Martin Ralya On April 20, 2009 @ 11:32 pm In Gnome Gnews | 16 Comments

My friend Darren Hardy, a professional graphic artist and web designer, just put the finishing touches on a complete Gnome Stew redesign.

In addition to the many visual changes, some more subtle than others, you can now a) actually FIND things with our new Google-powered search (go ahead, try it out!), and b) browse the archives by author.

You’ll also encounter a wider main (content) column, better balanced white space, and numerous other visual and usability changes both large and small. Our thanks to Darren for a killer redesign — he nailed it.

For posterity, here’s the old design (click for big):

We hope you like it. Let us know what you think in the comments, and if you spot a bug please tell us about it.

About  Martin Ralya

A father, husband, writer, small-press publisher, former RPG industry freelancer, and lifelong geek, Martin has been gaming since 1987 and GMing since 1989. He lives in Utah with his amazing wife Alysia and their awesome daughter Lark in a house full of books and games.




16 Comments (Open | Close)

16 Comments To "Fresh Stew in the Pot: Gnome Stew Redesign"

#1 Comment By MarioB On April 21, 2009 @ 3:26 am

great and nicely done changes. I like it :-)

#2 Comment By giftedmunchkin On April 21, 2009 @ 5:13 am

Oh, man, when I saw the headline on my RSS feed I was worried, but it was for naught; Very nice!

Aaron
allgeektout.com

#3 Comment By valadil On April 21, 2009 @ 7:37 am

I like it, but I think the header with the logo is a bit too big. What if the links bar moved up so the cauldron hung out over the edge a little?

#4 Comment By Matthew J. Neagley On April 21, 2009 @ 8:19 am

I love the random taglines in the header and had to refresh till I saw them all (I think).

#5 Comment By Scott Martin On April 21, 2009 @ 9:52 am

Thanks Darren– particularly for the improved search! It’s a nice look too.

#6 Comment By steamcrow On April 21, 2009 @ 10:00 am

I love Gnome Stew, and you guys just improved it again.

Keep up the good work, and all of these tasty posts. (FUDGE too!)

Daniel
http://www.agyris.net
http://www.monstercommmute.com

#7 Comment By darrenkh On April 21, 2009 @ 10:10 am

@valadil

The header is vertically shorter than it was previously, even though the logo is bigger.

#8 Comment By Patrick Benson On April 21, 2009 @ 10:20 am

Very nice! I think it looks fabulous, and the new functionality rocks too!

#9 Comment By Yax – DungeonMastering.com On April 21, 2009 @ 10:39 am

Good job, Darren, Martin, and everyone. I’m addicted to the stew. Now it tastes and LOOKS good.

#10 Comment By Cole On April 21, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

@valadil – Same here, I thought the header was huge.

#11 Comment By Rafe On April 21, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

Love it! It’s very subtle, which is a good thing.

However, there is one thing I noticed that, as an editor with the Senate of Canada, I just can’t let go of. Under “What’s Gnome Stew?”, could the description be changed to:

Written by nine veteran GMs, Gnome Stew is the most widely-read blog dedicated exclusively to game mastering.

… unless you’re also the dedicated exclusively to game mastering off the planet, which might be the case! ;)

#12 Comment By Rafe On April 21, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

(Stupid 11-hour days. I curse the irony of being unable to edit my own post above. Ignore the “the” after “also”…)

*le blush*

#13 Comment By Martin Ralya On April 21, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad folks are enjoying the redesign so far.

I agree that it’s subtle in a lot of ways. As Yax put it in an email to me, we kept everything good about it and improved the rest.

@Rafe – I don’t know, I think I like the planet bit — it just feels right somehow. ;-)

#14 Comment By Rafe On April 22, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

@Martin Ralya – I know. I do, too, actually. It’s the order of the wording, but there’s no way to fix it by leaving the planet bit in without making it two sentences. I’ll live with it. :D

Given I just had to edit 8 pages from a non-native English-speaking senator… “on the planet” is the least of my problems! *commits seppuku with his keyboard*

#15 Comment By Bercilac On May 2, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

I didn’t notice at first, which is a good thing. On closer inspection, the layout is cleaned up nicely. Sometimes a site does a complete visual overhaul as a way of “re-inventing itself,” as though a new stylesheet and re-arranging all of the buttons people have gotten used to is going to change the facts. And the facts are in your favour: regular posts, good content, straightforward features.

The google search is an interesting touch. I’m sure I’ll make use of it, as I’ve often typed, for example “monsters site:http://www.gnomestew.com” into google. That said, google has its limitations, and I think I’ll find more use out of the new browsing features such as the articles-by-author. When I’m looking for a new article, I tend to prefer a set of logical categories that someone has taken the time to work out. So I’m quite glad to see this. I’d also like some more use of the tagging feature. Are there any tools on the site to take advantage of it? On that note, I’ve noticed only Martin has tagged articles “gnometastic…” Are other authors tagging “gnomelicious” or other variants?

#16 Comment By Martin Ralya On May 3, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

@Bercilac – Thank you, Bercilac. That’s great to hear.

I used to use Google with “site:” to find stuff on the Stew as well — a bad sign, when the site had its own search engine. ;-)

Honestly, we don’t quite know what to make of tags. We use them, but probably not as well as we could. As it stands, they’re pretty organic: click on one, and you’ll see other articles that also have that tag. But there’s no tag cloud or other interface related to them.

I use “gnometastic” on Gnome Gnews articles, when I remember to include it. There’s no rhyme or reason. ;-)


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