Let me know what you think about a new layout

As I mentioned earlier, I have to redesign the way the site is laid out to avoid getting the Google Hammer dropped on me. Basically the ads are too close to the content in the current layout.

The good news is, the app itself has also gone under the knife, and I think there are a few good bits in there for you, the intrepid HeroMachine creator. Here's a screen capture of what I'm proposing:


And the stuff I hope you'll like about it?

  • The Google ad will no longer be present in widescreen mode, so you can once again do screen captures without having to crop. Hooray!
  • The character canvas is larger than in the current layout letting you see more of your creation.
  • I'm proposing to swap the tool buttons over to the left side, which always felt more natural to me.

None of this is set in stone, of course. I'll be continuing to make tweaks to the design over the weekend, so please let me know any thoughts you have on the new layout.

31 Responses to Let me know what you think about a new layout

  1. NEON says:

    I definitely like the ads being outside the app.

    The buttons on the left side seem awkward because I’m too used to seeing them on the right. But I guess after a while I could get used to it.

  2. Mad Jack says:

    Larger canvas sounds very good! Is that gonna be HeroMachine 3.5 then?! πŸ˜‰

  3. CantDraw says:

    I don’t really care where the buttons are, but I do like a bigger canvass.

  4. Herr D says:

    Looks like a positive set of changes to me. You’ll post here on the new Home/Blog to say when you’re done, right?

  5. ams says:

    Looks great! Ad free widescreen view is back. Yippeee!
    Bigger canvas, big plus. We’re looking at wider, not taller, right?
    Swapping the tools to the left? I vote for keeping on the right. Really used to it on that side and I think it stays consistant with all other past versions of Heromachine. Or do you have to change them also?
    Since you have a little red color in your title, I think some red border lines on top and bottom of the links header (HOME/BLOG, FORUMS…..) would be good to make it pop out and not blend in.

    Is this just a cosmetic, repositioning of controls or are some features altered? Like the “shift” with your image when you use the EXPORT function. And any ideas for the bottom left hand corner?

    Hopefully this event is not stressing you out too much! Cheers!

  6. KryptKal says:

    I like the new layout. Having a bigger canvas and moving the ads outside are definitely a good idea.

    I’d say that since you have that extra space below the selection box for items, why not expand the box so that more than three lines of items are on a page at a time. Just a thought. Layout looks good.

  7. ams says:

    @ KryptKal – I think if he does that then all saved text files before the update would no longer work. Item repositioning will create havoc for saved work.

  8. Jeff Hebert says:

    I’d like to expand the previews box, KryptKal, but it would mean editing every single set file and manually adjusting the layout of the preview grid, then changing the way the code figures out which pane it’s on. Not an insurmountable task but REALLY time consuming. If this design flies with Google, though, I might have to do it because that space bugs me, too.

  9. ams says:

    Whoa!! Everything got big!!

  10. ams says:

    Nice that when you are logged in to the forums, you now see the side bar on the right that shows the activity on the blog. Likey that!

  11. Marx says:

    Looks good to me. Any plans for that extra space down in the lower left corner?

  12. Jeff Hebert says:

    Oh my, all these changes aren’t supposed to be live yet … Not sure why you’re seeing the new stuff, AMS.

    Marx, no, that space is only there on the item preview tab. The others (color, transform, pattern) all go all the way down. As I mentioned above the logical thing is to expand the previews so you have more of them on the page but as you know, that’s a large undertaking.

  13. ams says:

    If you are logged into the forum, you see the changes.

  14. Marx says:

    Whoa! A bunch of people got their comments in before mine. Regarding KryptKal’s suggestion to add a fourth preview row, in most of my artwork, the previews are grouped with related items in groups of 12, so that (for example) the all of the shotgun stocks, barrels, grips, etc. are on the preview pane at the same time while you build your character’s shotgun. That’s not to say that we CAN’T add a fourth row to the preview pane, just that it’s not always going to be simple.

  15. Mad Jack says:

    Hmm, not sure if I like the increased font size on the blog and in the forums – personally I think it’s a tad too “bombastic” and blows the whole website out of proportion. Of course that’s just my own preference, but my experience as a web-designer tells me that most people (page visitors) don’t like such big fonts – unless they’re over 60 and need glasses… πŸ˜‰

  16. Jeff Hebert says:

    Font set back to normal size. Now it looks swamped in the wider space but whatever.

  17. DiCicatriz says:

    Woah! I like the new blog layout. The font size seems a bit big, as others have said, but I most browsers have a zoom out/in feature so it doesn’t bug me really all that much.

    Machine layout looks great! Love the canvas, the positioning, everything. Tools on the right would be cool since I’m so used to it, but it wouldn’t be a huge deal or anything if it wasn’t.

    The previews could extend or not, it really doesn’t matter to me, although since I work with designers I know the horrible nagging feeling that empty space can produce in people with layout-oriented minds. πŸ˜€

  18. Prof. Anthrax says:

    Bigger work area unintruded by ads? Wonderful!
    Count me in with those who like the buttons on the right side. For some reason, it seems more intuitive that way.

  19. Kaldath says:

    Well Since I have Admin Rights and can see all the changes on all the pages, the only problem I am experiencing is that the blog posts, forums layout and posts, etc are all running underneath the sidebar

  20. Rapidosian says:

    Personally, I like HM3 as it is πŸ™‚ The new website looks good though.

  21. Jeff Hebert says:

    Rapidosian, that makes two of us πŸ™‚ Unfortunately Google doesn’t, and they’ve got the only vote that really counts in this case.

    Kaldath, there’s a “single column” template I’ll put in place when the new blog template goes live and you won’t have the side bar in the forums. It’s just an artifact of the temporary template testing plugin I’m using. Although it WOULD be nice to be able to have the side bar there all the time even in the forums … hm, I’ll have to play around with that.

  22. ams says:

    Is the font too small now? Just seems that way now to me.

  23. djuby says:

    Looks great so far Jeff – really like the new layout. Looking forward to the changes on the creator and the larger format. Can’t wait to see it.

  24. Marjorie says:

    Hello !
    Thank you again for this awesome improvment. (hΓ©hΓ© !) πŸ™‚
    But just a little thing : how i can use the “headshot view” (useful for the little dΓ©tails…) ?. With the new layout when i click on the button for a “headshot view” all my created characters are moved up and not in the center of the picture…and i can not move them…It is normal ?
    Aside this little remark, you have made a great job and i like the new layout ! I will play with more fun, now ! :))
    Have a good continuation and long live to hero machine !

  25. Roel says:

    The kayout of the character in HM2.5 have become much smaller =/. That’s a bit of a dissapointment, ya litterally have to sit on top of th screen to see the character details etc. ..

  26. Jeff Hebert says:

    Good catch, Marjorie, thank you! I’ve just updated the file to fix that, though you might have to do a forced refresh to get it to show.

  27. Jeff Hebert says:

    Good call, Roel. I’ve gone back in and laid it out again, making the character fill the window. The actual canvas area is now a bit narrower but the character at least fills it completely. Again, you might have to force-refresh the page to get the update to show.

  28. Marjorie says:

    Thank youuuu, Jeff ! ^o^/ A nice job like always !! Thanks you for your response and your great work ! πŸ™‚

  29. Roel says:

    Thank a lot Jeff! For the rest it looks pretty great :), nice job! Have to get use to the new order in the color scheme though, but an overall nice job πŸ™‚

  30. Jeff Hebert says:

    Glad you like it, Roel. Hit force-refresh again, though, the color scheme is back to exactly how it was before πŸ™‚

  31. Alex Yorim says:

    That’s nice. It’s more minimal and less hassled. Ads are gone on the layout, adblock or no, and canvas: Yes! the more the merrier! Getting used to the stuff on the left, but love the layout.