Did you inspire yourself with someone else site?
Firstly, applogies if this is in the wrong area of the forum..
I'm looking for feedback and opinions on my existing website, www.qwak.co.uk
The kind of information I'm looking for, is anything to do with the site design and layout that would impact on a persons' descision to make a purchase.
Hey, don't we all want to know that!!?
I'm in the process of re-developing the site, and am wondering if I should add video on the home page; much like there is now; is that a good idea or not?
Also, if there's anything else that springs to mind, feel free to mention it here.
Given the nature of qwak, the website seems to be a little too complicated, or it may be that the content is squished in a little too densely.
Too texty - needs more whitespace and pictures. The video is an excellent touch though
The "About a duck" panel does seem too busy and text-filled, at first glance. However, the rest of the site looks attractive and professional.
That Youtube video in the middle does a GREAT job of selling the game. Right there I know exactly how the game plays, how good it looks, and if I want to play it or not.
It's not just the amount of text. It's the fact that it's above and below the video, and then there are link buttons to the left and to the right. The whole layout is claustrophobic.
My very first graphic design prof, in our very first class, told us something really useful. Graphic design is like arranging furniture in your new apartment. First, you think about everything that you want to put in the room and decide if that's realistic. Then you mentally figure out how you want to arrange it, preferably doing some crude little maps and sketches to help visualize. Then you actually do it. There are usually lots of arrangements that are equally valid, but there are a few things you really don't want to do:
1) Don't decide that item X needs to go in spot Y before you've finalized your list of items that are going in the room.
2) Don't start actually moving things in before you've decided where you're putting everything.
3) Don't put the sofa on top of the end table, or the television in between the bookshelf and the wall.
Actually, all he really said is "Graphic design is like arranging furniture. Just don't put the sofa on top of the end table." The rest is my interpretation of his metaphor, but I think it works.
Anyway, the point is that I sort of feel that the design process for your site started with the video, and then you just kind of put stuff all around it to fill up the page. It's the wrong way to go about things. It's as if you decided that this coffee table absolutely must go dead centre in the room, and as a result, everything else ends up just getting crammed in wherever it fits, and then you end up with some dead space in the corners, so you go out and buy some extra furniture you don't need, just to fill it up. The end result is a cluttered, uncomfortable living room.
Last edited by AlexWeldon; 09-19-2008 at 08:28 PM.
You should do something about your buttons. They're all over the place. Have you considered putting the main buttons up top (beneath the banner) in a row and then the remaining buttons next to your video?
Also, your buttons get lost among the text imo. They're gray and they meld with the white and black text. Why not try a mouse over for them? So at least they'll pop some more when people hover over the buttons.
I like the layout and cute colors of the site, so I wouldn't change a thing there. The grey buttons though seem too subdued to me. And I don't like videos playing automatically when I go to a page. I also agree with others that there are too many words on the page. I would cut the top part by 2/3rds.
I would suggest you run the page through a web optimizer site to see what it says about size of graphics and performance.
Overall very nice.
Just wanted to thank everyone again for all their comments! You guys are awesome, and all your comments are very much apprecieated, thank you.
I've been working on new site design; and so far have:
Am quite happy with it so far; just want to make the front page super attention grabbing. I'm not too convinced with the bullet points (benefits). I could always take that section out, and replace it with some image.
I figure I have less text too, which is a good thing (reading text == hard work).
That is way, way better than the last iteration. I like it quite a bit
The only suggestion I could make would be slightly bigger buttons, but that could be because I run at an obscene screen resolution.
Yes, this is indescribably better than what you had before.
Looks like there's an error at the top of the page under Opera. Plus, on the demo page it says, "Get you FREE demo of Quak." Me sure cavemen like but that about it
The page looks nice, and clean. It's not attention grabbing, though... it really needs more contrast to create some punch. The bullet points are also quite underwhelming. Their layout is good, and they're worth having, it's just they're not the kind of thing which would have someone run and download the demo, or buy the game. For example, would you go out of your way to buy a game because it had an online highscore table? What you have listed are 90% features, and 10% benifits. I'd retink them, and also take a few quotes about the original game from here. Use your page to get excited about the game- not just tell people what it is.
Obviously though that's easier said than done
Quite agree with you Reactor.
I feel a bit unhappy about everything between:
The "buy now" "download" buttons.
... and ...
The "Try clicking on these cute little screenshots, and see the bigger picture" message.
I'd also say it looks clean and crisp; but a little bland with it; lacks a bit of punch as you say!
Well, back to the drawing board ...
Well, just about all done here, and ready to launch (panic), site is about done, so it the demo (it's on there now)..
Just got the payment provider to sort..
If there's anything blindingly obvious I should change or address, please let me know..
Cheers once again for everyones' input!
p.s. Feedback on either site or demo would be really cool, ta.
this looks a lot better than when you first asked for feedback.
Er - you are going to change this:
stuff to go at the bottom of every page - contact and other stuff?
And your About Qwak page is empty. I assume you already know it, but you did ask for anything blindingly obvious
In the second quote, from Gamer Magazine, I'd personally get rid of this first sentence: "Qwak might not amaze you on your first go, but on your second play you'll be totally engrossed as that dangerous addictive factor kicks in." You're basically telling people "be prepared to be unimpressed the first time, but if you want to go back and try it again, it'll be better." The rest of the quote is fine as it is, and it's not dishonest if you only quote half of what they said.
Last edited by Shaz; 10-17-2008 at 03:56 PM.
Wrote a lengthy review and pressed the wrong button. Let me summarize it quicker:
1) The site style doesn't match the game, I think the colors and button styles are different.
2) You aren't using "Nintendo" reference along with handheld logos since it's an unlicensed game, right?
Now a mini-review of the game (dunno if you care). Liked the game a lot, it's almost identical to http://oliverpearl.com/en/games/bonbonquest.php which I like as it has 2P co-op. The game feels kind of Magic Pocket due to the pace and jumping projectiles mixed with Snow Bros. I've played some other similar CD game recently (non-casual), but I don't have it here...
The style of the main character "mismatches" the whole experience - smooth fade transitions, vector-like gfx along with neat alpha fades make the character look worse than level design. I compare QWAK to Mike's Charlie The Duck and I see that QWAK lacks some animation frames and better detalization, while enemies are OK and fruits are just marvelous.
The whole charm of scale2x/hq2x (not sure which one are you using) give it a cool retro feel combined with modern vector art style. If it really is some upscaling filter, I'd expect to see an option to play at higher res.
Now onto some minor things that you might consider:
1) While the game has icon in tray, window title lacks one.
2) BUY NOW insta-closes the game. While I understand the reasoning for this - player has to buy another version and there's no in-game activation, I think this is quite scary, but "confirmation" window might make him think twice so it all comes to the DRM that you are using.
3) You can't play with 2P out of the box as default fire buttons are mapped to LEFT CTRL and LEFT SHIFT.
4) Don't forget that multiple presses of SHIFT on keyboard will lead to accessibility popup that scares the hell out of most people as they never see it. I'd suggest not to use any buttons that might pop up accessibility features
5) ONE/TWO PLAYER GAME menus lack mouse BACK button, while ESC works.
6) TUTORIAL - the menu lacks mention which button should be pressed to skip it or continue. I'd suggest using information from mapped buttons to guide players on what to press.
7) It's kinda weird to see mouse disappearing at that point (TUTORIAL) screen.
8) In-game tooltips - same problem as with (6), no mention which button to press to skip. A bit annoying if you've just remapped it and forgot the key as the key tooltips are overlapped with the menu. Could you add button icon into the tooltip along with instructions "Press (key) to continue"?
9) I'd say go for the mouse controls out of the box. PM me for a good example of 2D sidescroller mapped to mouse controls. This would eliminate the problems 2 players could experience with the keyboard - some keyboards don't allow several keypreses at the same time in different keyboard zones plus you'd reach more casual players with your game!
10) QWAK level complete effect sucks compared to all other motion effects.
11) White circle effect kinda sucks when tutorial pops-up during opening of a chest.
12) Green balloon that delivers QWAK to level kind of sucks.
13) Some sound effects sound like 11KHz, level summary screen lacks sfx.
14) I wasn't able to figure out which level I was at some point of time, could you write level number on pause menu? I got stuck in Lesson 8 somehow - I wasn't able to jump elsewhere and died because of timeout spikes. I also think I died in Lesson 7 and it throwed me into L8 without replaying it. As I was going through the tutorial for the 3rd time I didn't quite understood what happened.
15) I think AI versus co-op (whoever gets more stuff wins) would add a whole another twist to single player campaign.
16) I've missed RESTART button in pause menu few times as I misused initial high jump in few levels.
17) I'm sure I've missed something from my previous run that got erased. Crappy CTRL-R...
18) You should really port it to Flash next time with online level editor and a whole community.
19) I've completed this demo and I must say it's QUITE hardcore. I didn't get what I'll get in the full version of the game as the game doesn't say anything about that.
20) Do you have procedural level generation and something like "SURVIVAL" mode?
21) It'd be cool to represent game progress and level selection via a hall with doors containing episodes/scenes.
NO MORE SARCASM, JUST STRAIGHT CAPS FACTS.
this is sparta!!!!
Thanks for the feedback.
Yes, the "About Qwak" page needs filling out; or I could delete that entire section. I'm not sure if it would help to drive sales or not ...
... may keep the magazine review scans though, and there's probably better quotes I can use from the mags, and put them on the front page.
Sometimes, I think, less is more!
Well, thanks once again.
Many thanks for your feedback, I'll respond to your points here, withough quotes, but using your numbering system (i.e. 1 - 21) to refer to the points you've raised.
1. Do you mean in windowed mode? I imagine so (as there is a desktop icon for the game).
2. I have seperate demo / full versions. Buy now closes the game, because I didn't want to obscure the web-page that get's launched. I could minimize the game..
3. Yes. It's not ideal what I have right now. I could map P1 controls to use cursors and right-ctrl (rather than lef-ctrl) to fire. That would free up the left side of the keyboard to map P2 controls, but would mean P1 controls are kinda cramped. Or leave it as is.
4. Is there a way to prevent this?
5. Yeah, not sure there's any space to fit a back button on the UI for level select screen.
6. You mean to skip the player status screens (i.e. before and after the levels)?
8. Good idea!
9. Ahhhhhrrrrghhghhgh *"(*£(*("&(Q£ ... (am not so sure mouse controls would fit the game). But do send me links to game that acheive this. Just curious..
10. You mean they're bland and boring? Need more particle effects and eye-candy going on?
11. Yeah, just unfortunate that play freezes at the exact moment you open a chest. Don't think that big enough issue to worry about.
12. In what way? It's too fast? Looks too plain? (old version of Qwak, had picture of the ducks faces on the balloon). I also think that during this phase of the game (players coming in to view), they need to be more distinct so you can tell between player 1 and 2 etc.
13. Yeah, some SFX are 11Khz, they seem smaller in memory. Didn't realise they sounded bad! (must be my ears).
14. Yeah, on challenge levels, if you die, you get put on to the next level. It's only for challenge levels (they're like bonus screens).
15. You mean play 2 player against the CPU / AI? Gosh, coding the AI to play Qwak, not a quick job!
16. Ah, there is no re-start option in the pause menu. I could add an option to 'give up' on a level at the cost of losing a life. You'd restart the same level, unless you were on a challenge level.
18. Yeah, I have plenty ideas how to develop the game, and certainly want to look at other platforms and technologies. Even collaboration with other developers or a company. In this version I did pretty much everything myself (code, design, programmer art, tools), and it's not the most effective way of working.
19. Maybe I need some kind of splash screen, showing players how they benefit from getting the full version? I figured I had that covered by playing the pre-recorded inputs when you exit the demo (the little video of game play you get to see additional levels).
20. Don't understand this, sorry.
21. Yeah, I can look at the game now, and see hundreds of ways I could have made it a lot more accessable and fun; but that's part of the learning process I think, whatever you do it's not perfect, and at some point you gotta cut your losses and apply the lessons learned to your next project.
Well, please (anyone) feel free to respond to any of this.
Very much appreciate your comments Tolik.
Ah yeah, the main character is very static, in fact, there's no animation at all, other than the feet. Much much better, would have been something like 'Flicky' (very old arcade game, check it out on mame). The way the character moves, it kinda embodies a character and an essence all of it's own, like it's real or alive ... animated!
Another cool thing about the game 'Flicky' is the way you can hang mid-air and pushing up or down seems to affect the speed at which you fall to the ground (from almost floating, to plummeting at speed).
1. Yes, there's no icon on the window in windowed mode. There's one in tray, but not on the window itself. I'm on XP with the default theme, all other games show icons so I guess
2. If you'll minimize the game and player meanwhile will buy the full version, install it and launch it - will he get a QWAK already running message? Basically it's a weird DRM issue - you can't activate game from trial to full so you have to close it and send player to the site. May be the player just wants to know the price of the game and come back to finish the trial? Boom, the game is closed... Not sure there's a solution but to use in-game activation with a single build, I remember John Raptis had eSellerate (? or some other) in-game activation few years ago, wonder how it worked.
3. Figuring 2P keyboard co-op is always tricky. If you'd go for P1 Arrows+SPACE and 2P = mouse, that'd be insta-accessible for everyone.
4. Yes, don't use SHIFT
5. If you'll be going for "all-mouse controls", then it'll get important, otherwise just forget and mention that ESC=back in some top corner of the screen.
6. Yes, pre-level.
9. I'll send you PM.
10. Yes, I think just rotating the sprite is not enough, you've got such a cool motion design, how about a mini-salute from existing particles (spinning/fading) depending on the rate of collected items?
11. Sure, minor, just mentioning it's there.
12. Plain gradient fill of the balloon looks bland compared to other vector effects.
13. While I was working on porting various games to original Xbox, I was always sitting with each title, going through all of its sound files and determining if player will hear some 11KHz out-of-place sound at maximum volume at some really unexpected moment! It happened in quite some titles, the most annoying one was death sound effect in game "Alien Sky" from KraiSoft, it still gives me flashbacks - a pilot of the destroyed ship was shouting AHHHHHHHHHHHH at full volume in low-quality sound.
I still have the same habit to sit & hear if the sounds are consistent
14. I think this needs some explanation. I see where the current behaviour is coming from - player has unlimited replayability since he could misuse jetpack or highjump in each level, get pissed that he did that and start from scratch mastering the same levels to get higher score.
Still, I'd expect to get an explanation before the level that if you die in bonus level, you'll fly right into the next one. And you could really mark bonus levels with some colorful rainbow effect saying "BONUS LEVEL TIME!" instead of calling them challenge as any other level.
15. Hehe, not 2P against AI, just dreaming about a game where 2nd player will get replaced by AI player. Imagine how cool such game run will be when you have to compete against the second player to get higher score than he has! When I thought about this twice, I understand that path-finding for AI to get items that could be taken only through vertical tiling/jetpack will be tough to code.
Dreaming further: 2P against AI would be totally hillarious! And internet play with join in progress! Woohoo, just 3 months to code Just joking, it'd become a micro-MMO where players could join into any active game session, play for a while, rise their rating, leave without any consequences for the host server and come back to any other session at any time. That's an idea for the future Flash version Not an easy task to code the persistent server and join in progress with level state restoration.
16. Now I understand why it's not a good idea since it's all about score.
17. I've pressed this shortcut while in browser (reload page), all the text got lost... I had to retype it from scratch.
18. Well, not all IPs are equal, you know... I don't know if you could get someone excited with this type of the game nowadays for $20, unless it's 100% online with unlimited levels and user generated content. Then it has unlimited life potential. Most of similar games cost $10 on Steam.
19. Yes, look at XBLA games if you have X360. All of them show stuff like "enjoy 200 levels! get extra modes! get access to multiplayer and post score to leaderboards!" when you exit trial version. Even look at Reflexive games when you close them - I think there's a bullet list for each title what you'll see in the full version, though all of them are not feature locked.
20. Procedural level generation = random levels.
Survival - a mode where player plays levels in certain order and sees how many levels he could complete without dying. Then he gets a highscore of "20 levels" completed without dying, beats it to "25 levels", etc. This one is really hardcore though.
21. Sure, I see that you've got a great tech (smooth engine), come up with some "modern" gameplay with "vibrant" character design that everyone will enjoy!
Are you planning to notify that title is out to existing GBA version owners and homebrew dev communities?
Wasn't able to post this at first:
"You have included 5 images in your message. You are limited to using 4 images so please go back and correct the problem and then continue again."
NO MORE SARCASM, JUST STRAIGHT CAPS FACTS.
this is sparta!!!!
I've fiddled around quite a bit with the web-site. I feel quite happy with the front page, and the screenshots page, and most of the site, apart from..
The order page!
*aarrgh* it just doesn't feel right.
I thought about getting rid of the order page, and just having the buy now button go direct to the payment provider (PayPal). Is that a really bad idea?
Any suggestions or ideas?
Also, is it better to put the price in $ or £?
This is something you should probably do yourself, instead of linking to another site. That automatically makes people a little distrustful. Or just have the order link go straight to the paypal page, or whichever intermediary you want to use.
Anyways, I was expecting to see space for names, addys and all that stuff instead of a big paypal button.
Also be aware that the above page may get indexed on search engines, and that could be the 1st time they see anything about your game. In that case...what would you want them to see there?
I'm thinking a good idea could be to have on that page:
A. List of benefits of owning the full version.
B. Maybe another cute photo of Qwak in action, with the caption "wish you were 'ere".
C. A selection of ways to pay (perhaps incl. Trial-Pay ... has anyone tried that one?).
trial pay? I think you'd be shooting yourself in the foot with that one - but yeah, screens etc. along with spaces to enter information. I know that Share-it actually will let you put the order page on their site and do some lite formatting of it so that it looks more like it's still on your site. Don't know about the other guys.