Digital Comic Museum

Help and Support => Feedback and Suggestions => Topic started by: digodiego on December 07, 2014, 05:53:22 PM

Title: Web design! D:
Post by: digodiego on December 07, 2014, 05:53:22 PM

I'm sorry. I know I might look like an asshole because this is my very first message on the forum but I cannot stay quiet for a second.
You really need a call of attention. If I were your mother I would punish you.

This site makes me feel embarrassed.

It is a real pity that such a GREAT web as DCM seems to be
the example of the WORST, SHITTY, 90'S website of all internet.

Please programmers!! Wake up!! We are in 2014! You cannot have a site
with such a terrible, uncomfortable, useless,
counterintuitive design anymore!
Just for personal pride!

Seriously, it seems to be designed on purpose in order to explain how NOT to design a website.
As a new user, my first impulse was to run away! It's a pity as I said
because this site is the paradise for many people.

Now is when I stay as a troll who criticize without giving any solution.
I'm really sorry but I'm not english and writing all what I'm thinking is a lot of time,
so I'll write some advices (like tag searching) another day.
Now I will say that touching and playing with the css is the opposite of difficult, just the css at least!

Here are a couple of comic related sites that I think have a good (or at least normal) desing:

Please, take this message for the positive way and don't stop improving.
Thank you. 

Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: Yoc on December 07, 2014, 09:07:13 PM
Well everyone has their opinion.  Sorry you aren't impressed.
Those links for example didn't impress me.  DCM is not a blog or news aggregate site.

And yes, this wasn't the best first impression you could make but I'd be interested to see if any other members have an opinion.

Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: SuperScrounge on December 08, 2014, 01:38:39 AM
I'm not sure what his problem is.

To me the site is clean and easy to use.

The sites he linked to are overly busy, with some verging on visually confusing.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: darkmark on December 08, 2014, 02:02:44 AM
I was not impressed by your first posting.  Not exactly a great way to win over the crowd.  If you're dissatisfied with the site, find another one.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: movielover on December 08, 2014, 02:37:01 AM
Site works for me and is quite fine for what it is intended for. Don't let the door hit you on the way out
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: CBpop on December 08, 2014, 05:39:04 AM
Constructive criticism is always beneficial for improvement. However  one must first establish a baseline for the criticism:

1-What is the purpose of the website
2-Who is the audience
3-What is the benefit of the website
4-What is your view of the website
5-What can you do to improve the problem

I believe your major objection to DCM is number 4 but I must begin with the first baseline question.

Number 1 – the purpose: Provide an easy access of public domain art from the golden age of comics. I have been using the site for over 2 years and it has fulfill that purpose for me and many others.

Number 2 – the audience: From the Forum posts, I would say DCM has a worldwide appeal including all ages from newbie fans to older fans such as myself who remember these early books from our childhood.

Number 3 – the benefit:  Where to start?  I have discovered many gems from the past, learned a lot about the artist, the history of comics and made many new friends.

Number 4 – your viewpoint:  Here is the part I think you are missing.  As was stated by others... this is not a blog, news site, or commercial venture.  The format is straight forth and easy to use. There may not be the bells and whistles you would like, but that is not the purpose of the site. It's a rich resource of books that would not be seen by many and has contributed to others who have and are writing the history of comics.

Number 5 – improvement: There is always room to improve.  In the short time I have been using the site, I have seen many improvements to the site. It is a slow process but it is happening. Maybe not in the way you or others would like. 

You mentioned tag searching and CSS programming. Having had to manage a very simple bulletin board for a number of years and having to deal with security issues I can understand DCM's programmer's problems.  There is a balance between what type of “ eye candy” is best for your site and how to keep your content safe.

Many of the sites you mentioned have some interesting and “fun” programming, but would it benefit DCM's purpose?   That is the question you have to ask.

As for me and those I have contact with, DCM is a rare gem that has provided a great resource and enjoyment. I am not an administrator for the site so I can not speak to the programming, but I can say that what I have used has worked well and meets the purpose of the site. 

Thank you DCM for your hard work in providing the content of the Golden Age of comics and for being a point of contact for education and enjoyment of those early art forms.

My suggestion to you digodiego is to not rush into any rash conclusions until you have spent some time on the site.  There may be a disconnect due to language but the art should speak for itself.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: digodiego on December 08, 2014, 06:32:22 AM
Thanks CBpop, I understand all your arguments and it's true that maybe
I talk to much without having used the site for a long time.
Yet I still think that a couple of simple arrangements would benefit the purpose of DCM and its users.

I know that the example websites are not "database sites".
I showed them for you to see only the design: big texts
(the size of the text of DCM make it hard to read, and much more if everything is piled),
big images, intuitive browsing...

Here's a couple of things that shocked me in the first view:

- Really the best way to present the list is piling links haphazardly and messy??

- The button of log in, it should be more accessible, it took me about half a minute to find it.

- Since this is a database of comics the search bar should be the first thing you see, there it seems to be hidden!

- It should be other ways to search the comics not just by it publisher. Alphabetical order,
  by the genre (adventure, western, sci fi...), by the author, the year, the top rated...
  (this is not a "simple" arrangement but the most important to me.)

That's for the functionality. I would say more advices for the estetical desing
but I see that the users love the 90's way and, as CBpop said,
it could not be the target of DCM.

I repeat: I hate gratuitous criticism. I write this post because I really want the site to improve.
If it were another site, maybe I would have closed the tab and continue looking for another comic site,
but in this one I thought it was worth to show my thoughts. Because I imagine how it would be like
with a pair of arrangements and I get excited because it would be brutal!

Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: Yoc on December 08, 2014, 10:14:26 AM
Hi gang,
You know I'm glad this topic has been started.  One doesn't like to hear negative opinions about 'their baby' but sometimes this is the best way to improving things.
For instance it took a negative review of us on BoingBoing to give CaptDJ the idea of installing our Preview feature.  Now we can't imagine the site without it!

So thanks for sharing guys.  CBpop - very kind and thoughtful words.  You explain DCM's goals exactly and the considerations that have to be made.

Thanks to digodiego as well.  He may be blunt but he is entitled to his opinion.  I seriously doubt we will ever look like his examples.  Our focus just doesn't fit into those layouts IMO.  But he does bring up a couple things that we are actually trying to work into the site eventually

Searching by more than just publisher and title (both assume a level of knowledge about the GA comics on the site that newbies might not possess) has been on my wish list for ages.
My #1 wish from even before I joined the staff is to add the GCD data to the site for each book.  By adding this we could add so much more to the search field options.

As for digodiego dislike of the graphic design of the site.  Well, that's more about personal taste.  We figure the banner is the first place people look so we put all our important links around the banner.  The two most important - logging in and the search field are right on top.  We thought it was easy to find and away from any other text that it might be lost in.

A lot of the site layout is built into the RWD software that runs the download site.  Where it might shine at database functions like adding publishers, titles and keeping track of it all letting the staff sort and manage things there are some shortfalls.  RWD was certainly not bug-free so our first few years at GAC were spent working around them and eventually fixing the worst of them.  Remember though - the DCM staff are all volunteers.  CaptDJ, our code guru, has made MANY fixes and upgrades behind the scenes that members might not see and added several new features such as our very popular Preview feature.  Unfortunately he can't devote as much time to us as he would like so these things can take time.  Only longtime members have an idea how crippled the site was compared to today.  Is there room for improvement.  Absolutely.  And someday I hope we can look back and this topic and say yes, we have gotten better.

As for small text size.  There is the option to increase font size on your end by just holding control and hitting the "+" key on your keyboard.

There are other sites out there you might try digodiego.  CB+ ( shares a lot of the same books, runs on the same RWD software but does have a different layout and some features we don't have.  AIBQ ( is another that is more 'visual' but don't share nearly as many books.  (I've never understood why they call it AIBQ though, anyone out there know?)

Thanks for sharing guys!
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: digodiego on December 08, 2014, 11:17:22 AM

Glad to read this Yoc! What I should have guessed is that developers do this voluntarily, double merit then!
Thanks for showing me more sites, but I think I'll stay with this, I don't like the other ones neither, I must be very fussy xD

Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: Yoc on December 08, 2014, 12:29:10 PM
Hehe, glad you like us enough to stick around D.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: movielover on December 08, 2014, 01:30:03 PM
This is just me, but I think if digodiego's second post would have been the first post, it would have come off better, as it mentions several things they noticed
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: CBpop on December 08, 2014, 02:40:52 PM
Hi digodiego,
I'm glad you decided to come back and to contribute constructive suggestions.  Designing a site that will please all platforms, browsers and visuals that will please everyone  is difficult at best and at times impossible.   DCM is a site of many volunteers and the progress of change may be slow, but it is happening, that's why I continue to support the site in any way I can.

I believe you have some valid points that are being worked on by the DCM staff.  Overall, the goal is to preserve and enjoy the public domain (PD) comics ( many rare and almost impossible to find) of a past age in a digital format that all can access and enjoy.  DCM is a work in progress that meets that goal and I am sure will change as necessary to improve.  Just hang with us, I am sure you will find the effort worth it.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: erwin-k on December 08, 2014, 04:20:43 PM
digodiego, I recognize a bit of myself in your initial post. I fight it, but I sometimes still get too blunt for my own good.

That said, I went to the links you suggested. Mostly I saw lots extraneous clutter. And I sure do not want to be greeted here by a Facebook pop-up as soon as I land.

Personally I do not see the navigation or search problems you do. But, I am lucky enough to have a fairly extensive knowledge of early U.S. comics. As Yoc says, search functions could be improved for less informed folks.

A visually "good" site is in the eye of the beholder, as filtered thru that viewer's culture and background. In the U.S., for instance, the Google search page is very minimal. However, in South Korea, the same base page is as cluttered as any of the pages you linked to. Maybe more so. That is apparently what the Koreans want & expect.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: tilliban on December 10, 2014, 04:55:16 AM
My opinion: digodiego has got a point.

You know me, I'm super-loyal to DCM, but I still ache for features like CB+ provides:
Chronological search ("Newsstand") and genre search ("Categories").
See it there:

DCM is a website aimed at learned comic historians.
A newbie landing here does not know what to look for!

He has to pick a publisher or a title at random and spend hours of clicking and searching.
How much easier would it be to hit a genre search:
"Show me romance books. Ah. There are a lot of them and obviously from different companies..."
"Which books were published in 1945?"

Any beginner visiting here first has to work expertly through GRAND COMIC DATABASE to get an answer to his questions.
Who does that? Except for us learned comic historians?

Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: Yoc on December 10, 2014, 08:21:18 AM
Hi T,
Yep, by adding the GCD data to CB+ it opened the door to all those other features.
Hence the reason I've been wanting to add GCD data since 2008 or so.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: churnworks on December 26, 2014, 07:43:05 PM
I suppose the design could be better, but slick design basically encourages people to get in and out fast, and that's not really what the site is about. Search works, the design encourages people to stop and take a look around, and all in all it rewards a more leisurely approach.

More to the point, it feels like a family. Today, for example, I was pleased to be greeted by the Christmas banner, which I'm quite fond of.

Could there be more ways to present the site? Certainly. But they're not priorities to me. I'm just happy the site is here, and that people are willing to put in time and effort to maintain it ... and to add new scans and new comics on a regular basis, which is after all what a "Digital Comic Museum" should do!
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: darkmark on December 26, 2014, 08:58:07 PM
Now that sounds good!  Welcome.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: Yoc on December 26, 2014, 10:32:56 PM
Thanks for the kind words CW and the Christmas banner is my favourite banner so far as well.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: Captain DJ on December 30, 2014, 06:55:36 PM
Hi guys,

I am glad to see a post like this actually to get some discussion on the subject.

As someone mentioned above all the staff here work in their spare time and I am the one who is in charge of the servers and code. I have been missing in action a lot recently and when I do start working on something it seems to get overly too big and then either I get caught up with real life again or as happened last time my PC played up and I lost lot of my extra feature code.

Anyway, if anyone has ideas we are always open to them. Have a design concept you want to mock up quickly in Photoshop/paint/pen and paper? Want to try help out with the actual web design / coding side? Then please get in touch with me and we can see where it goes. We will pay you the going rate of $0 per hour and bonuses of hugs.

Anyway, I am determined 2015 will see more moving forward for DCM. I have finally done my 2nd house move in less than 14 months so now I am settled and live closer to work etc so got more spare time :-D
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: churnworks on January 01, 2015, 10:52:09 AM
Real life gets in the way -- I chuckle at Captain DJ's bon mot, because as we all know, real life is malign and at the very least sticks out a leg in your path when you're running to catch a train.

That said, I will slip out from the anonymity of my day job -- which is coding sites, and documenting what I did -- and commit to outlining some small project this year that might help the "look and feel" of DCM. (I'm still working on a couple of what I hope will be helpful databases that will provide additional information without duplicating the robust data on GCD -- but that project may take a lo-o-o-o-ng time!)
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: Yoc on January 01, 2015, 11:05:40 AM
Ohhh, sounds interesting!  Please feel free to contact CaptDJ and myself directly with a Private Message when you feel ready to talk about your ideas CW.
We are working towards adding GCD data atm.
Title: Re: Web design! D:
Post by: tilliban on January 03, 2015, 07:17:15 AM
Hats off to you coding masters!
Happy new year and good luck for any upcoming projects in 2015.
We all super-appreciate what you are doing.
No one is rushing you.