shame that the listings have been relegated tot he bottom of the screen.. have you considered putting them back to the top and having 2 boxes one for mudlistings forums and 1 for forums on the web next to each other?
so they arent all the way down the bottom of the page now?
Also anyone else noticing a dramatic slow down of the page actually loading??
Well nothing is set in stone. The beauty of using Joomla is that we can easily move things around, so if we decide that we want the listings back on top, it'll be quick and easy to do so.
That said, we're going to give this a try for a while, being keeping the post feed at the top and the listings at the bottom.
At this stage I'm considering moving the events calendar from the right sidebar to the bottom as well, at least until it gets populated enough to warrant moving it back up and not be making so much empty white space.
Thanks for the feedback though, it's good to know where people are at.
d20MUD Star Wars: Role Play, PvE & PvP using d20 and SAGA rules
d20mud.com port 6000
I suppose there are three distinct user groups that might want to be catered to..
1) First time user - Never been here before, just checking things out.
2) Occasional user - Comes by to look at the mud listings to find a game to play, OR game admin coming to refresh an entry to keep the game marketing fresh
3) Daily user - comes by to look at the mud forum aggregations, might look at events.
For the occasional user it makes sense to have the listings at the top, since that's what they are probably coming here to see. Forums next would be good since it might entice them to participate in the forums and become a daily user. Welcome message isn't needed at all, they've already seen it.
For the Daily user, forums should be first, since that's what they are checking in here daily for. No welcome message required. The listings could be at the bottom of the page in case they want to scan those for updates.
For the first time user, the welcome message front and center is really nice, as it sets the stage. After that, it could be a tossup what should come next, the forums or the listings. Listings first, if you are trying to get real newbies to learn about the games. Forums first if you are trying to get existing mudders and forum participants to visit here first before heading off to the other sites.
So... who do you want to cater to? As it is now, the welcome message occupies all of the above-the-fold real estate of the page after the site header and promo banner, and it does that for ever type of user. To me, that seems like kind of a waste of prime page space. The listings as they are today are also gigantic- almost four pages long, and each category can be side scrolled! For me, the forum aggregation is what brings me back, but its also three pages long, which is a lot to scroll through to get to something else.
I think there's just too much stuff on the main page. Maybe try a layout that puts links or collapsables for welcome/listing/forum above the fold so that the user can choose what they want to get at first, without so much scrolling? That might help trim some of the layers of nesting too. There's way too many boxes-in-boxes going on right now, wasting too much horizontal space.
Anyway, keep up the great work! The site is coming along nicely.
...and yes, I'm occasionally seeing really long front page load times. On average, its up to ~120 requests, 1.2MB transferred when not cached and 153K on refresh, just under 2 seconds for the dom to load, and around three seconds to finish. There can be some long time to first bytes on it too that seem to be pretty random, and often the page feels like its taking five or more seconds to come up. I'll try and time it next time its acting really slow.