Thursday, October 1, 2009

Game Blog Design - The ubiquitous cos play gallery

So I have a friend who is working on creating a "professional grade" blog. Meaning not just a place that he'll jot down what he had for lunch or what he thought of Inglorious Basterds, but a blog that will intelligently discuss a variety of specific topics related to a facet of the entertainment industry.

Lately we've been discussing blog design. And this has been causing me to take a closer look at some of the blogs that I frequent. Mostly I've been paying attention to the usability of the design decisions. It's interesting as I know that most of these blogs are revenue based so a lot of my problems with the web design is usually stuff that's only there because these sites need to get their clicks.

As anyone who reads my twitter feed knows, I'm no stranger to cosplay. So I've read through a lot of the cos play posts that the game sites have been throwing up last week and I definatly notice a few differences. Here's my thumbnail thoughts...what do you think?

First, you've got joystiq:

Starts off pretty good with a nice grid of clickable thumbnails.

Then when you click an image it drops the grid down and puts the clicked picture up. The "forward and backward buttons" are awkwardly placed so that they incorporate the ad to the right of the image...kind of lame, but I'm sure it gets a few accidental add clicks. Over all clean and straight forward.

Then you get Kotaku:

I like this one as it uses the same "grid pattern" but the thumbnails are a little bit easier to see. Also, the "Next" button is incorported a little bit better. They used to have a nice flash "arrow" overlay so you could browse without mousing around too much, but that also hid the images behind a flash wall so you couldn't download them. which isn't a big deal for a cosplay gallery, but is kind of lame if it's a screenshot or wallpaper you'd like to download.

Then there's Destructoid:

This thing is a hot mess. Naturally basicaly just says 'here's the babes" in usual destructoid "this is why no one respects gamers" narrative voice. The flash encoding is totally broken. I get the images over running hte horrible 90's style "next" hyperlink in both Google Chrome AND firefox. The images themselves are better than Kotakus or Joystiqs. Like they have a bit of fun and personality, where as kotaku's come off sort voyeristic.

Finally, you've got Wired's.

As usual wired keeps it classy and "periodical". Meaning it looks like it could be a Time Magazine "slide show". the pictures are all high quality and each is accompanied by a caption with just enough editorial discussion that even my mom could click through and get some idea of who "chun li" is or what exactly is going on in that crazy Tokyo she's heard so much about.

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