Draft for new website

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Tommy

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Update (2020-09-22 09:00 pm):
To reduce lag while the Bitcoin node is downloading the Blockchain I moved the process to another server and will later simply transfer the result. Unfortunately, this server is very slow at the moment (looks like it will take a week or two now). I will either delay the launch of the website or we go live and keep Cryptocurrency payments disabled until it's done. While waiting for it I already completed the web server configurations. What's left is still the home page and texts/descriptions where things aren't self-explaining. I don't feel very good lately but I will get back to this project very soon to finish it, test it and finally get it online!

Update (2020-09-21 09:00 pm):
Set up the Bitcoin node which is now synchronizing, usually takes a day or two.

Update (2020-09-20 07:00 pm):
Re-implemented rankings today. Thought it would take me at least two days but I could re-use a lot of the old code. It's now using AJAX, means that the page doesn't reload when browsing the rankings.

Update (2020-09-19 07:00 pm):
Today I implemented the affiliate system allowing players to increase the amount of Cash they get from voting. The next days I'm going to re-implement rankings, finish the home page, complete the server configurations, test everything and apply fixes if necessary, set up the Bitcoin node and then we can finally go live. Once the new website is online I'll contact the volunteers regarding the translations.

Update (2020-09-18 04:00 pm):
Implemented the voting system today. Players always get rewarded for both servers now without having to select a version and there will be only one toplist because according to Google Analytics the others aren't worth the effort.

Update (2020-09-17 09:00 pm):
Today I implemented the Credits shop. It includes cryptocurrency payments which will give a bonus as it saves a lot money and time. Additionally, I prepared it for different Gift Cards, although we currently only accept eBay.com Gift Cards. In case that balance checkers make troubles again we can now enable a feature which allows users to upload a receipt. The transaction log is better organized than before.

Update (2020-09-16 02:00 pm):
Didn't do a lot today, only the downloads page, nonetheless, making progress.

Update (2020-09-15 07:00 pm):
Today I finished the account panel. I have added a lot of security here. Additionally, to disable PIN/PIC the birthdate is now required instead of the current PIN/PIC which allows users to reset PIN/PIC if they forgot it.

Update (2020-09-14 06:00 pm):
I implemented the most part of the account panel today. What is still missing is enabling/disabling PIN/PIC and logging out sessions.

Update (2020-09-13 07:00 pm):
Today I implemented the login with two-step verification. The next days I will work on the account panel where a user can change email address, change password, enable/disable 2-Step authentication, enable/disable PIN/PIC and logout sessions.

Update (2020-09-12 05:00 pm):
I was busy with work but now I'm working on this again. Here's what I've done today:
  • Implement logout.
  • Implement captcha library.
  • Implement account creation.
  • Implement password reset.

Update (2020-08-23 11:00 pm):
Today I worked on:
  • Re-implement the WebListener component (backend to communicate with the server to request status and online player count, and live reward votes unlike other servers that ask you to log out first).
  • Implement news fetching.
  • Implement thumbnail creation and add lightbox for screenshots.

Update (2020-08-20 06:00 pm):
Today I finally had some time to work on this. Here's what I've done:
  • Create the base directory/file structure. It should (for the most part) separate logic from design to allow easy modifications to the theme. It should not expose any sensible server information (too many CMS do this).
  • Implement basic SEO.
  • Develop a new framework as there's no need for an overkill one.
  • Implement language system.
  • Implement account management (not done yet).
  • Implement version management.
  • Implement rememberable settings (collapsable boxes).

Dear Croosaders,

I receive a lot of suggestions for the website but it feels like we're going forth and back with these. First I get asked to shrink the website to a minimum and have all important information displayed on every page without the need to scroll, then I get asked to add more content again. The problem with the current layout is that there is no space for more content. Unfortunately I'm not a web designer but a web developer, mainly doing backend development. Nonetheless I try to keep myself up to date when it comes to latest webdesign trends and in my opinion the MapleStory community is too focused on fancy looking layouts which break all rules of modern webdesign. When players compare us to other servers they often forget that we are different because we host two versions.

What I get asked for very often is a portal page which was used years ago by many gaming platforms but is a no go when it comes to search engine optimization these days. People often mix it up with so called landing pages. These serve another purpose and are good for the search engine rank. A portal page seems to make sense because we host two versions but I always declined this suggestion and promised to come up with something else instead.

My idea is to have the content for both versions on a single website (no more version selection at the top) and then allow the visitor to switch between the versions for specific content. This could for example allow to display the server information of the progressive server but at the same time display the announcements of the pre big bang server.

Upon the first visit a visitor would be asked to select the preferred version. This would be the default selection on all pages and can then be changed by the visitor wherever desired. User preferrences would be stored in cookies and thus be applied on the next visit again.

After sharing my first draft (see attachment) with the other administrators and receiving good feedback for it I decided to be more transparent and share it with the whole community. The boxes on the left can be collapsed which I think is very useful for the mobile view. Whether a specific box is collapsed is also stored in the cookies and thus applied on the next visit again. The top navigation would collapse by default on mobile devices because it becomes too big on most devices. I will make sure that there's no additional dropdowns though because I know that many of you don't like them. Important links like "vote" will be placed in another collapsable box on the left when logged in.

Personally I'm all for a clean and simple website which is not overloaded with graphics that fulfil no real purpose. Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas but keep in mind that we lack a designer/graphic artist and unlike other servers we have decided to not use copyright protected material (referring to official MapleStory graphics owned by NEXON) which includes avatars on the ranking page.

I'm also planning to add new features like language selection, two factor authentication and an affiliate system.

Currently I don't have much time to work on it but this should change soon. As of now I don't know how long it takes to finish this because I'm also recoding a lot of the backend but I will make sure to keep you updated whenever I make progress.

Regards,

Croosade Staff
 

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Marcus

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Only thing that really matters to me is voting being as low effort as possible and preferably being able to see server status and online count at all times whatever page you're on. Like right now i just open the browser on phone/computer, type vo and press enter and i can immediately press the vote button. As long as it stays this way nothing else really matters :^)
 

webdeveloper

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Thanks for writing this up Tommy, really nice changes. On first glance, the only thing I would change is, instead of having the "Video" and "Screenshots" section 50% width and stacked beside eachother. I would make both of them 100% width (of their existing containers) and maybe have the screenshots change in an automatic slideshow and have the video underneath it. The reason for this is because, I think right now they are off to the side and the last things your eyes gaze at when looking at the page and I think that's a lost opportunity. Also by making the screenshots an automatic slideshow, you could have them take up full width without taking up too much space because it would essentially only be one screenshot at a time. Having new events / server accomplishments in that slideshow can show new users how active the community is!
 

Ramidus

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I really like the drafted layout for the new website! I remember in one of the older layouts we used to have a chart that very neatly compared features between both servers. I was wondering if that chart (if you remember what I'm talking about) would be found somewhere in the new layout as well. Occasionally new players (in Discord) would ask about the differences between both servers and having that chart would be pretty helpful.

It's not a big deal if it isn't there or if the Staff decided to do away with it. Either way, I'm liking the new layout. :)
 

Alexander

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Looks real nice, I like how the maplestory content (video/screenshots) are instantly and fully visible now, makes the site feel more "cozy". Currently the announcements are blocking half the video and you have to scroll. Also like the blue theme on the buttons etc, goes nice with the gold logo too :) Maybe some adjustment could be done to green background header to try and fit some slimes/snails in there too. It's a nice work so would be a shame to not have those anymore. Wouldnt mind seeing a new background either (blue theme ofc :)), but I cant draw for shit myself so dont wanna suggest something like that.
 

Tommy

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Thanks for writing this up Tommy, really nice changes. On first glance, the only thing I would change is, instead of having the "Video" and "Screenshots" section 50% width and stacked beside eachother. I would make both of them 100% width (of their existing containers) and maybe have the screenshots change in an automatic slideshow and have the video underneath it. The reason for this is because, I think right now they are off to the side and the last things your eyes gaze at when looking at the page and I think that's a lost opportunity. Also by making the screenshots an automatic slideshow, you could have them take up full width without taking up too much space because it would essentially only be one screenshot at a time. Having new events / server accomplishments in that slideshow can show new users how active the community is!
I'm not sure on the sections taking up full width (except for the mobile view of course) because then the content becomes very long again and one has to scroll too much to get to the next sections.

I like the slide idea but for event specific graphics we would need someone to create those.

I really like the drafted layout for the new website! I remember in one of the older layouts we used to have a chart that very neatly compared features between both servers. I was wondering if that chart (if you remember what I'm talking about) would be found somewhere in the new layout as well. Occasionally new players (in Discord) would ask about the differences between both servers and having that chart would be pretty helpful.

It's not a big deal if it isn't there or if the Staff decided to do away with it. Either way, I'm liking the new layout. :)
Right now you can easily switch versions using the tab above which would show you the promotion video, screenshots and description of the respective server. I will see if I can replace it by a table again but tables often are a problem on mobile devices, hence I got rid of it.

Looks real nice, I like how the maplestory content (video/screenshots) are instantly and fully visible now, makes the site feel more "cozy". Currently the announcements are blocking half the video and you have to scroll. Also like the blue theme on the buttons etc, goes nice with the gold logo too :) Maybe some adjustment could be done to green background header to try and fit some slimes/snails in there too. It's a nice work so would be a shame to not have those anymore. Wouldnt mind seeing a new background either (blue theme ofc :)), but I cant draw for shit myself so dont wanna suggest something like that.
No problem, I can crop the image. Can also replace it with the blue version if that fits better. Once the website is live we can also have another header contest and see if someone comes up with something fresh.
 

Omri

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Rabbi
tbh i dont see a problem with the current website design. i dont think it needs to be changed at all
 

Hilo

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I think the current website design is fine, and the avoidance of copyright protected material is a smart decision.

I don't think this is -very- related this is to web design itself, but I think more user control / functionality would be nice. For example, the Account control panel should have a disconnect function if the player was to get stuck in game.

The only real design change that I can see being nice is if the "Announcements" and "Events" were able to be seen on the front page without clicking between tabs. You don't have to make the website longer, just split the current format half and half vertically.
 

Kittenslayer

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"Personally I'm all for a clean and simple website which is not overloaded with graphics that fulfil no real purpose".
This is my opinion as well.
 

Tommy

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I don't think this is -very- related this is to web design itself, but I think more user control / functionality would be nice. For example, the Account control panel should have a disconnect function if the player was to get stuck in game.
If I add this it would only be decoration to make sure this won't get suggested again. I think I explained it before but I will just do again. Many players know this feature from other servers which are based on old sources. In these sources a state in the database is sometimes not reset and thus the player can't log in. So they have this unstuck button on their websites to reset this state. It would have no effect here.

Looks good, would also be nice if latest posts were separated by server:
Forum is a different story that I can get my hands on when the website is done.
 
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