Well I can see the ninjas are out in force doing everything they can within the rules to shoot down any negative remarks and feedback. I presume this way they can later skew numbers and say that huge swaths of the populace loved the Arc crap and almost no one disliked it.
Okay it's probably a foregone conclusion that tiles are here to stay, even though a lot of us hate them.. So any feedback we give will probably have to fit within that since the STO site design has to be mirrored for all of PWE's games. (Well the layout at least.) Here is my constructive advice.
So with those criteria in mind here is something I have been doing. It took less than 1 work day and it would be trivially easy for the web guys to emulate (I ENCOURAGE IT!) for not just the STO site, but for all PWE Arc sites.
*Removed rotating banner
*Removed persistent videos
*Tweaked a few CSS properties (mostly transparency, color, border strokes)
This will reduce my blood pressure and make the site more usable for me personally, but why stop there?
There's a bit of a negative space issue when doing it as 1 or 2 columns but with some image rescaling and using larger snippets from the full articles (at Cryptic's discretion) they could solve that fairly easily.
Okay I did it. I dove in and took a shot at a Greasemonkey script. My amateur code is really pooptacular but I got everything as seen in my concept images except for the Server Status indicator and the search box.
No photoshop trickery involved. Just the Stylish theme I wrote before, combined with a new Greasemonkey script.
*Duplicating the nav bar to the Product page reduces user confusion and reduces a degree of navigation digging that they have to do to find links.
*Moving the Product Page button link over to the left of the nav bar unifies it with the rest of the visual style and places it in closer proximity to the rest of the controls.
*Search is search. Search is good. Search is friend. We likey search.
*Duplicating the div box that contains the Product List from the Product page to all of the other pages does 2 things:
***1. It ensures that when you change from the Product page to any of the other pages, the navigation bar buttons and the beginning of content stay in the exact same x,y location (no visual popping, no confusion)
***2. It's a handy dandy place for a game logo and banner! Lots of people were complaining that "Star Trek Online" was a puny line of text on the other pages which was A) Demeaning to the brand, and B) Potentially confusing to brand new users that might think the page was for 'some game called Arc'
*Transparencies in CSS optional but sexy and help to combat the complaints about the site being a homogenized dull slab of gray.
*Backgrounds! You have giant wallpaper art Cryptic/PWE, use it!
*Server status. I don't need to explain this one.
*Banner list and persistent video block: To be frank, I didn't complain about the rotating banners on the previous STO site because they didn't eat up such a large chunk of my screen and they were visually distinct in their own frame/window. In this Arc site they are both large and their div/cell containers are basically the same bland style as all of the other news boxes which makes it more difficult to distinguish what the latest news is because they all blend together. Their functions are also duplicated on other pages. They irk me. I removed them.
I believe that these changes would be well received for all PWE/Arc sub-sites (just swap out the content for game-specific content).
Yup. Every time they change websites we lose useful functionality.
When it changed from startrekonline.com to sto.perfectworld.com we lost:
*Out of game mail access
*Out of game character bios (although the Gateway has re-added this, they said they'll probably kill off the Gateway because they don't know how to monetize it)
*Out of game captain's logs
*Out of game C-Store access
*Probably some other stuff I can't even remember (and the Wayback Machine is down right now so I can't check)