Firstly, the design does not have to resemble the current site. You may use the same colors if you wish, but it is NOT required. You have a blank slate with this!
That said, here are some loose guidelines and elements I'd like to see:
- There should be a brief description of the game. The text will be short and neat, so design accordingly (current text is small, and lengthy -- no one is gonna read that)
- There should be a login box, with links to register and forgot password. If you plan for the structure of the layout to be similar on the inner pages, the login area should become the user information area on the inside.
- Chat box is optional... if it makes design sense, include it. Else, screw it.
- There should definitely be a quick stats area (something like current users online, users regged today, total users etc).
- There should be an area for about 3 thumbnails which will link to screenshots of inside the game (most people want to see the inside before they register)
- There should naturally be links to things like the FAQ, about, etc.
- Footer should have the non-essentials like copyright, link to contact, etcFor reference, here is a screenshot of the current homepage:
alternate url: http://www.filebrella.com/download/6f5d7728
- A Logo is NOT required, though it would be nice :)
I've decided to have the designer mockup their choice of either one of the marketplace pages, or a user profile. This will, hopefully, give them a chance to showcase how they plan to organize content in general.
Screenshots of the relevant pages:
Potion Shop: http://easycaptures.com/0039015057
Nectar Exchange: http://easycaptures.com/7596314504
- inner page should display essential information such as level, experience, HP, energy, gold etc, in a neat and organized fashion so that it's easy to get the necessary information at a glance.
- Same location should show username and avatar.
- Near the same area, should be a new mail indicator.
- Regarding the user information area... this can be something like a badge that expands to show more information when hovered (extra info that you may not need at a glance such as stamina levels and age), or expanded from some sort of dock (see below).
- Navigation should be very easy and friendly. I'm not opposed to making frequently used links or main categories prominent (i.e. maybe as tabs or just main links) and related and sub links as dropdowns or as links under a main tab. Whatever the solution, it should make it easy to navigate where I need to at a glance. I'm going for a 1 hour-ish learning curve for the game.
- There should be an area somewhere at the top of all pages where notification messages can be displayed (Your purchase was successful, you have successfully logged out etc)
- Some implementation for the quick chat (will be ajax). I was considering doing something like facebook has done with their bar at the bottom -- granted I can figure out how to make it persistent.