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New Muppet Central Site Design

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by Phillip, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. Lynnette

    Lynnette Well-Known Member

    Muppet Slots

    I got three Fraggles and a Koozbanian on one spin then the "cup holder" on my CPU opened up and gave me a Time/Life Muppet Show DVD. ;-)

  2. Sunshineboz

    Sunshineboz Well-Known Member

    Re: Muppet Slots

    Dat's a funny!
    Dat's a spicy Meatball!
  3. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Heh, Ive been refreshing seeing what suprise Muppets pop up. wow. Man you guys got some crisp flash animated scans of characters! Good to see all the major Muppet franchises(Muppetshow, Sesame, Bear, and FR) represented...along with Creature Shop(though Im not sure if Creature Shop characters count as Muppets, oh well)

    Anyhoo, finding a lot of Koozebanes, Frackles, and even lots of JHH Muppets! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    PS: Any idea how many characters are in that random slot machine arch index? wow.
  4. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    To be exact, there are 145 characters, 143 files (Pip and Pop take up one arch and Statler & Waldorf are always linked). I really would like to get up to 200 characters in time, but we'll have to see. There are a few projects that are missing and key characters that I want to add like Dog City and Christmas Toy. I would also like to include a Skeksis (don't know how it would look), Jen and Ludo.

    A fun note about the menu is that only Muppet Show (and Muppets Tonight) elite characters take up the spots next to Kermit and Piggy so there will always be familiar Muppets in the center. It may surprise some that I included Clifford and Johnny, but I assume they are familiar with fans and will be more familiar with the public in the future.
  5. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    >>>It may surprise some that I included Clifford and Johnny, but I assume they are familiar with fans and will be more familiar with the public in the future.<<<

    That shouldnt surprise fans at all. Clifford, since the great year of 1989 has been a intregal part of Muppetdom. And more recently Pepe and Sal.

    I really hope the new MC site gets a new tidal wave of online exposure somehow. I wish yahoo or some place would feature it, or maybe a link through other big sites. I just recognize Muppet Central as this great unrivaled(even by JHC itself) online Muppet site. The new design is simply inspired, and truly captures the essense of the Muppets.

    The descision to include Muppets from all spectrums...1955 to present was a great one. A lot of people might think only TMS and related Muppets should be represented, but that would be a mistake. I must ask, was there a discussion of what constitutes a 'Muppet'? Though, in the long run including creature shop(labyrinth, dinosaur, etc) is good as it shows the wide variety of JHC. And how ya guys got such crystal clear flash scans is amazing! Ok Jamie, can just imagine what suprises are in store for us MC people from you, Phil, and everyone!
  6. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    The difficult task was finding images of the cast facing forward! :)
  7. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Familiar faces, yes. Much of them in the future - well i wouldn't expect either of them to be getting pushes in the future. Other than Pepe i fully expect the new shows to be VERY light of MT characters - i think it's something they consider didn't work and would like to get some new ones in there along with bringing back all the classic TMS faves. The emphasis has fallen on nostalgia so i think they now prefer to say bring back Rowlf or Scooter - and use Piggy and Fozzie more than use someone from MT.

    I get your point though - to a user of MC they are in their rightful place !
  8. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    Wow. I'm speechless. That sound you just heard was my jaw hitting the floor. INCREDIBLE job, Jamie et al.!!! (Jamie tried to explain to me what it would look like a while back, with the arches and all, but I couldn't grasp what he was telling me. The end result far exceeded my expectations!) I LOVE the way all those different characters pop out. The very first time I accessed the site, Leon from JHH was the first character at the start of the page! Soon, Digit popped up on another page. I also love the way they kind of "slide" into place, and how the background lights up when you highlight one of the characters. In fact, on one of the screens, Scooter actually pops through a door when you highlight his spot, just like in the TMS openings!! Very cool. I also enjoyed the themed pages, like the GMC theme on the News page.

    Also important is the fact that the page is easy to navigate. I was afraid that a non-frames page would be more cumbersome, but this is just as fast, if not more so. Many people have pretty sites but forget to make them easy to navigate; this page hits exactly the right balance between both. Official Henson web site designers, take note.

    Frankly, I'm astonished that people are having trouble with the Flash. I've got an ancient computer with a slow connection. The computer crashes at least three times a day. Most pages I view say "You don't have the plugin." But even I don't have any problem viewing anything on this site. In fact, my one complaint is that I never got to see the cool intro -- it was taken down by the time I got back here. :(

    Great idea to have Kermit and Piggy always in the center of the main page, with the other characters changing randomly. I know you've considered some Creature Shop stuff, but you're not sure how it will look. If you do manage to get some up, I nominate the Storyteller's Dog, Rygel from Farscape, and a Fiery (though that last one is, I admit, an entirely selfish desire of mine!). BTW, Jamie, is it true that you're one of the random characters, or was the person who said that just kidding?

    Anyway, fabulous job, Jamie (and Phil and Cindy and anyone else who contributed). No wonder this took so long -- it was worth the wait. Now I'm off to hit Refresh 100 times! ;-)
  9. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Thanx for the rave review! Over one hundred responses have come to me this week - either on the board or in my email. I am proud to report that only three out of those have had trouble with the site. That's 97% success rate so far.

    The users either didn't wish to install the plug-in or were running systems that wouldn't allow it because of age or firewall settings. The file size is comparable to the old MC. I made sure of that so page speed should be a non-issue.

    I actually expected more complaints, but many commercial sites have scrapped their html versions for slick flash ones so it is considered a standard. Some are better than others and I did a lot of research to make the transition smooth. And to keep MC's familiar look.

    I wish absolutely everyone could see it, but that's part of progress in the technology age. If the standards always remain the same, nothing new can come, but no one wants to alienate a user. I think and hope we found the appropriate balance.

    Of the characters you have mentioned, all are included. If you flip enough you should catch the Storyteller Dog, a Firey and Rygel. Just may take some time to see them. If you find me on the menu, you will win a million dollars...not denying it, but don't hold your breath. ;)

    If you missed the intro or if any mac users had trouble viewing it - http://www.jamesvier.com/mc/intro.html
  10. ResidentLilly

    ResidentLilly Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to weigh in here and finally be able to say nice things about YOUR stuff for a change. The new site is awesome. I want more, more, more! Love the new designs, love the concept...love the fact that at every turn you see new Muppets, and not just from the Muppet Show.

    Really an awesome, awesome design.
  11. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    Great intro! And when it went to the new screen, a Fiery popped up. Woo-hoo!!
  12. jeffy

    jeffy Well-Known Member

    Two suggestions and a question

    I am still discovering new things about the site. Still periodically picking my jaw off the floor. It was not an understatement for the person who said that this site was now the best muppet site on the web. Even the previous/original official Henson site (the current one is not an improvement, in my opinion). The only site I don't think MC can be compared to is MuppetWorld. MuppetWorld is pretty incredible but (1) it hasn't been updated since August of 1812, and (2) it's not an informational site.

    Question: As a programmer, I'm curious how you've designed removing and adding (and configuring...such as Stadtler and Waldorf are together always, should appear X%, and only on the main page toolbar) new characters as you move forward, to the toolbar banners accross the site. I'm not familiar with Flash programming, but I'm pretty good with Java, JavaScript, Oracle, and ColdFusion, and I'd like to hear how you've designed this...at least conceptually. It's really cool, all the random characters.

    Suggestion one: Could you please not activate a clicked link until the user mouses *up*. This will give the user a way out when they change their mind. With actual text links, when you click it, hold the mouse down, and then change your mind, you can just drag your mouse off the link before releasing the mouse button. This is not possible with the toolbars you've created. Instead, the toolbar links activate the moment of mouse *down*. Only slightly frustrating, but it would be an easy and definite improvement.

    Suggestion two: I've always been a bit annoyed with how you can't go back to the website when you're in the forums (am I missing something?). Could you change the "Muppet Central forum" graphic link, at the top, to take you to the MC home page, instead of the forum home page? It's redundant anyway: You can click on "Muppet Central Forum", the text to the left-most in the "link ladder" (as you're reading this, go to the top of this page. The link ladder is currently "Muppet Central Forum > Muppet Central > Announcements > New Muppet Central Site Design"). Is it possible to change the "HOME" link in the forum toolbar? That'd actually be a good alternative.

    :' )
  13. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Jeff,

    Hope you are doing great!

    I'll let Jamie address the Flash questions you brought up, but I will mention that the forum will soon have a menu just like all the other sections in the site itself. This should help make navigation to and from the forum much easier. Most importantly it will allow the forum to more cohesively fit in with the whole site.

    There are some other elements to the design that are being worked on and they'll be rolled out in more stages in the future. We tried to lay the most solid foundation possible, then continue to build upon it.
  14. jeffy

    jeffy Well-Known Member

    Two suggestions and a question

    Hey, Phillip!

    (...and Sherrie and I loved the candy mailbox and ornaments... :')

    Thanks for the update. Looking forward to it. And I just remembered another suggestion!

    The transition page (from the old site to the new) was so awesome! Could there be a permanent link to it, somewhere?

    :' )
  15. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    The forum flash header was up for a while on the sites relauch night - it looked pretty cool.

    The other thing that would be good if there was a similar button next to 'user cp' on every forum page where you could access the 'new/unread posts' screen. I think i might have suggested this once before, can't remember.
  16. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    We are working on solving that next month. As for the click states - I kind of get what you mean - and I believe it is set on release states. Don't quite get why you'd click the element and hold it there without wanting to connect someplace, but we'll look into it. We intend to put some fan input on these elements.:)
  17. jeffy

    jeffy Well-Known Member

    It is a small thing, but in my experience with users and personally (especially when I'm reaching obsessive mode, am avoiding life, am just tired, or should somehow otherwise not be on the web any more), it's an extra touch that adds something.

    It definitely will not hurt. It won't change the user's current experience, and will potentially add the benefit I mention.

    Note that I save this level of criticism for things I really respect. I love it when things that are great get even greater.
  18. jeffy

    jeffy Well-Known Member

    Two suggestions and a question

    ...and although I don't have experience with Flash, my instinct is that it is easy to implement...
  19. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I have a question for Phil and Jamie...

    Phil, how does it feel, that after 4.5 years you now have what many would consider is thee #1 Muppet site online? (And Jamie how do ya feel to have been a part of that graphic design percipitating this?)

    Let's look at the "official" JHC sites.

    muppets.com: loved that site back in 1997...doesnt seem to have been updated since Pepe was a bellhop.

    muppetworld.com: for some reason on official JHC ad spots they use this one. why? Flash filled and and out of the loop, this one was strictly MFS era. HAs some nice Muppet labs stuff though.

    and finally...

    henson.com: This seems to require the newest plugin every week, yet fails to have half the charm of the old henson.com site.
    When a very indie fan site like TP has vastly more updated news and scoops than the official site, well...

    So verdict...while I love TP as an alternative spin on things, and as a main merchandise and behind the scnes politics scooper,
    the new upgrade and look to MC no doubt in my mind places it as the NUMBER ONE Muppet related site online.
  20. jeffy

    jeffy Well-Known Member

    Remember, the information has largely not changed from the old design (still can't quite swallow "old"). What *has* changed is the cleaned up navigation and exquisite-yet-still-small-kb graphics--both in the toolbar and elsewhere, enhancing the look and feel of the site both emotionally and as a web user.

    The new graphics and navigation is exactly what nudged MC from "great" to "best".

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