My goal was to experiment with simplicity and more modern, minimalist styles
that would aid in intuitive navigation of the site. The current site is cluttered
and outdated, which is understandable for an indie game studio without
a huge focus on web development.
Below is the current site for Double Fine Productions, a video game company
that has sold millions of copies of several games including Grim Fandango
and Broken Age. The Home page is primarily announcements, with several menu
tabs at the top indicating different sections of the site. Photos of games
and comics are on the right side.
Wireframes / Usability Redesign
I first created five low-fidelity wireframes in Balsamiq to
increase the usability of Double Fine’s site.
The navigation flow between these wireframes is shown below:
High-Fidelity Mockup / Visual Redesign
After wireframing, I used Photoshop to create a high-fidelity mockup of a new Double Fine site.
Double Fine’s original color scheme has been preserved, but the original background
of uneven stripes, which distracted from the main content of the page, has
been replaced with a clean dark brown that allows interactable and featured
elements on the page to stand out.
Overall, the redesign is much more minimalist, minimizing bright
distractions from the site.
The news articles are now separated, graphically presented as separate yellow
boxes to aid the user in comfortably discriminating which images and text
accompany which article.
The two-headed logo at the top left is now no longer blocking any
buttons or titles, enhancing readability of the site and reducing
user misclick errors.
The News section is indented from the menu to imply a hierarchy and
distinguish menu from page.
The original website navigation tabs don’t employ font consistency,
so I’ve chosen a single font for tabs/titles and a single font for text.
The social media icons have also been made more visible. Duplicate buttons
(e.g. ‘Jobs’ appearing in two places at the top) have been removed to avoid
user confusion and enhance simplicity.
The next step in the project was using HTML and CSS to create a site whose
usability and visual appeal was maintained across different screen sizes.
To create a map of how elements on the screen should adapt to different screen sizes,
I first created the annotated mockup below:
I then used HTML and CSS to create a responsive page whose layout changes with screen size.
Standard Desktop & Mobile (in Portrait) Interfaces:
4K Screen & Tablet (in Portrait) Interfaces:
The mobile site has been changed to be more similar to scrolling sites
like Instagram: the image and the title are the only two elements in
the News preview (article text preview has been removed) to reduce
clutter and give a simpler mobile aesthetic.
If the user wants to read the article, they’ll click the image (much like
Text scales according to screen size (but becomes slightly proportionally
larger on mobile) to enhance readability across devices.
The logo on desktop sites is stuck to the top left, alongside the banner, to serve as
a consistent means of accessing the home page. Similarly, on mobile,
the banner shifts to just below the logo for a centered appearance.
Register and login buttons, along with the search bar and social media icons
are also stuck to the right on desktop for easy and consistent access.
On mobile, these elements are placed just below the navigation tabs so they’re visible.
Contact info is often found at the bottom of mobile sites, so the social
media icons have been moved to the bottom in the mobile layout.
Overall, the mobile site is simpler, including news articles just using one
color for both title and image, with backgrounds of consecutive articles
alternating colors to help the user distinguish between articles.
Were I to take this project further, I would add responsiveness to the other
pages of the site, including creating distinct game pages for each of
Double Fine’s games. Overall, though, this project provided me with an opportunity
to design a site whose layout adjusts for different screen sizes, and allowed
me to apply my design skills, accounting for both usability and aesthetics,
to a real game company.
"We may have years, we may have hours, but sooner or later,
we push up flowers."
—Membrillo, Grim Fandango (Double Fine 1998)