Category Archives: Redesigns

Invention: Multiple-Choice “Windowed Slider” UI

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There was a lovely “Show HN” submission [http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4594264] on Hacker News from someone who passionately put together a really nice jquery slider plugin. People mentioned in the comments why sliders are a terrible choice for all the same reasons I found right before I mocked up my windowed version. But the slider plugin was made with such passion that I just had to write this article and share my discoveries. There IS hope. The slider can be fixed. In fact it can be made better and made to handle more than 2 options. read…

 

Quick Fix-Up Redesign of Tap11.com

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So, a company called Tap11 just got acquired by the founders of YouTube. I head over to their site to check it out and couldn’t help but mockup a quick fix. Now they only need to make a few changes to make it all better, no big redesign needed here. read…

 

Redesign (Abandoned) For Steam “Ambassador Pages”

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This redesign was only 10% complete before I abandoned it due to time constraints and other projects. It was suppose to be a full blown re-envisioning of Steam’s game pages (optimized for TV screens) which were going to be called “Ambassador Pages”. Basically, a universal profile (unofficial site) for a game that has everything from videos, demos, user submitted screenshots, reviews, forums, tips, faqs, and strategy guides accessible from one page. Sort of like what IGN and Gamespot have, only with Steam’s “add to cart” option to buy the game. This way Steam can use the pages to attract visitors and directly advertise the games for sale on Steam. Resulting in a win/win/win situation for fans, publishers, and Steam. Increasing traffic to Steam’s online store, creating a community around games, and increasing sales. read…

 

Redesigning Steam’s In-Game Overlay UI

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I actually think the current in-game overlay is decent but for me personally it’s too chaotic. Informative but messy. So here’s a few mockups of a redesign I was working on for a while. read…

 

Redesigning Steam’s Pre-Launch Messages

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Here’s a slicker, nicer looking pre launcher for Steam. I’ve optimized it for TV screens as well, and even mocked up what the error messages should look like. read…

 

Redesigning the Steam Client (Multiple Mockups)

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Just for fun, I made mockups of a redesigned Steam client that’s a little more friendly to navigate. I don’t think my version is any better visually, and keep in mind I don’t consider myself a graphic artist, but layout wise I really like it over the original. read…

 

Rebranding Steam For A More Casual Audience + Fun with Steam Logos

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Refusing to make games for casual gamers has cost the game industry billions in lost revenue. Even today (post FarmVille, post Nintendo Wii), hard core gamers and developers still use the term “casual gamer” as if it were an insult, as if they were a lower form of life not worth acknowledging. I think it’s because the type of people most likely to become game developers are hard core gamers themselves, who in turn end up making games for other hard core gamers, because that’s what they assume the market wants. Thus completely ignoring the casuals when statistically, casual gamers make up the majority of overall gamers. This is why masterpieces like Mass Effect and Gears of War will only sell a fraction of as many copies as casual games like Cooking Mama and Nintendogs. Let me remind you that there are more people that play “Casual Social Network Games” than the combined number of PS3s, Xbox 360s, and Nintendo Wiis sold worldwide. Even looking at console sales, see how featureful Microsoft’s and Sony’s consoles are? Yet Nintendo’s dinky little Wii console outsold them both. Why? Because it’s simple, friendly, and looks easy to play. Likewise, If Valve wants Steam in every household, it needs to be simpler, easier, and more casual friendly. read…

 

Re-Envisioning Steam As An All-in-One Digital Marketplace

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The digital store landscape is changing quickly and I’m worried for Steam. For now things are going great, but as video games reach mainstream appeal, more digital distributors like Apple and Amazon will want to sell games. Competition between digital distribution services fighting over the “All-in-One Media Marketplace” title will increase significantly. Already, Apple’s iPhone has surpassed Sony’s PSP in handheld gaming market share. Competitors like Games for Windows Live, GamersGate, GOG, GameTap, and games for the iphone & ipod have poped up over the years. Most importantly, Valve’s bigger competitors, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, have invested in enormously diverse digital stores that sell everything from music, movies, tv shows, books, and apps. And games are next. For Valve’s competition to create an all-in-one marketplace all they have to do is add one component to their store, video games, which they’ve already started doing. On the other hand if Valve wants to create the same all-in-one digital marketplace to compete and hold its ground it’s going to have to add numerous components that the competition already has and is experienced with. Hold its ground or branch out? I’d hate to have to make that decision, but lets pretend like Steam should and will branch out. read…

 

Redesign: A More Playful Informative Slideshow

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If you visit SteamPowered.com you’ll notice images of featured games on sale are shown in a slideshow. Normally I hate slideshows because they force users to look at content in a linear fashion without any thumbnail previews of all the slides that users can directly skip to. So today’s creative exercise is to make slideshows more eye catching, informative, and more likely to be flipped through. read…

 

Redesign: Windows’ Disk Properties ‘Space Used’ Pie Chart Colors

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Windows 7 still has some ugly elements leftover from the Windows 95 days. In this case, it’s the colors for the pie-chart used to show you how much space your hard disk has left. Click on the Windows button, then “Computer”, right click on your hard disk, select “properties” and you’ll see it. Why they chose blue and purple I don’t know. Maybe it’s for the color blind. I’m not sure but using red for “used space” and green for “free space” sounds a bit more logical to me. Maybe they thought using red would make users think their hard drive had problems. In that case substitute black for “used space” and white for “free space”. read…

 

What a Difference Spacing Can Make: Redesigning Steam’s Spacing Issues

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Spacing is powerful, when it’s there you don’t notice it, when it’s gone something feels off. Every day when I load up Steam to play a game for a few minutes I’m overwhelmed by the hideous spacing issue in the Games Library list. The list of games has almost no spacing to the left of it, which gives it an awkward feel. Almost like the list is squished up against the left side. This lack of space keeps my eyes from comfortably scanning the first few letters of each game like I normally do and instead I have to fully read each title. I’ve noticed this over the months as my games list has grown. read…

 

Redesigning the Steam Friends List

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One thing that annoyed me about the friends list in Steam is that my username is included in the list of my friends. I am NOT my own friend. Also, I hate having to click those little tiny arrows next to my friends’ names so I can be given the option to send them a message, invite them to a game, join a game, etc… There were quiet a few things that bothered me, so I went ahead a made a mockup of how I’d like my friends list to look and function. A bit of simplicity and minimalism was lost in the process but a lot of functionality and usability were gained. In this particular case we swapped beauty for functionality. read…

 

SoftOffice Logo and Rebranding Concepts for LibreOffice

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Long story short: Oracle, new owner of the free office suite OpenOffice, and the developers working on it had a fall out and many of them basically left. Which wasn’t really a big surprise, corporations like Oracle don’t care about free software they only care about profit. Oracle already deserted a few projects it inherited when it bought Sun Microsystems. So the poor developers started “The Document Foundation” and are working on OpenOffice’s code under a temporary name “LibreOffice“, until Oracle donates the OpenOffice trademark to them. Which will never happen. We at Reddit agreed that LibreOffice sounds really stupid so I came up with “SoftOffice” and registered the .org domain for it. Today I decided I was going to have some fun designing some real quick logos for SoftOffice. read…

 

Redesigning The Way We Teach The Controls To A Player

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Long ago I used to be a console person. I knew every button on a PS2 and GameCube controller and even back then I had trouble remembering the controls and combos to new games. Not to mention the more time passed the more I failed at quick-time events. It’s a lot easier to remember the controls to a game when the hints on screen not only tell you what the buttons do but also show you where the buttons are. So I came up with these button placement view tip things… I don’t even know what to call them … Just see below. read…