Brand New TOS

The New TOS

The countdown has ended, and the goods have been duly despatched to us as promised. It’s a new website, it’s very good and you should slap yourself round the face if you thought it was going to be The Movie.

The last major site relaunch was way back in 2001 when the bog standard 90s version was given a kick up the arse 00s style. Unfortunately that meant the replacing of a mess of text and images with a more ordered collection of horrid Flash and JavaScript. That design was refined and greatly improved over the years into the more acceptable iteration we had just prior to today’s relaunch. It wasn’t horrendous, but it certainly needed an overhaul to bring it into line with accessibility and new expectations regarding news systems.

As with most things, the project seems to have over run so a not entirely finished version has been launched which seems to have effected the finer details of W3C XHTML validity and some of the section’s layouts. However, this new version is certainly a big step up, with well structured and ordered mark-up, complete separation of styles to external Style Sheets and a much cleaner layout. It’s certainly heading full pelt in the right direction.

Anyway, enough about all that. What most people will be concerned about is how it looks and how easy it is to use. Personally, I think it scores well on both of those counts there’s a nice sleek title, clear text links to various sections of the site and the MUCH clearer organisation of the news items are all present and correct. I think the news archive could be reworked from the current list into a more calendar based navigation, though. It’s good that it was released in its current state and we can now watch as the kinks are duly ironed out as the design is polished off.

I’d say the main issues I have with it at this early stage is that the three column design doesn’t always work very well and some re-tooling into a two column design with more space given the main content would be a good idea and that the aforementioned news archives should be re-worked into something more than a big paginated list.

I know there’s already a backlash going on, and this honestly isn’t some concerted backlash against the backlash. I genuinely like the new design. I think a franchise like Red Dwarf whose web presence has always been centred around news and articles should have a design like this, not some loud collection of images and Flash better served to disguise the fact there’s been no new content for years.

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80 Responses to Brand New TOS

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  1. Well, of course I didn’t really think it was going to be the movie. But I was just expecting something a bit more worthy of such a big build up.
    You site-building types might love it, but to simpletons like me, it looks a bit…normal.

  2. Didn’t think it was going to be the movie. Had hoped it was going to be more than a website re-launch, nice though the new website looks (save for the parts that don’t appear to work and the fact that it doesn’t automatically scale to my computer screen, no doubt the bugs will be ironed out over the next few weeks). Happy to see the audio books and all, but still…

    No squeee.

  3. I like it! Clean, easy to navigate, easy to use sections, and in the same place! Fan Club tab. Thank You. Paypal buttons. Thanks again!

  4. G&T Admin

    It now looks like a rip-off of THIS website.

    It ?LOOKS? shit.

    Hey, are you saying G&T looks shit?

  5. New website, great. Expected nothing more. Horah for making the information more accesible.

    What I did expect was an IMPROVEMENT on the visual design.

    It now looks like a rip-off of THIS website.

    It ‘LOOKS’ shit.

    PS. Paypal tabs? Woopy doo.

  6. As I was saying…

    Erm….yeah. Not very pretty. Looks like a geocities fan site… very empty, undesigned, bits and pieces dotted here and there…may be issues with my monitor, mind.

    It’s nice to clear out all the old stuff, but blimey…talk about throwing the website out with the bath water.

    Was rather disappointed by the countdown leading to this. I know expecting anything more was probably illogical…but such a big build-up leading to an unfinished website… I’m weeping quietly.

  7. Ganymede & Titan is a completley different type of website. It’s not meant to look official, It’s meant to make dwarf news clear and to the point.

    TOS is meant to be a showcase for the entire Red Dwarf franchise. Does anyone actually think it visually represents Red Dwarf in an attractive way?

  8. “The full story behind 1992’s ill-fater American Red Dwarf pilot.”

    Typo, ja?

    Looks better than before, reserving full judgement for now.

  9. Paypal buttons for direct payment to join the Fan Club. This will help the club a great deal and having two places to pay! So yeah Thomas, Woo!

  10. lol It’s pointless to right any reply to that. Clearly buttons are the future. New Red Dwarf fans wont get to that page because they’ll jump on the site, think it’s a fan site… and head back to google for help.

  11. G&T Admin

    Yeah, building it completely out of Flash would be much better, wouldn’t it?

  12. No, that’s right at the other end of the scale. There’s a happy medium.

  13. Lol..yeah, its either Flash… or this? Coz theres only two ways to make a website nowadays.

  14. Where’ve the DVD diaries gone? I realise that, with the sets all out now, a de-emphasising is logical, but they seem to have disappeared. I would have thought that they’d be with the “website highlights” in the bottom right?

    And Tommy E & Jumbo, you’re being WAAY too harsh. I don’t see the “geocities fan site” thing at all.

  15. Exunctly. Flash-heavy gubbins is equally bad design. Really good websites achieve a balance of form and function.

    But let’s not fight…we’ve all had a drink…

  16. It’s good IMO. Too much faffing around with the old site. I say ‘old’ obviously meaning the site that existed 50 minutes ago…

  17. It’s worth noting that the site isn’t complete yet.

  18. One other thing that should happen sharpish – get the favicon back. Official sites not having a visual identifier on the tabbar looks a bit skewish these days.

  19. >And Tommy E & Jumbo, you?re being WAAY too harsh. I don?t see the ?geocities fan site? thing at all.

    It might that the site isn’t rescaling to fit my monitor…in which case, I are being a naughty and I’m sorry.

    But…the fan-sites I was thinking of tend to be a list of links on a plain background with little other sign of design…as they’re built with simple page building wizards. I has made plenty of them!

    That reminded me of this, is all.

    As I said, though…it is nice to dispense with all the outdated / unnecessary gubbins.

  20. A website that doesn’t look like it was made 10 years ago.

  21. > I like it! Clean, easy to navigate, easy to use sections, and in the same place! Fan Club tab. Thank You. Paypal buttons. Thanks again!

    I agree with all of the above ^^

    I like it! I got lost on the old site on a regular basis. And I’m very much a fan of clean, to the point designs.

    PS: And it is most FANsites that are heavily overloaded with buttons, flash, applets, animated “email me” logos and eye-cancer type backgrounds. White space is, in general, a sign of professionalism, not uninspiredness. Boo.

  22. Well, yes…there are those type of fan-sites too. As I said before, two ends of the bad design scale.

  23. I’ll happily take feedback on board as the issues we still have get sorted out. I anticipate some knee-jerk in either direction, so we’ll keep an eye as the dust settles.

    We’ve toned down some of the visuals to smooth out the usefulness – RSS feed, searchability. and in a short while it should have the facility to save your own preferences and be comfortably mobile accessible – and I think that’s going to prove to be the right decision. Other areas, like the Complete Guide, should also be much quicker to get to (and easier to find!) for newbies.

    And it goes without saying that we rather like the overall look. Certainly we think it’s a step up from what went before.

    As to the glitches – I’ll beg your indulgence this week as we clear through the backlog of still-to-fixes.

  24. Hmmm. It looks “OK”. Probably could do without the “Website Highlights” and menu-bar links being in Red and some kind of background for the borders to take away some of the white would be nice.

    I agree that it’s very similar to G+T. And G+T looks better. Which isn’t right (no offence to John).

    I’m disappointed that the “Countdown” was just to a Website relaunch. I wasn’t expecting a movie but news on something substantial would have been nice. A website re-design is fine but doesn’t warrant such a big hoo-ha. Most sites simply mention it’s going to happen and warn of potential downtime etc…or just do it.

    Oh well, maybe Matt will pop up and tell us what HE thinks.

  25. I must be looking at another site! It fits my 19″ monitor fine. A few problems expected, big deal. Bookmarks, RSS feeds, all for the good. It looks like a clean and simple site, as it should do. What do you want?

  26. Im trying… really I am, but I dont like It. I have a great deal of knowledge in visual design, and there’s no way this looks professional. I think the header could easly look alot better, with 75 seconds on Photoshop.

    I want to stress this though… It IS easier and practical.

  27. > Where?ve the DVD diaries gone?

    They’ll be back, in the Features/Productions section. We’re getting there…

    As for the countdown – I’ll be honest, we hoped the relaunch would time with some VERY INTERESTING NEWS, but it wasn’t (quite) to be. There is a point being made, though, that GNP consider 2008 Dwarf’s 20th year, and the website relaunch is the start of something that’ll continue over the coming months.

    That said, it’s not like we put the countdown anywhere other than on the website that was being revamped. If we were going bigger than the site – as a new series or movie, say, would have to – we’d have put out press releases and stuff. The site publicised an event relevant to itself, which I don’t think is unreasonable.

  28. Ok I’ve been clicking around, on and of for a bit now.

    It seems, touch wood, that the glitches are gone, but I can’t seem to find the ‘Flibble talks to…’ and the ‘Talkie toaster’ sections. Possibly some other fun stuff I may have missed has gone too.

    I think it looks ok, definitely more streamlined than the previous site.
    Just my quick 2p.

    :)

    Phe

  29. G&T Admin

    > We hoped the relaunch would time with some VERY INTERESTING NEWS

    Andrew, you tease us still!!!

  30. > I can?t seem to find the ?Flibble talks to?? and the ?Talkie toaster? sections.

    Flibbles will be back up soon, Toasters are kinda in place in the Features/Fiction section.

    We’ll also have the Search facility in place shortly.

  31. G&T Admin

    Right, I’ve updated with some very quick first thoughts on the whole thing. Nothing really insightful or designed to change anyone’s mind. But I’m still hugely pleased with the direction the new site has gone in. It’s just a few steps away from being transformed in a wonderful, standards compliant multi platform site which is more than can be said for the majority of the internet.

    And visually, I honestly still think the only real problem is that pesky middle column making things looks rather messy.

    Good work, Andrew and co.

  32. The RSS feed isn’t working for me :(

    “XML Parsing Error: xml declaration not at start of external entity
    Location: http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/rss/
    Line Number 3, Column 3: < ?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1" ?>“

    I use the WizzRSS firefox extension and the xml produces this error

    EDIT: Great, I tried the xml in IE and it worked. Don’t tell me the site was optimized for Internet Explorer only, that would really tic me off

  33. Couple more thoughts:

    1) I think it would look more ordered if the “website highlights” were below the “complete guide” box, and the Bodysnatcher/Smegs/etc image links were below the (RD)20 logo. Maybe (not 100% sure there, I’d have to see it)
    2) That little Flash ad RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PAGE that starts talking if you accidentally mouseover it is REALLY annoying after the first time.
    3) The top reddwarf.co.uk bar should probably link to the homepage rather than just sitting there.

    PS – I see the “edited posts fall down the order” bug is still here, while I’m posting bugs

  34. > EDIT: Great, I tried the xml in IE and it worked. Don?t tell me the site was optimized for Internet Explorer only, that would really tic me off

    It wasn’t. It’s another of the kinks currently being ironed out. Believe me when I say that full compliance and compatibility are a big part of the final, ironed-out site.

    > The top reddwarf.co.uk bar should probably link to the homepage rather than just sitting there.

    ‘Tis already on the list!

  35. G&T Admin

    > EDIT: Great, I tried the xml in IE and it worked. Don?t tell me the site was optimized for Internet Explorer only, that would really tic me off

    That’s doubtful. IE just tends to be more lenient with XML parsing.

  36. Ok, my take on my brief view of the site.

    Everything is a bit clearer and easily navigable. (Although I didn’t have any problems with the older one I can see that the layout of information is clearer on this one.)

    From a purely aesthetic perspective though, I prefer the other one. It just had a very original kind of character compared to other sites I’ve seen. Purely a matter of taste of course, and I don’t mean that observation to be detrimental in any way. It’ll do the job and that’s what counts most.

    Cutting down the amount of frames was a good idea though.

  37. Cheers Ian, that’s very kind of you.

    Ah well, I guess it shows we’re trying, at least… :-)

  38. I am so disappointed.

    I think I would have preferred it if the countdown had gotten to zero and then just started counting up again.

  39. G&T Admin

    > I think I would have preferred it if the countdown had gotten to zero and then just started counting up again.

    It did!

  40. Not for me – it broke when it hit zero.

    I see the forum link is broken (well, gives a frameset containing only three broken frames). New forum one of the not-ready things?

  41. The Space Corps Database is great, far better having it all in one place, I’m sure this is in the pipeline, but some of the image placeholders are missing, and Cassandra is where Gilbert should be. The picture refrences are a good visual aid. But some of the pictures are very dark in places, could be lightened a bit. :)

  42. G&T Admin

    > I see the forum link is broken (well, gives a frameset containing only three broken frames). New forum one of the not-ready things?

    This happens for me all the time. http://forum.reddwarf.co.uk works the first time, but if try to go back to that exact URL again after my login details are stored in a cookie or whatever it gives me to broken frame set, so I have to use the full URL t get in.

  43. User Name: DNaylor
    Password : HMSCamdenLock

  44. Parts of Camden lock burnt down last week. Sadly this has nothing to do with the mastertapes of Hyperdrive.

    Well done, on the easier to navigate new website, and I look forward to all that 2008 brings on it.

  45. I like it. That’s all from me for now. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

  46. I like the new site but was it really worthy of such a build up?

  47. G&T Admin

    The Bodysnatcher ad on the front page says “Seires I” instead of “Series I”.

  48. It’s very easy to navigate, it’s crisp and neat and there’s going to be a lot of tweaking over time we’re told. My first impression was truly awful if I’m honest but have now got to the ‘it’s actually not bad at all’ stage..I’m not going to say I really like it yet and am going to give it time to develop, after all, there’s a lot of work gone into this and I can see the reasoning behind it. My overall impression is similar to comments made earlier about it not looking like an ‘official’ site anymore but again, with time, I suspect it will develop.

    My one disapointment is that we havn’t heard from Doug given the anniversary and the fact that we’ve passed the official date. We’ve had words from Rob which was nice but nothing from the man that kept it all going. I wasn’t expecting movie or series news but a few words from the man would have been nice for all the fans who’ve stuck with it and continued to buy the merchandise etc. Andrew tells us they were hoping for ‘an’ announcement to go with the launch and we’re all aware things dont always go to plan so hopefully there will be something from Doug soon.

  49. It’s all right, it just feels a little… empty. The ‘website highlights’ section I don’t like, it feels like stuff that isn’t in the top options were put there instead. The banners in the middle are a bit annoying too.

  50. I’ve said the same over on BTLi… but I’m lazy so I’m copy and pasting this over here too with a few extra thoughts ;o)

    I think it’s much better in some ways, it’s much easier to navigate, it’s clear where things are and it’s gotten rid of those shitty frames. I also love the look of the banner.
    That said… it looks boring, it’s the official site it needs to look slick and glossy and professional (IMO) and at the moment it looks basic and dull.

  51. If I were to suggest one thing it would be to make sure people know they’ve reached the OFFICIAL site. The only evidence is the ‘(c) Grant Naylor Productions’ at the bottom.

    I don’t want to criticize any more but there’s no way the ‘Complete Guide’ menu should be on the front page like that.

    Reduce from 3 columns to 2. The Bodysnatcher/mobile/Smegs panels should be the right-hand column with –

    ‘Red Dwarf – The Complete Guide’
    ‘TV Schedule’
    ‘DVDwarf’
    ‘Stoke Me A Clip – Red Dwarf Online’ etc.

    etc. placed under or above the ads. Make the news headlines smaller and place ‘Website Highlights’ underneath them, with the name changed to something like ‘Features’. Have a ‘more features ->’ link at the bottom of these which links to the ‘features’ page (duh…).

  52. > I don?t want to criticize any more but there?s no way the ?Complete Guide? menu should be on the front page like that.

    On that one I think you’re dead wrong. I think it’s a quick and easy way for newbies to find a lot of content fast.

    But we’ll see. I said on the Webboard that I expect everyone to be happy enough, thanks, in a few months. But that I’ll keep listening either way.

  53. G&T Admin

    I agree that the ‘Complete Guide’ should be on the front page. In fact, that and ‘Website Highlights’ are great things to have so visible. It’s a shame, really, cos if it wasn’t for the ads they’d fit nicely together on the right leaving all the rest of that space for the content. Then again, the ads would probably look pretty spiffy lined up below the nav bar giving them a place to live and removing the need of the middle column.

    It’s all small potatoes, though, and I’m don’t want to start sounding like matt.

  54. No-one’s commented on it yet but it’s very… Ganymede And Titan, isn’t it?

  55. Yes they have. Further up this page, in fact.

  56. I must take back some of what I said yesterday… the site was not resizing properly for my monitor so looked very very weird.

    It’s now MUCH better, but still reminds me of… well…

    You know when you mis-spell a website and it takes you to a fake “holder page” which someone has created to capitalise on such errors?

    For example, http://www.startrec.com

    Still looks a bit like that… but overall, I think I’ll grow to like it. :)

  57. Also…the spell-checker on the website seems to be malfunctioning.

    Massage ends.

  58. >As for the countdown – I?ll be honest, we hoped the relaunch would time with some VERY INTERESTING NEWS, but it wasn?t (quite) to be.

    TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!TELL!!! TELL!!!

  59. Much better. The “Complete Guide” “Episodes” and “Making Of” links take you to the same place still, and where’s G&T on the links page then? The “please select your region” links on the Fan Club Membership page aren’t working and I would have preferred an overall red on black styling, that IS Red Dwarf, red on black, but a lot lot better than when I first saw it. Ta.

    Interesting news? Hmmmm….

    Squeee on standby sir.

  60. Parts of Camden lock burnt down last week. Sadly this has nothing to do with the mastertapes of Hyperdrive.

    There’s no escape from the Hyperdrive slagging is there?

    Had another look at TOS today, and it’s definitely better than at 4pm yesterday. I like the Database, and maybe I was a bit harsh with yesterday’s views. I’m sure everything’s going to be hunky-dory.

  61. The design isn’t entirely my cup of tea, but then, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a website (my own designs included) where I’ve thought it looked absolutely perfect.

    I like the increased prominence given to the site’s written content – easily its strongest asset – on the front page, though. That little hub of articles is a great idea.

    Just to prove this isn’t just an Andrew brown-nosing exercise, though… I do agree that having “reddwarf.co.uk” in lower case like that makes it look a bit like a domain-parker. I like the font, and the lower-case-ness, but maybe it should just say “red dwarf”? And the word “official” really should be on there somewhere.

  62. > And the word ?official? really should be on there somewhere.

    This one I agree with. Yes.

    Though it wasn’t on the old site either…

    > I would have preferred an overall red on black styling, that IS Red Dwarf, red on black,

    I disagree – I think red/white-on-black is hard on the eyes online, and it hasn’t been the Dwarf style for a long time. The old site didn’t use it, the DVDs use it rarely. You have to go back to the VHS sleeves, really.

  63. Presumably that 20th Anniversary logo on the right isn’t going to stay there forever. As a result, it Seems a waste not to use the RD logo somewhere on the header. Not many shows have a logo that’s so recognisable.

  64. > Presumably that 20th Anniversary logo on the right isn?t going to stay there forever.

    When the year is over, the regular RD logo goes there. It’s a permanent thing.

    I’m going to stop replying to every small layout issue, I think. But keep feeding back if it’s useful to do so.

  65. >I think red/white-on-black is hard on the eyes online

    I used to side with the view that reckoned white-on-black should be the standard for websites, because staring at a black screen for long periods is easier on the eyes than a white screen. But that’s less relevant now we’re all using LCD instead of CRT, and the concern is more about how sharply you can pick your text out of a page. For which white-on-black is much, much better.

    >it hasn?t been the Dwarf style for a long time.

    To be honest, I’ve always thought of it more as the Dwarf fansite style, than any kind of official style…

  66. >> Presumably that 20th Anniversary logo on the right isn?t going to stay there forever.

    >When the year is over, the regular RD logo goes there. It?s a permanent thing.

    >I?m going to stop replying to every small layout issue, I think. But keep feeding back if it?s useful to do so.

    But the title font size needs to be set 0.5 larger! And I think that the fifteenth pixel from the left in the banner is TOTALLY WRONG :-P

  67. Even if it didn’t say ‘official’ on the old site you still got the official feel somehow.

    I’ll just disagree again about the ‘Complete Guide’ menu being on the front page, shall I? The only thing that would save it would be just to have ‘Series I, Series II etc.’ and scrap all the ‘Episodes’, ‘Making Of’, ‘Gallery’, links. It’s just unnecessary and cluttered. The main links for ‘Making Of’ and ‘Gallery’ should be enough (well there should actually be a main ‘Making Of’ link).

    The key should be condensing it to two main columns.

  68. It still annoys me that this image…

    …is somehow classified as a Series I image, when it’s more likely from VII or VIII (or, possible, the Re-mastered shoot, but he’s not wearing a hairpiece).

    It’s the little things that bug me, y’see.

  69. yeah, he doesn’t have the ‘paintbrush’ on top of his head

  70. My only problem with the DVD commentaries is that they didn’t discuss Norman’s hairline enough.

  71. > And the word ?official? really should be on there somewhere.

    What annoys me is that what’s left of the BBC RD site (www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/reddwarf) links to TOS as a fansite…

  72. Heh. I guess they consider that Red Dwarf being shown on BBC channels makes that the official web site. What big heads those BBC lads have! (Spoken in half jest.)

    Oh, I noticed, they state that Chris Barrie only appeared in 2 episodes of series 7! That’s not true, although the other two are either flashbacks or dream sequences, but it still counts.

    And they provide a link to Hyperdrive on that site… Still that’s understandable, both being sci-fi comedies they’re in the same ball park, if at far ends of the pitch as far as quality is concerned.

  73. > My only problem with the DVD commentaries is that they didn?t discuss Norman?s hairline enough.

    Or that spot in the middle of his forehead. Or his broken nose. They don’t mention them enough.

    > Still that?s understandable, both being television programmes

    There, rectified that.

  74. G&T Admin

    Would now be the time to mention I was involved in the new reddwarf.co.uk site?

    Hello. I’m John Hoare. I was involved in the new reddwarf.co.uk site.

    Full disclosure, and all that, seeing as I’m involved in G&T – I won’t let it stop me writing any… well, one star reviews, or anything. I wasn’t involved with the design though – all I did was convert the old news articles. But I like it a lot – I agree with most of what Cappsy says. It’s *so* much easier to use now, and technically it’s a million times better. A vast improvement in every way on the previous design.

  75. G&T Admin

    For those keeping track, there’s now a new footer on the site, with various bits and pieces – and the Webboard has been revamped to fit in with the new site design (although the forum software itself hasn’t changed, which will infuriate some and delight others).

    It was there from the start, although it’s more visible now – but I REALLY like the fact that there’s an RSS feed now.

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