The Chess Drum is approaching its 4th year in existence and I felt it would be interesting for the audience to see how far the website has come. As one who has read perhaps hundreds of magazines, I'm always intrigued at the differences between the 1st issue and the last/current issue. Such is the case with The Chess Drum… the look, the content, the navigability have all changed significantly.
In this journey, changes were made gradually so that the audience is not disrupted in their learning curve of browsing the site. As you can see on the screenshots below, the blue hyperlinks on the burgundy background do not work well and the banner is much, much more attractive. I designed the banner and hired a student of mine who runs a graphics design company to bring it to life. I also decided move away from static content on the 1st page and use more hyperlinks to de-centralize it to the other segments. The first page now has more dynamism and flexibility.
Of course the search engines and the various forms help with navigation, a key factor in assessing "user-friendly" sites. The color scheme has remained consistent with the use of natural tones that are easy on the eyes. Chess players spend a lot of time reading at chess sites so it is important that the glare is down and the look is appealing. Earthen tones (brown and burgundy) with contrasting accents (white, gold and orange) and black complements seem to work. The background is textured and fortunately is compatible with most other colors… even green!
Each day I think of how the site can be improved and certainly the site will undergo major changes in the next couple of years. It will get better as resources become available. The issues I have had has been meeting a worldwide audience where advanced web features and broadband connections may not be available. Soon those limitations will disappear as these resources become widely available. If you have any suggestions please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for new and exciting improvements in years to come!
Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum