Fuwanovel News

Blog Changes: New Look, New Editor

Written by Tay

Hello everybody,

If you’re reading this on the web (as opposed to the email notification you get with each post), you’ll no doubt have noticed that the blog has undergone a radical makeover! We’re trying out this new look and would love to get feedback/impressions from those of you who regularly read our content. And while the cosmetic changes are long-overdue, they’re only a small piece of the blog overhaul, and I’m pleased to give you a little insight into what’s changed.

First and foremost, I would like to announce that Zakamutt has been chosen to become the official editor-in-chief over the blog. Many of you know that he has been carrying the torch for the past many months (his TL updates and project recruitment posts have been extremely popular and useful to the VN community, and his articles have made for excellent reading), but what you might not know is that in that time he’s also developed a gut feeling and vision for how to carry the blog forward. He’s a talented writer and he’s got a lot of good ideas, and I’d like to congratulate him and wish him good luck.

There are several additional and substantial changes coming to the blog. I’ll endeavor to highlight a few:

  • The blog is going to be rebranded into the “Fuwanovel Gazette”. There will be a subdomain change in the coming days (don’t worry, the old subdomain will forward you to the right place) to follow the new name, but that’s not at the top of our priorities atm
  • A big, new focus is the variety of categories on the blog (News, Project Updates, Project Recruitment, New Releases, Fuwanovel Community, Recognition, with other categories such as “reviews” soon to follow). The categories are important because we plan on opening the blog to a much wider range of people. Project managers on TL teams, for example, will be able to directly write their own status updates/requests for new team members. Fuwanovel community members will be able to directly write up notices and updates for when new podcasts are released or community events are planned (such as when we need to party like it’s 1999). One really important and exciting change will be the implementation of a recognition program wherein we try to better highlight the awesome and interesting people, projects and discussions going on in our community and within the VN world
  • Zaka will be sharing more information soon about how people can participate on the blog. For now, however, if anybody’s interested in writing a post (we’re interested in writers doing lots of different kinds of pieces, such as posts on translation, OELVNs, tutorials, Otome/BL, news, reviews, analysis or broader opinion pieces), keep an eye on the blog feed and the forums for more information
  • The FuwaReviews team will be partially implemented into the blog in the coming weeks. More info about this will be coming soon

Thanks again for sticking with us and keeping up with the blog. I look forward to feedback, and I look forward to Zaka continuing to impress us ; P.

All the best,

Tay

About the author

Tay

I'm the Fuwanovel community admin and a big fan of Visual Novels. The easiest way to get a hold of me is via a PM on the Fuwanovel Forums, by twitter (@ArchmageTay), or by email.

21 Comments

  • Congratulations. I am not looking forward to the reviews though. The other VN reviewing blogs are at best terribly subjective, without acknowledging other genres, and at worst filled with spoilers.

    • “Acknowledging other genres”. You mean, like non-VN stuff like video games and fiction and cupcake recipes? Or are you talking things like BL, Otome, Nukige, and Yuri?

      • Fair warning: there’s probably not going to be any nukige-related content on the blog. If we want to change the perception of “dating sims” as being just porn games, we wouldn’t really want to present the pure porn games first.

        Sonohana is an exception, because editorial yuri bias (it also seems to have a higher story:porn content than usual? I never did try any other nukige myself…)

  • Looks pretty good!

    Only thing I would change is to place the fuwanovel logo at the top. It’s colorful, iconic, and brightens up an otherwise black-and-white page.

  • Personally, I don’t like the new look.
    Maybe that was too blunt and my comment will be disregarded anyway, but I think it’s better than beating around the bush.

    I understand that you went for a more “newspaper”-ish look (hence the title “gazette”) and that’s where the black&white theme comes from… but this just looks… effortlessly, to put it nicely. I think what you tried to do here was to come up with a minimalist, clean design. But there is a fine line between crisp clear and organized (which I fully support) and plain/bland/boring/seen this a million times. I’m deeply sorry to whoever designed this, but to me, this just looks like the default wordpress theme. It just looks like it wasn’t even TRIED to tweak a bit some parameters, to make this a personalized Fuwanovel page, and just threw in there whatever popped-up first.

    The black&white color scheme you used is quite depressing in itself, but that could’ve still worked should the PAGE DESIGN been something a little bit more interesting. Meaning, the page layout should’ve been a bit more eye catching. Have the main column in the center or move the headline on the side of the page, ANYTHING would’ve worked better and would’ve made the page come alive. Again, I understand that this is newspaper inspired, but even the PLAINEST newspaper I have around in my home has a more elaborate headline (design-wise) than this.

    This particular layout that you used is also used by 90% of the blogs on the internet. And frankly, that wouldn’t have bothered me. Should you have made it look and feel personalized. Instead it just screams at me:

    “DEFAULT THEME. THIS IS THE THEME LAZY PEOPLE USE WHEN THEY START THEIR FIRST BLOG”
    It just looks unprofessional.

    In that respect, your old theme looked much more polished and professional. It was nice and clean, you had that blue sidebar, which was like a Fuwanovel trademark, which was both visually appealing (in terms of soothing colour and placement: it was just a nice breath of fresh air of having a page with the “top” not at the top but on the left; it feels “new”, or at least more original and personalized) and also informative, with a bunch of useful links.

    If I had to use one word to describe each of the themes:
    Old look: Polished
    New look: Effortless

    Clearly, I am unhappy with the new look and I also probably offended a few people along the way for not liking it. I just feel like being honest is a lot more productive than smiling and nodding at whatever I am given.

    Someone mentioned above too, if you are still going to keep this theme, I feel like indeed moving the Fuwanovel logo at the top of the page would help A LOT in livening up the design. I would also suggest maybe adding that blue colour and the Fuwanovel avatar (the blue girl that is currently at the bottom of the page) to the top of the page (something like the equivalent for the blue sidebar in the old design). Or really, any other design improvement will be welcome, just some suggestions.

    On the bright side, I do like the fact that we have direct links for the recruitment bulletin, project updates, forums etc. at the top of the page. That is an improvement, our lives will probably be much easier from now on in finding stuff so thumbs up for that. The design though will still wound my aesthetic sense every time I open this page…

    • Thanks for the detailed feedback! Very helpful.

      Up front and to level with you: the aesthetics of the blog were not a top priority. Those sorts of things are easily changed down the road, and I had unexpected emergencies and other priorities which edged out customization in the time budget. A little more context: The fact of the matter is that the Fuwa server move occurred only yesterday, and both Zaka and I have been itching to finally get started on the blog re-launch. I did actually plan a few hours to customize the blog’s look, however problems with the blog’s database and update caused a ton of problems (and, unfortunately, some lost content). Fixing that took a lot longer than I expected, and by the time I reached out to Zaka to address the more surface-level, high-priority changes (like restructuring the organization of posts and pages in the software, or permissions, or social integration) I had to sacrifice customization.

      To be honest, though, I didn’t lose any sleep over it. Aesthetics are extremely easy to change in the software, and as I’ve stated publicly several times, my approach to these things is experimental. I’m not afraid of mis-steps as I chase the important stuff and try to find what works. I think it was also important to get this out ASAP to start restoring a feeling of momentum for the blog and the upcoming site changes.

      So, now that you know where I’m coming from, let me say one more thing. Your praise of the old blog layout is really interesting to me. I did some informal polling (<50 people) a while back and public opinion was overwhelmingly (>70%) negative about the old look of the blog. People didn’t like how it looked, or how it functioned. I’m glad you didn’t mind it (:D), and I’d be interested to hear more specifics of what you liked. Can you give me a little more insight into what design or function elements you enjoyed and now miss?

      Again, thanks for taking the time to share thorough feedback!

    • Oh, one more point I didn’t address — this theme isn’t final, but it does what we need it to do for the short-term, and Zaka and I both came to the conclusion: “good enough for now.”

      Zaka and I agreed to revisit changing the theme a little later this year.

    • Thanks! (RE: Moar colors — See my epistle response to Sayuri’s feedback up above. I do agree with you, though, and aesthetic changes will eventually roll out. Gotta get meat back on the bones, first, tho.)

  • What’s with the poker advertisement jammed into the middle of a sentence in the first bullet-point? “follow the new name, but [link to poker site] that’s not at the top “

    • Hmm, I’ll be thinking about it. At the moment it looks more like a copied corporate piece than a personal recommendation, so you’d need to rewrite it a bit. Message me on the forums if you’re still interested and I’ll see what I can do.

Leave a Comment