This week's new Runescape website has been the subject of much debate and ranting. A large number of players are up in arms infuriated that Jagex ever dared to change the website layout. On the other hand, there are those that actually took time to think about the change and formed opinions based on facts, rather than the inherent tendency to resist change. This trend has been evident after any kind of update – be it website or game related.
Firstly, I urge Jagex to fix the problem with Internet Explorer, where their site has an unnecessary (and very annoying) horizontal scrollbar caused by their insistence on having the site within one large frame. But fear not, I am actually a proud Mozilla FireFox user and only encountered this problem while using the official RuneScape client downloadable from their Extra file section.
Secondly, I'd like to commend Jagex on being brave enough to step forward and try improving their website, after all, I did mention that it could use some work back in the first Tip.It Times a few weeks ago.
The new navigation links are now more intuitive and user friendly. Each section is clearly labeled and most, if not all, areas of the website are easily accessible. I would personally move the “Website Features” box above the “Latest Poll” box because it is used more. The navigation is by far the major improvement of this revamp and is better than the old “button” navigation where consistency was missing. The expansion of the news section is also good offering you more information than just the title of the news item, and follows a system similar to what is used on this site for Tip.It news.
Nonetheless, there is room for improvement and I speak as a person with years of experience in web design. The graphics for the “Create Free Account” and “Play RuneScape” buttons aren't the most aesthetically pleasing, to put it lightly. I suggest that they improve those and make a minor re-arrangement to use the available space at the top more efficiently. Thereafter, they'd be able to show the latest 6 or 7 news items instead of just 5.
As for the World Select page – the new page introduced on Monday was absolutely terrible and not user friendly at all. They changed the page yet again today (Wednesday) in response to overwhelming feedback and I have to congratulate Jagex. The quick select buttons are perfect for beginners and newer players (although not the best looking). The best world is the closest server with regards to distance and has the least amount of players.
The advanced select option is very useful – I urge anyone who's reading this to spend just 5 minutes getting used to them before complaining! The options are absolutely great! Want to find a certain world? Just sort by world so they're in order and scroll to the world you want to meet someone. Want the closest world for minimum lag? Sort by distance! Furthermore, you can even use combinations to find the world that meets your needs.
The updated graphics, less adverts and wider pages are also commendable indeed. However, I encourage Jagex not to stop here. While you've revamped the site – go ahead and improve the official RuneScape client! Users would thereafter be discouraged from using third party programs and toolkits and will hence be more secure.
I can easily list some basic features that would be very useful, and I'm sure Jagex are aware of the main (illegal according to rule 7) third party programs used by players so they can come up with a feature list themselves. The ability to add your own links accessible from a menu bar so you can jump to your favourite fan site web pages quickly, a quick screen shot facility and simple customisable timers. Additionally, with the world map and world select links – a hiscores link would fit in perfectly.
Good job on the website improvements, just make those final tweaks now Jagex. And if you dare to argue that you play the game and that the site is not that important – how wrong you are. Now I'm looking forward to those RuneScape client improvements soon.