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So I know a few years ago having a huge banner was a big no-no in UX but it seems to be something that looks more and more acceptable.

I have a tv show website and I'm trying a new, more original design but not sure if it really works (I'm not quite sure having a huge banner is such a great idea):

current design:

http://broadcasted.tv/show/47/arrested-development/

new design (obviously needs work.. what happens to breadcrumbs ?):

http://broadcasted.tv/testdesign2.php

Any feedback on design or on smaller vs large banner dilemna appreciated.

Edit:
I also forgot to mention, I'm badly in need of that submenu (on the test layout).

Edit2:

Here is another option:

http://broadcasted.tv/testdesign3.php

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"a few years ago having a huge banner was a big no-no in UX"

Is there anything that has happened between then and now that undermined the reasoning behind that proscription?

I would not judge smaller versus larger banners just on how many giant banners are in the wild. That could be due to many factors other than UX considerations, with the most likely one being that bigger images seem prettier. It may be that prettier is slightly more likely to get a user to stick, but that is probably the extent of it.

Unless you are mostly concerned with advertising the show, some of the space is better used in your current design. ...or, if some of those elements are not seen as valuable, could be put to use for new elements rather than making what is already the largest element even larger.

One more point: With a large banner you want to be particularly wary of putting it right at the top. (Or...To state this a little differently, for a top banner, you want to be particularly wary of making it large.) Doing this makes it take much more time to find any other information, including pushing some elements off the screen and necessitating scrolling to reveal them. (In fact, for smaller screens or windows you may even push some of the image off the screen!)

(My vote: The current design, where the image size is plenty, at roughly half of my browser window after my browser chrome and the upper elements of your site.)

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    Very well stated. I think a lot of website design is driven by marketing, who are more concerned with making things look pretty rather than make them more usable. As an end user, I find most websites very irritating to actually use because usability is often discarded for aesthetics. – 17 of 26 Aug 5 '13 at 17:36
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    metareviewr, I understand the concern, but you may be prioritizing marketing too much. The only way I can see the larger banner helping you is for the case when there is a new potential user who (a) has never heard of Arrested Development before and (b) is more likely to want to watch it if he or she sees more prettiness (probably a minority, even of new potential users). As for all of your repeat users...see the comment above by @17of26 ;) – A.M. Aug 5 '13 at 17:52
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    Aesthetics are important, but not when they get to the point where they drown out your content! If I were to hit your new page after a Google search, I'd have absolutely no idea what your site was about or why I'd want to stay. Your page needs to look nice and quickly communicate to the user a reason why they want to be there. If a user can't figure out what your page is about in under 10 seconds, they're probably reaching for the back button. – 17 of 26 Aug 5 '13 at 17:57
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    Not bad. You got the flexibility of wide that you wanted without the drawbacks of high. Good job splitting up the concepts! (I would still say you should consider the value of rearranging, though, as in the tile question, especially for future applications where an ultra-wide image like the one you just used wouldn't work so nicely.) – A.M. Aug 5 '13 at 18:11
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    3 is much better! – 17 of 26 Aug 5 '13 at 18:17
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New design is fresh and trendy looking. I think, users will like it even just for its aesthetics.

But as was said earlier, try to use more efficently large image. There is fading space at the bottom of the image. Here could be placed show's name which takes some place over image, too. Otherwise lagre image looks slightly unrelated to the content, just like background.

Breadcrumbs could be placed at its original place instead of "Never miss out..." line, which could be unobtrusively sliding out at the top of large image.

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I think you are right in your feeling that big banners are more ok and used quite frequently nowadays. Allthough - I feel that your new design is wasting some space. Can the banner work more as a background for the menu buttons and other controls on the top of the page so that it's not just eye candy?

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  • I guess I would look into moving some of the buttons and title higher on the page to move some of the content higher. – Callombert Aug 5 '13 at 16:02
  • So you prefer the large banner ? – Callombert Aug 5 '13 at 16:02
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  • The second design creates a more engaging experience for those with large monitors.
  • With the larger image, the faces are more recognizable, and I could identify the show faster compared to the smaller image.
  • This may not be your final image, but if it is, it was blurry on a 1920px width screen. A higher quality image is required, but ensure it is optimized to it does not delay load times greatly.
  • The text size for the name of the TV show should be much larger so a user can easily identify the page. Consider greatly increasing the size of TV show title text, and perhaps include it in the banner (maybe even using the TV show logo in the banner).
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  • Yeah, I'm on a 24inch so I know the res isn't good enough, I just didn't bother. – Callombert Aug 5 '13 at 16:01
  • You haven't really said which one you prefer though?! – Callombert Aug 5 '13 at 16:01
  • I identified the show more quickly with the current design (smaller image, but after the name of the show). – A.M. Aug 5 '13 at 16:38
  • Of course, your point stands for a fair comparison between two top banners, in which both designs would involve the faces being seen before a title. – A.M. Aug 5 '13 at 17:03
  • I find the new design to be less engaging because the larger banner makes it harder to focus on the usable content. – 17 of 26 Aug 5 '13 at 17:38
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I feel that in your new design the banner is way too big and completely steals all of my attention.

I'm on a 1600x1200 monitor, and the banner takes up nearly 1/3 of my total screen real estate. Actual content doesn't appear until about 1/2 way down the page. It took me a bit of effort to look over the page and figure out what it was for other than "HEY LOOK A BIG PICTURE OF THE ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT CAST!".

The banner is purely cosmetic polish and should not drown out the actual content on the page.

It also doesn't make much sense to me that the banner will size to the width of my browser but the actual useful content does not.

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