Madhu Menon chef at shiokfood.com
Sun Feb 20 22:58:21 CST 2005

Like Javier, I too kept quiet because:

* I did not want to put a spanner in the works of the enthusiasm of the 
nice people doing this all
* I didn't have the time to contribute as much as I wanted to, so I 
couldn't offer anything better
* We were working on a time-constrained project
* I wanted to see how it would evolve once we started converting PNG to HTML

Staying at home sick for a day gave me a chance to stare at it for a while, 
and by golly, it looks so cookie-cutter "blog template"-like. One former 
evolter described it as "so 2001-ish", "samey samey", and "too much 
clutter". (He/she does not want to be named.)

It doesn't look the kind of kick-ass design you'd expect from people with 
such l33t skills. Do we have a distinct visual identity like some of the 
other web dev sites? Not in the least. It stops after that black header.

General contrast (both of colour and of the content blocks) is weak, 
there's no clear distinction between navigation links (see "list, 
"directory", "jobs", etc. on top - they look like an afterthought) and 
stuff looks disorganized. Compare it to our current design, which at least 
has a visual hierarchy for the most important elements. Somehow it didn't 
look like this in the mock-up. Those blue hyperlinks are dominating 
everything else. >:-(  (but I've objected to the baby blue enough times.)

>Let's do it now before it's really way too late, because imo launching what
>we have now will get us laughed at.

Exactly. I just imagined relaunching with this, and I could almost hear the 
"THIS is your redesign?" derisive remarks across weblogs and web dev sites 
all over.

We need to have some *style* of our own. Right now we look as if we 
borrowed a template from one of those "CSS box model lesson" sites.

>The redesign on an aesthetic level sucks in my humble opinion.  Let's get
>the community in to help, big time, and let's make a huge thing of it.
>Let's make it something people *want* to get involved in and get it deployed
>*fast, fast, fast*.

+1. Don't ask for it free either. Rope in someone like Nick Bradbury to 
give away a copy of TopStyle or FeedBurner (I just won a copy for best 
topical Indian weblog). Perhaps give away a book as second prize. All this 
can be done in under $50 for prizes.

I dare say we have more designers on board than the MeFi crowd. And as you 
guys have told us, we're moving to a CMS that should make changing 
templates relatively painless.

I know I instigated this with my skins post, and please don't take this as 
a criticism of the work done by the likes of Tara, Elfur, John, Garrett, 
etc. It's about the design we have right now. It's just not something the 
web dev community can look up to.

More than 2 cents, I know.



<<<   *   >>>
Madhu Menon
My Blog: http://www.madmanweb.com
My restaurant: http://www.shiokfood.com
My Chef Blog: http://shiokfood.com/notes

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