[theforum] front end ideas/mockup : feedback please

Erika ekm at seastorm.com
Sat Oct 25 10:45:11 CDT 2008

Responding, just for sake of showing another POV... I know Tara is 
working on a design... I think ultimately what design we choose will be 
best informed by hashing this stuff out.  Went back (navigating from old 
evolt site) and read parts of "Cathedral vs Bazaar" again...

Adrian Simmons wrote:
> 1. Branding
> evolt has a history of a black top bar for the logo and branding, and imnsho 
> those cubes just look better on black.

never liked the black bar myself (black is too heavy/dark) post the 2k 
black site, but it's true, it has been considered (by us, since 2002) to 
be part of our brand. (I didn't like it then, either) good point.

but! I would venture that a more important part of our brand is that we 
are a community of web professionals on top of our game.  That would be 
achieved through a user-friendly website featuring top-notch content. 
So black bar or no black bar, to me, that is the essence of what we need 
to achieve... and our site is simply not showing that now.

> Although I like the idea of changing the colour of the page 'chrome' for 
> weo/beo/leo, I don't like the idea of changing the colour of the branding in 
> each section.

yes, if you consider the top color evolt "branding" then it should 
probably stay consistent.

> The enlarged cubes also look a bit play-school, I think small bright cubes 
> work better.

I think my cubes/logo on this mockup are a bit too large, more because 
they take up too much left-hand real estate, tho I still like them 
larger than the current iteration.

> suggestion: stick with a consistent branding area in the header (and maybe 
> footer), preferably with a black background.
> 2. user account/login
> In a community site user account/login really deserves it's own block or 
> area, I don't like the idea of tucking it into the main page content.

cool.  This was an area I was struggling with and specifically wanted to 
hear feedback on.

> 3. individual article pages
> Hooray for not having three columns, but the ideas I've been kicking around 
> my head involve a single column on article pages, why distract someone 
> reading an article? 

I'm not necessarily opposed to that... but if we use tag clouds (I'm 
warming to the idea), they should definitely be on these pages.  And 
other category pages would be a potentially useful navigation element on 
those pages, IMO.

We're used to that type of setup for blogs.  Also, and maybe more 
important, the side column takes up space, narrowing the center column, 
which helps with readability.

> Stick all those blocks including author info *after* the 
> article, fat footer style if you see what I mean. Also gives more width for 
> long lines of code.

if we did single column, yes, I think we should do that.

> In general I think we need to get away from the 1998 'sidebar' concept and 
> think more in terms of grids and columns :)

for what and why?  You don't get far w/ me by labeling a design element 
with a year.  I don't design for fashion.

Here's my issue, somewhat with having a particularly powerful CMS: we 
need to have a usable site.  I cannot emphasize enough my experience 
that our current site is a usability nightmare for doing anything beyond 
reading the top-posted article and using the "search."

We need well-chosen, well-placed links, to GOOD CONTENT.  People LOOK 
for links and information in certain areas... righthand side, lefthand 
side, top right corner, top left corner, edges...

to me, what I see people do with powerful CMS's often is turn stuff off 
and on or place it here and there, simply because they can.  Every 
choice on every page should carefully made.

THEN we have to deal with the difference between what logged-in users 
see, and what anon users see, without confusing... this is a new realm 
for me, usability wise.

THEN we have to deal with server messages (I hate the ones we have now. 
  HATE them. and did I mention that I hate them?)


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