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Proposed MacNN redesign [pic thread]
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Nick
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:28 PM
 
At MacNN we value the input of our readers and forums members greatly. MacNN is a strong community-based site, so it's important to involve the readership in the decision making process. There's a clear trend in successful Web design -- especially in the Mac community -- towards simpler and cleaner layouts. Bloated, cumbersome designs don't fly well with the Mac community (as discussed today in other threads ). As such, we have come up with a cleaner, yet equally functional design that we feel will keep our readers happy. Internally, we have had a good response from many of the moderators and administrators, as well as others involved with MacNN behind the scenes. Although this design is NOT CONSIDERED FINAL, we feel it definitely represents the direction we want to go. We'd like to get your feedback now, before making any changes to the front page. We've learned from the past that drastically changing the layout without warning doesn't always go over well.

MacNN's new look will come along with many new features, and some great new types of content, too. Design elements used on the new front page will also influence the revamped vBulletin 3 forums (logo, buttons, colors, etc).

Thanks for your input!

( Last edited by Nick; Mar 19, 2005 at 05:22 PM. )
     
typoon
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:32 PM
 
I'm liking it.
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Turias
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:34 PM
 
It looks great! I much prefer the two-column layout.
     
paul w
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:38 PM
 
The two blues are not working well together. I'd do something with the menu bar blue-make it darker, more violet or something.

They're different blues but still flat. Needs more contrast.

Otherwise sure, looks good. What are the um *cough*...forums..looking like?
     
nredman
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:39 PM
 
cleaner is always good, i am sure whatever you guys come up with will be cool with me. just a few things i'd like to see...keep the ForumJump on the mainpage & even on the top of each seperate forum (lounge, powerbook, etc...). move submit reply button right below the text field instead of after the smilies & options. those are just little things...anyways good luck with the redesign.

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RAILhead
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:40 PM
 
I think the ad should be much bigger.

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Nick
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:41 PM
 
We were thinking of using a CSS menu off the forums button as forumjump.
     
E's Lil Theorem
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:43 PM
 
Oooh, nice. From a user's perspective, it looks good to me. I'm no designer so I can't help there

Originally posted by RAILhead:
I think the ad should be much bigger.

Maury
     
effgee
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:44 PM
 
Might be good - might be bad. That's quite the tiny portion of the page you're showing there. Any secret stuff below the "fold"?

     
OwlBoy
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:45 PM
 
Originally posted by RAILhead:
I think the ad should be much bigger.

Maury
     
macintologist
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:46 PM
 
Please don't change the forums
     
DarwinX
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:49 PM
 
Count me in
     
Nick
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:49 PM
 
Originally posted by macintologist:
Please don't change the forums
What we've been working hard at with the vb3 implementation is to keep the forums as similar to their current state as possible. The only things that will change are logos and maybe a few buttons.
     
PurpleGiant
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:49 PM
 
Looks like it may be a fixed-width layout, is this true?

Overall, I like. However isn't this the stage of web design where management walks in and says "Nice, except how about we add a flashing thing on the side, and make the writing a bit bigger. Oh, and let's put some ads on the left also."
     
davesimondotcom
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:50 PM
 
Looks like you've spent time on the header and overall layout, and not much time on the formatting of the content.

You should format the article title in a way that makes it more of a title. By that, I mean making the title bigger, perhaps a border-bottom: 1px solid #000; on it.

The leading of the body copy should be increased. Makes it easier to read when you have space between the lines.

Without actually using it/purusing the source/etc. it's hard to say what else I would change. I can agree with paul w's comment about the two blues. Although I like the gradient in the top one.
[ sig removed - image host changed it to a big ad picture ]
     
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:51 PM
 
I like it. I'm bored!
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Nick
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:53 PM
 
Originally posted by PurpleGiant:
Looks like it may be a fixed-width layout, is this true?

Overall, I like. However isn't this the stage of web design where management walks in and says "Nice, except how about we add a flashing thing on the side, and make the writing a bit bigger. Oh, and let's put some ads on the left also."
Nah, we'll keep it clean.

(But I was thinking of putting some nice 300x250 ads beside each blurb for RAILhead )
     
Nick
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Mar 15, 2005, 05:56 PM
 
Originally posted by davesimondotcom:
Looks like you've spent time on the header and overall layout, and not much time on the formatting of the content.

You should format the article title in a way that makes it more of a title. By that, I mean making the title bigger, perhaps a border-bottom: 1px solid #000; on it.
I like your idea, will have to experiment with it. Right now the content is just a place holder taken from the current site, but with the actual implementation we can make it look better per suggestions.
     
waxcrash
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Mar 15, 2005, 06:09 PM
 
Instead of posting a screen capture, why don't you put it online and post the url. Just use jabberwocky as text. We could get a better idea what it looks like.
     
Nick
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Mar 15, 2005, 06:10 PM
 
If the inital reaction is good, we will go ahead and have a working version is CSS/XHTML. Right now there is no real test site.
     
mitchell_pgh
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Mar 15, 2005, 06:12 PM
 
Originally posted by macintologist:
Please don't change the forums
I agree... I like the five year old design and aging version of vBulletin.
     
milhous
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Mar 15, 2005, 06:15 PM
 
looks great. here's a challenge, is there anyway you can optimize the site's code so it loads faster? that would be kinda neat.
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andi*pandi
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Mar 15, 2005, 06:26 PM
 
I like the top banner and revamped logo, very clean... but agree w/paully that the nav bar blue/grey just isn't contrasty enough against the nice banner blue.

what are those nav items that are blurred out?
     
ManOfSteal
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Mar 15, 2005, 06:27 PM
 
The 'NN has a front page?



(I dig the new looks)
     
Demonhood
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Mar 15, 2005, 06:40 PM
 
as Nick said, the new forums won't look as dramatically different from the current design as the new front macnn page will. that said, it is different. there's only so much we can do with the jungle of vbulletin 3.x code to make it look like this current forum.

besides, some things here certainly could use a bit of help.
     
Xeo
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Mar 15, 2005, 06:58 PM
 
I like the look a lot. What are the scrambled out things? New features which are still secret? Come on, that's no fun.

Oh, this forum needs to be effgeed, too.
     
xi_hyperon
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Mar 15, 2005, 07:17 PM
 
Count me in as one who likes the new top banner. I'm looking forward to seeing the changes in store for the forums as well.
     
Apple Pro Underwear
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Mar 15, 2005, 07:24 PM
 
i think you should visit spymac and steal some ideas




seriously though, as a GD - i find the new logo to be a little restricted/boxed in by the box/circle but it's not offensively distracting. i also think the header should be bigger than your ad. in this case, the size would help prioritize the two. from this little preview i like what i am seeing in general.
     
effgee
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Mar 15, 2005, 07:25 PM
 
Originally posted by Xeo:
I like the look a lot. What are the scrambled out things? New features which are still secret? Come on, that's no fun. Oh, this forum needs to be effgeed, too.
LOL - I was already on my way. Problem is that the portion of the page shown in Nick's screenshot is too small to get a really good impression of what the entire page will look like.

As we say in German - "here's my mustard" (= first impression). I'm extremely busy prepping for a client meeting tomorrow, so there wasn't much time - a 5 min. "mini-evaluation", so to speak. I'll be happy to take a closer look when I can spare a few more minutes tomorrow.
(click the image or this link for a full-size version)

My impression so far - a very nice foundation to build upon.

     
ManOfSteal
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Mar 15, 2005, 07:30 PM
 
effgee rocks!

     
OptimusG4
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Mar 15, 2005, 08:02 PM
 
Originally posted by ManOfSteal:
effgee rocks!

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iREZ
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Mar 15, 2005, 08:08 PM
 
I like MacNN just fine now, but I welcome any and all positive changes to the site. When are you guys thinking about implementing this?
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Mafia
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Mar 15, 2005, 08:23 PM
 
TELL ME WHATS BEHIND THE BLUR'S!!!! i like it.
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Footy
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Mar 15, 2005, 08:36 PM
 
Guess I'll have to buy a new shirt to match the redesign!
     
sambeau
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Mar 15, 2005, 08:38 PM
 
I disagree with nearly everything effgee suggests. I like the simplicity, the continuity and the rounded corners. Would be interested in seeing the rest..

The magnifiing glass looks kinda familiar...

(ok, I know)

But seriously, i'd kinda hope that given your brief these days I'd come up with something like that.

Nope.. I like it!
     
brapper
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Mar 15, 2005, 08:45 PM
 
changes? my life will be changed!
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Zimphire
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Mar 15, 2005, 08:45 PM
 
I love it. No pin-stripes.
     
sambeau
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Mar 15, 2005, 08:49 PM
 
Originally posted by Zimphire:
I love it. No pin-stripes.


However, methinks you're wrong, Zim. If you notice they fade gracefully from left (stripey) to right (solid blue).

I'm kinda hoping that this is just a 'trasitional phase' and over a few months they will gradually fade to nothing.

(apart from in IE which doesn't do transparent PNGs and lets face it - they can keep 'em)
     
starman
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Mar 15, 2005, 08:57 PM
 
I like it. Always nice to see a fresh look.

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barang
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Mar 15, 2005, 10:09 PM
 
Yeah, I agree with the first poster that the two blues don't seem to match. That may just be me, though. Other than that, I like it.

I agree with the comments about the forum jump feature.
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Mar 15, 2005, 10:28 PM
 
Originally posted by Zimphire:
I love it. No pin-stripes.
I vote for pin-stripes!

     
ibookuser2
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Mar 15, 2005, 10:32 PM
 
The new header looks good. Without seeing more of the page, though, it's hard to say anything about the entire design.

Something that I'd like to see changed if the site is redesigned are the link URLs. It's really annoying to see rd.php instead of the actual destination. The javascript hack used to display the actual URL does not seem to work properly in Safari.
     
analogika
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Mar 15, 2005, 11:29 PM
 
Needs more cowbell.





And more ads. But maury basically said that.
     
Nick
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Mar 16, 2005, 12:51 AM
 
Better? (Effgee & others)

( Last edited by Nick; Mar 16, 2005 at 01:37 AM. )
     
Nick
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Mar 16, 2005, 12:55 AM
 
Originally posted by Apple Pro Underwear:
i think you should visit spymac and steal some ideas
     
Randman
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Mar 16, 2005, 01:01 AM
 
This last version looks much better.

This is a computer-generated message and needs no signature.
     
storer
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Mar 16, 2005, 01:03 AM
 
Awesome! I love it!
     
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Mar 16, 2005, 01:06 AM
 
Originally posted by Nick:
[B]Better? (Effgee & others)
I'm liking it...
     
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Mar 16, 2005, 01:15 AM
 
Wish I could upload graphics from where I am... but I would say for the nav bar. You might like to try a having a rounded edged rectangle that does not quite reach each edge of the over all boarder? Kinda like the chicklets used in Panther but with a flat feel instead of the bevel Apple uses. Thus you'd have the header blue and the white meeting half way up and down the chicklets. As well I a prefer the newer blue. But you might try using the header blue as a starting point, dropping it and subtracting just a few shades of green. But this one is better.
The logo, I feel like it should be a bit taller. As well you might try like shudder c|net does it and have perhaps a lil bit of text that says add above the add if you're going to have it so prominent. Try like a grey bezel with in small font Add written just above the add. That's a decent way to get around the obvious inconstancies you'll have adds throwing into your design.
By the way, are you going to be getting rid of the headlines at the side? Generally those aren't terribly useful to the user... though I have occasionally found them useful. And they do help centre things. Your text really shouldn't be shoved so far off to the left like that.

As well for the forums... can we PLEASE have a cleaner look? And perhaps better smilies? These ones look... yah... if you want I even made a smilie set for my boards I'd be glad to let you use em. (Granted my boards are a bit in shambles under phpBB 3 comes alive). As well can we PLEASE have avatars!? They really help when reading one's posts, it's a quicker visual clue than a sig pic because it's not shoved on the bottom. And generally they're not as high as your average post if you limit them to even 100 pixels high.
To be honest though... I actually consider MacNN's forum to be one of the ugliest I've regulared.. it's not terribly pretty. And I've always wondered why it didn't look more like the rest of the site (not that I would try and make the forum look like the current site, but please have this theme seriously influence the new forum.)
     
paul w
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Mar 16, 2005, 01:43 AM
 
Originally posted by Nick:
Better? (Effgee & others)

Better logo, better rounded corners, better choice of blues.



Do the ads really have to be Yellow. That, um, clashes and stuff.
     
 
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