Redesign Contest Results February 5, 2005 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Hey everybody, it's the results of the Redesign Contest!
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 8:34 PM (94 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

help me out with usernames/user page URLs if you know of the ones I've missed. I grabbed their info off their entries, and not everyone put their name on them.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:35 PM on February 5, 2005


Thanks. No more pestering.
posted by Gyan at 8:38 PM on February 5, 2005


Wow. I really, really like the pixelsmoke one.
posted by Quartermass at 8:46 PM on February 5, 2005


The ugly one (#3) is mine.
posted by abcde at 8:52 PM on February 5, 2005


The fandango_matt one is a well deserved winner. I especially like "metaetcetera."
posted by Saucy Intruder at 8:53 PM on February 5, 2005


lots of really good entries--i'm impressed by almost all of them.
posted by amberglow at 8:54 PM on February 5, 2005


Nice work all - and congrats to fandango_matt!
posted by carter at 9:04 PM on February 5, 2005


Damn. Fandango_Matt is all professional n' shit.

Very, very cool look.

When does this actually launch?
posted by xmutex at 9:10 PM on February 5, 2005


(rushmc)
Great solution to the lack-of-screen-real-estate problem


How gracious of you, matt.

Taz's several efforts are crisp and readable, as well as being very stylish, tho sadly, she didn't make the cut :(

Top marks to f_matt - cogent, re[v/f]erential to the Mefi I grew up with, but with the hideous concept of MyMefi...eww!

Of all that I looked at, that one I disliked the most in visual presentation. I also don't wanna see anything that looks so 'XP', as it were - like pixelsmokes [sorry dude, tho' the functionality may be excellent - who knows yet?]

/dinosaur
posted by dash_slot- at 9:12 PM on February 5, 2005


I'm working on doing the mefi projects page in a maroon version of the fandango_matt site. I'll move other sites into a new layout over the next few weeks, and hopefully I'll work elements of all three into every nook and cranny.

I'm having to redo the CSS and code from the ground up, the HTML I've produced over the past 6 years is absolute hell. I guess if folks want to help out, anyone that is a master of CSS could rework one of the fandango_matt mockup screens into a simple CSS layout. That'd save me hours of time.

BTW, I just had a crash that trashed the contest results page. If anyone has it in their cache and could repost it somewhere, I'd be eternally grateful.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:17 PM on February 5, 2005


I also have to say I didn't like pixelsmoke's. I prefered the ones that took the basic motif and cleaned it up a bit. I don't like the ones with too many geegaws and whatnots. Simple clean design is where it's at. Mefi dosn't need to look professional, just readable.

Ah well.
posted by delmoi at 9:18 PM on February 5, 2005


I get a blank white page in both firefox and IE.
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:19 PM on February 5, 2005


that one I disliked the most

due to poor editing, that should have more clearly referred to rushmc's entry. Oops!
posted by dash_slot- at 9:20 PM on February 5, 2005


The page comes up blank for me. Anyone else?
posted by Krrrlson at 9:20 PM on February 5, 2005




Same with me, Krrrlson. OS X + Firefox 1.0 = blank page, no source.
posted by subgenius at 9:21 PM on February 5, 2005


oops, missed mathowie's note.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:21 PM on February 5, 2005


see above.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:21 PM on February 5, 2005


So, do we all get business cards now?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:22 PM on February 5, 2005


thanks, got it back up.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:22 PM on February 5, 2005


Er, ok - just delete the next 300 emails then matt (",)
posted by dash_slot- at 9:26 PM on February 5, 2005


i think webmutant's is my fav. (altho wendell's is closest to how i actually see the site)
posted by amberglow at 9:27 PM on February 5, 2005


But is this missing now http://junk.metafilter.com/mwd.pdf?
I get a white screen :(

I would love to do a CSS version of it BTW.
posted by ericost at 9:27 PM on February 5, 2005


I would seriously probably never come back here if you used pixelsmoke's design. It's a great design from a technical point of view, but it's a terrible fit for MeFi. Much like the ArsTechnica redesign of a few months ago. I just can't read that site anymore.

To be honest, I can't think of a single thing in the pixelsmoke or eris design that I'd want to include in the fandango_matt one. It looks fantastic.

Are you not going to just use that one, or am I missing the point of the redesign contest?
posted by Jairus at 9:30 PM on February 5, 2005


Eric, try to right click and do a save link as... on the URL you just submitted. Works great for me.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:30 PM on February 5, 2005


yeah the pdf crashes acrobat plugin for me, but saving it to the hard disk works.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:31 PM on February 5, 2005


Jairus, I liked parts of the pixelsmoke design and erisfree design, which I will work into the winning design. I pointed out the parts of the pixelsmoke design I liked, the search page and text subpages, but it doesn't mean I have to adopt an entirely white site that looks like windows xp. I like the general layout ideas in the erisfree and I'm sure I can glean ideas from it. I thought the contents of the user page was done very well and is a huge improvement over what we have now.

On the surface, I believe the fandango_matt design will largely compose what a new design looks like. Trust me and you'll see.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:33 PM on February 5, 2005


It crashed my firefox as well. It's 3.4Mb, and has a nice bookmark sidebar, so maybe that's enough to crash the acrobat plugin on the PC.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:34 PM on February 5, 2005


*trusts mathowie*
posted by rxreed at 9:42 PM on February 5, 2005


Would this be a good time to say that I love MeFi's famous blue background tint? For online readability, I've always preferred light on dark to dark on light, and I've found that to be a major reason why all 3 of the current sections are aesthetically pleasant. I have a slight, probably irrational fear that the fandago_matt design's white bg will lose this.

*trusts mathowie*
posted by gsteff at 9:49 PM on February 5, 2005


abcde, yours is a totally good design (and applicable to a lot of other sites/types of sites), but not very mefi-ish. i'd definitely not call it ugly.
posted by amberglow at 10:06 PM on February 5, 2005


My only reservation with the all-white background and section color only in the links is that when you're halfway down the page looking at comments in a post, there's going to be no quick way to tell which section of the site you're in. Otherwise, I'm very impressed with how professional fandango_matt's design is.

And I'm thrilled that Matt liked my design.
posted by stopgap at 10:07 PM on February 5, 2005


stopgap: My only reservation with the all-white background and section color only in the links is that when you're halfway down the page looking at comments in a post, there's going to be no quick way to tell which section of the site you're in.

Will this really be a problem? There's a quick fix for this. Just tint the byline of a comment("posted by stopgap at...") to the section color.
posted by Gyan at 10:12 PM on February 5, 2005


Hrmm, rushmc is apparently not too happy with the other threads, the link to his page just gets a 'go away' message.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:14 PM on February 5, 2005


any way to make it so that we get a choice in how we want to see the site, or is that too complicated to code?

and i can see rush's just fine.
posted by amberglow at 10:20 PM on February 5, 2005


amberglow, Matt has said that we can have custom stylesheets.
posted by Gyan at 10:22 PM on February 5, 2005


Matt, since rushmc has removed his entry, could you please put a note by his entry saying so?

Also fandango_matt's entry is the best in my opinion. Just less white please :)

Everyone who submitted did a great job, I really liked seeing the different approaches.
posted by riffola at 10:23 PM on February 5, 2005


amberglow: I don't hate it either, really. I agree Mefi and blogs in general are more suited to stylized designs than to minimalist ones, but it's what came out.
posted by abcde at 10:34 PM on February 5, 2005


Another vote for less white please and congratulations to all the place getters. I wish rushmc had not removed his entry, I would have liked to see it.
posted by Tarrama at 10:48 PM on February 5, 2005


I really liked stopgap's idea with the small border around the page that also held some user information at the top. If matt combined that with fandango_matt's design I think MeFi would be in great shape.
posted by sbutler at 10:48 PM on February 5, 2005


The winner looks a lot like the existing design - which is a good thing. I have to say, though, that I REALLY hate the proposed "MF" logo.

MF = MotherFucker
MeFi = MetaFilter
posted by scarabic at 11:13 PM on February 5, 2005


scarabic, the logo wasn't used on any part of the site was it? I only noticed it on the business card mockup.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:22 PM on February 5, 2005


Fandango_Matt clearly has a good grasp on the psychological aspects of getting a client to choose your product. I particularly liked the business cards; people just love to see their name on a business card.

That said, I don't think it was necessarily stronger than those who actually coded up working prototypes. Also, it would really be helpful if all the other submitters actually did their designs without anti-aliasing their fonts. I mean, of course nice smooth fonts are going to look better than mean, choppy fonts. But for the purposes of demonstrating what a design is actually going to look like, it's greatly misleading.

The "power ideas" that I liked (culled from all the submitters):
  • Ultra-narrow top-branding/nav
  • Random post
  • Search bar on frontpage. FRONTPAGE! Not a separate page. Frontpage! Just a tiny little form input. If you want advanced search, fine, go to another page, but dammit, the search is so friggin' useful that it's scandelous to have to dig for it.
  • Saved threads
  • Other ponies? ...
I still think webmutant's design best embodies all these ponies, and I really hope you don't put MetaFilter on a white background. Way too harsh, and your links will disappear in contrast.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:27 PM on February 5, 2005


fandago_matt's is excellent. My two cents: keep the 'color feel' of each section. The page can be mainly white, as long as it is still clearly "The Green" or "The Blue" or "The Burgundy" no matter where we are on the page.

Also I second Scarabic on MF v. MeFi. The 'MF" logo looks amateurish IMO, and the term "MeFi" has more personality. (on preview, Matt's point on this is well taken)

Not a fan of Pixelsmoke's overall, and eris free's would be very nice if I had never seen fandago's, but Mr Haughey: add my name to those who trust you to mix them well.

Besides, I'm looking forward to getting these fancy new MeFi business cards.....
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 11:28 PM on February 5, 2005


Search bar on frontpage. FRONTPAGE! Not a separate page. Frontpage! Just a tiny little form input. If you want advanced search, fine, go to another page, but dammit, the search is so friggin' useful that it's scandelous to have to dig for it.

I added a google search box to the front page last night, did you notice? It's in the ad space, so it's probably easy to miss.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:43 PM on February 5, 2005


Wow! Thanks, Matt! Yours must have been a tough decision--all of the entries had excellent ideas and solutions for design, navigation, and organization. With such outstanding competition I'm honored to have won. Thank you, thanks for everyone's kind remarks, and a toast to all the contestants.

Said stopgap: My only reservation with the all-white background and section color only in the links is that when you're halfway down the page looking at comments in a post, there's going to be no quick way to tell which section of the site you're in.

Said JKF: My two cents: keep the 'color feel' of each section. The page can be mainly white, as long as it is still clearly "The Green" or "The Blue" or "The Burgundy" no matter where we are on the page.


Actually, I thought of this early in my design explorations and addressed it. Look closely at the .gif or the PDF next to mathowie's entry (GIVE ME A WEAPON...)--the links in each section match the section color so you'll always know where you are.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:48 PM on February 5, 2005


the links in each section match the section color so you'll always know where you are.

I was thinking along the lines of JKF earlier, where a 10px or so gutter of background wouldn't look too bad around the white area.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:05 AM on February 6, 2005


I have to admit, I feel rather attached to the blueness of The Blue and it is with this bias (+ tab use) that I favored 4easypayment's entry. That said, fandango_matt's winning entry kicks ass! So simple, so clean, so functional, so powerful. I'm very impressed.

(Please keep the shocking blue add more color, though. Pretty please?)
posted by Lush at 12:13 AM on February 6, 2005


I added a google search box to the front page last night, did you notice? It's in the ad space, so it's probably easy to miss.

I'm not one to double-up on my exclamation points, but in this case I am willing to make an exception.

THANK YOU!!!!!!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:41 AM on February 6, 2005


Very nice, fandago_matt! I really like everything about the layout. I'm not mad about the logo, but I don't hate it.
posted by taz at 1:05 AM on February 6, 2005


stopgap, you dun' been robbed.

Sorry to say but fandago_matt's has way too much white. The colors really make the design of this site really standout and i would hate to see that go away.

Pixel Smoke has some very intresting features and his site reminded me of a 37signals type design.
posted by Dreamghost at 1:59 AM on February 6, 2005


Is it weird that I got really freaked out by the thought of a color change in the blue, green and grey?

I have to say that besides all of the comments already made here I really dug Wendell's toggles. But maybe I just like toggles.
posted by tinamonster at 2:04 AM on February 6, 2005


Thanks for choosing dark text on a light background. As an aging boomer, I love to read the blue but I think this redesign will improve readability. eris_free's was a little better, but I'm a minimalist, so what do I know. Good job all.
posted by fixedgear at 2:06 AM on February 6, 2005


Another vote for less white, please. Can't stand it.
posted by Orange Goblin at 4:18 AM on February 6, 2005


<one more comment about an arbitrary aspect of the design, isolated from all other considerations, stated in absolute terms, with no supporting evidence, from someone with no design skills>blah blah blah</...>
posted by andrew cooke at 4:23 AM on February 6, 2005


I am glad I did not enter. :) Good job everyone and congratulations to the winners!
posted by sciurus at 5:25 AM on February 6, 2005


there's some good ideas throughout here but i don't like the idea of white backgrounds
posted by pyramid termite at 6:18 AM on February 6, 2005


Instead of voting for "less white," since you seem keen on using CSS and flexible layouts, I'm going to vote for the flexibility to let the users choose different stylesheets to define their colors and other tidbits. Plenty of sites offer this, I see no reason why you'd not want to include such a nifty little feature if you're going to be redesigning the site anyway.

As for the entries, I thought they were all great, with the exception of rushmc's, which I cannot see because it's been removed. I do wonder why some entries were screenshots, instead of live HTML demos. This throws off my perception of how the page actually works and what the form elements will actually render like on a web browser.

For instance, the "XP-ish" one probably wouldn't look nearly so rounded and bubbly if it were live HTML, because those form elements aren't part of the page, they're how the OS/Browser renders them. I don't see how this is a very effective demonstration, besides just being easier to hack together and hit PrtScrn.

I don't mean any offense, everyone's work was top notch, but I would have loved to see actual markup.
posted by odinsdream at 9:00 AM on February 6, 2005


so, how about putting a 10 or 20% tint as background color on each page? or would that be too pastel?
posted by amberglow at 9:09 AM on February 6, 2005


keep the 'color feel' of each section. The page can be mainly white, as long as it is still clearly "The Green" or "The Blue"

I'd second this and take it even further. I don't want a white background. The white-text on dark background is so much easier on the eyes than a big bright glaring white page. Few colors are palatable enough to do this with, but you've managed to find 3 winners, Matt. I hope you find a way to sneak the page colors into the design.

Of course, even now we can choose a white or blue background for metafilter, although the white template wasn't nearly as meticulously designed as the blue. Some kind of choice is probably the only solution for everyone. I just hope whatever colored-background is available is on par with the rest of the site.

And no, Matt, I didn't see the MOTHERFUCKER logo anywhere in the page mockups. But we should actually do business cards, and it doesn't belong there either. People will totally pay to get a set of MetaFilter business cards (or even if they wouldn't, it would be a nice perk for the "pro" account). But if they have a big MF on them, you can count me out. "Hi! I'm scarabic! Here's my card! I'm a motherfucker, as you can see!"

;)
posted by scarabic at 10:21 AM on February 6, 2005


or would that be too pastel?

[ponders Queer Eye crack]
posted by scarabic at 10:23 AM on February 6, 2005


Well done, everyone.
posted by nthdegx at 11:37 AM on February 6, 2005


Here's Google's cache of rushmc's design, for anyone who was curious.
posted by stopgap at 11:39 AM on February 6, 2005


Oooh, is this the part where we get to have "nice things"?

I'll try and brew some of the fandango_matt CSS for you, Matt, but others have probably started.
Can I get a quick hands-up of what everyone's working on so we don't tread on toes?

(sorry this is so late in the exciting thread - see what happens when I take a 'net holiday?)
posted by NinjaPirate at 12:46 PM on February 6, 2005


Oh, and a corking top three from a very solid crop of inspirations.

[joins the backslapping queue]
posted by NinjaPirate at 12:48 PM on February 6, 2005


Can I get a quick hands-up of what everyone's working on so we don't tread on toes?

I just finished the index page/css and was just about to email it to Matt.
posted by erisfree at 1:04 PM on February 6, 2005


[ponders Queer Eye crack]
if you ponder that too long, people may just wonder about you, scarabic.
posted by amberglow at 1:05 PM on February 6, 2005


Matt. I'm very disappointed by this thread. Back when you started Ask, you said this. And now you say "Hey Everbody. It's the ...[etc]". How can you go back on what you said and all that hard work.

Actually, what I meant to say was....
Fantastic. I can't wait to see the new design in action.
posted by seanyboy at 1:30 PM on February 6, 2005


Cheers to the winners! Like everyone else, I can't wait for the grand re-opening. However, I must join the chorus for not going with white, or atleast allowing a separate stylesheet for other bg color options. My eyes hurt against a pure white background, and baby blue or some light shade would help dilute the stark contrast.

Either way, I too trust Matt's judgement.
posted by moonbird at 2:00 PM on February 6, 2005


Taz's was awesome. The winning one was really good. (I wish I'd entered. Stupid lack of motivation.)
posted by Tlogmer at 2:07 PM on February 6, 2005


odinsdream: Well, many of them are mocked up rather than coded. It's easier to do a mockup than to do a mockup then make an HTML version, especially since Matt implied he was planning to recode it from scratch to his specs.
posted by abcde at 2:07 PM on February 6, 2005


Yipe, a lot of good material to work with. The top picks all look promising. I know he emphasized the front page in the contest announcement, but I'd get a lot more out of the site if comment pages were threaded in some subtle manner. Should recoding take the opportunity to do more than manage real-estate, or are unthreaded comments a critical part of MeFi?
I know-I'm late. I wasn't aware of the redesign, I would have submitted something. My only idea that doesn't include subjects (and their pitfalls), is having a "reply", "hide replies", and maybe "show replies" next to the time stamp on each comment. If I hit a big snark, I can make the chaos go away. ?
posted by Jack Karaoke at 2:49 PM on February 6, 2005


I really enjoyed the designs here. I would mostly agree with Matt's choices. Since no else has mentioned them I'd like to say that i loved the big chunky fonts/logo that make up the heading on still's design. Seriously, look at this and tell me that that that logo doesn't suit mefi better than the rest. Come on, you know it makes sense.
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:22 PM on February 6, 2005


What I'd like to see, and didn't, was an interesting an useful way of surfacing the tag system now in place. This is more info architecture than design, I know, but it seems pretty bolted-on at the moment.

Perhaps Matt has Big Plans for it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:06 PM on February 6, 2005


The tags were introduced after the design deadline, otherwise I'm sure everyone would have designed their take on it.
posted by erisfree at 4:27 PM on February 6, 2005


The visual new post / new comments cues on the donald.tetto.org one are a fantastic concept - please work that in somehow.
posted by chundo at 7:03 PM on February 6, 2005


The tags were introduced after the design deadline, otherwise I'm sure everyone would have designed their take on it.

Good point. My bad.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:39 PM on February 6, 2005


"Should recoding take the opportunity to do more than manage real-estate, or are unthreaded comments a critical part of MeFi?"

I think they are. I know many people like threaded systems, but I find them slow, irritating, and with the tendency to fracture discussions. The straight linear discussions on MeFi are one of the reasons I've enjoyed this site so much over the years. (I also run a BBS that has similar non-threaded discussion topics, so perhaps I'm biased -- but I truly find threaded discussions, especially on websites, incredibly annoying.)
posted by litlnemo at 7:52 PM on February 6, 2005


look at this and tell me that that that logo doesn't suit mefi better than the rest

well, i'd have to disagree with you on that one

The color scheme is awesome, though. The open grid not-so-much. The anti-aliased fonts are a complete lie, however, as I said earlier. But I love the color choices.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:24 PM on February 6, 2005


litlnemo is right: threaded discussions suck.
posted by Quartermass at 8:28 PM on February 6, 2005


METAfilter: It's all about the tags, baby.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:28 PM on February 6, 2005


There should be a check on malicious tagging.
posted by Gyan at 8:35 PM on February 6, 2005


Damn, that wasn't intentional. I was trying to get a serif.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:52 PM on February 6, 2005


You BROKE it!
posted by Quartermass at 9:12 PM on February 6, 2005


I realize I might be belaboring a moot point, as the redesign is underway and threading is contentious, but to clarify - this (mock up .jpg) is what I was thinking of. "reply" bounces you to the post box, and tags it in a group. "hide" hides posts associated with that group, and all child groups, for simplicity.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 9:21 PM on February 6, 2005


I like it and look forward to the debut. Congrats, fandango_matt, and great job everyone else.
posted by me3dia at 10:07 PM on February 6, 2005


I'm quite impressed by all of them, including rushmc's. I, for one, prefer white or very light gray backgrounds, but that's just me.

I'm also keeping in mind that there's going to be a large number of people who are going to bitch regardless of what finally happens. (shrug)

Good work, y'all.
posted by TeamBilly at 11:12 PM on February 6, 2005


Nice but many lack semantic structure. I'm not what would call a fan of Cold Fusion, but there are a number of sites out there running on cfml that I wrote (I was in college, needed the money).

So while I might advocate a rewrite in proper languages, subcomponents, I can work with the nonsense you have (if you're looking for interns, that is).
posted by swash at 3:10 AM on February 7, 2005


non-threaded discussions are one of the main reasons I ended up here. I have joined other communities but threaded discussions feel slow, fractured, and confused to me.

I'm not thrilled about the white background, either, but that's not a dealbreaker.
posted by mdn at 6:12 AM on February 7, 2005


Just another sure-to-be-ignored suggestion from Wendell:

Use a CSS Swtcher to select between
(1) white background with color border and color-coded links
(2) pastel background with dark text
(3) 'classic' color background with light text

Forget PepsiBlue; this redesign could turn into a "New Coke/Coke Classic" battle and we all remember how that turned out.

And don't forget the "collapsing sub-menus" that was part of my design. If you can save your "which menu to collapse" on the cookie, it may be the easiest way to customize your page (I know, I shoulda emphasized it more in my presentation).

(wendell's is closest to how i actually see the site)
that is the strangest compliment I've ever gotten, thank you a-glow.
posted by wendell at 11:11 AM on February 7, 2005


: >
posted by amberglow at 11:52 AM on February 7, 2005


amberglow is such a charmer.

Cheers to everybody who contributed to the contest, all of the designs were great.
posted by sic at 1:20 PM on February 7, 2005


i really love the updated blue and green in this entry. mefi colors, but a more modern feel.

and kudos to webmutant. great entry.
posted by mileena at 11:12 AM on February 8, 2005


White background = AOK.

Ping me with a CSS assignement, if assistance is required.
posted by gee at 5:10 PM on February 8, 2005


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