baby steps November 17, 2005 2:18 PM   Subscribe

baby steps. I'm going to be redesigning things over a long period, one small chunk at a time. Up for feedback today: a new header for the sites. The goals were to make it shorter vertically, group items by activity, and to clean up things here and there. Please read along and leave some feedback [more inside]
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 2:18 PM (213 comments total)



Given the site's looked the same for over six years, I don't want to rush into any huge overhaul redesign. I'd rather do things bit by bit, refine the header, refine the footers, refine the sidebars, redo the HTML/CSS so it's more stable and up to date. I'd like to do these projects as discrete chunks, over the next several months.

So here's a transitional header, somewhere between the redesign contest header and the current one (closer to the current one). I'd like feedback on each design goal of it:

- there needs to be site-wide nav in a stable place, to encourage muscle memory. I want to know that 50px over from the right, at the very top, the link to Ask MeFi will always be there

- the search is a little crowded in the screenshot, and there's no button (relying on the return key from a user), but I'd like a predictable context-sensitive search in the same place, on all sites. If you're reading a metatalk thread (like this one) and you think to look for an older thread, you can always go to the upper right instead of having to go to a search page.

- the nav: I tried to follow flickr's lead because it works really well there. Do one line of stuff you don't use too often, stuff that should be there but not hit everyday (btw, I would probably add "guidelines" to the top line). The second line is the links you use every five minutes. "Customize" was changed to "Preferences" because it makes more sense. Post a link is simple and easy to find. The other two would lead to the recent comments and recent post pages that I've yet to incorporate into the site.

- the whole thing is about 50px shorter, taking up less room across all sites.

- There's a new logo only because I found one I did in 2001 that I always liked for being clean and simple and figured I'd just toss that in here too while I was at it.

Thoughts? Any major nav items I missed?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2005


I like it. One comment, maybe moving AskMe and Projects to the left of MeTa?
posted by loquax at 2:22 PM on November 17, 2005


I like it, except for the new logo. I mean, I don't dislike the new logo, but.. well.. when UPS changed their logo, I cried baby tears.
posted by Plutor at 2:24 PM on November 17, 2005


I like the ethereal quality of the shadows (I guess that's what you'd call them) behind the logo. Very aesthetically pleasing.
posted by chiababe at 2:25 PM on November 17, 2005


Shwacking the taglines entirely? Probably just as well.

I also like it, and I like the new glowy logo too, and I also second loquax's suggestion.
posted by furiousthought at 2:27 PM on November 17, 2005


Re: the search box. I think I would move the "Search" label over to the right and turn it into a link that submits the query. Seems simple and user-friendly to me, without adding any extra controls.
posted by ijoshua at 2:27 PM on November 17, 2005


I like it, and thumbs up on the logo. But do you really need a Home link, with the clickable logo and all the subsites being listed at the top?
posted by kyleg at 2:28 PM on November 17, 2005


I personally think you're putting too much stock in the ebay comparison brand identity thing. I don't think you should be concerned about people fearing change when it comes to the design. I'm aware of a lot of reasons ebay needed to keep their design rough and ready, and none of them apply to MetaFilter. People come for the content, and that isn't going anywhere.

If it's genuinely easier to do it this way, then cool, but it sounds like you're making work for yourself to preempt a backlash that won't happen. Everyone is keen for an updated MeFi aesthetic.

I also think you should go all out and use the competition winner because people worked hard on those competition designs, and they were really really good. I just think it's a tiny bit of a piss-take to then only take the bits you like.

A link to the competition winner might be handy as a reference point for this thread.
posted by nthdegx at 2:32 PM on November 17, 2005


I've got zero graphic design cred, and I'm a newbie, but the new logo looks odd to me. The new size/shape of the name "MetaFilter" looks all wrong compared to the shape of the white oval. Plus it looks like an egg shooting a laser beam.
posted by agropyron at 2:33 PM on November 17, 2005


I like it. Not too drastic of a change, but nicely updated.

Also, I second moving MetaTalk to the far right. I think it would be nice to structurally deprecate it in favor of AskMe and Projects.
posted by loquacious at 2:34 PM on November 17, 2005


Why is one letter in each of the the subsites (to the left of the search box) underlined? It reminds me of MS Windows, but it won't function like Windows. I mean, if I hit Alt-A, it won't open AskMe in a new tab, will it?
posted by jonson at 2:34 PM on November 17, 2005


Here's fandango_matt's winning design.
posted by nthdegx at 2:35 PM on November 17, 2005


Shwacking the taglines entirely? Probably just as well.

I always thought that it would be kind of neat to have a submission box for users to enter new ones so they'd get cycled through on the front page. Maybe it would cut down on some of the noise generated in the threads by them, as well. I have zero coding skills so I don't know how hard that would be to implement. Maybe include the username who submitted it as well to minimize abuse.

Just a random thought that really has nothing to do with a redesign, though.
posted by chiababe at 2:36 PM on November 17, 2005


I like it lots, and I think the way you're planning to do it is a wise move--easier on you as well as us.
posted by frykitty at 2:38 PM on November 17, 2005


I like it, except for the new logo.

MetaFilter: Shwacking the taglines entirely
posted by grouse at 2:43 PM on November 17, 2005


jonson: Over at MeFi Projects, hitting Alt + the underlined letter does take you to that page.
posted by stopgap at 2:43 PM on November 17, 2005


stopgap : "jonson: Over at MeFi Projects, hitting Alt + the underlined letter does take you to that page."

Wow. That's...weird. Neat.

I agree that MetaTalk should moved to far right of list, and also I think making the word "Search" into a button at the right of the search text entry box would be a good idea. Other than that, seems fine.
posted by Bugbread at 2:52 PM on November 17, 2005


Here is a slight remix of Matt's new design that, to me, condenses and clarifies things a bit further. In this version the four easiest things to click (beyond the left-side logo) are: "Metafilter," "Home," "Search", and "Post a Link."


posted by killdevil at 2:54 PM on November 17, 2005


I love the Alt+ underlined letter.
posted by whatzit at 2:55 PM on November 17, 2005


And killdevil's "remix" above, though things still look a bit scrunched.
posted by whatzit at 2:55 PM on November 17, 2005


Alt+ underlined letter is a really bad idea. People have shortcuts in their browers, and they use them. In Internet Explorer, Alt-T opens Tools and Alt-A opens Favorites, and it will be different in other browsers. Getting rid of people's shortcuts is rude.

If you can do Ctrl shortcuts, that might be ok.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:01 PM on November 17, 2005


whatzit, in an implemented version I think increasing the vertical margins just a liitle would reduce the "scrunch" quotient without requiring too much more screen real estate. Also, the search and user bars on the right should echo the horizontal indent of the left-side menus (they should be 70 pixels or so, roughly, from the far right of the screen).
posted by killdevil at 3:01 PM on November 17, 2005


I have two concerns:
I think the underlining is teh weird. It's v. Windows-y. On Windows, though, it's designed to let you to keep your hands on the keyboard. But web-browsing is primarily a mouse-based activity, so to take your hands off the mouse to switch between sections is actually more time-consuming, not less. I think it's an unnecessary and cluttering addition.

Also, I don't think the design takes enough account of Fitt's law -- it's easy enough to hit the main section bar, which is good, but then you have to fiddle and move precisely to not hit Preferences when you want to hit Home.

Killdevil's design helps a lot with this, using the right-edge as a target for the "my" links, and I vastly prefer that
posted by bonaldi at 3:01 PM on November 17, 2005


Wait, no it wouldn't.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:01 PM on November 17, 2005


Don't like the header.

1/ The words "Community Weblog" are to small to be legible., on my 17" monitor.
2/ Gives too much emphasis to the "Preferences ... Post a Link..." section. It's bold, whicj makes it pop out too much. What's wrong with having iit on the "Home..." line?
3/ Hate, hate, hate the underlined "alt key" stylings for the sections. Looks way too Wintel-y to me.

I really like the idea of opening it up to suggestions, and examples from the members. Maybe those of us with some graphic design chops could have a whack at it (gratis... 'cause we like you...)
posted by jpburns at 3:02 PM on November 17, 2005


- Why is "Preferences" on the frequently accessed row?
- I agree MetaTalk should be last
- Could "Mefi Projects" just be labelled "Projects"?
posted by cillit bang at 3:03 PM on November 17, 2005


Looks good and I think the incremental change approach is a good way to forestall the inevitable knee-jerk reaction to significant change. I like fandango+matt's design better, though.

Maybe it is just me, but that fuzzy/glowy outline around the logo is very hard to focus on. When I look at it, my eyes keep readjusting to a different line.
posted by dg at 3:05 PM on November 17, 2005


I think it looks fantastic. My one suggestion is to add some vertical space between these two lines of items:

Home About Archives Etc
Preferences Post a Link My Recent Posts My Recent Comments

They are a bit too crowded together for easy reading and error-free clicking.
posted by scarabic at 3:06 PM on November 17, 2005


A few pixels would do it. Perhaps moving the lower line into the lighter-blue section, just over the line, would help.
posted by scarabic at 3:06 PM on November 17, 2005


jpburns, I think you've got the right idea. It'd be great if we could arrive at some sort of consensus as to the terminology and placement of links on the header (is that even possible here?), then do some passes aimed at improving the visual polish.
posted by killdevil at 3:07 PM on November 17, 2005


What happened to the redesign competition winner? That was gorgeous.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:07 PM on November 17, 2005


I thought this is why we had a redesign contest.
posted by Stynxno at 3:08 PM on November 17, 2005


Yeah it was, P G.
posted by killdevil at 3:08 PM on November 17, 2005


I would get used to it, but the shadows on the logo make me feel a little drunk.
posted by jetskiaccidents at 3:09 PM on November 17, 2005


- What is (or will be) the difference between Etc and About? It might be possible to combine that content and have 1 link.
- The Home_About_Archives_Etc line is pretty small, and quite close to the Preferences_Post a Link_My Recent Posts_My Recent Comments, making it error prone. Home_Archive_About could be in small print on the right side of that line. Although it shouldn't be too wide, for those of use who don't use full screen. Looks like you planned for that.
- Post a link isn't a good descriptor anymore. Multi-link posts are more the norm. Can you just say Post?
- The shading being in blue rather than black makes it brighter, which I'm undecided about, but I like the logo.
- I think Community Weblog should be Capitalized
- Underlined Keyboard Shortcuts are excellent
- These are all minor comments. It's great that you're working on it, and it really does look good.
posted by theora55 at 3:09 PM on November 17, 2005


Actually, I agree with Pretty_Generic on the shortcut issue. Overriding my existing shortcuts is obnoxious. Is there a way to turn this off in Firefox?
posted by grouse at 3:12 PM on November 17, 2005


That font is kind of stiff.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 3:14 PM on November 17, 2005


And the photoshp blur is a little dated.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 3:15 PM on November 17, 2005


Is this too busy?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
posted by eddydamascene at 3:15 PM on November 17, 2005


but the shadows on the logo make me feel a little drunk.

It's an homage! these logos--they vibrate? : >
posted by amberglow at 3:15 PM on November 17, 2005


Obligatory link to the Redesign MeFi Contest Results page, and to a GIF version of Fandango_Matt's winning design.
posted by killdevil at 3:16 PM on November 17, 2005


I don't really like the new logo, its very plain which isn't quite as good as clean. But I do like the look of the rest of the navbar.

And the clock's wrong.
posted by fenriq at 3:16 PM on November 17, 2005


Too much space between Mefi and Projects makes it look like they're separate entities. How about slamming the words together, or just calling it Projects?

I can do without the underlines. Accesskeys themselves are not implemented the same across browsers (in some they override browser commands, in others they do not) and they can cause problems for screenreader users.
posted by expialidocious at 3:17 PM on November 17, 2005


Looking again at the winning redesign, I'd say do it in one fell swoop, Matt.
posted by killdevil at 3:17 PM on November 17, 2005


I'm with dg on the fuzziness around the logo. The look is fine but it does something to my eyes, the focus thing dg mentioned. Maybe the two of us just need to visit a neurologist?
posted by Carbolic at 3:18 PM on November 17, 2005


- What is (or will be) the difference between Etc and About? It might be possible to combine that content and have 1 link.

I agree. Fold the Etc stuff into a sidebar on the About page, perhaps, since "About" is a much more meaningful and intuitive label.

Underlined Shortcut Keys

I like them and I also think they should go away. They are neat, sure, but they solve a problem that doesn't exist. I've never, ever felt held back by the effort required to change to a different section of the site. Feature creep!
posted by cortex at 3:18 PM on November 17, 2005


killdevil, your take on it could be problematic as I add more stuff, since the placement and layout is all width-dependent. Push a browser down to 800px wide, and the right and left get scrunched. I tried it minimize that by having things shunt to one side on each line.

I agree with moving MetaTalk over. I imagine the next two sites will be Jobs and Recipes (more later on those two) thrown up there as well, so I'll probably chop MeFi Projects to just Projects too. And throw in "My Favorites/My Watched Threads" to the second line soon.

As for the redesign, I haven't heard much positive feedback on the Projects site. Overwhelmingly it's been negative with mostly "Ick, it's white?! So boring once you scroll down a bit and can't see the header!" I always stated that the point of the redesign contest was to get some new ideas when I was fresh out, and incorporate them into a new design. Everyone did great work and I gave away $500 worth of stuff out of my pocket to get some ideas and I think it was a success in that regard. I got tons of good ideas from it.

I'm not saying I need to take the ebay approach to avoid a user revolt, but it's so much easier to break this stuff into small chunks of work to do once a week or few weeks than try a full-scale redo that takes months. That's what's kept me from doing anything towards a redesign for a year.

I'm doing a ton of small projects over the next few weeks. Today I added a RSS feed to MetaTalk and Projects in about 20 minutes. Tomorrow I'm doing RSS for MeFi threads, then extending that to the rest of the site. This header could be a 1-2 day project instead of a longer one. And I could keep refining it once it's up.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:21 PM on November 17, 2005


I like the way the new logo kind of glows and throbs. It's very hypnotic. Wait, I think I can hear it too. It's saying: "Paypal Matt $5 for a sockpuppet account. Now". OK! I will!
posted by TimeFactor at 3:23 PM on November 17, 2005


"And the photoshp blur is a little dated"

Dated or not, it's giving me a migraine.

DOWN WITH BLURRY!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:26 PM on November 17, 2005


Surely access keys don't override local shortcuts? Yuck. Anyway, while I think access keys can be useful you're right that it'd be better not to use keys that are commonly used in browsers.

Also I think this is the wrong use of access keys. They should only be used for common functions - maybe to jump to the comments box or maybe the search box not for jumping to other sections of the site. It'd be nice if shortcuts were setup for the bold, italic and link buttons on the comment box too.

Getting back on topic, I think Matt's right to be cautious and this header is taking a very safe approach while moving the design forward. Good work.
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:31 PM on November 17, 2005


It'd be nice if shortcuts were setup for the bold, italic and link buttons on the comment box too.

Move your mouse over a button and wait. It's been there since they were added.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:34 PM on November 17, 2005


Looks good.

Shortcut key wise, I don't like sites that override my browser. It's always annoying when I go to Wikipedia and hit ALT-F and the page takes me to the search box.

There's been a few studies1 on browsers and access keys, and keys that are up for grabs are: 0-9 / ? . , [ ]

1. That I can't find now. They were referenced in previous versions of the New Zealand Government Web Guidelines and it's why current versions use keys in that range.
posted by holloway at 3:38 PM on November 17, 2005


I like the header, generally. The new logo, on the other hand, is tentative and conveys congenial subservience:


Or maybe that's what you're going for?
posted by Galvatron at 3:38 PM on November 17, 2005


MetaFilter wasn't even in Cambodia at Christmas!
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:44 PM on November 17, 2005


Will we have to behave as if we're square and upright instead of slanty and slouchy?
posted by Wolfdog at 3:45 PM on November 17, 2005


- I like the tabbed look of the redesign winner
- Are you getting rid of the
26434 members | You are logged in as: theora55 / logout
There have been 12 links and 434 comments posted since your last visit
block?
posted by theora55 at 3:47 PM on November 17, 2005


Matt, if Jobs and Recipes are coming up, what about the oft talked about "recommendations" where people can recommend and discuss film, books, music etc?
posted by fire&wings at 3:50 PM on November 17, 2005


I like it. But then, I'm generally very amenable to this sort of thing. I especially like the search bar in the corner.
posted by LeeJay at 3:51 PM on November 17, 2005


It looks like a vibrating white penis shooting a jet of urine.

This penis, it vibrates?
posted by interrobang at 3:52 PM on November 17, 2005


Matt, I mean this in the most constructive way possible: Your idea makes things worse.
Problems: Font's ugly and crusty. Logo looks both dated and busy. The "Home About.." line and the "Preferences Post A Link" lines are unbalanced in an unattractive way (I agree with the weighting, but having just the three items on the top bar and left justifying them makes them look orphaned).
The MeTa should be to the right, as it should be rightly de-emphisized. Having the huge logo set opposing the search bar makes the whole thing look listing.

Fandago Matt's redesign is pretty much everything that you should be looking to do as far as functionality and cleanliness. It's a really great redesign. And I don't say this because I have anything against you or any biases towards him. It's just a really solid design, and you should go with it. People might complain about the redesign, but they'll be wrong. Go with f+m. Please. Pretty please.
posted by klangklangston at 3:53 PM on November 17, 2005


I keep hearing how awesome the design contest's winning design was, but I think it has one huge flaw. Right now, at any page on Metafilter, mo natter how far down you scroll the page, you're completely and totally surrounded by a reminder of where you are. The background color on the winner is white, so if you scroll down just a little bit, you lose some site identification.

This is one of MePro's biggest weaknesses. I don't feel that sense of place with it the same way I do MeFi, AskMe, or MeTa. Fix the header, clean up some of the markup, and I'd say you're done, Matt.
posted by Plutor at 3:54 PM on November 17, 2005


Fandago Matt's redesign is pretty much everything that you should be looking to do as far as functionality and cleanliness.

After using it on the Projects site, I don't agree. It doesn't allow room for growth (you can only have a small handful of nav items), there's no heirarchy to the nav, and parts of it have text just floating around for no good reason. And while blurs are dated (I made the logo in 2001, after all), tabs are dated too.

I'm trying to break a redesign down into small chunks, and make those chunks as useful and user-friendly as possible. Ignoring the rest of fandango matt's design and considering the other designs from the redesign contest, I don't think any of the top header sections solve all the main problems, and that's what I'm shooting for here.

I'm seeing a lot of feedback focusing on the new logo and conflating a whole site redesign with just a new, more functional header.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:59 PM on November 17, 2005


I support keyboard shortcuts.

Don't like the blur, not even a little bit.
posted by Mr T at 4:01 PM on November 17, 2005


re:logo
Like the blur, hate the font.
posted by krix at 4:02 PM on November 17, 2005


I prefer the old Metafilter logo, but I could probably get used to the new one. There's something to be said for consistency, is all. But otherwise, the rest looks great.
posted by crunchland at 4:03 PM on November 17, 2005


The nav links in Killdevil's version look a lot better, while being nicely organized for muscle memory/Fitt's Law purposes. And the blur looks kinda goofy, imho. How about the existing logo with Killdevil-style navigation?

And the logout link still needs to be there, for security purposes on shared/public computers.
posted by arto at 4:04 PM on November 17, 2005


I don't think any of the top header sections solve all the main problems, and that's what I'm shooting for here.

I thought you liked mine.

I took it down so maybe you didn't catch this time around. It's here. Ignore the color scheme.
posted by Gyan at 4:09 PM on November 17, 2005


The logout stuff and info on # of new comments would be below the header, where they are currently. I didn't want to push all user-specific stuff into the header, since it's going to be used on several subsites and for people logged in or not.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:11 PM on November 17, 2005


Gyan, I had forgotten about yours, but yeah, you did the same thing, grouping navigation links by task, and keeping it short so the content could show up. Those were the goals with my take.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:12 PM on November 17, 2005


I like it, but I have to say that I also find the blurred logo a bit visually obnoxious.
posted by Stauf at 4:16 PM on November 17, 2005


I usually don't chime in on threads like this, because hey - who am I to complain about new ponies? But damn, I'm gonna miss those taglines!
posted by Space Kitty at 4:20 PM on November 17, 2005


We don't call it "home", we call it the "front page". The link should reflect that.
posted by smackfu at 4:23 PM on November 17, 2005


Change is scary.
posted by ColdChef at 4:24 PM on November 17, 2005


It can just be "Projects" instead of "MeFi Projects" no? It's the only one split into two words, and that lost MeFi looks misplaced. The blur makes my eyes hurt.
posted by barnone at 4:24 PM on November 17, 2005


How about self-generating taglines? Let us submit them on a special form that only registered users can access, and have them appear randomly each time the page loads. Is that practical?
posted by LarryC at 4:26 PM on November 17, 2005


I worked up a version of the header graphic that addresses the navigation issues of which you spoke and still families with the winning redesign--this way we get the new look and we can still arrange the navigation as we see fit!


posted by fandango_matt at 4:28 PM on November 17, 2005


Another vote for Fandango's redesign in one fell swoop. This seems half-assed and unneccessary.
posted by ori at 4:28 PM on November 17, 2005


Here's a sort of hideous linear thing that kind of draws on the current look.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:32 PM on November 17, 2005


This seems half-assed and unneccessary.

ori, one fell swoop redesigns entail shitloads of work, uncover oodles of problems, and take a long time. I'd rather improve the site in small increments than not at all, waiting for the moment I have the time and energy to do a full scale redesign across four sites.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:33 PM on November 17, 2005


My thoughts:
-(As mentioned by others) The Alt _'s are icky. The mid-word capitals are sufficient, maybe a dot or two of spacing to set them off wouldn't be too distracting.
-Home is the (Old & Bold) logo.
-Move preferences into the "About Archives Etc" line.
-Right justify the "Preferences About Archives Etc"

Yay to matts retrofit, except I'd still move pref to the "cold storage" line (not often used), and right justify that line.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 4:33 PM on November 17, 2005


There's two issues here... useability and aesthetics. If you're concerned about useability, don't screw with the logo and such. Just move the links around. OTOH, if you're concerned about the look, just switch to fandango_matt's header.
posted by smackfu at 4:35 PM on November 17, 2005


The order:
Post a Link Preferences My Recent Posts My Recent Comments
gives posting more emphasis over preferences.

I second loquax;
MetaFilter Ask MeFi MeFi Projects MetaTalk
puts MeTalk in its place in the grand scheme.
posted by mischief at 4:41 PM on November 17, 2005


Just get rid of the search box. It's useless in reality. Anybody who wants to search should use Google. Also, I really think the most popular links (Mefi, AskMe) should be furthest to the right with the least popular more in the middle. I can't explain precisely why but it seems... maybe because that's the way the current headersworks. Also, aiming for stuff in the middle is hard but aiming at the extremes is of course very easy. Don't change the logo!
posted by nixerman at 4:48 PM on November 17, 2005


LarryC writes "How about self-generating taglines? Let us submit them on a special form that only registered users can access, and have them appear randomly each time the page loads. Is that practical?"

I suggested that very thing upthread, but you and I are the only ones that seem to think that's a nifty idea. Oh well.
posted by chiababe at 4:50 PM on November 17, 2005


The yellow on the "Filter" is too light and it's hard to distinguish it from the white because it also became skinnier. It hurts my eyes. Step by step is the way to go.
posted by geoff. at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2005


About those RSS feeds... specifically the projects feed, when I click on the permalink/title to go vote on a project, I get a 404 error. For some reason, the link is /vote/# instead of /votes/#. This is using Bloglines.
posted by panoptican at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2005


How about using the new design, but using a tint of the section color instead of white as the background color? (So MetaFilter's background would be a light blue, MetaTalk's a light gray, and so on.)

I like fandango_matt's revised header (except I'd like to keep the two-tone logotype).

Using the revised header and changing the background color would address most of the complaints about the redesign.

On accesskeys: Mezzoblue's take and followup and addendum. Web Accessibility Testing and Services articles.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:54 PM on November 17, 2005


Firstly, Matt, I think your new header looks great. I agree with some of the other posters that the logo maybe could use a bit of work, but the rest of it is good.

Now, my unasked for suggest...

When I was running the website for a major ISP here in NZ - this would be back around 1997 or 1998 - one of the most fun things I did was regularly updating and changing logos - they always featured the logo itself, but it was dropped into various scenes, so sometimes it was in the water at the beach, or in the snow, or in some trees on the other side of a field full of sheep.

It was really popular, and was finally killed when I had a teddy bear that looked a little bit like the managing director with a speech balloon that said "call me cuddlesy-piddlesy-wuddsy again and I'll kill you," poor judgement on my behalf. But all the ones with the logo hanging out all around the country were cool.

You could do something along these lines, allow people to submit images which feature the logo doing something fun. In a template, sure, so the edges always match up or whatever. And a real person, or a group of people in talk, or whatever, can say 'hell no' or 'wowiewowiewowie'.

This sort of thing really lets people have a sense of ownership.

(Yeah, and this was before Google did their changing logo (possibly before they even existed), and I still did it better. Suck it haters.)
posted by The Monkey at 4:54 PM on November 17, 2005


I don't envy mathowie's redesigning-in-public strategy, but I do credit him for having the testicular fortitude to do so. I remember when I tried that with my own site a couple of years back when I actually had a pretty engaged readerbase (which was nonetheless a small fraction of MeFi's) -- I ended up just not bothering to listen to more conflicting advice, and just squashing reported bugs on what I finally decided on my own in the end.

Then again, I ain't no designer, as is abundantly clear.

For what it's worth with regards to site navigation, I actually use the links at the bottom of Meta* pages much much more than I do the header links, for what it's worth. Which makes usability sense -- when you reach the end of a thread, you don't much want to scroll all the way back to the top just to get to the nav, right?

I'm quite fond of Flickr's bucket-of-everything approach to their footer, though I'm not sure that'd work here. It'd be cool to see a breadcrumbs history approach, come to think of it, but that'd probably be needless gadgety-cruft. Keeping it simple is more metafiltresque.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:55 PM on November 17, 2005


Oh, and I approve of your modular approach to the update.
posted by The Monkey at 4:56 PM on November 17, 2005


The Trouble with User Generated Taglines

"Metafilter: cocks dicks shit fuck nippletits!"

FIN
posted by cortex at 5:05 PM on November 17, 2005


Given the site's looked the same for over six years,

and in the same period it has gotten increasingly more popular. why change it. tinkering with logos and designs people have grown to like is always a delicate thing -- my two cents: I'd vote for keeping the "old" look. there's nothing wrong with it, old isn't necessarily bad (I'm thinking of the Coca-Cola bottle design here).
posted by matteo at 5:06 PM on November 17, 2005


"the logo maybe could use a bit of work"

Just don't ask for free design help in AskMe. Some around here would slit your nose if you tried. ;-P
posted by mischief at 5:08 PM on November 17, 2005


Here's a sort of hideous linear thing ....
Hideous is right (sorry, but you asked for feeedback). fandango_matts new design looks excellent, though and could be easily adapted to the colours of each sub-site.
posted by dg at 5:08 PM on November 17, 2005


"fandango_matts new design looks excellent"

I think it's important that the Meta and the Filter be different colors in order to highlight the "filter" (as in the current logo), in order to underscore the purpose of the site's existence.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:16 PM on November 17, 2005


I like the hideous linear thing, the fandango/mathowie remix header, and the eris free design.
posted by jann at 5:27 PM on November 17, 2005


Mr_c_d makes an excellent point, as ever.

I would add that it's really a great hidden clue to keep the background colours as they are. I may be the only one who thinks this, but in order of seniority, it goes Mefi - MeTa - AskMe - Projects - ... MeTa is our parliamentary debate, our Privy Council, our Court of Pleas, perhaps sometimes our Star Chamber and kangaroo court too. Policies, pardons and reprieves are revealed here. It should indeed be at Mefi's shoulder.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:27 PM on November 17, 2005


cortex writes "The Trouble with User Generated Taglines

"'Metafilter: cocks dicks shit fuck nippletits!'

"FIN"


My idea of including a username with the tagline should reduce some of that, no?
posted by chiababe at 5:28 PM on November 17, 2005


You GO big daddy! The logo does make me kinda dizzy though. On the up-side, perhaps that's good to deter drinking while posting/commenting.
posted by snsranch at 5:30 PM on November 17, 2005


My idea of including a username with the tagline should reduce some of that, no?

Ummm, no. It wouldn't.
posted by IronLizard at 5:32 PM on November 17, 2005


I like fandango_matt's proposed look a lot. The only change I would sugest would be to add alternating background shading for posts which matched the section of the site one was on. I personally find it difficult to notice where one post ends and another begins in the current look. This would also get rid of the "it's white!" problem, IMO.
posted by terrapin at 5:36 PM on November 17, 2005


Yeah, honestly?

Metafilter: i raped your wife btw
—bold or sockpuppet user
posted by cortex at 5:37 PM on November 17, 2005


Oh, and I also personally don't care for the date and time in the header.
posted by terrapin at 5:41 PM on November 17, 2005


All of the content here is user generated and anyone can post "shitting dicknipples" or whatever on any of the threads. Mefi, being the self-policing state that it is, generally doesn't let anyone get away with that kind of stupid nonsense. We could always get a [!] "Flag this tagline."

/end beating of dead horse

I like the newness, but would like to stick with a muted color kind of background rather than white. It hurts.
posted by chiababe at 5:44 PM on November 17, 2005


Booo! Bring back the taglines.

Also, you guys want in on a little secret? I know why the logo's blurry now.



It's so we think we're already drunk. I don't really know if that will cut down on the actually-drunk posting or not, but it's worth a shot.
posted by graventy at 5:46 PM on November 17, 2005


"Ick, it's white?! So boring once you scroll down a bit and can't see the header!"

Really? Personally, I'd dance a little jig if every single last page on *.metafilter.com was white with dark text. It hurts my eyes unless I make it black and white with Machete (I don't mean aesthetically speaking, it literally gives me sore eyes reading light text on a dark background.).

A vote for access keys from me, though. That would be handy. And a vote against the pissing cock logo, though it is kind of apt.
posted by jack_mo at 5:49 PM on November 17, 2005


Personally, I'd dance a little jig if every single last page on *.metafilter.com was white with dark text.

You know you can set Metafilter itself to have that color scheme on your profile page, yeah? I asked many moons ago to have that preference setting propagated throughout the site, to MeTa and AskMe (etc) as well, so I hope we see that amongst the upcoming ponylets.

Even cooler would be personal user-definable stylesheets, but I don't know if Matt's interested in going quite that far.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:53 PM on November 17, 2005


My vote: hate the blur, miss the old font, think the underlined letters is bizarre. (To my non techie eyes, they make no sense and I was looking for some sort of secret code. Is it spelling Matt? Map? Huh?)
Like the tab feeling very much though.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:59 PM on November 17, 2005


First, I'm glad the taglines are gone. I fucking hate seeing replies with taglines because they are NEVER. FUNNY.

Secondly, I think design by committee is a terrible idea and will result in something thoroughly assy. I really liked the winning design, and I wish you would just go with that.

Just my $0.02
posted by keswick at 6:03 PM on November 17, 2005


Years ago I read an essay about the Windows user interface that slammed Windows' liberal use of "My" as infantile, giving the impression of a two-year old pouting "My Computer. My Inbox. My Documents." I'm afraid "My Recent Comments", etc., really have the same ring. It does grate on a person. I don't label everything in my house "My". I know it's mine. Similarly, when I'm logged in to MeFi, I know it's me logged in.

Two alternatives: 1. If you're logged in, couldn't it just say "Recent comments"? You'd know who it was referring to. 2. Can't it be put in preferences -- the same way we go into our profile page now to access our comment and posting history? Was it a big community request to be able to sort out your own posts on the front page?
posted by Miko at 6:09 PM on November 17, 2005


Agree with Miko, chuck the 'my'.
posted by mischief at 6:18 PM on November 17, 2005


Agree with Miko. The "My" feels very AOL circa 1998 -- and looks cluttered. In the same vein with my original comment here, that the "MeFi Projects" confuses that line-up of links. It should just be "Projects".
posted by barnone at 6:24 PM on November 17, 2005


'Recent comments' has a different meaning than 'My recent comments', which is clumsy shorthand (in lieu of anything better) for 'Threads in which I have commented that have new comments since mine'. There is already (and always(?)) has been an item in the dropdown on the blue (also, re-requesting the same kind of thing on AskMe, here) which means 'threads that have had recent comments, whether I've commented on them or not'.

Which is to say, Miko, that the 'My' thing might be clunky, but it has significance. It's the best new feature I've seen in yonks though, either way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:25 PM on November 17, 2005


..and I'm not in any way adverse to better phrasing, of course, if anyone can come up with some, but I think it might be hard to get something both brief and equally clear.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:26 PM on November 17, 2005


I see "my photos" at flickr all the time and it makes sense. It's stuff I posted. I'm keeping "my comments" and "my posts" since they make sense apart from all the other thousands of posts and comments that you didn't make.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:28 PM on November 17, 2005


mathowie: ori, one fell swoop redesigns entail shitloads of work, uncover oodles of problems, and take a long time...

Alright; IANAWD, so I'm sorry if I discounted the amount of work a total redesign would entail. As an alternative, tho, why not open up the Metafilter source code, set up a sandbox server for development, and let a team of volunteers work on it? You could assume a BDFL role.
posted by ori at 6:31 PM on November 17, 2005


stavros convinced me to reconsider Miko's (and my) 'my'. I will simply take my iron out of this fire since I never use either of the functionalities "My Recent Comments" nor "Others' Recent Comments".
posted by mischief at 6:31 PM on November 17, 2005


The new design looks good and I commend you for having the guts to expose your work in progress. I'm a n00b here, but here is my 2 cents.

It would be nice if users can select the classic style in their account settings. That way, those who are opposed to change aren't stuck with it. It seems to me that these design changes are aimed more towards new visitors, giving MeFi an update-to-date look and feel, but this risks alienating existing users who are familiar and fond of the current look. This can potentially open up the door in the future to user created/submitted skins for MeFi, letting people customize the look and feel of MeFi to their tastes.

Secondly, MeFi Projects sticks out like a sore thumb to me. MeFi is colloquial speak within MetaFilter and should probably remain within the threads, not the banner. MeFi Projects also breaks with the naming scheme already being used. Is there a reason why MeFi Projects isn't named MetaProjects? (MePro for short). When I see MeFi Projects I instantly think that it is solely MetaFilter related, but it's not.
posted by Mijo Bijo at 6:39 PM on November 17, 2005


Secondly, I think design by committee is a terrible idea and will result in something thoroughly assy.
Lots of truth in there. The whole re-design thing has come up a few times and inevitably ends up with oh, about 26,434 separate opinions. You da man - redesign as you wish (or not at all) and let the cards fall as they may. What the fuck would we (meaning most of us) know anyway?
posted by dg at 6:48 PM on November 17, 2005


I like the blurriness around the MeFi logo, I like the alt _s, I hate the header fandangomatt posted here, and am not particularly fond of his redesign in general (although certain aspects of it appeal to me). I think the font for the new MeFi logo needs to be changed, it looks anorexic. I am against a white backdrop on he blue, gray and green. I am fine with incremental updates to the site.

You know... 'cause what I think matters.
posted by shmegegge at 6:49 PM on November 17, 2005


"Secondly, I think design by committee is a terrible idea"

Lucky for us, this isn't 'design by committee' but 'give me your ideas but I'll still do what I want', as it should be.
posted by mischief at 6:52 PM on November 17, 2005


Matt, are there any plans (distant or upcoming) to rewrite Mefi from the ground up?
posted by Gyan at 6:54 PM on November 17, 2005


I'll leave the design suggestions to the professionals (except to say that I do agree with Crash on keeping the "Meta" and the "Filter" in different colors), but I want to disagree with dash_slot on the ordering of the links - which is odd, because my first instinct was exactly the same as his.

When I first read the suggestion to move MetaTalk to the "back", after AskMe and Projects, it felt wrong somehow - like the natural order of the various parts of MeFi were being subverted, and the upstarts were taking the place of the beloved (but justifiably feared) MetaTalk. I almost piped up to say something much along the lines of dash_slot, but after thinking about it I agree with keeping MetaTalk at the "end of the line", so to speak. If MetaTalk really is the "back room" of the Meta universe, where we all get together to bitch discuss topics that are about and germane to only the other, more outward-facing, parts of the website, then it's appropriate that it should be in the back of the queue as well.

Besides, the true MeTa junkies will always be able to find it.
posted by yhbc at 7:12 PM on November 17, 2005


This is hilarious - to me, anyway. I swear to god I did this before looking at Fandango Matt's redesign. I randomly chose the same typeface family he did:


posted by O9scar at 7:28 PM on November 17, 2005


I love the new design for the header BUT I'd like to see you stick with the current typeface for the logo. Maybe it's just familiarity at work but it pleases me more.
posted by baphomet at 7:38 PM on November 17, 2005


I like it, and commend you for asking for feedback. I have some hesitations about the logo, but like the overall idea.

My one suggestion is that I think the line:
Home About Archives Etc.

is too close to the line below it. When I first looked at the header before reading the thread I thought that line should be right-justified. Killdevil plays with that idea and I like it. It makes discreet sets of links appear in different places on the header.
posted by OmieWise at 8:18 PM on November 17, 2005


Here's my constructive criticism:

Your image is substantially wider than my browser window. Will this header reflow to narrower browsers as cleanly as the current one?

Link underlining: bad. It's ugly and Windows-y, a glaring visual cue for an extremely minor (even frivolous) feature.

I also question if a search input box is something worth putting on every single page. Are users currently going to the existing Search pages from lots of arbitrary other pages? Is this addition serving a current need?
posted by majick at 8:30 PM on November 17, 2005


Regardless of what I said before, I love change, and redesigning the site is good.
posted by interrobang at 8:30 PM on November 17, 2005


Still like the first header better than the alternates people have posted, though I do like the thicker-looking sans serif fonts, and I'm undecided about the Windows underlines. (I don't think fandango_matt's header works without the rest of the design. Things are going to float too much.)

I also love change!
posted by furiousthought at 8:35 PM on November 17, 2005


Shorten to "MyComments" ? or even "MyPosts" ?
posted by IronLizard at 8:36 PM on November 17, 2005


Shorten to "MyComments" ? or even "MyPosts" ?

Like it -- I especially like the consistency with the other internal caps (as in AskMe, etc.) For the record, I also liked the idea of parallelism with MeFi, AskMe, MeTa, and MePro.

But in general, I'm appreciative of the effort toward a redesign. We'll all be bumping our heads and stubbing our toes for a short while (as I still am with live preview), but we'll get used to it. The important thing is what I'm sure won't change: Content is King.
posted by Miko at 8:39 PM on November 17, 2005


I don't like it. This smacks to me of when VW killed the old Beetle by turning it into the Super Beetle.
posted by y2karl at 8:48 PM on November 17, 2005


When I see MeFi Projects I instantly think that it is solely MetaFilter related, but it's not.

MeFiteProjects?

Second though, sounds like a fight club spoof. Nevermind.
posted by IronLizard at 8:58 PM on November 17, 2005


The old beetle was long dead before the super beetle arrived. Think 240z-350z. Evolution.
posted by IronLizard at 8:59 PM on November 17, 2005


Something I didn't see mentioned (except for Matt's initial bit about standard locations), that I particularly like and don't see this design accomodating easily, is the link to the "next" MeFi site in the upper right position of the page. From MeFi, the link is to AskMe, from AskMe to MeTa, and from MeTa back to MeFi. When I'm bouncing between the sites at work, it makes it easy to get to the "next" site by just going to the same spot.

I also don't care for the blur on the logo, or for the underlined letters (owing to the lack of standardization for browser shortcut keys).
posted by Godbert at 9:07 PM on November 17, 2005


From MeFi, the link is to AskMe, from AskMe to MeTa, and from MeTa back to MeFi.

Yes, that's elegant.
posted by Miko at 9:14 PM on November 17, 2005


Killdevil's remix is a lot better. The original redesign looks messy, because of the different justification. Definitely keep the search box, because people do use it and perhaps you could make the search text the button as well? I definitely agree that you need new consistent navigation through all subsites.
posted by lazy-ville at 9:28 PM on November 17, 2005


Godbert writes "From MeFi, the link is to AskMe, from AskMe to MeTa, and from MeTa back to MeFi."

But I usually go Mefi -> MeTa -> AskMe! Way to ruin my flow.
posted by jenovus at 10:25 PM on November 17, 2005


The new header looks cool. I think the search is better below the yellow line, though. It fits better contextually with the mishmash of stuff on the bottom than with the site sections on the top. The tab redesign, like most implementations of tabbed navigation, is an abuse of the tab metaphor and I don't really dig it.

Also, negative margins would make dynamic taglines easy if you have any interest in implementing a submission system for them. They'll be fun right up until I ruin it for everyone.
posted by moift at 10:44 PM on November 17, 2005


Actually the mefi projects tabs seem to be just fine from the theory standpoint, I just don't like them :/ never mind that link.
posted by moift at 10:46 PM on November 17, 2005


I like the change, any chance of a new colour...only kidding!
posted by Chimp at 12:02 AM on November 18, 2005


Second though, sounds like a fight club spoof. Nevermind.

No, wait, I like that. MeFiteClub -- when Metatalk threads devolve into a few lonely combatants with more stamina than sense doggedly trying to land punches long after everyone else has wandered off, swaying and dripping, looking for the opening that'll finally let them drop the bastard to the canvas before the owner shows up and switches on the basement lights, those threads could get moved to MeFiteClub. Ten cent micropayment per thread to get in and watch the feathers fly: a buck if it involves Rothko or dios. Too bad the blood-crimson background's already used for Projects, though.

Note: I do not endorse this idea, much as I've been one of those goombas swinging away at the bitter thread end more than a couple of times. There's no good that could come from encouraging viciousness around here. The idea just amuses me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:11 AM on November 18, 2005


I guess that very minor pun only works if you pronounce 'MeFite' (ie a member of the Metafilter community) as MeFight, which it's possible nobody else does other than me.

Sorry, derail. Carry on.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:13 AM on November 18, 2005


i am glad to see no tabs, but sad to see those diagonal lines.
posted by timb at 3:07 AM on November 18, 2005


Another vote against the blurry here and please don't change the blue Matt, it wouldn't feel like Metafilter without it.

The idea just amuses me. Me too. Matt could supplement his income and possibly mine, by taking bets on the side. Must stock up on popcorn.
posted by Tarrama at 3:34 AM on November 18, 2005


I'm all for streamlining and tweaking. I like how clean killdevil's remix of matt's revision looks.

I agree with keswick that "design by committee is a terrible idea". If you can't go entirely with the redesign winner, get some input (if you must) and run with your instincts. Otherwise every single pixel of the header will be picked apart and debated over. Surprise us.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 3:41 AM on November 18, 2005


dig.
Change is good. But too much good is bad.
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:12 AM on November 18, 2005


I think the underlining is teh weird. It's v. Windows-y.

It's CUA. The only place you won't see it is on a Mac, which (thanks to Tog's inexplicable contempt for CUA) doesn't admit to CUA's existence.
posted by lodurr at 6:48 AM on November 18, 2005


The Metatalk RSS feed links go to the blue rather than the grey. For example: this Metatalk link in the feed gives this thread. [I have not read through all the comments to see if someone has already submitted this.]
posted by gsb at 7:03 AM on November 18, 2005


With hindsight, this is probably not the best place to post this bug, but who wants another thread?
posted by gsb at 7:04 AM on November 18, 2005


I think Matteo is mostly right: If there's no compelling need to change something, you shouldn't bother to change it just to look cool to the kids. The kids don't know shit from usability. They dont' care if the pony can haul goods; they just want it to be pretty.

But here's the thing: In usage, Matt's new header design basically isn't different enough that most people would see it as much of a change. We can sit here and debate finer points of placement and presentation, and sure, they matter, but really: Matt's design will work, it will work fine.

As for specifics:
  • It annoys me that people think the underlined hot-letters are "Windowsy", for the reasons I stated, but I also agree that they're unnecessary and that it's rude to over-write people's existing hot buttons (ctrl-T for New Window on Firefox, for example). Also, the implementation ends up being platform-inconsistent (e.g., in FF on a Mac, it's ctrl-x, not alt-x).
  • I agree with keeping "My", but "Recent" is unecessary. The comments will be in reverse chrono; it's a pretty standard convention.
  • "Search" should be moved to the right of the box and made a button. (as noted up thread)
  • Sub-sites should be listed right to left in the order in which you want to stress them. I.e., MetaTalk should be last.
  • I also think that MetaTalk should only be on the header for logged-in users. Don't restrict access, but don't advertise that it's there. Non-members don't really need to see MeFi's sausage factory; if they want to, let them get to it from a sitemap or from a footer menu.
  • Clock in the title bar is good, regardless of what the design geeks think. It should be "Mefi time", though, not local time: It should tell people what the baseline is for the posting times they see on the comments. I stil lhave to mentally adjust ot the fact that it's PST. (And no, guys, "PST" doesn't help much, and no, it's not because I'm "lazy" -- you have the same confusion, and you're just not aware of it.)
  • I agree that the logo looks somehow "weak"; I think you should just keep the current one, or at least something close to it.
  • You're dead-right to focus on screen width scalability as you do. I've implemented too many designs that put qualitatively different groups of things on the same horizontal line, and they always get confusing when the screen gets narrow. Also, design-geek dismissals aside, small screens matter. In fact, they're the future of the web, as PDAs and phones get geniunely powerful. Matt's design looks to me (though of course I can't tell without seeing the HTML) as though it will degrade very nicely to a very narrow screen.
This is not art. It's information. I think Matt's approach is cognizant of that.

Footnote: I don't really understand what everyone thinks was so awesomw about the winning design (with all due respect to fandango_matt). It confused navigation metaphors with the faux-tab highligting on "Home", etc. (Those are actions, not categories, and they shouldn't be tabs unless they're categories because that's what people use tabs for in the real world.)
posted by lodurr at 7:33 AM on November 18, 2005


Correction: "Sub-sites should be listed left to right ...."
posted by lodurr at 7:36 AM on November 18, 2005


Link underlining: bad. It's ugly and Windows-y, a glaring visual cue for an extremely minor (even frivolous) feature.

I assume you mean the underlining of single letters for keyboard shortcuts? Consider that part of the reason for doing that is accessibility. Physically handicapped people sometimes do better with a single keystroke than a gesture of the mouse. Frivolous to most users, but not to them.

Formatting all links with full underlining is a good practice, IMHO, because it makes the links more easily identifiable. I guess that's pretty 1999 of me, and seems to be an unfashionable opinion these days.
posted by scarabic at 7:41 AM on November 18, 2005


Scarabic: I dont' think it's unfashionable, but then, I'm generally regarded as a bit of a design-dinosaur by most people.

That said, I've developed a rational[ization] for the non-underlining that goes like this: It's OK to not-underline menus, because they're conventionally clickable. But I always counsel clients/patrons to have it underline and change color on mouseover.

Your point about accessibility is well-taken, but these do over-ride existing hotkeys -- so in that sense, they decrease accessability, by removing hotkeys that the hypothetical handicapped user has come to rely on.
posted by lodurr at 7:49 AM on November 18, 2005


Mathowie is the webdesign equivalent of an Italian automotive engineer. The end result is crap under the hood and breaks down often and is not necessarily even the best-looking thing around. But people still use and love it.
posted by lazy-ville at 9:04 AM on November 18, 2005


"My comments" could easily be "Your comments". Because they're not Metafilter's comments, they're mine.
posted by bonaldi at 9:28 AM on November 18, 2005


"I assume you mean the underlining of single letters for keyboard shortcuts?"

I was wondering what those underlined letters were about.
posted by mischief at 9:42 AM on November 18, 2005


I like fandango_matt's header a lot.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:44 AM on November 18, 2005


A List Apart's recent Good Designers Redesign, Great Designers Realign has some interesting perspectives.
Redesigners often rely on emotional responses to aesthetics in justifying a redesign...In direct contrast to the Redesigners, the Realigners cite strategic objectives and user needs as reasons to consider a site overhaul.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:08 AM on November 18, 2005


Another vote for fandango_matt's header. It looks cleaner and things look less cluttered, though it implements all of the same links. As for the rest of his design, the biggest complaints seem to be the white background, which is easy to change, and the faux tabs, which this new header eliminates.

I agree with changing My Recent Comments to MyComments, and My Recent Posts to MyPosts, if only for the sake of room.

Post a Link could be moved to the right, as it seems to interrupt Preferences/MyComments/MyPosts flow. All of those categories seem more personal, whereas Post a Link actually adds to the site and changes it for people other than me.

Can About and Etc be collapsed into one page? I've never had a good intuitive sense of the difference between the two. Sidenote on Etc: "MetaFilter Scholarship - I gave away $1600 to college student MetaFilter users in May of 2001 and expect to do it again this year" is really out of date.

And YES, please keep the MeFi AskMe Projects MeTa links in the same place on all sites. That would be more than lovely!
posted by heatherann at 10:16 AM on November 18, 2005



posted by thirteenkiller at 10:16 AM on November 18, 2005


DING DING DING, we have a winner!
posted by Mr T at 10:35 AM on November 18, 2005


Dude, MetaMcRib is only for the elite $10 members, keep it on the DL.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2005


I would make the "Metafilter", "AskMefi", etc into tabs. I would have the "Home, About, Archives" as a subsections beneath the active "Metafilter" tab. I would align Preferences, etc right, and shorten the names. These don't need to be bold, but these utilities could have icons to differentiate them from the other links that take you somewhere, rather than help you do something.
posted by xammerboy at 10:58 AM on November 18, 2005


But also - I should say that I like what you have done Matt.
posted by xammerboy at 10:59 AM on November 18, 2005


Oh, and fandango_matt's header can be a bit shorter vertically, since that's another goal.

e.g.


Or something. That's a bit clunky, but the point is that there's room up there. There's also space above the logo, which could be used for when new sites are added. You know, someday, when we have MetaFilter, MetaTalk, AskMe, Projects, Recipes, HireMe, DateMe, etc.
posted by heatherann at 11:04 AM on November 18, 2005


I'll go with thirteenkiller and stav.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:04 AM on November 18, 2005


and can we have a hideous tartan background for when its new years eve ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:15 AM on November 18, 2005


mathowie - please go with your design instincts: they're the best ones i've seen on this thread

. as for my personal aesthetic opinion: the new logo looks great, the new matt header looks great, and i vastly prefer both to any of the competition (including fandango_matt). Projects looks really yuck to me.
posted by Marquis at 11:20 AM on November 18, 2005


I'm not sure I agree with the ad hoc consensus that MetaProjects should take ordering precedence over MetaTalk.

Both, I guess, are best thought of as residing at the back of the site, behind MetaFilter and AskMe, especially if MeProj is to be a discussion-free springboard for self-linked items to eventually find themselves posted to the blue. MeTa actually feels more central to the site, like city hall. (I always imagine it in the middle, with MeFi on the left and AskMe on the right. Before AskMe, I thought of MeTa on the reverse-side of MeFi's sheet of paper). MeProj feels even more behind the scenes than MeTa, more akin to user pages than anything else.
posted by nobody at 12:25 PM on November 18, 2005


I like the new header, and I love fandango matt's design. However, put me in the "Ick, it's white?!" camp. The site looks desolate in black-on-white, once you've scrolled down. It's like I'm reading a text file. *shudders*

So I vote for the the tinted background, or full solid background we have today. (White on dark is easier on the eyes to me. Light backgrounds mean you're getting hit with a ton of light from your CRT/LCD. However, jack_mo seems to disagree with me.)
posted by knave at 2:29 PM on November 18, 2005


thirteenkiller for the win.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 3:55 PM on November 18, 2005


Okay, I'll throw one more fish into the pot:

header

(the blue ring is just very rough here, basically just trying to fill the more transparent areas)
posted by taz at 2:16 AM on November 19, 2005


[eyes spring open /] hmm... taz, I really like that logo treatment. The single blue boder line really works for me. And the squat, lower-case type really screams "Confidence!" [g]
posted by lodurr at 7:05 AM on November 19, 2005


I like taz's version too, but putting the least used options in the most visible part is a liitle odd. I'd move the section names to the bottom and shift everything else up one row.
posted by cillit bang at 7:23 AM on November 19, 2005


Matt, don't close the thread just yet (if you were contemplating it). I've got something for ya' I'm working on that'll take a couple of minutes to flesh out. I know the design contest is over, I'm using most of fandango_matt's implementation with a few fixed elements. Only it's a working page, not a mock-up. Or rather, it's a working mock-up, not an image.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:40 AM on November 19, 2005


I've seen a few complaints about how the redesign winner is just a white page after you scroll down. In my entry, I addressed this by having a border, about 10px or so, run along the edges on each side of the screen. I had the design up on school webspace before, but I graduated so it's not available right now. I might try to put it back up somewhere else when I'm home for Thanksgiving and have access to my old computer.
posted by stopgap at 8:37 AM on November 19, 2005


I love taz's version -- much better than anything else I've seen.

Matt, don't close the thread just yet

Man, things have come to a hell of a pass if we're assuming as a matter of course that Matt's going to close off MetaTalk discussions.
posted by languagehat at 9:45 AM on November 19, 2005


OK, here's my alteration.

Nothing snazzy at all, just wanted to clean up everyone's stuff because the masthead is just way, way too cluttered in all the versions I've seen. AskMe and MeTa and the rest would be keep their respective colors.

The nice thing (IMNSHO) is that the masthead is fixed, but it doesn't use any frames. So you can put whatever advertisements you want up there with room to spare. If you were very nice, you could kill the side-bar ads to boot.

A few things are missing right now, obviously (the sidebar most notably, also the login, etc.) Just imagine it's there. I have to go on a shoot and don't have any more time to put towards this right now, but it would fit into the design very easily. When I have time later on I can put it in, if anyone's interested.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:14 AM on November 19, 2005


That's nice C_D, but working fandango matt's design into a colored page ends up looking kind of boring. It's just one or two slabs of color.

Here's a redo of what I originally proposed, with a bunch of subtle changes mostly in the way of language on links and it's back with the old logo:



Should be pretty easy to do in CSS, and something I can open up to user stylesheets in the future.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:24 AM on November 19, 2005


Like I said, I didn't touch the design (except to keep the page blue, just because a white background will prompt such a vocal outcry). The real issue was uncluttering the header.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:48 AM on November 19, 2005


I like this iteration way better, Matt.
posted by gleuschk at 11:35 AM on November 19, 2005


Here's a modified header that has the same structure as your most recent version and will work with either the blue or white background.


posted by fandango_matt at 1:06 PM on November 19, 2005


Looks very nice. Would suggest that the "Meta" be the same color as the background and the baseline of the "MetaFilter" header should be flush with the yellow-green divider.
posted by Rothko at 1:54 PM on November 19, 2005


Key point: Should be pretty easy to do in CSS, and something I can open up to user stylesheets in the future.

Everything that follows is merely moot.
posted by lodurr at 3:58 PM on November 19, 2005


I like thirteenkiller's treatment. And what would a MetaMcRib taste like?
posted by delmoi at 5:24 PM on November 19, 2005


"Physically handicapped people sometimes do better with a single keystroke than a gesture of the mouse. Frivolous to most users, but not to them."

I'm sure this is a rather unpopular purist stance, but I'm of the opinion that the minority who find it difficult to operate their user agent should fix their user agent rather than impose a presentation level regime on the world. The user agent is client software for a reason.

This talk about CUA seems irrelevant: The MetaFilter header is not an application and should not behave like one just because it's nifty to do so. If a user wants CUA-flavored navigation tools, that option belongs in the user agent, not on one small part of the page. Given that every single other function of the site is not presented in a CUA manner, I don't see why a handful of links at the top of every page should be.

Perhaps my detestation of gadgetry for the sake of gadgetry is showing a bit much.
posted by majick at 1:08 AM on November 20, 2005


This talk about CUA seems irrelevant: The MetaFilter header is not an application and should not behave like one just because it's nifty to do so.

Yes, and I'll add: This 'application' (MeFi) is over-riding the settings for the parent application. So if the handicapped users do "fix their client", it gets un-fixed as soon as they hit metafilter.
posted by lodurr at 6:53 AM on November 20, 2005


Can't handicapped people just tab through the links?
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:10 PM on November 20, 2005


Below are headers with a slightly revised navigation layout--obviously, the navigation would vary slightly for MetaTalk and Ask MetaFilter but you can see how it would remain in the same place for each layout.








posted by fandango_matt at 3:46 PM on November 20, 2005


As for the redesign, I haven't heard much positive feedback on the Projects site

I humbly submit that this is because the implementation of the MeFi Projects site does not look nearly as good as fandango_matt's concept design. If it looked like fandango_matt's submission, I think the feedback would be very positive indeed.
posted by Jairus at 8:40 PM on November 20, 2005


I dig F_M's header design. I'm just not into the white blob like I used to be.
posted by nearlife at 8:41 PM on November 20, 2005


(and as an aside, I think fandango_matt's new headers look fan-fucking-tastic.)
posted by Jairus at 8:41 PM on November 20, 2005


fandango_matt FTW!
posted by Azhruwi at 8:41 PM on November 20, 2005


Up with fandango_matt's design! Down with the accursed white blob!
posted by Krrrlson at 8:42 PM on November 20, 2005


The blob = A+++
posted by crack at 8:43 PM on November 20, 2005


I don't know about the whole passive vs. assertive logo thing... I mean, why should it be assertive? Is metafilter trying to be overlord of the web or something? Maybe this has something to do with the cabal.

Anyway, I'm liking the blob too... taz's use of the yellow bar to tuck away the second tier links is great but all of the designs based on mathowie's initial idea seem very nice. I was really down on fandango_matt's designs until I saw this one. I think the problem is that I don't like all that small text crowded around the huge serifed "MetaFilter".
posted by Chuckles at 5:41 AM on November 21, 2005


I love those headers, fandango_matt.
posted by agropyron at 10:58 AM on November 21, 2005


I really go for Fandango_Matt's latest iterations.
posted by killdevil at 11:38 AM on November 21, 2005


Here's my last proposed design, all coded up in HTML. So far it works perfectly in firefox, safari, opera, and I did a png transparency workaround for win/IE.

It looks like ass in Mac/IE 5.2 because you can't float form elements in that browser. Not sure if that's worth even working around.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:44 PM on November 21, 2005


I don't like f_m's latest iterations. Well, actually, I mostly like them, except for the page links above the logo, which really bug me. Having links both above and to the right of the logo looks like Gulliver surrounded by Lilliputians. The logo should be upper-left-most on the page, period.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:47 PM on November 21, 2005


Just slap a badge on it, and g2g.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:00 PM on November 21, 2005


ok, fixed for mac/ie. You need to define a width for floats in CSS for that browser.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:27 PM on November 21, 2005


Whee, there it is! I can not believe the extent to which my subconscious is yelling "there's something wrong!" when see the page with the new header. Consciously I think it looks stripey and good.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:46 PM on November 21, 2005


Matt, what do you think about evenly spacing the two rows of links horizontally, so that they line up as though they were on a grid? A definite improvement, quibbles aside.
posted by killdevil at 1:59 PM on November 21, 2005


I like very much.
posted by planetkyoto at 2:56 PM on November 21, 2005


I wish people would start moving away from stylized form inputs and buttons. Leave it up to the OS to render UI like that in its native chrome. You wouldn't put a Ford door handle on a Nissan, would you?
posted by afx114 at 3:32 PM on November 21, 2005


You wouldn't put a Ford door handle on a Nissan, would you?

Of course not. Ford wouldn't touch a French car.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:37 PM on November 21, 2005


I think mathowie is on the right track.

Modular: yes. He's in charge: yes.

(I do like the taglines; they're not critical, however.)

The "blue" is part of the basic identity of the site. A redesign that gets rid of the white text on blue background would be a huge mistake.

The "interim" logo that's currently on the site bugs me, though. The main problem is that the letters look too condensed. I would say go right to a new one without the interim step, or restore the old one. At worst, only modify the letterspacing -- the tighter letterspacing is good, but the letterform manipulation is no good.

Also, I prefer the way search_comments.cfm shows all of my comments, rather than just the ones in the most recent post (as in mycomments.mefi) -- is that an intentional omission from mycomments.mefi or just because of when the page was put up?

When it's done, I'm guessing the site will end up better than it was before without losing its identity.
posted by gohlkus at 5:52 PM on November 21, 2005


at the risk of sounding like a total bitch, I'd really appreciate it if there was a way to keep the old-school layout in the user preferences or whatever--I'm not saying this is like new coke, but I miss my classic edition mefi.
posted by LimePi at 10:05 PM on November 21, 2005


The only thing that's different LimePi is the placement of links. Give it a week and I bet you'll get used to it. Jumping from site to site is in the upper right, stuff to do on the page is on the left.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:21 PM on November 21, 2005


The logo link goes home, but opens the link in a new window (presumably because that's what I have links set to do), whereas the "Home" link opens in the current window. Both should behave the same and open in the current window, regardless of what my link settings are.
posted by howling fantods at 7:52 AM on November 22, 2005


The aforementioned behaviour appears to be on MetaFilter proper only.
posted by howling fantods at 7:53 AM on November 22, 2005


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