Shades of Blue December 3, 2009 2:37 PM   Subscribe

What ever happened to the Metafilter redesign contest? Weren't we going to see one of these designs as the site design at some point?
posted by ChrisR to MetaFilter-Related at 2:37 PM (62 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Wow, three of those links weren't broken.
posted by idiopath at 2:48 PM on December 3, 2009


Yeah, I don't want metafilter to be redesigned as a 404 not found page. Seems to reduce the functionality.
posted by fuq at 2:53 PM on December 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think that one main page screenshot that said "DNS Error" looks pretty awesome.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:53 PM on December 3, 2009


I'm operating under the assumption that the designs exist somewhere other than dead links, but if they're all gone then I can sort of understand why they won't be appearing here.

Still, I watched the contest with interest, and I've been a bit disappointed since that they didn't get implemented.
posted by ChrisR at 3:00 PM on December 3, 2009


Original MetaTalk results thread from Feb. 2005 (as mentioned on the unofficial Meta Wiki), follow-up MetaTalk from March 2005, and the original contest post from Nov. 2004.

In short: no idea.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:04 PM on December 3, 2009


OH NO YOU DI-N'T!

seriously, though, the whole thing was kiboshed way back. I forget why or where I saw it, but I recall someone saying in the end mathowie wasn't thrilled with packing away the old design for any of the entries or something. apologies to the admins if I'm getting it muddled.
posted by shmegegge at 3:11 PM on December 3, 2009


Don't fix what ain't broke.

What's broken in the site design that needs fixing?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:13 PM on December 3, 2009


favorites. I'm kidding I'm kidding.
posted by shmegegge at 3:15 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


5 years is a long time to be disappointed
posted by edgeways at 3:16 PM on December 3, 2009


Perhaps you haven't noticed the pinstripes at the top of the page?
posted by Wolfdog at 3:19 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Given that the single word 'faved' caused such a shitstorm, I can't imagine the reaction that a major site redesign at this point would cause. Undergarments would be bunched with the force of a nuclear blast.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:28 PM on December 3, 2009 [16 favorites]


The pinstripes are a reminder to be classy and serious.
posted by exogenous at 3:29 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh! Maybe we can have a site redesign 'experiment' in December. I think would be like a festive little holiday surprise that would cheer everybody up unexpectedly one morning.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:32 PM on December 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I can say with some certainty that the winning designs from this contest will never be implemented. Looks like Matt tried one of the designs we he launched Projects and it didn't go over well.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:36 PM on December 3, 2009


What projects looked like. Nice professional white background!
posted by zsazsa at 3:48 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like how every now and then someone comes in MetaTalk asking what happened to something that everyone completely forgot about, and everyone is like "huh, what? oh, that, we completely forgot about that".
posted by qvantamon at 3:48 PM on December 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


What's broken in the site design that needs fixing?

Search and threading
posted by DU at 3:57 PM on December 3, 2009


Funny how the redesigns look dated now and the current design seems timeless. That's just familiarity though, I guess.
posted by smackfu at 4:05 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


What's broken in the site design that needs fixing?

Dozens of usability issues and inconsistencies, for starters.
posted by GeekAnimator at 4:12 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps you haven't noticed the pinstripes at the top of the page?

Business on top, barely controlled chaos on bottom. Kind of like ... um .. an iceberg made of sea monsters?
posted by filthy light thief at 4:15 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


What's broken in the site design that needs fixing?

Marriages. Bets. Dinners. Parties. Cats (not declawed).

Hey, wait. What about you? Are you fixed? *lifts tail*

Y'know, this is my first time sexing a pickle. I'm not sure if I'm looking in the right place.
posted by loquacious at 4:16 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


AJAX EVERYTHING!
(telemonian ajax har har har)
posted by cowbellemoo at 4:29 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I reckon Matt incorporated parts of the redesign, like the 'tabs' on the front page, but not the whole thing.
posted by dhruva at 4:35 PM on December 3, 2009


Instead of just handwaving, I think it would be useful to list specific things that are inconsistent or hurt usability.

For instance:
  • The user favorites page shows your comments in quotes, and none of the other pages on the site do that.
  • The user comments page says "MeFi post" and "posted to Metafilter" for each post, which is a bit redundant.
  • Both of those pages use the abbreviation "MeTa", which is could be unclear to some and isn't used in any of the other navigation.
  • The user posts page is exactly the same format as the front page, except that it shows the titles.
  • There is MyAsk but not MyMetafilter.
  • There is a tab on the front page labelled My Comments. It doesn't link to a page with your comments.
  • There is a tags link in the header for Ask and Metafilter but not MetaTalk.
  • The data and search box are slightly out of position on the Metafilter front page, relative to all the other subsites.
  • Projects has a sidebar but its not in a box like the other sites.
  • The terminology to add a post is inconsistent between the header and footer on all the sites. "Add a Post" vs. "New Post". "Upload Song" vs. "New Post". "Post a New Question" vs. "New Question"
  • The footer says "Log out". The header says "Sign out."
  • The podcast front page has a double line at the top listing your username.
  • The projects has a customized About page in the header, but the footer has the standard Metafilter one.
  • Sentences that need periods I: 231 new songs and 1189 comments posted since your last visit
  • Sentences that need periods II: (Your comment is currently being previewed, hit post to commit it or continue editing below.)
  • The New Post page on Metafilter says "A sample link is shown below." Don't see it.
(Sorry! I got a bit carried away. I never get to be QC in real life.)
posted by smackfu at 4:51 PM on December 3, 2009 [24 favorites]


Y'know, this is my first time sexing a pickle. I'm not sure if I'm looking in the right place

You're not looking at anything unless you buy me dinner first.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:59 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks smackfu! That a great to-do list for next week.

pb, put a pot of coffee on.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:11 PM on December 3, 2009 [11 favorites]


Omg, smackfu is sexy!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:17 PM on December 3, 2009


I love my MeFi a little rough around the edges. I smile every time I see the badly kerned logo somewhere. Or the clashy yellow. Oh, and especially when I'm not logged in. The text-ad strip? Total deterrent. But better than a deterrent. It's like, uh, um...a filter!

The people who truly get Metafilter have made it through the first sluicegate of fashion over function. They've come to find MeFi's fashion IS the function. It takes a certain kind of person, seeking a certain kind of experience, to see this big blue and yellow mess and not immediately shield their eyes from the non-white fence-ness and the fewer than 2.0 ponies in the yard.

I can't tell you how many times I've tried to introduce somebody to something on MeFi and they just CAN'T get the point of what I'm trying to show them. They're all hung up on the interface. And I think to myself, ahh, check, maybe filters aren't for you. And I go find the thing on Digg or YouTube or wherever, all image-tagged and signal-to-noisy, but so, so fresh, so clean, amirite?!1!
posted by iamkimiam at 5:27 PM on December 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


"to see this big blue and yellow mess and not immediately shield their eyes from the non-white fence-ness and the fewer than 2.0 ponies in the yard."

what really?

I must be getting old.
posted by mwhybark at 5:39 PM on December 3, 2009


I must be getting old.

I'm 16 and fairly artsy and I have no problem with the site design either.
posted by kylej at 5:48 PM on December 3, 2009


Uh oh, DU mentioned SEARCH.
posted by snsranch at 5:50 PM on December 3, 2009


Following on smackfu, let's talk about the activity page.

Let's say you want to visit one of those threads. There are only two ways. Either click on the timestamp, which is unintuitive as hell, or you click on the title -- but there's not indication that the title is a link at all. It doesn't follow the link color of the rest of the site.

The extra padding between the posts on the activity page reads much better than the way they're squeezed together on the actual homepage.

Why threads have titles that you don't actually see on the front page, but can see inside the thread, on the activity page, and in the RSS feed has never made any sense to me, and is a continued source of confusion on AskMe where people occasionally post questions that don't make sense unless you've read the title.
posted by GeekAnimator at 5:52 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]




They've come to find MeFi's fashion IS the function.

And the function of the ad hell people who aren't sign in see is to make more $$$ for the mods.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 5:58 PM on December 3, 2009


  • How about making new post page on the front page match the rest of the site? You know, putting description first and then the title
(yes I know what I'm proposing is a much bigger change than the other things suggested)
posted by The Devil Tesla at 6:03 PM on December 3, 2009


I will eat my considerable collection of shoes if this site ever undergoes a major redesign. Someone would actually find a way to shoot mathowie with internet mind bullets if he did.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:07 PM on December 3, 2009


I generally like this place the way it is, but the Recent Activity page and my brain are completely incompatible. I click it, see all the words, and then walk away in a bit of a daze.
posted by socratic at 6:22 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


You're looking at the redesign. Have you forgotten what it looked like before?
posted by katillathehun at 7:00 PM on December 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Uh oh, DU mentioned SEARCH.

DU is quonsar, did you not know that?
posted by popechunk at 7:54 PM on December 3, 2009


The user favorites page shows your comments in quotes, and none of the other pages on the site do that.

oh god yes. this is especially weird because so many of my comments start out excerpting a comment that I didn't make.
posted by lalex at 9:44 PM on December 3, 2009


Also, contribution pages currently have pagination on the bottom; I'd love to see it be added to the top of the page.
posted by lalex at 9:51 PM on December 3, 2009


You're looking at the redesign.

You joke, but isn't that true? Isn't the present site design a slight modification /evolution of the circa 2002 version - I remember some resizing of fonts, repositioning, changes to the navigation bar, etc. Wait - yep, totally. Thanks Wayback Machine.
posted by Miko at 10:32 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm sad that Projects didn't stay red.
posted by Mister Cheese at 10:54 PM on December 3, 2009


Wait what? Projects isn't red?

Do I not go there much or am I really unobservant? (hint: B.)
posted by shelleycat at 1:12 AM on December 4, 2009


On the one hand, I feel like the top navigation bar is just asking for some love with it's right-aligned/left-aligned-ness and then the "tabs" underneath that.

On the other hand, I don't want it to change at all. not a single bit. I couldn't say why though.
posted by Brainy at 3:06 AM on December 4, 2009


  • The bookmarks feature is mislabelled "favorites"
posted by flabdablet at 5:28 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Given that I barely made it out alive a while back for suggesting that the text in some of the header GIFs was a bit dodgy, I think I'll stay out of this one.

Mind you, everyone was a lot nicer when I tidied up the logos a bit without, you know, circumcising any Palestinian cats or anything...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:32 AM on December 4, 2009


A few more. Sorry PB!:
  • Recent Activity says "Metatalk", while everywhere else says "MetaTalk".
  • On the Recent Activity time stamps, it says "more than 12 hours ago" (no caps) but "Almost an hour ago" and "An hour ago" and "Yesterday" (caps).
  • Except on the Recent Activity from My Contacts, which says "yesterday" and "about 13 hours ago" (no caps).
  • The title bar says "AskMeFi" (one word) while the footer says "Ask MeFi" (two words).
  • The page titles of all the Recent Activities sub-tabs are all "Recent Activity - MetaFilter". Since they are different pages, they should have different titles.
  • Why does the profile page show the instructions for the About section? Which incidentally don't match the actual current instructions on the profile edit page.
  • The favorites page uses a [more] link at the end of cutoff comments, but Recent Activity just uses an ellipsis in brackets.
  • Activity from smackfu - Favorites shows favorites received, not given, which isn't really an activity by me. It also means it's the exact same page as Recent Activity - Favorites. Not sure how to fix this.
  • "Recent Contributions saved as a favorite" title on this page should be initial caps to match the other pages.
  • Popular Favorites page uses a date format that doesn't match any other pages.
  • The dropdown on Recent Activity to choose a site says "Metatalk".
  • metafilter.net calls it "The MetaFilter Network Inc." while everywhere else says "Metafilter Network LLC".
(BTW, I must say that as much of a pain as internationalization is, pulling all the text out into a separate file makes it a lot easier to be consistent.)
posted by smackfu at 6:23 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, why was smackfu's account deactivated?
posted by shothotbot at 7:25 AM on December 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


  • MetaTalk is actually MetaMeta.
  • I can't find ChatFilter in main navigation.
  • Using the 'E-Mail the Mods' form sends me to Goatse.

    That last one might be a special feature just for me, not sure.

  • posted by rokusan at 7:57 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Hmm...I never noticed all those little inconsistencies and UI flaws before. Now they will bug the shit out of me. Thanks a lot.
    posted by TedW at 8:09 AM on December 4, 2009


    I'd just hire smackfu...
    posted by bukharin at 8:17 AM on December 4, 2009


    SSSSHHHHHH!!! They'll hear you!
    posted by blue_beetle at 8:29 AM on December 4, 2009


    Ha. It's easy to find and fix little inconsistencies, because they don't really matter. No one is going to object to changing Metatalk to MetaTalk. But no one was actually confused about it either.

    The hard problems are hard because there is no easy solution. Something like how the Recent Activity for comments and posts are different pages. People who mainly ask questions on AskMe seem to want those combined into a single page, so they can track all their activity together. People who make a lot of posts on Metafilter probably want them separate, since the post activity would overwhelm the page. Is there any solution that works for both groups?

    Not to mention usability issues that we old-time users can't even see. Are the sub-site links in the top-right obvious enough for people to find the sub-sites? Who knows! Plus there are ads for non-logged in users, which tend to move content to weird places. Like the sidebar is pushed way down onto the second page by an ad. That probably makes it a lot less usable.
    posted by smackfu at 8:34 AM on December 4, 2009


    Thanks Wayback Machine.

    Holy crap! A prison joke on the front page? Reckon we've redesigned the users for the better.
    posted by stet at 10:29 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    The footer says "Log out". The header says "Sign out."

    I vote to leave this as is.. it's like a mefi dvd bonus easter egg.
    posted by pwally at 10:49 AM on December 4, 2009


    Holy crap! A prison joke on the front page?

    Definitely worth saving for the next "things used to be better in the olden days" session.

    Those low-numbered users were so much better at rape jokes.
    posted by rokusan at 11:49 AM on December 4, 2009


    • Sentences that need periods I: from the "add contact" page: "The following lets you customize the connection, based on XFN links, but is optional"
    posted by johnofjack at 12:53 PM on December 4, 2009


    "III," I mean.
    posted by johnofjack at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2009


    I suppose the easy way to make everyones Recent Activity experience fully satisfactory is to have an extra tab for "Posts & Comments Together", maybe called something snazzy like "Combo Tab"
    posted by criticalbill at 1:43 PM on December 4, 2009


    We can get Anil Dash's friends to judge the winning design.
    posted by fire&wings at 4:03 PM on December 4, 2009


    If you want to try a different look for the site, I'll put in a plug for the Metafilter Gray I thrashed out at the beginning of the year.
    posted by MikeHarris at 5:13 PM on December 10, 2009


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