Followup: Show your MeFi Designs January 1, 2005 10:13 PM   Subscribe

I believe the deadline for the MeFi Design Contest has passed. Does anybody who entered have the nerve to show off their actual entries to the MeFi public? I have half a notion to, but I don't want to be the first (or anything before sixth) to expose my web design shortcomings...
posted by wendell to MetaFilter-Related at 10:13 PM (129 comments total)

I might as well be the first lamb. There's a 1024 px wide image on that page. It's just minor changes, mostly functional, rather than a 'redesign'. The colors are pale and right now look horrendous, though they looked better earlier. Heh.
posted by Gyan at 10:39 PM on January 1, 2005

You won't be the only one. Promise.

I've seen one entry already (it was excellent), and now my appetite has been whetted. I can't wait to see the others.

(Isn't the deadline Monday? I could check, I guess.)
posted by chicobangs at 10:40 PM on January 1, 2005

Oh. Uh, never mind.

Show us what y'all got, then. I shiver with anticip...


posted by chicobangs at 10:43 PM on January 1, 2005

Not bad, Gyan. I think it's a good idea to keep the basic MeFi design and just improve functionality. I'm actually pretty impressed with some of the changes you are suggesting.
posted by BradNelson at 10:46 PM on January 1, 2005

but not the symptom
posted by cortex at 11:00 PM on January 1, 2005

I like the softness of the font change, Gyan.

But what color is MeTa going to be? And the stuff up top is fine, but you could tighten those lines up.

I do like it, though. Not as much of a shock as I was fearing.
posted by chicobangs at 11:06 PM on January 1, 2005

I do count six different fonts on your front page, though, which seems like a lot.
posted by chicobangs at 11:09 PM on January 1, 2005

I like it, Gyan!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:14 PM on January 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

I like the softness of the font change, Gyan.

Thanks. The current 'Customize' already has options to specify own fonts, so in any case, those aspects aren't binding. I'm hoping that Metafilter allow customized CSS like CSS Zen Garden, or atleast a selection, like Monkeyfilter.

And the stuff up top is fine, but you could tighten those lines up.

Think of this image as a schematic, rather than a facsimile. This is a rough photoshopped mockup. HTML/CSS will allow precise , consistent margins..etc
posted by Gyan at 11:27 PM on January 1, 2005

Re: MetaTalk and other sections, the background and section-header can have unique colors. Oh Hell, all colors can be different. I'm really hoping for custom CSS. No fuss, then.
posted by Gyan at 11:29 PM on January 1, 2005

The deadline has passed, and though there were less entries than I expected, there's a good top three and everyone had lots of great ideas worth gleaning.

Wendell, for what it's worth, I liked yours simply for showing me that a three column layout could work and solve many of the current problems without looking too much like every other blog on earth.

Gyan, I really like what you did with the top 100px or so. You turned the nav into a really useful space, and the drop down multi-site nav is a good solution to umpteen-filters someday.

I'll definitely do a CSS custom/sharing system where people can save their custom CSS files and share them as a gallery for others, so that anyone can create new layouts. I'll completely revamp and simplify the code that generates pages, to make this as easy as possible.

This way, if anyone doesn't like a new look, someone can always hack a way to reproduce a traditional version of it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:38 PM on January 1, 2005

Come on, give us two more days! Dec 31 was really a crap time to have a deadline. Busy season, you know.
posted by rafter at 11:44 PM on January 1, 2005

I did submit something, but I'm a little shy about showing...

One question, though, Matt - you didn't send any confirmations about received entries, right? Because the email address was a little bit odd (with a "plus" sign), so I wanted to make sure it was correct.
posted by taz at 11:54 PM on January 1, 2005

Yeah, I got them all. Gmail lets you do yourusername+anything@gmail and that'll get to you, which I filtered into its own folder to look at dec 31st.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:42 AM on January 2, 2005

Thanks, matt.
posted by taz at 12:58 AM on January 2, 2005

This is going to be nice. Good idea Matt.
posted by Dean Keaton at 3:29 AM on January 2, 2005

Here's what I came up with.

It's dodgy in IE right now (damn those fuzzy padding rules to hell!), and I haven't been able to test it on Safari, but you get the picture. Any kinks can be worked out in post-processing.
posted by rafter at 4:51 AM on January 2, 2005

Gmail lets you do yourusername+anything@gmail and that'll get to you

posted by Savvas at 4:52 AM on January 2, 2005

i didn't submit what I was working on because i didn't feel like it was finished, but i'm gonna post it here anyway as another vote for changing the design as little as possible (see previous competition threads). to me it seems getting the navigation heirarchy properly defined should be first step. the beautiful CSS themes can come second.

my logged in and loggedout front pages only look as intended in Mozilla and even then I think the third column doesn't line up properly on all screen sizes. where it says "the Community 'Blog" i intended the thread title to appear on post pages. the titles are often pretty clever and don't get enough prominence in the title tag alone.
posted by danOstuporStar at 5:43 AM on January 2, 2005

What XQUZYPHYR said.
posted by sciurus at 6:40 AM on January 2, 2005

What sciurus said about what XQUZYPHYR said...
posted by bluedaniel at 6:49 AM on January 2, 2005

Gee, it was announced on November 21st. Over a month isn't time enough?

[no, I didn't submit an attempt mostly because my own computer has been dead for a month and I was 'just about to start' when said puter bit the proverbial dust]
posted by kamylyon at 7:05 AM on January 2, 2005

Of the three up here, I liked rafters. The other two seemed very busy.

posted by FunkyHelix at 7:18 AM on January 2, 2005

Yeah, rafters has some great interface improvements. I'd love being able to aggregate all *Filters on on page. And the new post / new comments notifiers are a pretty slick idea too.
posted by chundo at 7:35 AM on January 2, 2005

Wait, why do we need a redesign? I like it NOW. Change? You're going to change my Metafilter? No more blue? Excuse me while I go curl up in a fetal ball and gibber quietly to myself.
posted by helcat at 7:44 AM on January 2, 2005

Of the three, I vote for rafter's as well. Easy on the eye.
posted by jaruwaan at 7:55 AM on January 2, 2005

Although, rafters, I think it looks too washed out overall. Little more color somewhere (background?) would be more familiar.

And I do think you should be awarded bonus design points for the pepsi blue ad in the sidebar.
posted by chundo at 7:59 AM on January 2, 2005

I like rafters, but with the flood of AskMe questions in recent months, wouldn't it just be dominated by the green? It would be nice to have a way to be able to 'turn on' or 'turn off' certain sections of Metafilter if you don't care about one of the areas.
posted by Arch Stanton at 8:06 AM on January 2, 2005

Rafter's design is pretty damned good! I love all the little details like the new post/new comments icons. I also love the fact that he has kept it looking simple, you know exactly where to look for the type of content you are looking for without thinking about it.

I don't like the white background colour, and I don't see the need to tone down the blue/grey/green. The Metafilter colours are different, but that doesn't make them wrong!
posted by Chuckles at 8:18 AM on January 2, 2005

*breathes deeply* Okay. I made a mental note to not forget individual comment and post features because I knew Matt was going to try and get those into the interface, but I forgot to integrate post options. My mental notes are not what they used to be.
posted by erisfree at 8:30 AM on January 2, 2005

Color isn't so much a problem. A simple blue, grey or green stripe somewhere would fix that problem.

I too would be concerned with AskMe taking over the rest of the page, and to have that many different elements on one page would be too much. I mean, that's why the pages got split in the first place, right?

But yeah, rafter's isn't bad.
posted by chicobangs at 8:32 AM on January 2, 2005

Like -- case in point!
posted by chicobangs at 8:33 AM on January 2, 2005

Here's my submission.

It's tabby!
posted by 4easypayments at 8:37 AM on January 2, 2005

4easy, when I get done laughing about your AskMe questions I might just maybe comment on the design.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:58 AM on January 2, 2005

4easy has my vote... rafter's was too blindingly white to me. We mustn't forget the hungover among us.
posted by TonyRobots at 9:00 AM on January 2, 2005

Lots of great ideas in the designs thus far displayed, congrats to you all as it's obvious you put much time and effort into these. They all look excellent! I must say, though, that I like the idea of keeping (or slightly modifying) the colors instead of switching to white- I've grown too fond of the blue over the years and would be sad to see it fade to blank. There's plenty of white web space out there, the blue is just one of the many things that makes MeFi distinctive.
posted by baphomet at 9:11 AM on January 2, 2005

Here's mine.
posted by stopgap at 9:21 AM on January 2, 2005

Just got through looking at everyone else's designs, and I really like 4easypayments's. Can't wait to see more.
posted by stopgap at 9:24 AM on January 2, 2005

Here's a link to my design summary.
posted by still at 9:27 AM on January 2, 2005

I like elements of all of your designs! There's nothing like tapping the massed creativity of a group like this. I don't envy mathowie the job of selecting which design/design elements he wants to incorporate into his new design. I suspect it will be excellent, though.

Here's my attempt. I was mostly trying to improve the usefulness of the sidebar, and it's a pretty rough outline in many areas.
posted by rushmc at 9:33 AM on January 2, 2005

I'm awed by the talent of the people that have made submissions. Thank you for rising to the challenge of making Mefi better.

Will the community have an opportunity to view all of the submissions at one time?
posted by Juicylicious at 9:37 AM on January 2, 2005

danOstuporStar's has way too much clutter. rafter, 4easy, and stopgap's all have some really neat thing about them. rafter's is too white, but I like the style in general. It's really clean looking. 4easy's tabbed interface is pretty nifty, and definitely allows for more growth, and I have to admit that it keeps the original design nicely, except I think the top logo/info bar is kind of weak designwise. Not so much the logo, but the light grey of it. stopgap's has too much white again, but I really like the way dates are handled. Though, the date looks kind of weird on the comment pages.

Some sort of composite design with the best of these features would work out the best.
posted by angry modem at 9:38 AM on January 2, 2005

What I'm liking from the submissions is the attempt to delineate between threads using different colour backgrounds or graphics as gyan, rafter and stopgap have done. I have a habit of skipping the blue if it looks like a sea of type without formatting. I see it and think, "eek reader overload"
posted by squeak at 9:44 AM on January 2, 2005

I thought the point of more white was to make the site a bit more work-friendly. A little less blue (not none, just less) will really help some of us.

I'm partial to erisfree's design, actually. It loads quick, it's clean, and nothing gets in the way of the content. (Not a big fan of the tabs, which will clutter up as more *.metafilter.coms arrive, and the site will only get busier as new components arrive in the coming months and years, so I'm all for starting with the cleanest space possible.)
posted by chicobangs at 9:47 AM on January 2, 2005

Dang. I really wanted to throw something together for this, but I kept putting it off. Better than putting off school/work stuff, of course. I'll have a field day with the custom CSS gallery.

Great submissions, guys!
posted by kryptondog at 10:00 AM on January 2, 2005

I don't want any change ever to anything but I actually really like 4easy's tabs. I tend to view Metafilter like that anyway - I have Firefox set to load all three pages in subsequent tabs - but it would be even more convenient to do it from one page. Also, he/she wins just based on the pseudo AskMe questions.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:12 AM on January 2, 2005

I don't think making the site workfriendly should be any sort of major concern of the redesign.
posted by angry modem at 10:13 AM on January 2, 2005


danOstuporStar (didn't officially enter)
posted by erisfree at 10:24 AM on January 2, 2005

My goal was to use the contest to generate ideas. So ultimately, my favorite redesign submission might make up 60% of the final look, with different good ideas taken from others to make up the rest. Everyone seemed to have at least one good solution idea that I hadn't thought of before, which makes the contest a success in my mind.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:28 AM on January 2, 2005

which makes the contest a success in my mind.

Yeah, but who wins? :)
posted by kamylyon at 10:39 AM on January 2, 2005

We do. Maybe.
posted by chicobangs at 10:41 AM on January 2, 2005

That's 8 there now, so pony up, wendell!
posted by rushmc at 10:41 AM on January 2, 2005

ooo, I didn't know there was a pony at stake!
posted by kamylyon at 10:42 AM on January 2, 2005

I really like Still's. It's a little rough around the edges, but a little touching up and it'd look great.
posted by Evstar at 10:44 AM on January 2, 2005

I do like 4easypayments' design a lot, the only thing I don't like is the cute, roundy logo, which to me doesn't jibe with the overall "sleekly intellectual" self-important vibe the site has as is <g>

Mine. It's pretty mediocre.
posted by abcde at 10:44 AM on January 2, 2005

Your link does nothing for me, abcde.
posted by Evstar at 10:50 AM on January 2, 2005

(That's not an insult, it just doesn't work.)
posted by Evstar at 10:51 AM on January 2, 2005

I like 4easypayments' design. It just needs some more work on the top part, above the tabs. Erisfree's submission is also very good, but I don't think the background should be white. Perhaps something like Erisfree's design but with tabs and background colours? The three links on the top right of Eris' design could easily be turned into tabs.

And I prefer the ads and the sideblog to the right: since you read from left to right, you will be irritated by the ads if they are to the left. For every new line you will see the ad first...
posted by Termite at 10:55 AM on January 2, 2005

But Termite, that's the "?????" in Step 3.

Step 4: Profit!
posted by chicobangs at 10:59 AM on January 2, 2005

Another for Still's design. But I'm a sucker for brashness.
posted by Gnatcho at 11:05 AM on January 2, 2005

This is so cool. I've really enjoyed looking at these. I'm one of those unfortunates who deeply appreciate good design while possessing no talent to make it, so I salute you all.

(I especially wanted to salute 4easypayments: I love the font, the tabs, and the AskMe questions. I am now too self-conscious to ever use VagueChildhoodMemoryFilter again, and rightfully so.)
posted by melissa may at 11:12 AM on January 2, 2005

Can we have some kind of option to keep the original design for those of us like me, who FEAR CHANGE.
posted by jonmc at 11:16 AM on January 2, 2005

Right link, sorry.
posted by abcde at 11:26 AM on January 2, 2005

I think 4easypayments has the most sensible layout, and he gets bonus points for his AskMe screenshot.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:26 AM on January 2, 2005

Erisfree and 4easypayments are my favorites. here's mine.
posted by poopy at 11:30 AM on January 2, 2005

Wow, you guys rule. So awesome.

The coolest innovation (actually a total non-innovation but a brilliant idea): 4easypayments' version actually welcomes the reader/user with a statement on the sidebar that says what Metafilter is. That would be heavenly.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:32 AM on January 2, 2005

RJ Reynolds: You're not looking hard enough. Log out and check out the sidebar, scroll a bit.
posted by abcde at 11:36 AM on January 2, 2005

abcde, there seems to be a lot of open, unused space on the side with the home/about/archives link just floating over on the right. and the gold text with a white background is a little tough on the eyes.

Poopy, yours is the first one that actually looks 'full' and complete, with no space that goes unused, which is nice.

That was some good satire on the AskMe screenshot, 4easypayments.
posted by Arch Stanton at 11:38 AM on January 2, 2005

All the ponies are so pretty! I wonder how Matt's gonna decide? A poll, perhaps?
posted by Doohickie at 11:38 AM on January 2, 2005

Arch Stanton: Well, I picked some unusually short posts, most of them would probably reach to the edge. I sort of agree about the link color, and I was going to note that among the shortcomings.
posted by abcde at 11:42 AM on January 2, 2005

I'll put in a vote for erisfree. The white background is much more eye-friendly, and it's more work-safe as well. Clean good, clutter bad.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:54 AM on January 2, 2005

rushmc's versatile sidebar is cool, and Gyan's subscribe/ email/ report/ similar would be nice to have at the bottom of each post.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:06 PM on January 2, 2005

I like them all, really, each has great points and innovations. I really like 4easypayments' color coded tabs, and boxy-status-thing, and Gyan's got those neat ponies for each individual post.

Can't we put all of them in a blender and let each of you win? Good work all!
posted by moonbird at 12:15 PM on January 2, 2005

what kwantsar said. but I really like the Blue, Matt please don't change that at least, don't make the site totally unrecognizable. leave us at least that custom option pleeeease?

also, can we have a little something that instantly posts for you a 72-point Bodoni "WTF?". you know, just in case of emergency
posted by matteo at 12:18 PM on January 2, 2005

Neat stuff. If I had to take one redesign with me to a desert island, it would be rafter's.
posted by cortex at 12:20 PM on January 2, 2005

(I forgot to name Rafter as the inventor of the boxy-status-thing I like so well)
posted by moonbird at 12:27 PM on January 2, 2005

I like 4easy's as well. I think the multi-sidebar would be annoying in practice since it would add an extra click for what might be commonly-accessed information.
posted by kenko at 12:31 PM on January 2, 2005

I like erisfree's for the color and 4easy's for the tabby layout. These are all really good entries. I'd just love something that has a really grokable stylesheet so we can change the colors & main text sizes simply. I've been using the simple stylesheet for a while now, so my home page is always white but certain parts of mefi revert to green/blue because they're hardcoded in. It might also be cool to have a stylesheetable "expert" "non-expert" modes where there were links to more helper-type stuff on the sidebar [mefi wiki, posting guidelines, whatever] if you wanted it, but like the current sidebar, you could easily collapse it and ditch it.
posted by jessamyn at 12:40 PM on January 2, 2005

Another vote for Erisfree. I particularly like the way the original color schemes are incorporated and the clean layout.
posted by AstroGuy at 12:55 PM on January 2, 2005

I like erisfree's design best plus tabby goodness. Thanks to all the designer impersonators.
posted by billsaysthis at 1:01 PM on January 2, 2005

It's not much, or nearly as involved as some of the design work already submitted but here's mine.

Hearty thanks to all who submitted, there's some great work in all of them.
posted by purephase at 1:43 PM on January 2, 2005

I thought they all looked really good, but my vote's for 4easy- I have a soft spot for tabs.
posted by hopeless romantique at 1:57 PM on January 2, 2005

I like stopgaps and purephases. No to the tabs.
posted by seanyboy at 2:11 PM on January 2, 2005

If all the entries are fully CSS (and they really should be), then things like color, font, and placement will be configurable (with a selection of style sheets available). What matters, then, is what content and functionality will be on the page. Too many of the submissions just take the existing page and rearrange it.

So, here are some changes in content and functionality that I've seen so far:
Gyan's additional links at top to things like wiki, contacts.
Rafter's inclusion of "more inside" implementation that Matt has already said he was going to do. Also the easily scanned colors and icons for new posts and comments.
DanOstuporStar's filetype indicators (e.g. {mp3}), which would be fantastic if it could be done automatically when posts are submitted
erisfree's multiple menus and his inclusion of keywords/categories on AskMe. Also points for thoroughness and mockups of all the different pages.
4easypayment's tabs
stopgap's saved posts
rushmc's select-a-sidebar gizmo

My 2 cents about appearance:
I don't like stark white backgrounds. Gyan's color scheme appeals to me the most. I really like moving the sidebar to the left as erisfree has done. And I like how poopy has boxed the different content (and it'd be nice to be able to collapse different boxes and to set defaults for which are collapsed).
posted by TimeFactor at 2:24 PM on January 2, 2005

Here's my redesign. Let me know what you think.

As far as others' contributions go, I like StopGap's quite a bit, and the erisfree design is quite nice, too. There's only been one I've seen so far that I've flat-out hated, and courtesy forbids me from pointing it out, so ..... Nice work all around, everyone.
posted by webmutant at 2:42 PM on January 2, 2005

The one part I like about my design is that it has recent comments in the (former) sidebar, which allows older threads that are still popular to be on the front page along with new threads in the default view. Google Groups has it (the "older active threads" bar) and I think it's really handy; for one it would make having one or a few IraqFilter threads more plausable since it would be possible to see them.
posted by abcde at 3:12 PM on January 2, 2005

I vote for:

rafter's comments layout and sidebar with different background
+ 4easy's header (except tabs... don't like the tabs)
+ stopgap's date handling
posted by chundo at 3:23 PM on January 2, 2005

Gyan's has my vote.
posted by darkmatter at 3:32 PM on January 2, 2005

I missed abcde's new comments box, which MonkeyFilter has and, as abcde mentioned, is a great idea for reducing multiple posts on the same topic (which aren't necessarily double posts). I think I missed it because the link color made me wince. But of course things like link color should be configurable via CSS by the user.

And webmutant's search box on the front page makes a lot of sense and I like the general layout of the mockup - it limits the amount of wasted white space without being cluttered. Nice job.
posted by TimeFactor at 3:45 PM on January 2, 2005

you also missed that I was a girl :)
posted by erisfree at 3:48 PM on January 2, 2005

Really, the recent comments box would do better in a vertical configuration (maybe 5-7 comments instead of 3), granted.
posted by abcde at 4:00 PM on January 2, 2005

Chalk up another vote for webmutant. Love the saved threads idea. Love the frontpage search. Love that it keeps the colorsheme. Usually not a fan of icons, but provided they're redundant icons with alt's, I love the splash of design. Love that the user info takes up so little space.

Love it, love it, love it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:07 PM on January 2, 2005

Colorscheme, that is, unless you're a British poof.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:08 PM on January 2, 2005

Here's another recap:
Gyan, rafter, danOstuporStar, erisfree, 4easypayments, stopgap, still, rushmc, abcde, poopy, purephase, webmutant

Hopefully I didn't miss anyone.
posted by stopgap at 5:27 PM on January 2, 2005

I did submit something, but I'm a little shy about showing...
Come on taz, quit stalling:)
posted by dhruva at 6:07 PM on January 2, 2005

what dhruva said: go taz go!
posted by moonbird at 6:15 PM on January 2, 2005

My goal was to use the contest to generate ideas. So ultimately, my favorite redesign submission might make up 60% of the final look, with different good ideas taken from others to make up the rest. Everyone seemed to have at least one good solution idea that I hadn't thought of before, which makes the contest a success in my mind.

I can't wait to see the new MeFi!

I think webmutant's idea of a white background with blue columns to emphasize and draw one's eye toward the text is a good design suggestion. Of course, the olio of elements throughout all the works shows much promise, many exemplary design decisions in this thread.

After looking at MetaFilter's current design for the last four years the layout certainly has become dated.

Also, I'd like to fourth or fifth the suggestion that Mefites can upload their own custom CSS files to use within Metafilter and share with other users. I also hope this incorporates XML and XSLT to somehow present semantic XHTML to user agents. That will just take to the next level.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 6:16 PM on January 2, 2005

I have to vote for 4easypayments' design.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:29 PM on January 2, 2005

The two things I'm seeing a lot of that I don't like compared to current Mefi:

Columns: Current MeFi has just one for the text (past any top-of-page boxes) which is both great for the 800x600 screens I'm sometimes stuck on (and my phone) and uses all the available space. Lovely. Lots of the designs on offer use too many, when they're really only necessary for the first screenful. On a page 30 screenfuls long, this is a waste

Too many text colours: A different colour of text should be read as a seperate font, and come into the no-more-than-three rule. Four colours on one "posted by" line are just more work on the eyes. Current MeFi gets this right, and with the blue-on-white preference setting is therefore totally work-safe.

4easy's look like the toppermost for me, if those boxes on the right are dropped into the text and don't leave a blank column endlessly below them.
posted by bonaldi at 6:59 PM on January 2, 2005

I didn't enter, but here's my take on the top "header" bar. I think the rest of the design would be very simple and spare. I like the idea of keeping the colors of each of the sites, but letting them fade into the background. I think having a small set of links on the far right that are contextual to each site would be nice and could be expanded (the ad bar and such would go below).

So, here they are: metafilter, metatalk, ask.metafilter.
posted by zpousman at 8:05 PM on January 2, 2005

erisfree, rafter for mine. Keep the colours.
posted by bdave at 8:41 PM on January 2, 2005

I like rafter's... if we can work out a less blinding bgcolor.
posted by SAC at 9:28 PM on January 2, 2005

I just noticed that mathowie had this to say about Gyan's design:

[...] the drop down multi-site nav is a good solution to umpteen-filters someday.

.... And I just can't agree. (The rest of Gyan's design is pretty nice, however.) Usability studies show that drop-down navigation is just not a good idea; read this article or, hell, read your own comment in this old thread.
posted by webmutant at 10:43 PM on January 2, 2005

webmutant: I glanced through that first link, and I don't think the lessons apply.

The subjects seem to be site-naive, who are on an info-gathering task. Those sites are marketing tools, with a decent turnover of eyeballs. IOW, I may go to the Chevy site, and not knowing my way around, may find the drop-downs detrimental to quick search-n-locate. But once done with looking up the promos, I may not revisit the site. So, emphasis in design of those sites, is to present links to information primarily to naive users.

Community blogs, like Mefi, on the other hand, have for the most part, visits from addicted users. A couple of visits after the new design, and there's awareness primed that the drop-downs conceal sections.

As for the MSNBC site, those are rollouts, which are difficult to navigate due to the fact that the shape of the mouse movement space that keeps the rollout active is concave and hence prone to collapsing the rollout. That's not much of an issue with plain drop-downs like the one I suggested.
posted by Gyan at 11:58 PM on January 2, 2005

And above all, usage of the drop-down is restricted to 5-6 times per visit, at most.
posted by Gyan at 12:00 AM on January 3, 2005

Lots of good designs but I have to say erisfree's strong, clean design wins it for me.
posted by vacapinta at 1:15 AM on January 3, 2005

I always find white backgrounds blinding / hard on the eyes. The colored backgrounds of the current sites are one design element that ain't broke.
posted by scarabic at 1:23 AM on January 3, 2005

Can I use the drop-downs to open the new site in a tab? Because otherwise, if I had my way, it would be a no-go. (I also think it's more effort than just clicking a link.)
posted by kenko at 7:14 AM on January 3, 2005

I totally missed this! Any chance of an extended deadline? PLEASE?!

posted by armoured-ant at 7:14 AM on January 3, 2005

4easypayments. Awesome.
posted by agregoli at 9:03 AM on January 3, 2005

So I'm late to the MeTa party, but I got my submission in on time, so ... here it is:
Ask MetaFilter

A late submission that I didn't tweak out, but where the arrows and left-side borders would reflect the appropriate color (MeFi, MeTa, AskMe, etc.) Note: The "arrows and left-side borders" don't show up for IE, but they're far from necessary.

And here's the overall summary / thought process / etc. page with thumbnails of each page.

posted by Alt F4 at 10:35 AM on January 3, 2005

My half-an-assed-stab at a redesign is:


I used post background colors to help make the page scanable, which seemed rather innovative when I was doing it but now i'm feeling rather, erm, sheepy. :)

I didn't have time over Christmas to flesh out the design as much as I'd hoped, or do additional comps, but I think there's still a little bit of nascent interesting content in it.
posted by hansbleep at 10:44 AM on January 3, 2005

AIIIE, sorry for the self-referential link.

I meant:

here is my comp

I haven't had nearly enough caffeine this morning.
posted by hansbleep at 10:45 AM on January 3, 2005

AltF4: that's pretty good, but... wait a minute, it looks just like your own site.
posted by Termite at 10:58 AM on January 3, 2005

webmutant has my vote, although I like that stopgap's use of zebra-striped posts. A simple line element between posts in webmutant's layout would probably suffice.
posted by eamondaly at 12:19 PM on January 3, 2005

oh, crap. I was stranded at my parents house for two weeks over the holidays thinking about how to propose redesigning MeFi and then find this when I return. Crappity-crap.

Notes on what I've seen: I like the tabs for the sections, but I'd also like to see a quick pulldown for lofi.mefi or some other CSS/cookie option to change the appearance.
posted by stevis at 12:26 PM on January 3, 2005

Yeah, I designed my site (concerning the struggle) a year or so ago, but thought the design worked really well for this. There was a fair amount of behind-the-scenes editing, adjusting, altering, and whatnot to get it from where it was (CTS) to where it is (MeFi), not that you can tell at first glance. I don't publicize my site at all (note: not even in my profile). I don't even use the e-mail for the domain. Robots are told to go away (I think). The only way people would see it would be if the half-dozen people who go to my site each year parsed a subpage, as you did. And if (A my design won, and (B anyone really cared, I'd redesign my homepage in a jif.
posted by Alt F4 at 12:53 PM on January 3, 2005

From a design and ease-of-use standpoint, I must say that I find rafter's submission most appealing.

Then again, what I'm really looking forward to is the ability to design my own template. Whatever the final design ends up being, I just hope the code is clean enough to make my own stylings easy and fun.

Good efforts on everyone's part, it seems.
posted by quasistoic at 2:00 PM on January 3, 2005

I like Alt F4's. Very nice.
posted by BradNelson at 3:34 PM on January 3, 2005

Wendell, for what it's worth, I liked yours simply for showing me that a three column layout could work and solve many of the current problems without looking too much like every other blog on earth. - mathowie

Oh. My. God.

I posted this and forgot all about it.
I've already glimpsed three designs I like better than my own, but as promised:

Front Page (logged out) and Ask Me Page (logged in). Requires Impact font to look right.

And I'm still double happy with my logo redesign:

posted by wendell at 9:10 PM on January 3, 2005

oooh wendell, i like.
posted by moonbird at 3:42 AM on January 4, 2005

Okay, I know we’re 125ish comments into this thread and it’s about to fall off the main page, but I’ve had an idea rattling around in my head for the past couple of days. Essentially, the question goes to Matt, but how would those of you who have submitted something or wanted to submit something feel about a round 2?

What we have in this thread is a ton of great ideas and feedback from everyone and I think it would be interesting to see what happened if we took the knowledge we now have and tailored new mockup ideas with it. Matt made a mention that the “winning” design was going to make up about 60% of whatever new Metafilter emerges. Imagine how much better Metafilter could be if we went through one more cycle of tweaks and then let Matt take the final work from that round?

Matt could still give out his prizes to his current winners, I’m not looking to alter that aspect. But, I don’t think any of us really submitted our attempts with the desire to win some prize which is why I’m proposing this.

If we, say, put out a two-week extension until the next deadline that should give everyone enough time to really create a great Metafilter. We’re all in this together and I think bouncing creatively off each other is going to really produce something worth keeping around for a while.
posted by erisfree at 6:47 AM on January 4, 2005

are a ton of great ideas... *I blame the coffee*
posted by erisfree at 6:50 AM on January 4, 2005

Great idea, eris. If I have the time, it'd be fun to work on that. Loved your submisison, by the way.
posted by Alt F4 at 7:18 AM on January 4, 2005

I'm always down for some extra tweaking.
posted by 4easypayments at 8:24 AM on January 4, 2005

Eris' idea is brilliant, I think. It's also worth noting that AltF4 and 4easypayments, two of the other seeming frontrunners (judging from the comments in this thread) concur.

Though the thread has slid off the page now, for what it's worth, my personal vote goes for some sort of erisfree/stopgap/AltF4 hybrid. Maybe stopgap if I had to choose just one.
posted by rafter at 5:22 PM on January 4, 2005

Late on the draw, but I don't care!

I LOVE Gyan's design, get's my vote. Would really like to see what Taz has hidden away, though.....
posted by codeofconduct at 2:48 AM on January 6, 2005

Ooooo I don't know what I like better, erisfree's design or his/her gracious thought of an extension to the contest! I would love to whip up a design for the Blue Green and Puke.
posted by themadjuggler at 6:47 PM on January 6, 2005

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