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WebmasterWorld Feedback Days Forum

  posting off  
Content is king, Design is the jester
Most old timers will hate the change, us young guns welcome it

 4:48 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you asked my dad he would never remodel his house. He likes it as it is and doesn't find it necessary. His house hasn't been remodeled since the late 50s.

I agree that some functions of the site definitely work well. I love the way the forums are organized, but the user interface needs a major facelift. There are many that will not welcome a new layout. However, there are a few obvious things that don't follow what we would all consider standard.

- Login/Register link not located top/right is one glaring one.
- Tables (really? It's 2010.)
- Location of the edit link! (below the message or above it, and to the right!)

I don't know if this is fortunate or unfortunate, but the site's brand dates it so much that you do not have to make a change and everyone would be OK with it. I still think of a giant spider wearing bifocals and sitting behind a big pile of computers whenever I see that.

Anyway, I saw a comment in another thread that said "If people want it to look like Facebook, they won't come here." Reminds me of the old "you young kids get off my lawn!" line. I don't think anybody would expect WW to turn into a Facebook clone or be redesigned with grunge elements and reflected logos. All of that stuff dates it just as much as calling yourself a "Webmaster".

But the site doesn't look like a designer ever took some time to consider color, unity, form, space, etc. All of the elements that create a good design are lacking or missing from this site.

To be honest, when I was first learning CSS this site was my biggest help. I can't tell you how grateful I am for it. It really helped shape my future. However, I stopped coming back because I always felt the site was a dinosaur and wouldn't keep up. To see an email from Brett saying they were considering an upgrade, I got excited again.

If there is a major overhaul (backend and frontend) then I am excited for it. If the old farts get their way and nothing changes except maybe for the logo I will definitely be disappointed.



 5:33 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ageist! Some of us old farts agree with what you are saying. Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you are younger you have all the good ideas and everyone over 50 is "coffin ready".

Youth is not a virute it is a state of being that will change before you know it, whatever your age it is what is in your head that matters.

Perhaps your Dad is ahead of the game; the 50s retro look is coming back.


 7:30 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

He is! And no, that's why I said most are afraid of change. Not all. :)

There's a difference between being OK with dated designs, bleeding edge trends (see grunge, reflected logos, WEB 2.0 rarrr!) and understanding what good design is.

Someone like Paul Rand? He knows what good design is and doesn't need a young whipersnapper (GET OFF MY LAWN!) to tell him what it is.

BTW, I'm almost 30yrs old, making me nearly prehistoric by internet terms.


 7:48 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree with nigassma statements. No need for the next Facebook but I guess a design could make it sexier. I don't think the design is the issue though. I love the logo, it's so old and classic. Reminds me of my roots on the Internet as does Webmaster World.

Old_Honkey you made me laugh out loud. :D You're right with everything you said. But it does seem there is a high percentage of the older and wiser ones really just being satisfied with this site going to a coffin. It could do some great things to, "pump up the volume." :)

Cheers! Hope WebmasterWorld is opening the can of worms to a bright future. :)


 8:36 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hope Brett does not take any offense if I say this: But he should definetly get some professional help for a new paint job for the website. Simply changing the colors of the layout and all the buttons would be a start. And please do not do it yourself: Because when I saw the banner for "Feedback days" I had to turn away out of fear of getting eye cancer. What is this? Arial italic underlined bold with cast shadow? Waaaah!

Ok. I have to cut him some slack. At least he did not use Comic Sans.

[edited by: jecasc at 8:40 pm (utc) on May 26, 2010]


 8:37 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

@jecasc I don't think he should take offense. He opened the door to criticism and suggestions. You make a good point, and Feedback Days graphic was pretty horrific.


 8:48 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not old, but I am older, I don't like change for changes sake, but I love change that addresses a problem and is a solution.

What is the problem with the current look of the forums?

I for one love the look and layout of the forums, minus the ugly new color scheme, seriously the green and red they choose looks like the color of left over paint from a 1950 institution for the criminally insane.

Is there an actual issue with the current layout? I am not aware of any.


 8:57 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm still reasonably young and favour as few changes as possible, not because I don't like modern designs but that I don't think this site needs that kind of look.

If the web was an office this site is like a plug, as many nice things I have in my office I don't want designer plugs on all my appliances -standard, boring yet functional plugs are fine, and actually re-assuring.


 9:27 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I for one love the look and layout of the forums, minus the ugly new color scheme, seriously the green and red they choose looks like the color of left over paint from a 1950 institution for the criminally insane.

Actually no color on this website really corresponds with any other color. I am not saying they should change anything in the layout, changing a few color codes in the stylesheet would suffice. But choose your colors wisely. And make them correspond. This website definetly needs a new color combo. When I rented my apartment the contract said I had to paint the walls and windows at least every five years. This website has not seen any new paint since I got her seven years ago. If ever.

The logo needs an overhaul, too. Google has changed it's logo at least three or four times in the past years, the webmasterworld logo looks like a dinosaur from days gone by.

We might have gotten used to it, but new visitors might come here and think the content is as outdated as the design.


 10:15 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

"new visitors might come here and think the content is as outdated as the design."

This is a very good point and one I was about to make. Ask anyone relatively new to the web, lets say last 3/4 years, to view WebmasterWorld (not its current member base) and see what they say.

I think they'd probably see a burgeoning dinosaur. An old dusty relic from another era. And sadly, how wrong they'd be. They'd miss the content, the character and the quality - for one reason. The design is old fashioned, and to be rather blunt, clumsy.

The colours, the UI, the logo, the iconography, the typography, the layout - it all needs review. Rational, objective review. I also agree that absolutely nothing should change unless there's a damn good reason to. I suggest a strategic review of the site basics - site mapping, wire-framing and user interaction - a ground up restructuring of all pages.

Lets think of the children.


 10:35 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are interesting relationships between design and content.

An instructive excursion is to look at the way Paul Graham's sites do design. The attitude, if I'm not mistaken, is to be absolutely minimal, with a clear objective. That objective, deliberately discourage those for whom eyecandy is very important. The hope is that this will leave deeper thinkers who contribute rather than detract from the debate.

It seems to work moderately well in that context.

For me easy to find, flow, short content, with all the facts in one small place are important. My time is precious. The web has become a great cess pool of half baked content. Not surprising, when it's too easy to create content. No reliable way to pre-judge it = disaster. (By flow I mean that easy running mental state where you can absorb a lot of information, are relaxed and can go for hours.)

In this context I suggest:

Design could be better. If the "chrome/eyecandy" is subtle and not distracting. If colouring emphasizes content and the rest is definitely background. If there's a way to smoothly get the central message, well expressed in no more words than are needed, then you're golden.

If you look at a few pages and tune into where your eye and mind get carried by the design you'll feel what I mean.

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