Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Right.  We've discussed overall re-design objectives, mission statements, target users, attracting user traffic, desired functionality, usability, information architecture, content tagging, user tagging, technical constraints of scoop etc.

The bit that's missing for me is the overall graphic design and look and feel of the site.  I'm not suggesting we should go all flash - that would be too much of a culture shock for lefty, nerdy types (I'm joking!!!!!) but the overall graphic design has a very important psychological effect in giving new users a sense of what we're about.

I'm also not aware of the technical constraints of scoop so what follows may be a bit academic.  Neither am I a graphic designer - so what I am suggesting may be hopelessly off base - but at least I want to introduce the topic for discussion.

Too me lots of white space divided by thin black lines, HTML code and blue text is cold, antiseptic, overloaded with text and slightly intimidating.  The buttons at the top of the page should look like buttons.  Daily Kos has a bit more design/colour but I don't like the dirty brown orange which is much too dominant.  

To me there isn't enough of a visual contrast between the navigation menus at the left and content pane in the centre.  The colours are too stark, and there is insufficent use of shading.  There seems to be a lot of potentially useful space unused on the right below the logo, and the key pages - Home, Diary, Comments, user pages should probably be subtly colour coded so you know intuitively where you are without having to figure it out.

Overall the sense is of a wordy content rich site, but there is no visual sense of warmth, conviviality, fun, community, who's knocking around for a chat.  Nothing flashes at you if somebody has responded to your comment, you don't get a round of applause if 10 people recommend your diary....

OK the above isn't entirely serious, but you get what I mean - there is no use of sound, little use of colour shading, or animation, few visual navigation cues, and there is no sense of sitting in a warm welcoming sitting room where you can see who's around looking for a chat, with books on the shelf, drinks in the fridge,  and a ticker tape of new diaries at the bottom.  The site should look like what we are...

Am I of the wall?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 30th, 2007 at 09:36:13 PM EST

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