Another Site Redesign

Once again, I've redesigned the look of the front page. What prompted the redesign was that quite a few people had mentioned to me that they didn't realize the site was anything more than the blog. So I've put links to the entire contents of the site right up top where they're harder to miss. This also allows me to feature the hoax forum more prominently, and increase the width of the column for the blog. One of these days, after I win the lottery, I'll get a professional to design the site. But until then, we'll see how this format works out.


Posted on Tue Aug 14, 2007



It doesn't help that your right column front page links lists the previous entries as "Blog Archives" and "Blog Categories".

The links are a lot more prominent in this new look though.
Posted by oppiejoe  in  Michigan - USA  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  03:50 PM
But now I have to scroll down to get to the new posts, and the Fart Button now has the most prominant placement on the front page.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  03:57 PM
>>the Fart Button now has the most prominant placement on the front page<<

But don't you think it adds a touch of class to the site?
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  04:12 PM
Sorry Alex, but it's hideous.
Posted by Jeremy  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  05:06 PM
You don't need to win the lottery to find a better design. I'm sure some of your readers could come up with some good ideas.
Posted by Joe  in  Portland, OR  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  05:12 PM
to quote Garth Algar: "We fear change". Personally, I prefer the one before the last two versions, just after the one that came before the first version in between the other one and the next one. You know which one I mean, right? Sure you do. Go back to that one
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  08:16 PM
Ugh, sorry but the design seems to be getting worse and worse ...
Posted by Dracul  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  09:13 PM
Sorry Alex, another vote against the new look. Main reason for my daily visits is to see new entries. Now I have to scroll down to do that. Never even clicked on a forum link when it was on the right. I think most folks come to see the new postings, so that should be at the top of the page, right under the masthead. Now we're hit with the forums and a fart button. Alternatively, put the postings on it's own page and then I can link straight to that.

Thanks for listening

Posted by Woody  in  Santa Fe  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  09:29 PM
Oooh noooo! *gasp*
People have to scroll down two inches!
However will anyone manage??? big surprise wink

Alex, you could have twenty fart buttons and make me jump through a hoola hoop to access the page and I'd still keep on coming back for more. What can I say? I'm an addict!
Posted by Nettie  in  Perth, Western Australia  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  09:38 PM
Alex, I must admit I don't quite like this latest design. The blog entries are much too far below the top of the page now (in fact almost out of sight on my 1280 x 800 lap-top screen).

When people enter your site's main page, they are "captured" when they can start to read something interesting/funny right away. So there should be a clear story, with a picture if possible, right away. That was what the older designs offered. It is not good if most of what they see first is a column of forum post titles only, as it is now.

Just my 2 cents.
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  11:16 PM
I couldn't put my finger on it Alex, but I think LaMa hit the nail on the head. I remember the first time I came to the site and what dragged me in was the first story I saw on the main page. I have abnormally large screens on both laptop and home computers and this new redesign really seems to put the Museum articles aside to show the fart button and the forum posting list.

I would maybe do something to draw attention to the buttons across the top, like alternating reverse colors, or just change the color of the forum button if you want to draw attention to it in particular. The Museum articles should get center-stage when you come to the page, they sucked me in and I read through every single one when I first found the site grin
Posted by Transfrmr  in  deep trouble  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  12:02 AM
Okay, I'll rethink the design a bit.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  12:23 AM
Like Nettie, I'll keep coming whatever, but...

1) As LaMa and Transfmr suggest, a high-impact story immediately visible could be a big bonus. I thing the blog needs to be right there, as it is, but how about having something like the Snopes 'one from the archives' box displaying an entry from the hoaxipedia or from one of be other permanent displays in the museum? This could change with every visit, thus leading visitors into other parts of the site.

2) Personally, despite having been visiting here avery day for at least 3 years I've never been to the forum more than once or twice. I just assume anything good enough will make it into the blog. I say this as a preface to my feeling that you shouldn't overstress the forum: those who like fora will find it easily enough, but I reckon most visitors to the museum will be more interested in the current exhibitions (the blog) and the permanent exhibitions (top 100s etc) than in the community meeting room.

3) The prominence of the crappy google ads is a real yukyuk. At present the ads are totally the first thing you see on hitting the site - cheapens the place horribly and is the kind of thing that'd turn me off if I was a first-time visitor. It's like having 10-foot-high posters for 10th-rate companies on the main doors of the Smithsonian... If you're going to have ads in quite that prominent a place, make it a good-looking ad for your own books:)

My one cent's worth...
Posted by outeast  in  Prague, Czech Rep  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  04:20 AM
As of this posting the site looks much better. The new topics are readily visible and the forum listing is near the top. It's good, save for the fart button. raspberry
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  09:04 AM
You don't need a professional to design the site. Your design is simple, easy to navigate and has a good overall appearance. Plus you can make changes on the fly if needed by doing it yourself instead of having to wait for someone to get back to you and charge you more money.

"Professionally designed" sites tend to piss me off because they're too bloated and I feel Flash is way over rated.

Keep it simple, there's no need to fix what's not broken!
Posted by Craig  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  09:27 AM
I don't like that the ads are squished together with the first post. If you could do something about that, I think the site would look 100% better!
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  09:41 AM
I like this design. The fart button is still front and center, but it's not the end of the world.

I might suggest a font color change, or an underline for the new forum posts, or maybe even just putting them in a gray table to call attention to them. As they are, it looks like more text and doesn't really call the eye to it. It's possible that's what you wanted to do, in that case, jolly good wink
Posted by Transfrmr  in  deep trouble  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  10:03 AM
The fart button (aka google ad) is unfortunately a necessary evil. And putting it somewhere people can't avoid seeing it is also unavoidable. I wish it were otherwise, because they're a pain in the neck to design around, but I need the money those ads generate to be able to run the site (and what's left over from paying for the site hosting helps pay my mortgage), and though people have suggested other ways of raising revenue from the site (advertise my own books, sell t-shirts, etc.), realistically none of those would bring in anything but a small fraction of what the google ads make.

If I were to become suddenly wealthy, I'd seriously think about getting rid of the ads. But in the meantime, the ads have to stay.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  10:31 AM
I'm not saying to get rid of the ads completely, because I know you need them. But maybe they would look better if you moved them over to the right side of the site, where the About the Museum section and Prank Place ads are. They would be less in-your-face, they just don't look good in the blog part of the site.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  10:35 AM
The ads would definitely look better off to the side, but I also have to consider where they generate the most revenue. The more out-of-the-way they're placed, the less money they make. The difference can be pretty dramatic. I long ago swore I'd never have pop-up ads, or anything like that, but I don't have the financial means not to worry about how much the ads make.

In other words, the placement of the ads is really an indicator of how poor I feel. And after my recent trip to Africa, I'm feeling very, very poor.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Aug 15, 2007  at  12:44 PM
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