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Suggested changes to portland.indymedia website design

redesign ideas for the portland indymedia website
Here are two drafts from the web design committee on ideas for redesigning the site.

Dark design: http://portland.indymedia.org/new/index4black.html

Light design: http://portland.indymedia.org/new/index4.html

Most links on these pages are functional yet. This is for look and feel only.

Our primary purpose in this redesign was to make the Newswire more prominent so it would be clearer that the site is all about Open Publishing. We hope this design will encourage more people to post, and make it more obvious that Indymedia is not some exclusive closed group controlling the content, like some people seem to think. Additionally, the newswire now starts at the top of the page, so more stories are immediately visible.

These designs also highlight the calendar more prominently. We hope that as more people use the calendar, that fewer events will go onto the newswire, and that the newswire can be more for news and analysis. (The new calendar will not be ready and running for a week or two at least.)

We added a tagline, "serving the portland metro, willamette valley, and the coast" to reflect the fact that Indymedia coverage is not limited to Portland. (I.e., God's Valley tree sits, PCUN/Pictsweet issues, Eugene scene.) This is to make the site more open to folks from outside the city, especially now that Eugene media activists have been invited aboard.

The features take up less room than they did before. About 50% of the width instead of 75% like before. We downplayed the features in order to make the Newswire more prominent.

Logo change: Rather than having two logos at the top (the rose to the upper left and the horizontal banner across the top), we designed a new logo that is long and narrow. Not so tall as the rose, and not as long as the previous horizontal one. This reduced the area used for logo stuff by at least 50% and made a lot more room for content.

At this point we suggest a comment period of 1 week or so -- until the next general collective meeting on Sunday, October 21 at It's a Beautiful Pizza, at 6:00. There we can discuss what people have been saying. Unfortunately, when dealing with design (whether web or print) it is *very* difficult to create complete consensus. For each element on the page, there will probably be one person who just hates it. If we considered all such comments blocking concerns, there could be no changes whatsoever. So this will have to be a process of taking everyone's comments into account and making changes that attempt to address everyone's concerns. The result will probably be a page that does not satisfy any one person entirely, but which hopefully does not *dis*satisfy anyone altogether.

if i have to choose... i choose dark 13.Oct.2001 16:37

matchboy matchboy@tearitalldown.com

i think the darker one is nicer.
it keeps the indymedia theme... most of them are dark anyways, and its just part of the indymedia atmosphere.

the light looks nice, but it doesnt really define us for the group that we are. too conservative....


my 3 1/3 cents


light 13.Oct.2001 18:15

aml andrew@pokerspot.com

in a quick poll, my roommate and i both prefer the light design. it's more of a departure from the previous site design, but a pleasant one. i'm not a big fan of the orange link color on the existing or new dark page. piddly, but the light design is more pleasing to the eye.
normally, i prefer dark webpages, but the new light design avoids the main problem by using a background color that's off-white, causing less eyestrain.

actually... the green 13.Oct.2001 19:41

matchboy

not very partial to the green on the sites either..
the dk orange color on that green are kinda ugly..
my 2 1/2 cents

indy"light" please! 13.Oct.2001 23:27

well-read-red-eyes

Amazing! I was thinking how hard the current type is to read (white on black just won't hold still) and then saw this article.

The "light" format looks clear and understandable (I didn't know there WAS a calendar!), no matter what colors you choose...as long as you keep the mellow background/black text. (Vancouver B.C. imc remains in my memory as an easily readable site. Sometimes the old-fashioned ways are best, even if it "looks conservative!")

Thanks for all your good work, imc-ers.

Also, I hope you keep in mind that not all users have state-of-the-art computers, and load time is still important (this is frustrating w/slow modem!)...

re: Calendar 14.Oct.2001 09:51

web design workgroup drdartist@riseup.net

re: well read red eyes. . .

There is currently a calendar, (click on the link at the top of the front page) but it does not present the information well and has never been used much.

A few folks got together and a completely new calendar is in development. It will go public soon for comments as well.

It is the idea that a prominant and fast effective calendar will become a vital part of the site. Announcements that are currently posted to the newswire can instead be posted to the calendar where they remain clearly visible until the event occurs, rather than be pushed off the newswire as often happens now. This also allows the newswire to be more focused on news and analysis (along with the other fun stuff that shows up there :-))

definately dark 14.Oct.2001 12:54

?

I like the dark, but, the logo gets overshadowed by the newswire, calander and features titles...the font is a bit goofy too, I would make it smaller than the words indy media center and I'd try to keep the top of the page more stable by continuing to use the impact font. Other than that its better than it was.

cool new site! 14.Oct.2001 23:22

spanky

great changes to the site

i say go ahead and i like the lighter one best. both are waaaayyy better than the old one but the lighter one is easier to read

thanks for makin indymedia even better

spank

Not Green, Please 15.Oct.2001 06:23

Joshua Eichen

I don't like the either green as a base color but I do think using a color lighter than black could make the site easier to read.
I think the the center column is too small with the current proposal and I would shrink the newswire 5 or 10 percent to add more space to it.

Good job and posting the proposed changes to the news wire for feedback.

choose your own color 15.Oct.2001 13:09

j

how about letting users pick their own color scheme and set it by cookie? that wouldn't be hard with php3...

designing for old machines, slow connections 15.Oct.2001 13:26

webdesign workgroup fellowtraveler@riseup.net

We made a great effort to design this site to work on older machines. The new layout shrinks and expands depending on the size of your browser window. It will shrink all the way down to a 640x480 pixel display, unlike the current one, which requires horizontal scrolling at that size. We implemented this quality to make sure the site would be attractive and useful to those with older machines/smaller monitors. (Apparently, at least 20% of the surfing public is still limited to 640x480.) Also, we will be limiting the number of graphics on the front page, and using the .png format for those we do use. This is in the interest of keeping the page to a small size and making it easier for folks with slower connections to access it. Additionally, though we plan to expand the number of items visible in the newswire to at least 20-25 (so that things don't get "bumped off" so fast), we will probably reduce the number of features visible on the front page to 5. (It is currently 9.) Fewer features will mean a faster upload. If people have other ideas about how the page can be accessible to as many people as possible, please add them here, or write to the above email address. Thanks!

png format 15.Oct.2001 13:58

webdesign work group drdartist@riseup.net

 http://portland.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=4013&group=webcast

please look at this link and if you cannot see the graphic image, comment on it here

darker 16.Oct.2001 04:33

no use for a name

darker please. I know poeple may like the lighter but it hurts the eyes of poeple who spend alot of time on computers many of the volunteers may have to spend hours working in the site. CRT headache sucks!!!

also bright colors eat the batterys of laptops so field updating of the site could be hampered. and when we only get a hour or so of battery time a 40% reduction in runtime can be make or break. fellowtraveler should know this well.

the site needs to load fast not only for older machines but also for bandwidth and load on the servers.


if we do go with the lighter scheme it needs at least to be off white biege but anything other than 255 white.

RDF syndication: newswire, features, calendar 16.Oct.2001 19:46

Seth Woolley seth@oregonpeaceworks.org

Have you guys considered using an RDF/RSS syndication file for your newswires, features, and calendar? Other website owners could syndicate your content onto their websites and computer desktops (news tickers with knewsticker), etc. Check out  http://www.purl.org/rss/1.0 for the XML namespace and the specification. I'm the programmer for oregonpeaceworks.org, and I've provided an action alert RDF file, for the hardcore people. I think it's the coolest thing since sliced bread.

If you have a mysql or postgresql or oracle (SQL flavor) database to work with, you can give me the shema, and I can create an RDF creator in perl for the team.

I would be glad to reuse my RDF compiling code. I release all my programming GPL, once it makes it past an initial security audit. ;)

Seth

http://www.oregonpeaceworks.org/
503-587-0874
Salem, OR

dark is better 16.Oct.2001 22:50

Elizabeth

The dark is better. The light site had white letters on cream background - impossible to read.

Elizabeth -- oops !! 17.Oct.2001 00:38

webdesigners

Elizabeth -- we had the wrong page uploaded for the light version when you looked at it. Take a look again if you can, as we have since corrected it. (The white characters were a mistake).

light 21.Oct.2001 12:50

none

go with the light green...the color reminds me of Oregon -- green, mossy, and moldy

Dark! 23.Oct.2001 19:39

aim

I prefer the dark. It would be cool if you could set up user preferences for the site (such as at slashdot.org) so each user could decide who they wish to view the data.