The Mac Observer's website design

  • Posted: 06 November 2001 04:21 PM

    I’ve been a loyal Observer for a while now.. I enjoy your sites daily comprehensive report and up-to-date news briefings. Your site has helped me expand my creativity and knowledge within the Macintosh interface.

    However, I really think your site would benefit from a redesign.

    Sure, TMO’s current layout gets the job done, however, I’m confident a new layout would help the site reach its full potential and attract a new breed of inquisitive Observers.

    Lulio Vargas
    -gameranger: krakfiend
    MacGamez.com

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    Lulio Vargas
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    http://www.macgamez.com/
    MacGamez.com
    -gameranger nick: krakfiend

         
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    Posted: 12 June 2001 02:59 PM #1

    Thanks, Lulio!  We actually just redesigned the site back in January, but are always interested in suggestions for improvement.  What, specifically, did you have in mind?

    -Dave

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    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

         
  • Posted: 12 June 2001 07:36 PM #2

    Thanks for the speedy response!

    Plain graphic text links are boring, in my opinion. For example, edit each link into a tab graphic or add a drop shadow effect.

    Eye candy as a whole shouldnt be a casualty of web design at the expense of reckless simplicity.

    Otherwise, everything is great. The fonts (mostly Verdana and Times, I believe) used on the site are big and easy to read, which makes easy on the eyes.. definite plus.

    So, just my two cents.

    Keep up the hard work!@

    Lulio Vargas
    -gameranger: krakfiend
    MacGamez.com

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    Lulio Vargas
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    http://www.macgamez.com/
    MacGamez.com
    -gameranger nick: krakfiend

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2001 10:01 AM #3

    I agree that TMO could use a redesign. In my opinion, it is a great site, but it has never been at all attractive. Your new (as of January) logo is derivative and has nothing at all to do with the subject it represents. Also, the page layout wastes screen space and is confusing to the eye. And the color… almost as bad as MacAddict purple and green! Keep in mind that I love the site, these are just suggestions.

         
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    Posted: 18 June 2001 04:12 PM #4

    ::Burnum Raises His Hand::

    “Yes Burnum?”

    I’d just like to say, I’m against mostly against redesigns.  It seems to me every time I visit TheMacMind.com they have a new design.  I’m a man of habits.  The news is listed on the left, the features on the right.  It’s on white (always a plus) and surrounded by green.  I think the Jan design is way better than the previous design.  It’s simple to navigate, fast to load, and isn’t boring.  Now granted, I’m not the type who could tell you what colors go together well, but a site design should be based on ease of use and speed first, looks second.

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2001 03:22 PM #5

    I have been reading TMO for several years now, and have seen it go through a couple of redesins.  I have to admit, I was first against the redesign that took place before the most recent January one, but quickly got used to it.  I was actually surprised that TMO had another redesign so soon in January.  While I like the color scheme better (or should I say the Sage-inspired green?), the layout still bothers me to this day.  I feel that I have to focus on all of the topics off to the left of the highlighted stories/columns in order to see them all, instead of being able to just to glance at them.  In addition, the highlighted content for the day doesn’t really allow for true highlights (only two?) when there is plenty of other good coverage to be found.  Then again, to find that, you have to go looking in the listing to the left…and I’ve already touched base on that.
    If I were a new viewer to TMO, I wouldn’t feel welcome by the layout.  Headlines are not really headlines and highlights are placed awkwardly down the page without any separation between sections.  Don’t get me wrong, I am quite fond of TMO and have been for some time, but I think that a reworking, not a complete redesign, could be beneficial.
    On a positive note, I do like the listing of all the features underneath a story, in the proper clandestine manner that they are (after all, they are not the primary reason in viewing the page).

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2001 06:39 PM #6

    I’m not quite sure about what you mean about the headlines and summary separations.  Instead of loading up the main Mac Observer index page, I load http://www.macobserver.com/news/ .  This has all of the headlines and summaries on one page, and I can quickly see what I want to read, and what I want to pass.

         
  • Posted: 26 June 2001 12:36 PM #7

    Hm, I really prefer ‘reckless simplicity’ to ‘eye candy’, especially when it wrecks my teeth or hurts the eye…

    This site is ledgible and navigational, ergo: it supports aesthetic imagination

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    ‘The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state.’  -Tacitus

         
  • Posted: 28 June 2001 04:07 PM #8

    You’ve got a point, Justin, but there’s one problem with that-it’s not the main page.  Most people who are going to be new to the site will be greeted with the main page and not see the rugged simplicity of the news only page.  Sometimes it takes eye candy to attract one’s attention and good content to keep it.  TMO certainly has the content, but I still am not comfortable with the main page arrangement.

         
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    Posted: 19 July 2001 06:01 AM #9

    On 2001-06-25 21:39, Justin wrote:
    I load http://www.macobserver.com/news/ .  This has all of the headlines and summaries on one page, and I can quickly see what I want to read, and what I want to pass.

    Note that on this page (and any page that uses the “Site Navigation” links in the sidebar) the “Forums” link still goes to the old forum page.

     

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    Rob

    widgets :: music :: photos :: twitter

         
  • Posted: 19 July 2001 11:15 AM #10

    Good point, but on the top of the page it says:

    “IMPORTANT!!

    PLEASE NOTE: These forums are no longer active. As of July 12, 2001, The Mac Observer has moved to a new forum engine located at http://www.macobserver.com/forums/. Please post any follow-ups to the appropriate forums there.

    Thanks!
    -The Mac Observer Staff”

    Still, its senseless not to be changed.

         
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    Posted: 20 July 2001 11:06 PM #11

    Thanks for the note on that link!  We forgot to update it! 

    It will be changed ASAP (which means sometime this week), and I really appreciate the note. 

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    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
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    Posted: 30 July 2001 10:17 AM #12

    The site could use a little layout work. I’ve often said that the arc is the teal of the new millenium*—and TMO has both

    The masthead could be seriously pared down. When the site first opens, you’ve got a lot of sailing across a sea of green to reach the content.

    The individual sections on the home page could do with a better visual grouping. The HTML headlines coupled with the round icons aren’t enough to enforce the divisions and as a result, the articles have a tendency to get lost on the page. The Mac Observer Reader Specials stand out as the strongest element in the content area (albiet with funky margins to the rest of the page). Good for advertisers, but the news content deserves some pumping too

    The links for Apple’s Mac product guide on the home page—useful? Sure. Filler? Definitely. If it’s going to be included, it can be on its own page with extended descriptions for each of the categories.

    Without question, TMO has great content with some outstanding writers on board—but I do think it’s time to pull out the ol’ sketch pad and look at the organization of that content.


    (* In the 80’s, it seemed like designers pulled every page from their Pantone books save one, and it was loaded with teal. I blame Miami Vice and Koala Blue. For this century, it’s a shape that’s making the rounds (along with the illustration software that makes them easy to create). TV, magazines, newspapers… you can’t go ten minutes without coming across the logo that was birthed as a result of “Pick Typeface + Add Arc = Voil?!” )

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    Rob

    widgets :: music :: photos :: twitter

         
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    Posted: 30 July 2001 08:34 PM #13

    We have some changes in the works, but I do have to say that I think we have a fairly short header.  I know you hate how tall it is, Rob (someToast), but it’s just not that bad.

    Send me a screenshot.  I wonder if you are seeing the same thing I am.

    Again, though, we have some minor tweaks coming.

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    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
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    Posted: 07 August 2001 03:17 AM #14

    Part of the problem is that I keep a lot of windows open on the screen, so each one is only about 800 x 600 in size (but then, if I had the browser going full-screen, I’d be running Windows )

    I think the height of the masthead is more pronounced on the forum pages, where it’s still tall enough to include a banner ad (but doesn’t). Coupled with the buttons and links at the top of the page, forum content gets pushed way down.

    A forum page:

    The home page:

    A quickie shuffling of the home page:

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    Rob

    widgets :: music :: photos :: twitter

         
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    Posted: 07 August 2001 04:22 AM #15

    Jeepers, that is a good idea, but you had the bad judgement to pull out our Jedi Mind Trick.  Gotta keep that. 

    The idea is heading for the design hopper.  Thanks!

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    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.