Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


An example of innovative web design
October 17, 2002 6:21 AM   Subscribe

An example of innovative web design This was a site made for last tuesday's Buffy episode. I thought it was a really good example of what could be done with design...and there's not even any flash. Just the poems and pictures of a fictional girl who knows she's about to die.
posted by nyxxxx (60 comments total)

 
Cassie... sounds like Kaycee.
posted by milov at 6:53 AM on October 17, 2002


JAGCS. just another geocities chick site
how do we know this chick is fictional?
posted by quonsar at 6:58 AM on October 17, 2002


Because no one on GeoCities could do something that nice? ;)
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:59 AM on October 17, 2002


Except for Cassie having a professional production company behind her and Kaycee being made by high school girls.

Fictional because I saw her on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tuesday night.
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 7:00 AM on October 17, 2002


What was the context of the site in the episode? Did they give out the address on the air? Being a Geocities site, wasn't this site overwhelmed at the time?
posted by laz-e-boy at 7:00 AM on October 17, 2002


and there's not even any flash

That's the best part. Damn, I feel old.

Codger voice: "I remember when HTML was all we had, dadgummit, and we LIKED IT. Now y'all have these newfangled javerscripts and virt'all machines and flashy whatnots."

Yeah.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:02 AM on October 17, 2002


What was the context of the site in the episode? Did they give out the address on the air?

No url was shown, but they 'Googled' her name, believe it or not. Possibly the first mention of Google in a fictional television series?
posted by milov at 7:05 AM on October 17, 2002


[ this is bad ]
posted by monkeyJuice at 7:07 AM on October 17, 2002


overflows on 800x600.

the paintings page is kind of neat, but I wouldn't really call this site all that innovative, personally.
posted by trioperative at 7:10 AM on October 17, 2002


breaks in IE5 for the Mac.
posted by whatnot at 7:18 AM on October 17, 2002


The paintings look strikingly like those of some of the women in my art therapy class when I was in an eating disorders clinic.
posted by Modem Ovary at 7:21 AM on October 17, 2002


Falls apart completely in my Netscape 6.2.
posted by dnash at 7:35 AM on October 17, 2002


Isn't this retro, and not innovative?
posted by uftheory at 7:42 AM on October 17, 2002


Doesn't everything break on IE5 for the Mac? I mean, it's not like Microsoft had any Macs to actually test the software on...
posted by zanpo at 7:46 AM on October 17, 2002


I'd say it's good design because it really seems to flow from the heart of a gloomy teenage girl. Not particularly innovative (though I like the scrolling poem) so much as... evocative. And that's a Good Thing (tm).
posted by Dok Millennium at 7:52 AM on October 17, 2002


The girl in the photo reminds me of the girl on the Blue Jam CD.
posted by chill at 7:56 AM on October 17, 2002


Sorry to be critical, but this is not very good. In fact, it is quite bad.
posted by Blubble at 8:04 AM on October 17, 2002


chill, please warn others when you post something that graphic and disturbing.
Her teeth give me the wiggins. That girl needs more crank.
posted by putzface_dickman at 8:04 AM on October 17, 2002


As for the geocities issue, i don't think it's your standard issue site. There aren't any ads, onsite or popup.
posted by o2b at 8:05 AM on October 17, 2002


Doesn't everything break on IE5 for the Mac?

Actually, IE 5 and 5.2 are very forgiving browsers for bad code. Most of the time I have to do my bug-testing on windows machines, cuz IE lets you slide. If what seems to be this hideous site was, like, you know, not in tables, it'd be fine.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:09 AM on October 17, 2002


As for the geocities issue, i don't think it's your standard issue site. There aren't any ads, onsite or popup.
Agreed, the URL isn't your usual geocities weirdy URL which probably means that it points to some dedicicated server or something.
posted by chill at 8:17 AM on October 17, 2002


Possibly the first mention of Google in a fictional television series?

Yeah the TV show isn't real!? My god, I've been living a lie!
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:19 AM on October 17, 2002


Possibly the first mention of Google in a fictional television series?

I don't know if it's the first mention, but Google was name-checked on The West Wing in an episode last season in the episode "Stirred". The deputy chief of staff tells his assistant, who is trying to get some sort of presidential proclamation honoring her former high school English teacher, to do some research to vet the woman. He mentions a Google search as a place to start.
posted by bradlands at 8:24 AM on October 17, 2002


Umm ... it's rubbish, isn't it? Good design is about selling your wares to the viewer in the most attractive format possible. And this doesn't sell anything to me, it just makes me hit "back" as hastily as possible. There's no way I'm waiting for that tiny wee window of text to scroll past for hours.

So it's not good design, and, like Dok Millennium mentioned, it's not particularly innovative either, although it does pretty accurately capture the rubbishness of a suicidal teen's output.
posted by bonaldi at 8:27 AM on October 17, 2002


pah! BuffyFilter...
posted by i_cola at 8:27 AM on October 17, 2002


Possibly the first mention of Google in a fictional television series?
Not a TV series I know, but I seem to recall it being mentioned in an Aint It Cool review of the US remake of Ring that it is nice to see people in the film use google to search for things on the internet, rather than some fictional computer system that renders the whole search process in 3D.
ainitcool's search is buggered at the moment so I can't find it, sorry
posted by chill at 8:29 AM on October 17, 2002


I think we might be missing the point here.

A TV show made a website, that the referenced in the show, for a fictional character and pretended (?) to host it on geocities, kind of like a depressed high school girl would? I think it's cool.

I saw the show, but didn't think that the website would actually exist.

I could be biased as I am a registered manic academic buffy fanatic
posted by goneill at 8:39 AM on October 17, 2002


'that they referenced in the show'
posted by goneill at 8:40 AM on October 17, 2002


so is it more or less effective than SuperGreg as complementary web marketing (also geocities, also sans popups or popunders)? Or is it not web marketing at all and just some hastily organized "breaking the fourth wall" shenanigans?
Granted, I'm not a regular Buffy watcher, but the site seems a little too self-consciously "un-thought-out".
posted by chandy72 at 8:47 AM on October 17, 2002


In the same vein, Ayleeorgnet.com is the website of a fictional company from a Sluggy Freelance storyline.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:57 AM on October 17, 2002


goneil check out the new show "push nevada" the whole thing has a strong web component. I didn't really get into the show but I saw an URL in the opening so I went to it and just started following links, there's a ton of little sites set up for that show.

This is actually becoming really common. Crap I can't remember but I think it was the movie AI had an AOL bot and a bunch of fictional sites built around getting people interested.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:57 AM on October 17, 2002


I'm kinda with goneill here. It's nice that something in a TV show really exists for once, even if it's fabricated. If nothing else, it's sort of like the movie making paraphernalia that fans gobble up -- "real movie lightsaber!" or "tricorder used by Kirk in Star Trek ep.21" anyone? -- only it's on the Web for everyone to check out.

It doesn't really seem like it was meant to be a marketing piece or a mass-consumption thing, just some bit used on the show that they haven't taken down. It's not like there's a link to the Buffy site or any advertising on the thing -- it's just a prop.
posted by me3dia at 9:04 AM on October 17, 2002


Random Verbiage:

Googling for "Cassie Newton", as Willow does in the episode, does not turn up the page.

http://www.geocities.com/newcassie/ is not the same website seen on the show; that one was animated.

It's fairly thin. Most TAWS are fairly verbose.

Also, speeling is too gud, u knw?

My point? None, but it's a darn cool feelie.
posted by bonehead at 9:05 AM on October 17, 2002


Addendum: the site looks fine in Mozilla 1.1
posted by bonehead at 9:07 AM on October 17, 2002


Good design is about selling your wares to the viewer in the most attractive format possible.

hmm is all good design really about selling?

i've been generally turned off by the attitude of the movement against so-called mystery meat navigation for sites that are less about "selling" and more about exploring. (sure, i think you have to evaluate your site's purpose to decide how the design should be done, but i think the attitude we're seeing is sucking the life out of design.) on the other hand, maybe it's all been said and done in the realm of exploring web possibilities. think so?
posted by dytiq at 9:08 AM on October 17, 2002


This is actually becoming really common. Crap I can't remember but I think it was the movie AI had an AOL bot and a bunch of fictional sites built around getting people interested.

The AI promotion was more than that: check out cloudmakers.org for an archive of the campaign - only it wasn't really a campaign. It was a game. And that's what we loved about it :)
posted by danhon at 9:21 AM on October 17, 2002


It's a shame that we have to always rate personal and creative sites on the same scales that we have to estimate practically useful sites and e-commerce ventures.

But then this is neither a personal site NOR an e-commerce site - it's a nice piece of easter-egg content for a TV series that a lot of people enjoy which emulates the angsty poetry writing of a precognitive depressive teenage girl. It's a bit PR, it's a bit advertising, it's a bit of a fun extra, and I thoroughly approve. But of course I wouldn't change my site to look like it...
posted by barbelith at 9:22 AM on October 17, 2002


The URL of the site wasn't mentioned in the episode, but shortly before it was aired three of BtVS's writers (Rebecca Rand Kirshner who wrote the epi, Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard) posted to the Bronzebeta and mentioned it to the regulars on the board. BtVS writers often post to that board, rather than UPN's "official" one which was removed in the site's recent redesign.

Cassie's pages as shown in the episode looked the same as the one at Geocities, but had more animations.
posted by prolific at 9:37 AM on October 17, 2002


The Whois Record is interesting.


Domain Name.......... cassienewton.com
Creation Date........ 2002-09-14
Registration Date.... 2002-09-14
Expiry Date.......... 2003-09-14
Organisation Name.... Cassie Newton
Organisation Address. 13 Shadow Lane
Organisation Address.
Organisation Address. Sunnydale
Organisation Address. 94086
Organisation Address. CA
Organisation Address. UNITED STATES

posted by putzface_dickman at 9:38 AM on October 17, 2002


I could be biased as I am a registered manic academic buffy fanatic

Oh geez, I aced the test there myself. How embarrassing.
posted by Plunge at 9:39 AM on October 17, 2002


And

Admin Name........... Cassie Newton
Admin Address........ 13 Shadow Lane
Admin Address........
Admin Address........ Sunnydale
Admin Address........ 94086
Admin Address........ CA
Admin Address........ UNITED STATES
Admin Email.......... newcassie@yahoo.com
Admin Phone.......... 666-442-8363

posted by putzface_dickman at 9:40 AM on October 17, 2002


... forgot to say: An example of "innovative web design" it definitely is not.
posted by prolific at 9:41 AM on October 17, 2002


A website created for a TV character has been done before.. in season 2 of Will & Grace. One of the main characters (Jack) sprinkled in little endorsements for his site 'justjack.com' throughout at least one episode. The URL now leads to the show's official site, but there are still mentions, transcripts, and an archived version available.
posted by bedhead at 10:11 AM on October 17, 2002


An example of innovative web design

I disagree. Strongly.

This was a site made for last tuesday's Buffy episode.

Which only makes it a vaguely interesting tie of one medium to another.

I thought it was a really good example of what could be done with design

Again, I most earnestly disagree.

...and there's not even any flash.

...

Just the poems and pictures of a fictional girl who knows she's about to die.

Maybe I missed it, but where on the site does it allude to her dying?
posted by mikhail at 11:26 AM on October 17, 2002


Actually, this kind of thing was done before "Buffy" and "Will and Grace""

Way back in the spring of 1999 on "Felicity" graphic-design boy Noel Crane had www.noelcrane.com , as his personal home page, which was mentioned on the show (as well as his love for his iMac).

Around the same time, the WB was creating pretty innovative virtual PC desktops (complete with personal email and files) for the "Dawson's Creek" characters at www.dawsonsdesktop.com. (It looks like they've finally stopped updating the Desktop's now..)

It looks like I've officially outed myself as a teen show addict... But damn, those shows have been innovative at including web/computer tie-ins.
posted by popvulture at 11:28 AM on October 17, 2002


Correction: noelcrane.com was launched in November 1998. E! ran a somewhat interesting article about it. posted by popvulture at 11:33 AM on October 17, 2002


Organisation Address. Sunnydale
Organisation Address. 94086
Organisation Address. CA


Ack...that's the actual zip code for Sunnyvale, CA. Now I have even less reason for disclaiming that Buffy supposedly lives in my city! There is no Shadow Lane here though (according to Yahoo Maps).
posted by girlhacker at 11:35 AM on October 17, 2002


Don't let's forget the seminal web guide to what badgers eat, whatbadgerseat.com. [from The Simpsons]

On Showtime's Queer as Folk, the website cumquik.com was mentioned in a throwaway line in one episode. The producers apparently decided to have a little fun with it. In a continuing storyline on the same show, one of the characters runs a porn website called jerkatwork.net. Both sites now redirect to the Showtime site, with a little wink to the audience before they do.

All of the above are safe for work, especially if you work with badgers.
posted by bradlands at 11:51 AM on October 17, 2002


Hmmm, let's not forget about "movie poop shoot dot com", eh?
posted by jkaczor at 11:57 AM on October 17, 2002


Hmmm, my wife and I always wondered if jerkatwork.net was real... Maybe they wink and re-direct for you, but not for us outside to the ole US of A... (How a company cannot understand the internet is a global medium is beyond me....)
posted by jkaczor at 11:59 AM on October 17, 2002


I'm sorry but the site is just awful.

In mozilla 1.1b it looks like complete ass. In IE6 it looks mostly like ass.

I'm not against mystery meat navigation.

I am against mystery meat that tastes rotten.
posted by jaded at 12:28 PM on October 17, 2002


i would consider this more of a movie prop than an actual website. it was supposedly built by a fifteen-year-old-girl, so it's not supposed to be innovative, nor is the content supposed to be groundbreaking. interestingly though, the site was viewed on IE5/Mac OSX on the show. probably worked when run locally, then just got plopped online after filming. from what i understand, the real site may have been a bit of an afterthought. this was posted to whedonesque before the episode ran, and had been plugged by the show's writers on some buffy posting board.
posted by patricking at 12:33 PM on October 17, 2002


To me, it looks like what it is: an utterly flawless parody of a geocities site by some teenage girl who's obsessed with death. The design isn't innovative, or even good, really, but it is strangely perfect.
posted by moss at 12:38 PM on October 17, 2002


Makes me wonder if eventually the networks will make producers use some generic but non-existant TLD if they want to mention a website, the same way everyone on TV has 555-XXXX as their phone number.
posted by briank at 1:14 PM on October 17, 2002


About as innovative as this.
posted by holloway at 1:19 PM on October 17, 2002


Two other URLs mentioned on The West Wing -- lemonlyman.com (fans supposedly obsessed with DCOS Josh Lyman) and capitolscoop.com (the website where Donnatella Moss was offered a job) -- don't resolve to actual websites, although the domain names are owned by Warner Bros.

A shame, really. I sure would have loved I'm sure some WW fan would have loved to snag lemonlyman.com after it was mentioned in the storyline for a real Bradley Whitford fan site.
posted by bradlands at 2:35 PM on October 17, 2002


Fans of Homicide: Life On The Streets probably recall that Det. Tim Bayliss had a website at inplainsite.com in which he discussed "Buddhist Perspectives on Bisexuality." The site ended up being central to a plotline in the last season when a murderer hacked the site to broadcast a live video of him killing a young woman. The site actually existed up until earlier this year, though it was only a splash page with links to NBC's official H:LOTS pages down below the fold. It's now gone entirely, I'm surprised that no one has snatched up the domain to put up a H:LOTS/Bayliss fansite.
posted by Dreama at 3:16 PM on October 17, 2002


Definitely not innovative.
posted by ifenn at 5:04 PM on October 17, 2002


i sure hope the original post was hyperbole.
posted by the aloha at 8:10 PM on October 17, 2002


My my, are we jaded or what?

I appreciated it. True fans of the show will appreciate it, even if it's not "innovative" by the uncomfortably high standards of the MeFi community. No the site's not innovative in any flashy way. No, the content is not particularly out there or creative or groundbreaking. Have any of you guys complaining about the alleged meekness of cassienewton.com ever ordered a MetaFilter T-shirt or mug from Cafe Express or whatever Matt used? I got my mug right in front of me, with some hot chocolate in it. Is it an innovative or groundbreaking coffee mug? No. Did I get this for free from Matt? No. It's just a nice thing to have. No big whup. It makes me happy. God knows why. Someone who's not a fan of MeFi couldn't understand it and it'd be impossible for me to explain it to them. I like MeFi. I like mugs. So I like the MeFi mug. *shrug* It's just a little something extra Matt cooked up once for his community. I hear no one bitching about the quality or the fact it doesn't walk off your desk and go get your coffee for you. It's just a nice little trinket. This cassie website thingy's the same kinda thing. A nice little plus.

I guess this Cassie website is one of those things that only a fan of the series in general, or of that particular episode's feature character, could truly appreciate. It's innovative in a subtle, yet significant way. It's touching without being over the top. It's like the people behind the show offering to fans of the show a little something extra. They ran the first and down, made their ten yards and went, "Hey, let's take another stride or two just for fun."

As a fan of Buffy, I appreciated the character of Cassie, where she was coming from, and what the writers were trying to say with her presence in last week's episode. It's a nice, warm, feel-goody thing that on top of the episode itself, the producers of the series would think to put a little Cassie site up on the 'Net. It's kinda like them saying, "thanks for tuning in. Here's a present for ya."

It's nice when entertainers do that little something extra for their audience. It's not innovative, but it is good policy. And I for one appreciated it.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:51 AM on October 18, 2002


« Older The US government recently released a draft of the...  |  Space Needle Missing from the ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments