Evolt relaunches a redesigned site
December 14, 2000 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Evolt relaunches a redesigned site that has been months in the making. Now with article ratings to go along with the existing categorization and commenting abilities. Interface customization is coming soon, but my hat's off to the great collaborative programming and writing on evolt.
posted by mathowie (23 comments total)
Amen to that!

(Just one quibble: dark grey on light grey is terribly difficult to read, even with windows gamma.)
posted by fraying at 2:45 PM on December 14, 2000

Ditto. Graphic designers should be shot (ok, maybe just pinched real hard). They just don't get it.

posted by fleener at 2:51 PM on December 14, 2000

Thanks for the kind words Matt! I wish we coulda had our dynamic style sheets ready for the launch, but alas it will have to wait.. That will fix the problem of some people having a hard time reading the text..

Fleener, unlike many sites, the evolt.org site isn't designed or developed by a singular group of people. The redesign of our site has been in the works for a long long time, and many many people from all walks of life(not just graphic designers) have had input on it.. This is the final result.. If you don't like it, join our mailing lists to share your input on evolt 3.0 ;)
posted by djc at 3:04 PM on December 14, 2000

<rant on>
No, wait, I understand it now. This is the Office Edition of Evolt. No, not some M$ product. This is the version of Evolt you read at work. Your boss passing by will see ugly shades gray and green - not a trace of legible text. If he stops to look at your screen, he's not about to attempt to stand at the recommended distance (2 inch focal length?). It will be amusing to see him awkwardly pretend that he comprehended what he just saw. Very clever. Kudos to Evolt. Of course you'll want thick nerd glasses to enjoy the experience at a normal distance.
<rant off>

Why would I want to join a mailing list that produced this thing?

posted by fleener at 3:10 PM on December 14, 2000

I think it looks great-- I find it very easy to read and I really don't care about anyone else
posted by cell divide at 3:21 PM on December 14, 2000

It does look great, I can read the texts fine. Why the mean attitude fleener? Grudge against evolt?
posted by tiaka at 3:24 PM on December 14, 2000

OK, some constructive criticism...
  1. Icons work best when they're universal (you know, most people realize a red octagon means 'stop') or have descriptive text below them to be understood. Your question mark icon could lead me to a login troubleshooting page as easily as it could lead to an "about" page. It means nothing to me until I hover my mouse over it to see the ALT tag, or blindly click on it to see what is behind it. In terms of attracting new users, you've gotta be clear up front. Evolt doesn't strike me as an artistic exploratory site, so I suggest aiming to let the user know where a link will take them before the click on it.
  2. A tagline or slogan below the Evolt name would be nice to quickly orient new users to the scope of Evolt. Unfortunately, this information is located at the bottom of the front page. Even the phrase "A community for web developers" would be useful at the top of the page.
  3. Is the pull-down menu navigation purely for discussion topics? If so, rename the default menu item from "Choose a topic" to "Choose a discussion topic." The uniniated can easily be confused between the pull-down navigation, the links at the upper-right, and the obscure icons at the upper left. If you're going to divide up the navigation, be sure it's in quickly discernable chunks, unless you want people to stumble around into finding things.
  4. Add some javascript to the pull-down menu so that javascript-capable users don't have to hit the "Go" button.
  5. Rename the "Go" button on the search box to read "Search." Why force the user to read the surrounding text, when their eye is going to zero in on the text box and the push button?
This may seem like nitpicking, but all of these little nits contribute to the user experience.
posted by fleener at 3:32 PM on December 14, 2000

And on the topic of nits, you really need feedback from non-Evolt web designers. You guys have been around it too long. You're too familiar. Of course the layout makes perfect sense to you.
posted by fleener at 3:34 PM on December 14, 2000

I don't have a problem with critique, but this seems less like nitpicking and more like butt-stickery or perhaps axe-grindism. What's up Fleener? Did someone at Evolt pee in your Post Toasties?

Kudos to Evolt for two years of community service. I've got a nice bright monitor, and the grey on grey reads beatifully for me.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 4:37 PM on December 14, 2000

Nope. But of course anyone with anything critical to say must have an axe to grind. Interesting polarisitic thought process there.
posted by fleener at 5:39 PM on December 14, 2000

OK, in thinking about it, I suppose it's a big pet peeve of mine to constantly encounter sites that have poor contrast between page background and body text. Not coincidentally, these pages elements have always been shades of the same color. So when a web design oriented site does this, it irks me something special.
posted by fleener at 5:45 PM on December 14, 2000

not at all, fleener. your list of specific points is useful; but the rants about thick glasses and the like are just mean-spirited and angry sounding. not at all constructive, and without a shred of useful information embedded in the bile.

posted by rebeccablood at 6:08 PM on December 14, 2000

Add some javascript to the pull-down menu so that javascript-capable users don't have to hit the "Go" button.

Good in theory, but research has shown that this is actually contrary to usablity. It's too easy to let your mouse button slip on the wrong choice and off you go to a page you didn't mean to select. In the real world, this isn't so bad, but with the time it takes to load even minimal web pages, it's a huge pain.
posted by willnot at 6:44 PM on December 14, 2000

I consider myself very concerned with usability, and I think their site looks fantastic. It help that the content is engaging, too. I'm going to sign up for the list immediately.
posted by waxpancake at 6:49 PM on December 14, 2000

Mean spirited fleener. Don't you know it takes a village? Can't we all just get along? I'd have to agree that the figure-ground type contrast is too low but it's really easy on the eyes--which I like--maybe just make the type black till the dynamic styling is done? Very nice really. I think it's more consistent with the evolt group than the previous dark/moody design. Anyone read Adrian Frutiger's Signs and Symbols, it's a good one if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by greyscale at 7:29 PM on December 14, 2000

First off, thanks for all the generous posts here and in private emails.. we're really proud of evolt today, and its cool to hear peoples positive opinions about it :)

Fleener, lay off the trolling. Your attempts at 'constructive criticism' are pretty lame, and everyone can see that. If you'd like a point by point response to your 'criticism', feel free to email me and I'll be more than happy to share with you.

"You guys have been around too long" ???? haha.. seriously! two years is too long? Next time, do a bit of research to construct a more valid argument instead of shooting off about things which you don't understand.
posted by djc at 1:10 AM on December 15, 2000

willnot, what research (or research article) do you have about the pull-down menu? The usability factor working against your theory is that most pull-down menus now work this way. In fact, many run entirely on javascript and don't bother to have a "go" button (not a good idea). So it may very well run contrary to user expectation to not push the button for the user via javascript.

As for my perceived mean spiritedness, well, at least it got ya thinking. It's the most vitriolic feedback I receive that I prize the greatest.

I look at Evolt as a good example of the perils of design-by-committee (or mailing list).

posted by fleener at 7:30 AM on December 15, 2000

Fleener, Evolt is an amazing example of what people across the globe have managed to create over the Internet. Totally volunteer. Totally a labor of love.

It is important that the site is useable and well-designed. Constructive criticism is always welcome at Evolt. Assholes, however, are not. Please don't join thelist.
posted by amanda at 10:16 AM on December 15, 2000

The pull-down list run by javascript is not only prone to navigation mistakes, it doesn't allow the user to quickly go to the lead page of a sub-site, since the onChange() event doesn't trigger when the same selection is made. So you end up having a "go" button anyway... There's the problem right there. Oh... evolt rocks. Hard.
posted by hurkle at 10:54 AM on December 15, 2000

Thanks for the insult amanda. You're as bad as me. Except of course my commentary won't draw the attention of parental filters.
posted by fleener at 3:14 PM on December 15, 2000

Wow, fleener, that comeback was right up there in the neener-neener-neener class.
posted by rodii at 3:49 PM on December 15, 2000

did you just say neener-neener-fleener?

I think I've had too much to drink...
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 9:42 PM on December 15, 2000

Thought about it, but it works better as a straight line.
posted by rodii at 8:26 AM on December 16, 2000

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