Ok first of all, I really appreciate all the work that has been invested in this new custo. That being said, I though I would share my feelings about it. I've been a daily visitor of custo for the past 4-5 years as far as I remember.
The tons of new features are awesome, and I mean it. I realize you guys spent a lot of time on these, and I think it will make the experience much better than it was. I have to admit the information structure is well done and the usability is top-notch, but it really miss the artistic part.
The name of the site is *customize* - why is it totally white with blue links? That's like, the most boring color setup ever. I know there's a "black" theme, but it's awful :( Are you guys planning more themes? I think this has been discussed before but.. It would be interesting to let the users create their own customized theme from a color picker, then creating a section on the site where people can share their colors schemes, etc.
I believe the logo also need some work. A new typo maybe? It doesn't "feel" like a graphic design website. It should also be smaller, or at least equalize the space on top and under it. Actually I think a new one would be neat, but I guess you are keeping it for "identity" purposes which is fine with me. But hey, even huge companies update their logo once in a while :)
That's about it. I've read in a few posts "this is the best design ever". Am I missing something? Is my account bugged.. making it white with blue links? At the moment I see a "Web 2.0" website that looks from 1998 or so :/
You don't get much more "Web 2.0" than these sites, and they all have the white background with blue links you complain about.
As a web developer with a focus in interaction design, I can tell you that best practice is a white background with blue colored links--people expect them and understand immediately what they are. They never have confusion about seeing blue text and clicking it--the only way blue text confuses a user is if it isn't a link.
The design is smooth, clean, and functional. Does that make it the best design ever artistically? No, but how about how it works? I'd say it works pretty darn well--and that's more important in my opinion.
Not to mention that one thing I like about the visual aspect of this site is that it gets out of the way and let's the art showcase itself.
As for the site looking anything like a site from 1998...I'm not entirely sure you remember 1998 very clearly:
Thanks for your input zelkor. I think the difference is what people want from a "design". Our goal was usability and allowing the works themselves to shine. Essentially, the layout is a showcase for the art, kind of like an art gallery.
The good news for you is that once we are up and running for a bit we will be having a layout/mockup contest. The winner of the contest could become the new default layout (although I'd imagine it wouldn't be much fancier than this one). However, there will also be lots of user-made layouts to choose from that should satisfy everyone's style, as one could expect from a site named "Customize.org" :)
I always thought of it like this. The current design is the skeleton of this website. Users will be able to submit their own styles (Or "skins", if you will. Pun intended) and simply build off of these bones.
I think the design is great -- isn't the point of the site to showcase, share and discuss artwork/skinning? Yes. So with that being the case, like all great design, you shouldn't really even notice the interface, or at least it should never get in the way, as its purpose is to support the content, not be content itself.
The overall feeling I get from the design of the new customize is an inviting, unobtrusive and welcoming site. Try saying that about the new wincustomize. Yikes!
I happen to like the dark version very much, mainly because my eyes are somewhat sensitive to bright lights(and a monitor is pretty much like staring at a light bulb) so I totally support darker themes and hope to see more in the future.
Digg has a light blue gradient background to match the blue header and links. There is also the green used for the sub menu and some titles - it's a contrast for the blue & yellow mix. The yellow is also very present in the interface with the digg tag. The mix of colors tend to make it less boring.
YouTube is not a good reference. It was designed for people from 5 to 120 years old of any genre. It's not the case of customize who is aiming an audiance who loves design and things different.
Flickr has a second main color which is purple. They selected these colors to obviously reach a bigger audience, just like YouTube, and put the emphasis on the pictures. I know this is the objective of Custo too but I believe there might be a balance.
As I said in my first post, it is indeed a very functional design and the structure is well done. I'm not questionning the usability of the white & blue. I'm just saying they tend to be uncreative for a site called *Customize* :)
If that can clarify things, I'm a graphic designer for an IT & Design agency. So, just like you, I understand very well the point of usability.
But if all websites go for this white and blue combo, don't you think our whole Internet experience will be insanely boring? It's simply a challenging process to go and innovate with conventions.
Maybe we got an answer here though, the Custo's theme might just need a second primary color to enlight the whole thing.
I used "Web 2.0" with the " because it's mostly an architecture, information & social reference. I don't believe it applies to Design, unless you really want to refer to gradient and rounded corners? Oh and maybe the Beta tag in the logo ;)
It's quite funny though, I'm currently working on a "social" prototype website for a major client (which *everybody* knows if you live in Canada). Their brand color is blue and yellow (replaced by orange on the web since yellow is an eye killer). So I spent the last 2 weeks creating an interface with blue & orange links over white background :) I will definitly post a link once it's online... after the 5 months of dev :/
Thank you! I can't wait to play around with this. I really hope to find some free time to participate. I said it previously but, keep up the solid work..
Wow, just noticed you added the possibility edit the post. Sweet! :)
Blue and orange together pretty much follows color theory. It's more like blue and brown (the opposite of blue), but orange or yellow work as well.
I agree with the original poster. The design is very bland and uninspired. Most art or skin sites have darker, subdued backgrounds (at least, from memory), which brings out the artwork. This design has no discernible focal point, I think a problem of having way too much white space. And the dark theme is terrible with its blinding blue link text. Also, the ranking is a bit nebulous (I realize that's a loaded subject and maybe it's for the best), and it seems to show less information on specific things than the old site. Or you just have to look harder for it. I'm not sure.
I have much more good things than bad to say about the new site though. Just making some observations.
That would be because it is not a graphic design website. It's a site concerned with modifying the gui and archiving and distributing related content. The content is king here and is the focus. The site bristles with functionality and does not compete with the submissions. I appreciate this.
If lamp and steve were in the business of graphic design I could see the site being more slanted towards the visually frivolous.
I don't think the site should use a lot of graphics or gradients or try to become a creative work unto itself. It should just work and let the submissions shine. Different color schemes would be fine though, via user edited css. I know I'd do something less white, just because I think it makes the subs stand out more.