I hate to be "that guy" but here goes anyway.
Is anyone else around here kind of turned off by the new look and feel? I mean, don't get me wrong - I'm finding little functional changes here and there that I really like. I think it only makes sense that there is an integration between this site and C. B. Gitty since both of the sites have become so comprehensive in their respective areas. I like the idea that a newbie can stumble across this site and that C. B. Gitty is only a click away. It reduces some of the leg work for someone who decides he or she wants to get started.
I also like how the photos that everyone uploads now has a running slide show on the home page of the site. Looking at the photos is one of the main reasons I come here as I can see what everyone else is doing. Everyone keeps reminding me through their work that there are so many things that I haven't thought of and I continue to be inspired by everyone's ingenuity.
But the visual theme of this site is sort of a downer. It looks flat and 2-D-ish. It seems impersonal; like Tron had gotten hold of the site and redesigned everything.
What does everyone else think? Just me?
Ehhhh, sorta. No offense to Ben (it is his site now. He can run it any way he wants), but I kinda liked it the other way.
Perhaps a poll...
Yes, I'm not smitten by the banner on the head, it's neither as gritty as the original, nor is it simple and clean. Not wanting to be too critical, but it's displaying all those classic mistakes of the non-graphics person. Too may font styles, shading on the main script is too fussy and at odds with chunky type, the drop shadow isn't necessary (and the color clashes with the magenta of the logo). To be perfectly honest I thought the graphics on my computer had flipped out for some odd reason, so I shut the page down, closed my browser and re-started it....no joy.
The old style wasn't perfect, but sorry to say this NOT an improvement. I'm not good at this sort of thing, but I know when it's not right...that's why here in the UK for HGMC we use the services of one of our members who's got some graphic design skills. If it ain't broke...bring back the old style until something BETTER can be figured out.
If there's a poll then I vote to give it more time. There seem to be changes happening almost every day and I feel sure the site will find it's feet. If you remember the post on what people do, we know there are quite a few graphic designers who use this site. I'm sure something can be sorted out and will probably be done soon.
I'm not disagreeing with what's been said above, but just saying that maybe we should be patient for a while.
On the positive side I think it says a lot about how important and valuable a conduit this site is to many of us.
Thanks for the shared insights everyone. I do have a bit of graphical design and web layout experience (about 8 years' worth), but I do not claim to be great at it. Shane had long intended to do a visual redesign, and I have gotten a lot of good feedback about it so far. You have to remember that when you have a site with this many users, there are going to be a lot of different opinions of what is "right". Some people like brighter and flashier, some people like calmer and more minimalistic. Also, you have to keep in mind that the Ning platform has some inherent limitations that kind of hinder realizing an overall plan.
There will be some further tweaks; I want to come up with a better background than the solid gray/brown color for the body and side panels, for example. I am definitely open to clear, specific suggestions on what could be improved.
It's the banner which needs sorting - that's the thing that hits you straight off - it needs to be either shaker-esque simple and clean, or gritty and grungy..or something with a sense of identity.
Specific suggestions - drop the orange halo, drop the shaded font, drop the italics, ditch the drop shadow...at least that will clean it up a bit. Use a different typeface - that Stencil font is really uncool...it doesn't seem to have any sense of personality or flair... there are lots of good characterful typefaces (for free) out there. At least you knew where you'd arrived with the old style.
Here's how we roll in the UK...it's not my work...I know when I don't know enough to be able to do it myself...I take no credit for this, but reckon it has some coolness quotient and a measure of character. Sorry to sound so negative....we don't want "Coca-Cola Classic"..we just want Coca-Cola!
Please tell me that there's nobody using that thing anymore...