In early Spring 2008, Kate and I embarked on a journey to redesign Mac360’s aging look and feel.
Our plan begot ‘Project Full Circle,’ whereby we create a few web sites on the way toward creating a newer, better Mac360. Unique, yet wider, easier to navigate, more informative
So, you’ve noticed a few recent changes, have you? Well, rest your little Mac-loving heart, because this isn’t it.
Our first step was to create a code base from which we could expand to create a few additional Mac-oriented sites. Kate’s PixoBebo daily weblog about Macs was the end results of that first step.
We hashed and mashed and tinkered with the code used to make the site, rather plain and vanilla at first, but with flexibility to grow, expand, incorporate more features.
We’re using ExpressionEngine as the content management system, which requires some dinking in PHP, a little XHTML, and lots of CSS for all the new sites.
Using the code base we created for Kate’s site, we changed some of the CSS, and launched NoodleMac, a daily site of mini reviews of Mac software. Lots of daily updates, handy mini reviews of software we like.
Not every piece of software published for the Mac these days gets reviewed. Just what we like.
NoodleMac’s creation was minimal effort, mostly confined to modifying the graphic elements, and changing the CSS to match.
For now we’re sticking with the light text on dark background, but that will change with future sites, and most certainly with Mac360’s redesign.
That same code base will go into a site for Mac360’s Alexis Kayhill and it will focus on free software for the Mac. Same code, different look and feel and color scheme, thanks to the magic of CSS.
So, what of all the tinkering we’re doing to Mac360 now?
The header and logo area may look somewhat similar but has been completely revamped, separated from some of the floating ads above. Left column navigation has been trimmed, simplified, and is easier on the eyes.
Mac360’s unique multi-column look has been enhanced. New reviews and articles in the first column, daily forum topics in the second column, and encore reviews and software updates in the third column.
It’s a vertical look that is somewhat unique among Mac-oriented web sites, and we’re likely to incorporate that in the future redesign of Mac360. We haven’t settled on three columns or four columns of content, but it is likely to be one or the other.
Also gone is the page background design scheme, replaced by a solid, darker background color that is easier on the eyes.
Kate’s love affair with
lavender is probably not going to end, so we expect Mac360’s future redesign to have a similar motif.
We don’t want to stray too far from familiar, but something shiny and new is always nice.
I wouldn’t mind some reader feedback on this issue. I think we may be able to make the site over 1,000 pixels wide, since most Macs these days have much wider screens.
Otherwise, focus will remain the same. Mac software. Some news and commentary, and reader involvement in the Forums.
A question for Mac360 readers: What would you like to see? Or, not see?