DesignM.ag Version Two

by Steven Snell

January 21, 2009 in Site News

DesignM.ag has been re-designed! This site was launched in July of 2008, and since that time I’ve been wanting to make some changes to the design in order to upgrade both the appearance and the usability of the site. At first I didn’t plan to completely re-design, but that’s what wound up happening.

I’d like to take a moment to point out a few changes that may impact visitors to the site (hopefully in a positive way). If you’re reading this post through RSS I encourage you to click through to see the new design in action. First, here is a screen shot of the old design in case you’re not familiar with the site.

Old Design

Notable Changes:

The Overall Look

While I wasn’t planning on making huge changes to the design of the site, I did want to improve the overall look. I wasn’t happy with the old design, so making more significant changes to the design seemed to be a necessity.

The new design does keep some things in tact, such as the branding and a similar color scheme. Some Photoshop brushes from Bittbox were used in the new design.

The Front Page

In the past, the DesignM.ag front page had somewhat of a magazine-style layout, with recent post excerpts on the left, news and gallery items to the right, and a sidebar to the far right. That has been changed to give the front page the same layout as individual posts and pages, with excerpts being used on the front page. Community News items are now shown in the right sidebar on the front page and on individual posts.

Job Board

The web design job board was initially planned to be part of the site at launch, but that didn’t happen until now. This is a new feature that I’m especially excited about and I hope it becomes a valuable resource for those looking for work and for companies looking for help.

Posting a job to the board is free (at least for a while) and recent jobs are featured in the sidebar of blog posts, so they should receive excellent exposure. If you would like to post a job, there is a simple form to complete.

There is also an RSS feed for the job board if you want to follow the submissions closely.

Navigation

One of the major problems with the old design was poor navigation. Finding older posts was not very easy, and that was one of the main things I wanted to address with a re-design. The site now has pagination that should help to make it a little bit easier to find what you’re looking for, and the standard WordPress search was swapped out for a Google custom search that should produce more accurate results.

The category pages are now showing only post titles in order to make it easier to browse through the category archives, and a general Archive page was added as well.

Some popular posts are now listed in the sidebar, so new visitors will hopefully be able to see more of what is available to offer. One of the challenges of designing a theme for a new blog is that with no existing posts, there’s really nothing available to feature in the sidebar. Since the site now has about six months worth of content, this change should help to improve the overall navigation, especially for new visitors.

Gallery

The usability of the web design gallery was also a priority in the redesign. It’s now easier to browse through the gallery archives, so hopefully it will become a more valuable resource for visitors. A tag cloud has been added to the right sidebar of gallery pages to make it easier to browse through the archives, and tags are listed and clickable at the bottom of each entry in the gallery.

How You Can Get Involved:

DesignM.ag was started with the intent of being much more than just a blog. I wanted the site to be a strong resource for the design community. I’m happy with the impact the site has had so far, but more involvement is always a good thing.

Submit News

If you’d like to, you can get involved by submitting items to be considered for inclusion in our news section (it can be something on your own blog or just something of interest that you came across). The news section has been very active since the launch of the site, but I’d love to see more people get involved in this way.

Submit to the Gallery

You can also get involved by submitting sites for consideration to be included in the gallery. Again, it can be something of your own or just a great design that you appreciate. I’d like to be more active with the gallery (currently there are about 120 sites included), but the gallery gets significantly fewer submissions than the news section.

Subscribe

Because of the diversity of the content and the amount that gets published (including the news section and the gallery), there are three different feeds to choose from so that you won’t have to get bombarded with too much if you don’t want it.

We offer a feed just for blog post entries (typically about 3 per week), a feed that includes blog posts plus community news items (typically 5 – 10 news items per day), and an all-inclusive feed with blog posts, news items and gallery submissions (typically about 5 gallery items per week).

Write for Us

Additionally, if you are interested in contributing to the content here at DesignM.ag, guest post submissions are accepted. If you’d like to contribute, please use the contact form to get in touch.

Comment on Posts

I appreciate all of the comments that readers have been leaving, it truly makes the site a better place. One of the changes in the design was to include avatars in to make the comment section a bit more personal.

Feedback

The goal of the new design was to make the site more useful for visitors and to give a more pleasant experience while on the site. I’d appreciate any feedback on the design and/or usability of the site, especially from those who were familiar with the old version.

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About Steven Snell

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design.Connect with Stephen on google+

  • Sonali Agrawal

    Jan 21st

    Nice work. I really like the new design. It is inspiring. Thanks for the job board. That’s a great component for the website.

  • todd g @ buysellads.com

    Jan 21st

    Love the new design Steven! Great work!

  • Mohsin

    Jan 21st

    It’s absolutely sexy Steven! I especially love the splatter effect in the background. :) Professionally done.

  • Brad Mahaffey

    Jan 21st

    Site looks great, love the write up about it as well. Great work Steven.

  • Steven Snell

    Jan 21st

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

  • Max Stanworth

    Jan 21st

    Great stuff, designmag is such a great resource

  • Brooke

    Jan 21st

    It looks great, and I think you’ve made a lot of excellent improvements. Good work!

    What you said about unintentionally doing a full redesign made me smile. I’m already starting to redesign my new site before the first version is even finished! But that’s what we do, right?

  • Lasha

    Jan 21st

    Congrats on the successful redesign! I am currently undergoing a redesign of my own blog, and I am applying similar concepts to improve. I want to make navigability and content discovery much easier, and make the site more welcoming and easy to follow along in general. Hopefully mine will be as good of a redesign as yours is. :)

  • Darren Hoyt

    Jan 21st

    Love it – nice work Steven.

  • Shannon Snow

    Jan 21st

    The design is excellent! Still clean and easy to use, although the features that weren’t as easy to use are now updated, very cool. And I hadn’t seen the gallery part before, that’s a great idea.

  • Chris Spooner

    Jan 21st

    Great work on the new design, I love all the improvements!
    The splatters definitely grunge up the site while fitting in with the overall design.

  • Qbrushes

    Jan 21st

    love the new design :)

  • Colorburned

    Jan 21st

    New site is looking good. Very clean. Also, thanks for including me in your friends list. I’m very flattered by the company.

    http://twitter.com/Colorburned

  • David Perel

    Jan 21st

    Great job guys. I like every element of the redesign. Nice move, well done.

    David Perel

  • Jason Lengstorf

    Jan 21st

    Well done!

    It’s all tastefully done. The only thing that stuck out to me at all was that there’s no drop shadow under the two ad banners, but the element has the look of a 3D awning; I think adding one would create additional depth and polish.

    I really love the color scheme of this site. Great work!

  • Steven Snell

    Jan 21st

    Jason,
    Thanks for the suggestion. That area is one that I struggled with. I think I’ll play around with your suggestion when I have some time.

  • acidcloud

    Jan 21st

    Woot! I love it! Great work guys! I’ll try and help out with submitting stuff.

  • Mepho

    Jan 22nd

    Awesome redesign, I think the information is displayed in a better readable fashion.

    This is a great improvement!

  • Tracey Grady

    Jan 22nd

    Great work, Steven. The redesign is a good balance of the familiar (previous) layout and colour scheme alongside a few well-chosen new elements (which add depth and excitement).

  • Youandigraphics

    Jan 22nd

    Same as everyone, I really like the new look too! Even though there was a big change, I find it very easy to navigate through right from the start.

    I wonder if it is cause users are more familiar with a layout like this on blogs?

    No matter still a great and pleasant change!

  • James Chartrand - Men with Pens

    Jan 22nd

    Nicely done, Steven, and I like this much, much better. Good work!

  • Alex

    Jan 22nd

    The new design is much more modern, I like the brushes used on top. Things look and feel much more organized. Also great idea to send a newsletter with ways to get involved.

  • Jon Phillips

    Jan 22nd

    Hey Steven! Seriously, nice work on this one, love the grunginess :)

  • Matthew Griffin

    Jan 28th

    Great job, Steven. Love the new design.

  • Jacques van Heerden

    Jan 29th

    Nice seeing some redesigns taking place. Simple yet elegant.

    Keep up the great work.

  • SE7EN

    Feb 1st

    Personally I don’t like split-3-column layout but I like this redesign. :)
    I like the header, the footer and the icons
    Good job

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