Andy (veroz) wrote in lj_design,

Homepage Visuals

Sorry that it took so long to follow up on winniewong's post. LiveJournal has been very busy lately!

By now you've all probably seen the changes to the LiveJournal homepage. My role in the homepage project was essentially to design its look and feel. Several factors had to be considered, but ultimately I think, from a design perspective, any changes we made would be better than what we originally had. That, of course, doesn't mean we didn't try our best :)

A couple of the most important things we wanted to address were: "What is LiveJournal?", "Why is it different?", and "What does it have to offer?". With these in mind, jamisononfire gave the team a good starting point in his wireframe of the homepage.

In this layout you have large "About" box with informative modules underneath. Off to the side are more exploratory items.

In our minds, a homepage should be both a tool and a selling point. Balancing both of those areas is the tricky part. From a visual standpoint, our goal was to make the homepage informative but not overwhelming. With that said, I'll show you a couple of my iterations of the logged out homepage.

This was the first solid design I came up with. The general feedback was it was too blue, bulky, not interactive.

Here I tried to emphasize the "What is LiveJournal?" box and make it clear that the "Why LiveJournal?" links were interactive. It succeeded in that sense but was still too "visually heavy".

One of the nice thing about the old homepage was the whitespace. The page feels a lot lighter now, but loses some of it's structure.

Between this version and the last we changed some things around. We chose a different size for the bottom modules which let us have some more creative freedom with the content in them. Also added Frank back cause seriously, how can anyone not like Frank?

The last iteration above is the closest to what we currently have now on the homepage. It had some flaws though, the bottom modules were a bit too striking and there was one design challenge that I had overlooked: internationalization. LiveJournal is an international site, meaning it's translatable in several different languages. Graphic ads just wouldn't work.

The final version, as seen on the current homepage, uses text overlayed on top of simple graphics. If you change your browse option and view LJ in another language (translations thanks to our volunteers) then you'll notice that everything on the homepage is translated as well, even the bottom modules! That's way cool.

Overall, I think the homepage was a success. It let's people know who we are, highlights a couple cool things to check out, and basically keeps the LiveJournal community better informed of what happening on LJ. Thanks for you interest in lj_design, comments and feedback are always appreciated.
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