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 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.
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.