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Old 01-23-2007, 01:33 AM   #1
ElementZero
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 36
Default I'm still here, in the background.

I'm sure some of you think that I've forgotten about this site or have given up -- well, maybe not so much given up as run out of time and gotten too many priorities -- and I'm sure even others don't even remember me. But I'm still here, and I'm still thinking about the future of the site.

I've been trying to think of a design layout for the site but have repeatedly come up short; nothing I can think of is worthy and/or fitting of Zophar's Domain. But before I go into that, let me restate what I have in mind.

My brother, XiP, and I both agree that the reason ZD failed was because it tried to be too large. Imagine, if you will, Slashdot. Slashdot is divided into many sections. This allows each individual staff member to post news and commentary in his or her field of interest and expertise. This way, the people interested in politics don't have to post about Linux (which they may have no knowledge about) and the Apple enthusiasts don't have to post about the latest security issues (which they may also know nothing about). Because of this, the staff members don't tire out or run out of time easily because even though they do what they do as a hobby in their spare time, they will only have to work with things that specifically interest them and they will likely always be interested in that topic, even if they don't have as much free time as they used to.

Conversely, when you have sections, the Linux fans don't have to read Apple news unless they go to the Apple section, and the people looking for Science miscellany don't have to hear about politics unless they go to that respective section. This keeps the users interested and thus grows the community and active user base.

I think that if we re-launch Zophar's Domain, we should follow the lead of every major, long-lasting, active site that currently exists and split it off into sections. For instance, we can have music.zophar.net, translations.zophar.net, hacking.zophar.net, etc... Each section would bear the same design as the main http://www.zophar.net (not the current design, but the new design), but each section would have a different color scheme and be customized for each respective section. In this regard, it would be very scalable, like Slashdot. Same design, different color scheme for each section, different content for each section. I'm not sure what the main zophar.net would have for content, but it would be the index so it should have the most general, non-category-specific news. I believe that if we can accomplish something like this, there is the potential to re-launch ZD successfully.



However, the part I’m stuck on currently is the design. Any successful old website has been redesigned several times by now, and it comes as no surprise because the web is constantly evolving and updating. Back when ZD was created, the concept of table-less css designs was probably unimaginable, and the concept of “Web 2.0” didn’t even exist because people were still getting used to 1.0.

So my dilemma is trying to come up with a design that reflects the unique quirkiness of the old Web 1.0 with the beautiful, streamlined user-friendliness and ease of delivery of the “Web 2.0.” Coming up with a design is no easy task, because Zophar needs to stand out from the monotony that is Web 2.0 sites. Almost all of them use the basic Wordpress-with-pretty-images layout. ZD, however, has old-school roots and an old-school audience. The design needs to reflect the retroness that is emulation and it needs to appeal to emulation fans, but at the same time it needs to welcome amateurs to emulation and be user-friendly, as well.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to do this. There are lots of sites that I like the look and feel of, but none of them scream “Zophar” at me. For instance, some good examples of classic sites are
http://fusoya.panicus.org/http://fusoya.panicus.org/</a> and http://www.genvid.com/moonstruck/http://www.genvid.com/moonstruck/</a>
Both of those sites are very old-school, but clearly neither of them are adequate for ZD. Then you take a look at some modern css layouts:
http://browse.deviantart.com/?catpat...=9&alltime=yeshttp://browse.deviantart.com/?catpath=designs/web/&order=9&alltime=yes</a>
http://www.cssbeauty.com/gallery/http://www.cssbeauty.com/gallery/</a>
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2006...signs-in-2006/http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2006/12/19/50-beautiful-css-based-web-designs-in-2006/</a>
http://www.mezzoblue.com/zengarden/alldesigns/http://www.mezzoblue.com/zengarden/alldesigns/</a>
They all seem to be molded around being designs for blogs. And Zophar’s Domain isn’t exactly a blog -- it’s not necessarily not a blog, but it’s not necessarily a blog, either. Certainly all of those sites are beautiful, but they’re not quite Zophar’s Domain material.

I am a big fan of starmen.net, though. They’ve come a long way and are a good example of a site that remains unique and old-school, yet sleek, amidst the monotony that is Web 2.0.
http://starmen.net/index2.phphttp://starmen.net/</a>


Maybe it’s because I’m scatter-brained, but sometimes when I have trouble thinking of site designs, I start thinking about the small details of the site, building the layout of the site around the details. One such detail that stuck out to me, individually, can be found at
http://bluedragon.tv/http://bluedragon.tv/</a>
If you wait for the page to load and look at the bottom, you’ll notice tabs -- “TOP,” “TRAILER CHANNEL,” “IMAGE VIEWER,” etc… If you hover over them, the text blinks once, very quickly, and lights up, and then a friendly infobox fades into view and briefly describes the content of the tab. I’m not sure why I like this effect, but I do. I thought that maybe that could be used somehow in linking to the different "channels" on Zophar. Maybe I’m the only one who likes it, so that’s why I’d like some feedback on the effect. Also, note that I would never plan on including Adobe Flash in the design of ZD -- this effect can be done with some clever Javascript.



So that’s where I’m at. If anyone would like to put out some suggestions or comments, feel free. If you want to contribute to some layout ideas, please do so. I strongly recommend that you try out your idea with pencil and paper first, though -- that’s something that is a fundamental lesson in graphic design because often times something seems good in your head until you see it with your eyes, in which case you’ll realize that it really isn’t as great as you thought it would be, and sketching is much faster than coding.

- MasaMuneCyrus

<P ID="signature">"Next time on Lupin the IIIrd. We find out that paradise is a lot like Disney Land...only with hookers."</P>
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