Redesign: Design Notes

June 08, 2004 10AM PST

I had planned to wrap up the redesign analysis series with a look at the design elements of Proton, but plans change.

Partly because I was tackling low-hanging fruit first, and partly because I needed the space to think after the many, many comments last month’s redesign prompted, I left a deeper look at the design elements until the end.

But extra time brings extra perspective, and looking back ‘Proton’ as it was released solved some problems and introduced others. Overall result — not the success one would hope a redesign should be. Sifting through the comments, a few trends emerge. The header is universally seen as a problem area due to low visibility of navigation and clutter, the content area is almost universally seen as an improvement over Radar.

It’s interesting to note that the new header spurred the redesign in November, but it has remained unchanged since as the content area got all the focus recently. Note to self: don’t let ideas sit for too long. It’s also interesting to note that while Proton began its life on a Windows CRT, most later development was on a Mac LCD. The gamma differences are startling when it comes to the yellow areas, which is something I realized only after launch.

At the moment incremental adjustments are being made to a separate copy of the stylesheet, which you can trigger as your new default stylesheet for this site to watch the progress. Some things may stay, some may change radically, and I have no great plan in mind other than to see where I can take this. At some point Proton will be finished; for now it’s a work in progress, and you’re all invited to watch.