Thoughts on OWD and OD

EDIT: See seanrox’s comment for a little clarification.

If you are a web designer/coder/master, you may have heard of Open Source Web Design or OSWD as it was called. Well, to make a long story short, OSWD broke down because of its lack of updates. Through that reformation, Open Web Design was born. It’s now the end of the year and it looks like another shift is about to go on. With MonkeyMan leaving OWD and the new owners being not ‘likable’, there is obvious furor in the community. Blogger Andreas Viklund shut OWD down, figuratively speaking [ref]. Currently there was a forum ‘upgrade’ which most of the community thinks is overkill. They ‘upgraded’ to vBulletin, but many are saying that it was a mistake. You can look at the forums yourself.

There is a new player in town called OpenDesigns. This site was created by SeanRox. Him and two others, LobsterMan and Christopher are the current administrators. There will be moderators soon too. I hope, for the sake of everyone, this is here to stay. I’m assuming it is going to be a more democratic process and this should work out good for everyone. Not to mention they use WordPress as the back end and Vanilla for their forum software. Not saying this is what it’s all about, but it sure gets a +2 from me.

The main problem with OWD is the communication. Shay, the new owner didn’t have anything to say for a while and when stuff started happening everyone was confused. The breakdown in communication was probably the main problem that I’m attributing to the eventual demise of OWD. As much as people would like to think they can co-exist, it won’t happen. People are lazy and aren’t going to submit the design to the best community and not both.

On the plus side, the Open Designs process for submitting design is better and you don’t have to wait forever to get your design up. Vanilla is already hooked up to the WordPress-powered site and everything is pretty much a go. There holding a contest for a site design and some of the submissions look amazing.

I’m not a psychic, so I can’t predict what’s going to happen, but I can get an idea. The way OD operates is much better than OWD so far (at least as long as I have been there). Only time can determine the fate of these two sites, but the better one will prevail, and in my opinion the better one is OpenDesigns.

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Happy New Year

I shall wish everyone a Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Finally, all the people have stopped saying Merry Christmas to me and I can get on with my life. Time to start making those New Years resolutions. I usually do most of them, but sometimes don’t get around to it till next year. 😉

YouTube Getting Classy

I took a look at YouTube this morning and to my unbelieving eyes, it was a little different. I always liked YouTube because it showed that you didn’t need a flashy web 2.0 look to be succesfull. Since being bought by Google, everything is being changed. The logo has been modified a bit and the navigation has changed. Oh and there is that silly gradient.

Not that I’m against it, but I don’t like the fact that Google is probably forcing them to do it. It looked fine the way it was, why spend time and effort to make it look better? That’s my speil for today.

Corporate Identity and Website Redesigns

I’ve had this thought for a while and I’m deciding to blog about it now. Currently, my site is in it’s third redesign. My site has been open for a little more than a year, so it’s once every couple of months. I notice this with other sites too. For me, it’s always a fun project to do and lets me flex my muscles on what I can do. Anything is fair game and I learn some along the way.

Though I don’t see this is the case with corporate sites. Most companies don’t make major or even minor changes to their site for years. They do this to keep their image, but images change. Recent examples include Intel and AT&T. It costs money in the corporate world for web site development, but I think it is well worth the time to give a site a slight makeover every once and a while. I don’t see why they still insist on making sites that don’t comply to web standards even though they don’t take as long to load and looks better cross-browser and cross-OS. Giving a refresh every couple of months will give users a surprise and lets them enjoy it. Not everyone likes everything, but making slight design and functionality changes will keep people coming back.

Even though I’m a coder at heart, I think a lackluster design will go over worse than little functionality. Most people will make a judgment about a site they open in the first fractions of seconds they are looking at it. Users really don’t care about what amazing coding job you did, if you have whitespace galore and a cryptic looking site. You can easily tell if a person is a designer or coder by just looking at their site. Have a look at difference between Linus Torvalds and HicksDesign. Hick’s site is much more pleasing on the eye while Torvald’s site is just a bunch of text. I still say it’s content over style, but you have to equalize that equation and bring some style into the picture.

Looking at it from the corporate standpoint, it takes time and resources, but it is beneficial and will bring customers coming with a fresh design and new functionality. Keeping that old image will not help you and it might even hurt if people get bored with it. If you look at websites that haven’t been changed since the 90s, you will look at it with disgust. It’s time for the corporate world to respect their websites and make more frequent design and functionality changes to keep users on their heels.