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Working the New Layout

There are a few problems with the current layout that I want to catch before they start to stack up on me. So, as much as I like the current look, some changes need to be made. The problem is, I know it’s going to take all week, and furthermore, I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to do…

A look at the top layouts

First 30 minutes : I want to know what the best in the industry are doing, this will tell me what people are familiar with. Although Monalle is a personal development site, it uses a visual navigation system similar to the top media sites. So I did a search on the current top 10 media sites.

1 hour: I’ve taken screenshots of the top multi-media sites, combined them into one big palate, and am now comparing them. I use Microsoft Image Composer to do this. Notice anything odd about the images at right? All the leaders are very similar. They almost look like they’ve all come from the same template with a few color changes and logo modifications. In this scenario, aiming for the middle of the pack isn’t going to cut it.

A Trend Emerges

These sites all look very template driven, If I cut off the logo bars I could make it look like it was all just one site. I know for a fact that none of these are from templates, they are each very expensive custom jobs. What is happening in the industry is this: All these sites are begining to to become ‘sections’ of a singular larger site. At least to the users that is. The big players are spending top dollar just to keep up with one another.

Here’s where the trend is going: Soon, someone will release a free template based on these designs and these sorts of sites will proliferate the web the same way blogs did. The new blog will become: Image Driven Multi-Media content.

Androgyny and Hierophancy:

All these projects to the right have big staffs and big budgets. Monalle is just me. So, it’s important for me to pay attention to what they are doing, that way I can reverse engineer what users already enjoy. One thing I notice is the ‘Androgynous Appeal’ of all these sites. That means that they neither appeal to the masculine nor the feminine traditional aesthetics, they are ‘Gender Neutral’.

I need to come up with a design that stands out from this pack, but not so much as to be off putting. It needs to fit in, but also stand-out in a way that is inviting to both men and women, and people of all ages, cultures, etc…

There is an Ancient Egyptian Design Aesthetic called ‘The Hierophantic Aesthetic’. It is an ancient style of design which idealizes and embodies both the masculine and feminine. The androgenous plays it safe by not having any gender affinity, the Hierophantic plays it aggressively by trying to embody both… If my little one man operation is going to play in the big leagues, it’s going to need something special, this just may be it…

The only question is: “Can I pull it off?”

See you tomorrow with more…