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      Unconventional vBulletin Inspiration

      posted by Gio~Logist is offline

      I've been lurking around recently and I've noticed more and more people are working particularly hard on going for the whole Web 2.0 look, or trying to make their website look like a magazine. I also see more people going for the clean/simple look but missing several elements on their mission. Hopefully we can all gather and exchange ideas here and spread the motivation.

      First off, I am a strong believer in less designing and more tweaking. Unless you own some kind of candy lollipop forum or a graphics website or even a gaming website, I see no need to spend your time on intense, high-quality, large graphics. After the new millennium, i believe it's out with graphics and in with icons and royalty free images!

      My favorite icon / royalty free image website:
      www.istockphoto.com

      Contrasting colors
      Many people are extremely mislead when it comes to contrasting colors. Just because colors look good together doesn't mean they deserve to go against one-another. What do I mean? If you have a website with nothing more than every kind of brown known to mankind (light brown, dark brown, tan, wood, oakwood, morning-wood), yes - they will look decent, it's only logical. But is it the right move? Does it really contrast?

      Contrast compare or appraise in respect to differences.

      The keyword here is differences. Take vbulletin.org for example. Dark blue headings, light gray/white content backgrounds. It keeps things in perspective, makes you continue to read since the text contrasts perfectly (sticks out) against the backgrounds, and it keeps people browsing as oppose to simply glancing around.

      Less designing, more tweaking
      By tweaking, I don't mean changing your forumbit from 4 columns to 3. I mean truly taking the time to let your content design itself.

      Letting your content design itself
      www.nymag.com ( non vb)
      http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/
      http://www.profesionales.cl/
      http://www.trade2win.com/

      All of these websites operate off of vBulletin. All of these websites have little actual design work done. Yet, all of these websites are amazingly designed and unconventionally unique. And although operating on the 3.8 series, all of them look far better than 4.0

      FatBoyMag - Ran by a member on here I believe. The webmaster is aware that their members are highly concerned with images and eye candy. The first thing you see on that website is eye candy, not made on photoshop - but provided within content. The cleanliness of this module (an image with a light border, description, title, etc. separated by a few light lines) allows the content to design itself. They also make sure to include a list of categories and recent topics to give a user an exact idea of what this website is about. If someone has to ask what your website is about, you've done something wrong!

      SitePoint - Aside from their amazing actual frontpage (separate from forums) they also have a rather decent forum front page. The forum list itself shouldn't always have to take up all the space, sp figures "lets give them some content, let them know what's going on". But their front page isn't even their most unconventional section. This website is actually known for it's marketplace. Most websites have a section where members can buy/trade/sell. But a simple thread doesn't always cut it. Don't be afraid to go above and beyond, raise the bar! The same goes for your articles.

      Mascotas - I'm sorry, had to include one of my personal favorite pieces of work. I've programmed a series of websites for a network in chile, and all of their websites have the same thing in common let the content design itself. With these websites we think about what we want to show, before how we want it to look. We observe a series of large news websites and such and see how they let their content play out. We recognize that large fronts and strong/contrasting text is important. We recognize that incorporating pictures where possible makes for a great understanding of the content and website itself. We recognize that the better the homepage represents the website, the better the website will manage itself. Members love seeing their names on your homepage

      Trade2Win - Content, Resources, Cleanliness. Everything from the # of registered users to recent forum discussion is properly placed on this homepage. Most people simply have these elements placed in a box and then place their focus on how pretty their header is. This website has a simple header, and focuses on how their content is presented. Each front-page module is given contrasting colors, different layouts (title, usernames, a few images, etc.), and unique icons.
      Last edited by Gio~Logist; 05-24-2011 at 09:28 PM.

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