NT Redesign 2011: Evolutionary Wireframes

I love wireframing. It’s like playing with LEGOs — you can build anything, hate it, tear it down, and then start all over again at a moment’s notice. The idea’s simple enough — create the barebones design for your web site, focusing on the user interface without getting bogged down in graphics, colors and arguments over whether the hyperlinks should be underlined or not.

Attached as PDFs to this post are my initial tier one and tier three “evolutionary” wireframes for the Nuketown redesign. These aren’t a radical change from what we have now, but they accomplish a number of my design goals, including integrating microcontent into the home page, creating some new advertising options the (the skyscraper ad on the home page, the box add on the tier 3 page), a place to show case projects/features, and columns for exposing content like top rated stories and comments. It also gets rid of the login forms in favor of a login link in the primary nav (the sidebar login is something I hate in the current design) and cleans up the layout.

Alternating the microcontent with the regular posts is something I want to carry forward into the mobile view, though in that case the regular posts will be streamlined to show just the headline. Graphically, I plan on reversing the current color scheme; instead of white text on a black background, we’ll have black text on a white background. Hyperlinks (including headlines) will be red; blacks and grays will round out the color palette. The background — currently a radial effect in the wireframe — will likely be some sort of stock space image, but we’ll see how that shakes out.

Is it perfect? No. I’m not sure how I feel about the secondary navigation on the lower tier pages being separated from the primary nav, even though they are related. That said, I dislike dynamic drop navs; it’s been my experience that people always seem to have trouble with using them and they always malfunction in at least one browser.

I’m contemplating another, more compact design that would be easier to adapt to mobile, and ditch the introductory text blurbs, but that might feel a bit too Spartan.

What do you think?

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