[Cancelled] FinalGear.com Redesign Contest With Money Prize

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Viper007Bond

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This is just a draft post (the contest hasn't officially started yet). All criteria are still a work in progress and subject to change -- please help add to the lists.

The previous attempts to find a new design for the site didn't go so well, so I thought I'd do a contest and offer up $250 to the winner. However, I need feedback on the rules, criteria, etc. before I make the actual thread and news post. +rep to those with good ideas! ;)




The Internet has changed quite a bit since FinalGear.com first launched in 2005 and the main site is sure showing it's age. So, it's time for a redesign.

However, rather than going out and hiring some fancy dancy web design firm who's never heard of Top Gear to create a layout for the new site, I thought I'd let you, the people who visit and use the site, create the new design. This is your chance to influence what features and look the site will have for the next few years.

And to motivate those of you who are web designers, I'm putting up a US$250 prize for the person (or people, although you'd share the prize) who creates the winning design.

So let's get down to some specifics.


Design Criteria

  • Must be a fixed width, designed for a 1024x768 screen. Should use the full or nearly the full width of the screen in order to have as much content room as possible.
  • Must have spaces for advertisements as they pay the huge server bills. You can use any solid colors you want for the ads, but Google Adsense does not support gradients or anything like that.
    • 728x90 above-the-fold (i.e. you can see it without scrolling down) banner somewhere near the content like it is now. Having it be above the banner on the current site for example would be bad.
    • 468x60 small banner after the first post
    • 468x60 after the second post OR even better, a "square" ad in the sidebar (300x250) although that may not be able to fit (300x250's make good money)
  • A sidebar of some type to allow the listing of shows, mailing list subscribe form, categories, etc. Maybe the countdowns too if you want them there.
  • Fairly low maintenance. I don't want to have to post a screenshot from the episode each time a new episode is released. I have enough trouble as it is making sure all episodes have descriptions! :lol:
  • Room for 4 countdowns (TG, FG, TG America, TG Aussie). They can be similar to the current site, or maybe crammed into the sidebar, or whatever you want really. The code powering them is fairly flexible. Full details on it are here if you are interested.
  • The episode listing pages for the shows (like Top Gear) are getting really long, so I'd like to switch to a Show -> Season -> Episode navigation format. Design accordingly.
  • The content should be a standard web font, not some crazy ass one. Headlines can be a custom font as I can use Flash or PHP to create a fancy titles, but that's it.

  • Other stuff? Suggest!


Submission Criteria

Your submission must be a layered file, such as a PSD. Flat images will be accepted, but I'd REALLY rather have something that I could use to easily isolate the image parts. You could also just mock it up directly in (X)HTML/CSS and submit that if you wish, but that's entirely up to you.

I will be taking your submission (if it wins that is) and convert it to XHTML/CSS myself. You will not need to do this and infact even if you do, I'll be redoing it myself anyway.


Submission Rules

All entries are due by Month, Day Year at midnight GMT. Submit entires to some@email.com and then make sure to shoot me a PM to ensure I got the e-mail (spam filters and all).

Anyone who is not permanently banned from the forums as of the content ending is open to submit entires (sorry MoparMan, you can go ahead and close MSPaint right now).

You can submit as many entries as you wish and continue to submit revised editions of your entries until the contest close, so don't hesitate to submit early!

The winning submission will become property of me (Viper007Bond) and will be for exclusive use on this website (i.e. you cannot use the design elsewhere). You will however be more than welcome to use this site and the design in your online portfolio.

All criteria are subject to change, although I'll try to keep them the same.
 
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Cobol74

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Something to cover the archive - can be useful.

Better or more obvious search facilities, can we have it as a prominent rule or something? I am a bit annoyed sometimes when n00bs keep posting the same damn question/post - If I see another "I know who the Stig is" thread I will be forced to use the Caps Lock!

Are we looking to do something with the Logo? I would prefer if we kept it, may be change the colours around it if necessary.

Count down double as a link perhaps, taking you to the correct area for the episode discussions via a sign on screen?

That's about it for the moment, try to think of some more possibilities.

I think that this is a cool idea BTW.
 

Viper007Bond

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Something to cover the archive - can be useful.
Whatda mean?

Better or more obvious search facilities, can we have it as a prominent rule or something? I am a bit annoyed sometimes when n00bs keep posting the same damn question/post - If I see another "I know who the Stig is" thread I will be forced to use the Caps Lock!
That's more related to the forums rather than the site.

Are we looking to do something with the Logo? I would prefer if we kept it, may be change the colours around it if necessary.
Oh, good thinking. No, I like the current logo. I'll add in some "gotta keep the logo" stuff.

Count down double as a link perhaps, taking you to the correct area for the episode discussions via a sign on screen?
I can do that regardless of design.

That's about it for the moment, try to think of some more possibilities.

I think that this is a cool idea BTW.
Thanks. +rep for you. :)
 

Cobol74

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Neat way in to the Archive of torrents, oh and the wiki could be emphasised as it is a good and building resource - the ep guides especially useful, number of people looking for episodes.
 

leviathan

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I guess I'll try and draw something some time later, being someone who does a lot of website-concerning stuff... But first some thoughts on the topic:

The design now is not really bad in any way. It might be a little old-fashioned and the layout is obviously too narrow, but in general it's OK. So the new thing should not differ too much from what we have now, neither in the layout (content left + sidebar on the right, nav bar at the top) nor in the main design points (the logo is great, and red-black-white color combination suits the concept well).

What I would go for though, is lighten the design up a bit. Let away the dark page background around the site as well as the many borders between elements. Put a plain white background in there, lightweight. Keep black text, headers with red (maybe dark-red text or underline as done now, some graphic elements as well). Little to no fancy graphic elements like the red headings now ("news", "shows", "mailing list").

Site width 900px, ideal for the 1024 screen (sidebars, scrollbars and stuff people have). 300px for the sidebar might be an overkill, but then the square will fit in. Put the countdowns together with links to show areas above the ad, and then split it in two columns beneath it, one with the categories and the mailing list form and the other with the archive.

Maybe add some social-network-style functions, like article ratings, tags and comments (not only use the forum for them). And while we're at it - why not give the users a possibility to create content? That way, more information might be available even faster than now to everyone. Let an admin approve articles for the main page, or let the community do it by the ratings. Or intergrate this with the forum, somehow...

So far that's it :) Hope the thoughts might be useful to someone reading this and maybe deciding to give it a go in Photoshop.
 

Cobol74

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Show -> Season -> Episode isn't good enough?
I mean the bit on the main page shows/mailing list/categories/Archives just think that bit could look more, er, elegant - so probably what I am trying to say is keep the essential facilities in the design (see that list) but perhaps use the elegance of the design to evaluate the application solutions. Sorry, I hope that is clearer.
 

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The design now is not really bad in any way. It might be a little old-fashioned and the layout is obviously too narrow, but in general it's OK.
Yeah, it's really far from horrible, but I want it wider, more Web 2.0 looking, etc.

comments (not only use the forum for them).
Sorry, isn't gonna happen. We used to allow comments and it was just full of "thanks", random support questions ("seed more!!!111one"), etc.

Plus it's hard to keep a real discussion with no quoting, etc.

And while we're at it - why not give the users a possibility to create content? That way, more information might be available even faster than now to everyone. Let an admin approve articles for the main page, or let the community do it by the ratings. Or intergrate this with the forum, somehow...
http://wiki.finalgear.com/

I'll be integrating it more into the next version.

I mean the bit on the main page shows/mailing list/categories/Archives just think that bit could look more, er, elegant - so probably what I am trying to say is keep the essential facilities in the design (see that list) but perhaps use the elegance of the design to evaluate the application solutions. Sorry, I hope that is clearer.
Well that's up to the designer. I'm not going to constrict them via the criteria. :)
 

Viper007Bond

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Well apparently people in the IRC channel actually like the current design, so I may hold off on this for a while and just give the current site a little spruce up.
 

Cobol74

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Yes the current design is, as far as I am concerned, very OK - you could make it a bit special but that would cost and introduce an element of risk. But its your site - any help needed just ask me - I'd be happy to help in any way.
 

Quiky

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A fresh start for the new season would be fantastic.. the current design is getting old and showing it's age. We missed Web 2.0, time for Web 3.0!
 

Gman333-X-ferrari

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New pictures for the shows, as current one are outdated. And we need new pics for the AU TG and the US TG.

Also, different categories for news? A category for FinalGear news (meets etc) and Top Gear news (show details, episodes etc)? Current news just seems to be mixed, although there's nothing wrong with that.

Maybe a new link titled "Latest Automotive News" which links to the "Automotive News / Spy Shots / Concepts / Rumor Mill" sub-threads on our forums? This is to reinforce the automotive-ness of the site, and maybe get more discussion happening?

Just some humble ideas, I'd like to know what you think...
 

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^^ I was thinking on working on new pictures for the new shows as well as TG and FG but we don't have any logos of the new shows. Also if the site is being redesigned, are the same res's going to be used?

edit: I'd have to agree with the current design as well, just shiny a few things up and please don't add any flash.
 

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Hum, well I was thinking about the front page and one question kept coming back to me was what is the goal of the front page. A site to announce new media available to download from somewhere else or just Top Gear/5th Gear news. The reason is the current Word Press Theme/design works great for news, and maybe some tweaks to update it (like allowing for scaling to large monitors) to get it updated but does not give the site a Media flare.
But if you want to go media/show focus then a full top down redesign is called for. Something that maybe has all 4 shows sticky to the top of the page, updated for newest Ep in a self contained cell. maybe just the show logo and quick blur on the ep or time til next season. And below it news info, but the top of the page you always see the Ep. In a way, splinting up the news and new EP info. I dont know how the design work work, and this is just me brain storming right here on forum. But I think a more Media focus front page would be cooler and making a step in taking the site to the new level (as it seems everyone wants to do media now of these days).

The risk? We might step on the toes of the Beeb/NBC/and the Au people.
 

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A fresh start for the new season would be fantastic.. the current design is getting old and showing it's age. We missed Web 2.0, time for Web 3.0!
After sleeping on it and hearing feedback from IRC, I'm heavily leaning towards keeping the current design but basically redoing a fair amount of the backend code to support the new shows as well as a Show -> Season -> Episode format (so the pages aren't so long).

And yes, new show logos please.
 

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^ I've got an idea on something for TG and FG for the show buttons, might be bigger sizes though
 

BlaRo

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I'll definitely submit something, I need to improve my rusty design skillz and $250 means more bike parts for me. :happy:

Can I submit a W3C-valid HTML and CSS document alongside my PSD as well? I assume I won't have to delve into Javascript, PHP, or other web scripting languages that I don't know about.
 

Viper007Bond

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I'll definitely submit something, I need to improve my rusty design skillz and $250 means more bike parts for me. :happy:

Can I submit a W3C-valid HTML and CSS document alongside my PSD as well? I assume I won't have to delve into Javascript, PHP, or other web scripting languages that I don't know about.
I'm probably calling the thing off. Most people seem to be content with the current design and once I improve it's features a bit...
 
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