Man this is getting really time consuming! You guys have had a LOT of entries so far. I'm enjoying seeing them, but I really need to apologize for not giving as detailed of a critique to some entries as to others. There are a number of really great designs that I've seen so far. 3-4 that are good enough to win almost unchanged. But the contest is still wide open.
One reader yesterday made a great comment that some designs are using to much green, and I think thats the key. Slashdot's green is a dominating color. When used sparingly (read:todays skin) I think it works very well. Many templates go overboard and lose it.
The best designs typically are dropping the top icons from the upper right hand corner. This is fine. That space can be better utilized for user preferences, user login boxes, search boxes etc. I totally agree with that assesement. But if you start doing zany stuff, it becomes more important to show logged in as well as logged out skins. Otherwise one or the other has a big hole to deal with.
Another person made comment about the 'fairness' of my journal entries. As I explained in the original contest, my concern is not fairness, but rather the best looking Slashdot possible. If someone totally nips another design, that won't stand, but I think everyone should be reading every comment I make here and tweaking their designs where appropriate.
Again what follows is a few entries worth sharing. I apologize for being behind, but at this point I've had nearly a hundred designs, and many hundreds of emails to read and reply to. These entries once again are not necessarily the 'best'. They aren't necessarily winners or losers. But they have elements that I think are worth sharing for some reason or another.
first up is Nathan Apple. His design has very clean left and right sides that I think work really well. Also worth noting is that MANY designs have tried to add another shade of light green to Slashdot, but this shade of light green I think works really well. I think ultimately his articles are a bit generic. I've said this many times, but once you scroll down, this could be any web site. It doesn't look uniquely like Slashdot except perhaps for the topic icons. I appreciate that the header is a totally new redesign, but it just doesn't work for me. I'm all for white space, but Slashdot has a LOT of stuff in the left hand menu that could potentially be put in that upper right hand corner.
Helen Nicholson's design needs some work, but has some cool elements. Her logo has energy, and the graphics she's working with look really nice. Unfortunately they don't seem to line up for me- font dependency issues make them look a little low for me. I suspect that this might be a tricky problem to solve. I think the use of grey on the articles sorta makes it look less like Slashdot, and the dept line is unreadably small on my screen. Putting the topic icons in boxes solves the must-be-on-white problem, but it doesn't look very good. No padding makes it crowded. Also the abbreviated articles get lost. Mostly I share this design to show you the slashboxes, which look quite nice- if only the notches lined up with the text properly... but man, CSS sucks for that sort of thing.
Agnar Ødegård's design does a LOT of interesting things with menus. He puts the user menu up top. The stories menu into tabs. The design itself doesn't light me on fire, but creative thinking about the large volume of navigational elements we have here does.
Marko Mrdjenovic gets mad props for completeness. His design includes articles, comments, the index etc. His header is great, but he silly expanding topic icon thing serves no purpose. I don't care for the use of /. as a bullet point. The color coding in the comments thing is something we've actually talked about quite extensively. It's something we very well may do when we revise the moderation system. Again I don't care for the faded light green. It seems really soft to me somehow, but this is a fantastic design. Very well done.
Next up we have Stefan Lesser's design. I share this one because he does interesting things with both the menu and the article. Like many designs, he moves the menus up top (see my notes above for caveats about this decision). All in all, his system works quite nicely. I think the header is a little dull, but it's clean. The really interesting thing is the totally different take on the layout of articles. I mean. I don't know that it's what I want, but it's very cool. Also, he does something that many of our designers do by making italics in articles be seperatedy for readability. I'm unconvinced on if this is a good idea or not, but it is worth considering. His abbreviated articles are cool. His slashboxes are cool. All in all, this is just a great entry.
(Still several to go). Next up Michael Milligan's design tries lots of stuff with varying degrees of success. His topic icons in the header just don't work. I don't care for the square around the topic icons in the article. The gradiants mostly look pretty good (although the block of grey between the tops of the menu and slashboxes, and header look a bit out of place to me. I'd use the white gradient all accross. He is trying zany stuff here with expanding/contracting articles and menus. He also has provided space for a user menu atop the page. His footer is realtively dull. It's just today's footer, with a different color and no search b ox. The gradient above the very last menu spans outside the white box. I think it's worth noting that you aren't required to put the black border around Slashdot. I think this design would work good without the black edges in the main space- keeping the black up top and at the bottom works to bookend the page (as well as contain the advertising atop the page) but this design (like a lot of them I've seen) seems to want to keep the black edge so much, that something is sacrificed. All in all this one is a nice entry, but it would take a lot of work to be seriously considered. The parts are there, they just don't all fit together right.
HAZAH! I am through my favorites from tuesday. I still have several entries from wednesday and already a few from today. Comments are once again enabled. Play nicely.