A cautionary tale to keep in mind as we strive to make Virtual Home more interactive and playful: users might forget why they came to a site if there are too many bells and whistles. See for example http://producten.hema.nl/
What is the best web design for a social networking platform? We’re certainly thinking about this as we plan on the release of UCSF Profiles, our research (as opposed to ‘social’) networking site. Smashing Magazine has a useful article that summarizes key principles. One of these is about standards – they encourage the usage of OpenSocial as a standard in building social networking sites. And – we’re glad to say, we’re on it. We’re in the process of extending our research networking product, ‘Profiles’, as an OpenSocial “container”. i.e. retrofitting the software so that it’s possible to use other OpenSocial applications, built, for example, for applications like Linked In, to plug and play with our product. This will be a primary contribution of UCSF’s in the continued open source development of the Harvard-developed ‘Profiles’.
Prototyping is an important step in the process of developing web applications, allowing you to test, refine, and clearly communicate ideas about how the application will work, before costly resources are spent on development. Here’s a useful little article from OneXtraPixel on the importance of utilizing wireframes in prototyping for the web, including an annotated list of tools for creating wireframes.
I was looking at people/firms with design expertise for Drupal, and unfortunately even though some looked like they’d designed well for others (though nothing spectacular) their own firm web site were nothing to write home about. Which, for a design firm, is dissapointing.
Through one firm though I came across this drupal site, which has some positives. I like the way they have news and events (and how they break up the top nav bar a bit) You may be interested in looking at the site as you think of new home page designs.
Using the space on our homepage efficiently and emphasizing priorities can be somewhat challenging. I find the module tabs design on the PLoS Medicine homepage interesting. Cynthia, maybe this is something for you to explore? What about using this concept for our sections events, deadlines and news? This way we could save space on the page, combining them in one block, and add to the tool “filter by” that already exists.