Nip / Tuck

All the mad coding skills don’t impress some folks. Watch this!

For the longest time we have been preparing a makeover for this site. We have years (yes, years) worth of emails, documents, diagrams, ideas about a face lift. We hoped the site only needed a few diet pills, a little exercise, a moderate amount of makeup and some decent coordinated colors to improve her. Of course, none of that worked. We finally decided it was time to put her under a professional’s knife. Please don’t accuse us of being shallow. We are allowed to indulge in fantasy. This is needed for all websites of a certain age. We are not trying to compete with any hot new Web 2.0 genre sites. We don’t want her to just look pretty. We want her to work better. We wanted perfect. We heard from quite a few young, creative and brilliant designers during our search. We finally settled on Avani as the one .

As amazing as her imagination is, the quality that most impressed me about Avani was her courage. She was not afraid of this project. I did my duty and warned her that plenty before her had tried to tame this beast and failed. Avani did not flinch. She calmly examined the patient and then asked – “Tell me what you don’t like about her. ” And that’s how it started , over seven months ago. Discussions, sketches, mockups and of course, airbrushing. Months of cuts and carving, agonizing over little details. And finally, here were are. Voilà! Isn’t she fabulous?We had a pre-launch party where the Mutineers gathered at the bunker to celebrate and toast the months of hard work Avani and I put in. (Although, Abhi’s toast was rather short to my suprprise. I guess he doesn’t like being called a slave driver all that much. Hmmm…) Our SM Intern coaxed the always busy Avani into a short interview. Thanks SM Intern, for letting me use a copy of your transcript. I’m sorry about Abhi not letting the interns write any articles on the Blog until they graduate. Anyway, about Avani’s interview:

SM Intern: How did you get suckered into this project?
Avani: I was kidnapped from my home, locked up in a dark room chained to a laptop that only runs Photoshop.

SM Intern: What are some of the goals you wanted to achieve with this design?
Avani: Beyond the aesthetic side of things (aka “making it pretty”), I wanted to make it easier to find, comment and post things.

SM Intern: How is this different from real design work that you do and actually get paid for?
Avani: Chaitan wouldn’t let me use Flash.

SM Intern: Seriously, how badly did we need this upgrade?
Avani: Very badly.

SM Intern: Why would our readership care about design anyway? Our lurkers are much more interested in the drama between Sepia fans and trolls on a daily basis.
Avani: Of course drama is more interesting. I know some people may not initially like the redesign. That’s cool, just give it a few days and see if you change your mind after you get used to it. Change is hard, but it can be good.

And that’s enough of that. You know, Avani can get a bit talkative sometimes. And she was totally kidding about the being kidnapped part. I’ve spent years in the bunker chained to a laptop and I’m fine. She’s still new. She’ll get used to it. And then what do you know, the SM Intern wanted to interview me. It may seem tacky to write about my own interview, but hey, who else is going to do it? The Bloggers are all too busy covering “important” stuff. Anyway, here goes … (sorry about copy-pasting this transcript verbatim. It may need a few corrections, but I hate typing, unless it’s programming code, of course)

SM Intern: What do you want me to ask you?
Me: Look at the cheat sheet I gave you dummy.

SM Intern: What are some of the goals you wanted to achieve with this design?
Me: I wanted to create a very friendly user interface that synergizes the use of web 2.0 technologies with … wait, that’s not … ok, stop asking me about design stuff. I don’t care what that girl in the next cell does with Photoshop and all that mumbo jumbo. Frankly, she spends way too much time screaming for fresh air than do actual work. And that’s not the cheat sheet I gave you.

SM Intern: Oh, sorry. What are some of the new features that the readers are going to be excited about?
Me: (very serious tone) The new design is not just about coming up with something flashy. We wanted to weigh the various components of the site and bring some of the most important parts right into the front page.

  • The news column gives a quick overview of the top ‘viewed’ news in the past 24 hours.
  • Everything seems bigger: Actually not everything is big. Some of the fonts are the same. Other tiny fonts have been increased for relative emphasis.
  • What happened to the News tab?: The voting system has been removed and instead the news section now records the number of clicks/views by the readers. Additionally the news section has been moved to the front page. Anyone interested in viewing the news section exclusively can click any of the sub-menu links for the section (e.g., New, Top in 24 Hr, 7 days, etc.), and a dedicated page will show all the news items. We hope this new ranking system better captures the most relevant news based completely on user-generated content and readership.
  • The Twitter bar on the home page keeps you updated of the latest in the Twitter dimension. The RSS feed, Facebook group page, Google links are right up top.
  • In addition to being able to emailing blog post articles, you can now also share blog posts on Facebook. Use the link following each post.

114 thoughts on “Nip / Tuck

  1. I like the new design..I think options should now be gievn for articles in all Indian languages..

  2. I apologize to anyone that took my post seriously. It was NOT meant to be misogynistic or sexist in any way. I meant it to be ridiculous and somewhat funny. Even those who know me in real life were surprised by my post. Guess it goes to show I’m an admin and not really a writer. Sorry!

    Awwww!! I totally believe Anna now (not that I hadn’t earlier) – you are a sweet guy!

    Good luck with the redesign, now…I can see you’re almost doing a Zuckerberg “Calm down. Breathe. We hear you” on us!

  3. i forgot, one other comment that im sure can easily be fixed, when you go into a post, to get back to the homepage, you have to click on blog, it get s confusing and its much easier to click on the logo, so can you make it so that when you click on the logo from in a post, it goes to the home page/ blog homepage?

  4. Finally found it – the place to comment about the new design to the designer.

    My opinion is that the old look was “homelier”, meaning, felt more like home, with it’s warm brown hues and Bollywood banners. The new look is not as Indo-mutinous. Sorry for all the other comments. Was looking for this.

  5. My opinion is that the old look was “homelier”, meaning, felt more like home, with it’s warm brown hues and Bollywood banners. The new look is not as Indo-mutinous. Sorry for all the other comments. Was looking for this.

    Thanks for the feedback. Most of us hate Bollywood though so you definitely won’t see more of that. Also, we are South Asian Americans so it was never our intent to be “Indo-mutinous.” Stay tuned tomorrow for more about the site design. Thanks

  6. Ouch. Guess I meant to say “desi-mutinous”. My bad.

    I’m not a big fan of Bollywood either, but I loved the kitchy banners.

    This new look is somewhat dry and bland. No pizaaz. No masala. Like the type of kitchri we have to eat when sick.

  7. Don’t like the hint of purple. Don’t like/hate the pointlessly jagged menu bar. Love the pen in the new logo. Miss the warmth and the crispness of the old banner. Don’t miss the bollywood.

  8. Bring back the brown, please. purple is yuck.

    The design elements are good.. I think a year from now, people will feel differently about the old design.

  9. This new look is somewhat dry and bland. No pizaaz. No masala.

    The masala will come from the user generated artwork, nobody is interested in a one person show…. The main point of the redesign was to organize the content better and give the site a classy facelift. Brown IS the main color, purple is simply the highlight color. Having it all brown makes it look like one big blob and trust us we already tried it.

  10. I svear this color skeme and font is begging to be Jumanji-fied. Vun option for the header is to use the same board game design with four primate profiles at the four corners of the board game… like the rhesus (the familiar one), the purple leaf monkey (from Sri Lanka), the crested gibbon (i have a framed pic of one at home and it is a regal tufted beast) and the golden langur (very scythian). how macaquesque would dat be. it’s a thot.

  11. its definitely more wheatish, even pinkish at times. reminds me of Englebert Humperdinck