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So much effort...

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Subject:So much effort...
Date:2009-12-02 03:50:16
Update:2009-12-05 01:20:34

  1. So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of no no - 2009-12-02 03:55:27
First of all, WHY do you have such a very odd template system? Ever heard of Smarty? TPL files?
You are greatly limiting the possibilities by using this annoying system.

Second of all, images?!
You can't have a proper layout without images, gradients and other things invented this century.

Third of all, 'So it is finally the time to see what is the result of this initiative. I have not seen any similar initiative in any other site. So the expectation is huge.'

The expectation is huge? You give 3,000 USD to the winner and you get 5 design submissions with about a few hours work (at most)? I have seen more submissions at a contest with no prize at all.

Basically, why are you putting so much wasteless effort into this and don't you do what any other sane webmaster does? Go to a designer, let him make a design, pay him, tada: A site that looks like it wasn't made in 1900.

  2. Re: So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Manuel Lemos Manuel Lemos - 2009-12-02 04:16:10 - In reply to message 1 from no
There seems to be several misunderstandings.

There are security issues and business rules matters that require that the template system be as strict as you realized.

You can add custom images to your design proposal. Just use the link "Add image files" in the design editor page. Then user the syntax {graphics}image_file_name.png to use the image in the HTML or CSS templates.

The site is not interested in design proposals that do not meet the requirements. Still there many other incoming proposals that have not been approved or submitted because the authors asked more time.

Many designers have been contacted in the past to propose designs, but that would not help.

The problem is that there was no guarantee that the number of people that would be pleased with the new design, would be more than the people that would be displeased.

That happened with recent redesigns of YouTube and Facebook. People are still complaining there because the users were not listened.

There is no way to please everybody. That is why this contest was organized in the democratic manner.

Any designer can submit a proposal. Any user can vote on the proposal that he likes best. In the end it is guaranteed that the number of people that care and will be please will be larger than the users that will be displeased.

Other than that, there is no reason to be so aggressive. I cannot show you yet because the authors did not want to expose their proposals before the voting starts. But I can tell you that some of the already submitted proposals are quite elaborated and sophisticated.

If others did it, so can you. If you have difficulties to achieve a certain effect that you would like, just let me know. Maybe there is something that you were not aware that can be used to achieve your intentions.

  3. Re: So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Solinx Solinx - 2009-12-02 18:27:01 - In reply to message 2 from Manuel Lemos
I do hope you realize there are a few holes in your logic.

First of all, putting up a vote by no means guarantees the winning design is liked best by most visitors.

For instance, you can hardly expect everyone to participate in the vote. I am really annoyed by the current design, but at this time I cannot say whether I will vote or not. I got other things to do and will probably forget.

But even in the extreme case where everyone would vote, and the winning design would get say 70% of the votes, that would still not guarantee the winning design is the best design to implement.

The other 30% could absolutely abhor the design and never visit again. The other way around, the 70% could absolutely abhor the design which got in 2nd place.

If then in third place there is a design which is not liked best by either group, but still appreciated by all, it would be plain stupid to go with 1st or 2nd instead of the 3rd design.

You can of course try to take this into account by asking people to rank the designs by preference. All the same, votes often seem nice, but they usually only complicate matters unnecessarily. And it still very questionable whether you get a representative sample on the opinion of all user groups visiting your site.

Another downfall of votes: Allowing people to vote raises their expectations to new heights. You ask for their opinion, so don't you dare ignore it! Those voting the design which ends up being implemented will be happy, those that chose another design will be more unhappy than they would have been had they not been given a choice at all. And those who chose the winning design can still become uphappy if they had other expectations for the design, in other words, if the design doesn't turn out to be what they expected it to be. And also since the whole process took so long expectations in general have been raised (More time means more effort, which means higher quality, does it not?).

Anyway, you mentioned the redesigns of YouTube and FaceBook being problematic. You identified the reason as being that they didn't listen. I do hope you have your sources for that, as I would find that shocking.

Sure, they have not opened up a topic for discussion on their main page.
Heh, could you imagine the amount of feedback that would create! And can you imagine needing to shift through the masses of crappy feedback to find the sparse quality feedback?

More likely they have done quality usability tests with plenty of people during or at least after the redesign.

As you say, you can't please everyone, and there will indeed always be conservative visitors who would rather see no change at all. Try changing a single insignificant button in a forum skin... people can go on about it for years, once they notice. However, in this behaviour the satisfaction with the previous design is a big factor. Both YouTube and FaceBook had designs a lot of their visitors were positive about. Even if most perhaps thought it could be improved, the situation is quite different from the situation phpclasses is in.

I have not heard a single person saying they liked this design. That fact gives you a lot more room to play with. Mess with stuff that people like and they will get angry. Replace the stuff that no-one likes, and almost anything will be accepted with a relief the previous design is finally gone.

So really, I agree with the first poster, you really should not have bothered to put up a contest.

Where first hardly anyone would have objected to pretty much any design, you actually fostered an expectation and made it more likely people will dislike the new design.

Where previously the comparison was strictly between the current crappy design and any one new design you would put forward, we are now presented with a comparison between several good designs, from which only one will be chosen.

There is a reason there are no such design contest all over the world. There are more holes, but these are most relevant. Having more options is not always a good thing.

  4. Re: So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Manuel Lemos Manuel Lemos - 2009-12-02 21:01:52 - In reply to message 3 from Solinx
In case it was not clear, when I said that voting guarantees that it will please the majority of the users, I am talking about the majority of the users that care.

People that never registered are not entitled to vote because they are not site users. This contest is for users that actually use the site.

Those that that did not register for whatever reasons or registered but did not vote, they cannot complain because they excluded themselves from the process of choosing a better design. It would not make sense to be bothered with those users, as they do not care at all.

Anyway, I have not finished the poll system yet, but the intention is to have a second round with the two most voted designs, in case none gets at least 50% of the votes in the first round.

Also, the current design will also be available as a poll option. Not that I expect many votes, but is just to let those that are unhappy with any proposals, to not endorse any of them.

Other than that, I am not going to complicate the contest further, or else this process is never finished.

If there are matters that can be improved, I will have to leave them for a future edition of the contest.

People that are afraid that their preferred design proposal may not win, can always campaign for it. Go in Facebook or wherever and ask people for votes.

The only thing you cannot do is to create fake accounts to vote on your preferred design. That is considered fraud and the site is ready to detect this situation.

As for the fact that Facebook and YouTube hired designers that pushed designs that the users did not like, that was mentioned in this PHPClasses blog article: ...

Anyway, you can read more about that here: ... ...

  5. Re: So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Solinx Solinx - 2009-12-04 17:27:45 - In reply to message 4 from Manuel Lemos
Well, it's your choice. My view is that just hiring someone would have been better in this particular situation.

As I said, people are generally conservative:
Don't fix it if it isn't broken.

Furthermore, on the internet most people behave more outspoken. (Due to no or less peer judgement, and/or driven by the urge to stand out in the masses)

Thirdly, people unfortunately complain a lot more and longer than they show appreciation. And also here the distance of the internet causes extremes.

So, if a popular site changes a design that is much liked by milions, it is hardly surprising there are many complains.

That said, it does indeed look like FaceBook and YouTube could have handled things considerably better. I have no time to look into it beyond peeking at those links, so I take your word for it they screwed up big time. Personally I don't visit Facebook, and wasn't bothered in any way by the YouTube redesign. I'm not a poweruser though.

Anyway, I cannot imagine anyone being fond of this design, considering all that is possible today. The lack of 'Don't fix it'-mentality basically makes it unlikely there would have been any significant amount of complains. With this given, following the points made in my previous post, it would in this situation been easier and better to just hire someone.

Again, in the end it is your choice. Speaking in general terms, such methods as you describe have their uses. And either method can lead to success if executed correctly, meaning that much more depends on the person(s) behind it. And while we have different views on what is the best method in this situation, I don't doubt you'll end up with a good design.


  6. Re: So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Tomasz Malewski Tomasz Malewski - 2009-12-04 23:19:11 - In reply to message 4 from Manuel Lemos
We don't have to agree with Solinx but please look on his point of view as customer of PHPC and try to fill his requirements if we can.
Because You not finished the poll system yet why not make parallel poll system:
- free-for-all rating (only anonymous allowed)
- registered user rating (only for registered users)
In this way we just don't cut from Solinx idea with word "No" , we :
- will create great comparison = how anonymous VS staff judge this same design (result can be good hint for many others domains as reference how point of view between designers & guests can be different). Contest is good moment to measure and research some e-social environment to improve own implementation in future.

... you cannot do is to create fake accounts to vote on your preferred design. That is considered fraud and the site is ready to detect this situation ....
Nooo. My great top secret weapon as EBAY sniper + OCR from PHPBB spambot to create fake accounts and flood contest is unauthorized now - How i can win without cheats ;)

I know how to win - stop complain about bad CSS,HTML,design or anything else and just begin redesign guys.
- Prize no matters
- Rating helpful to feel how others judge your job because we build for people not for self.
- the most important is to get over yourself to invent improved design.

  7. Re: So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Tomasz Malewski Tomasz Malewski - 2009-12-04 23:19:56 - In reply to message 1 from no
Dear No,

I Think You are wrong with only 5 design submissions. It appears there when user finish some stage and forward to approve. As long as player work on it You don't see it and most (i hope) won't show hard ALPHA scratches to visitors - so be prepared to massive flood in last 24h before deadline :)

The expectation is huge? You give 3,000 USD to the winner and you get 5 design submissions with about a few hours work (at most)? I have seen more submissions at a contest with no prize at all.

  8. Re: So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Manuel Lemos Manuel Lemos - 2009-12-04 23:59:33 - In reply to message 6 from Tomasz Malewski
Anonymous voting will not be allowed because it is like opening a can of worms when it comes to fighting fraud.

The main concern in contests like this is with users that care. Users that care are those that have registered. Anonymous users that did not register, a probably not using the site at all, as most packages requires the users to be logged in to download.

As for creating fake accounts, it does not matter if you use a robot to defeat CAPTCHA or create many accounts manually. The site has means to determine who are real users that vote and which are fake. I will just not go into details because no fraud detection is perfect.

Other than that, users that will not be happy with the winning design, can always obtain a premium subscription and use a theme of their own.

  9. Re: So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Roberto Aleman Roberto Aleman - 2009-12-05 01:09:22 - In reply to message 1 from no
Mr. NO because you do not send your design and stop to making insane comments?

  10. Re: So much effort...   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Solinx Solinx - 2009-12-05 01:20:34 - In reply to message 6 from Tomasz Malewski
I must say, those are interesting suggestions. A parallel poll isn't something I thought of. And I hadn't considered the added insights such a poll could give.

It is not much of a compromise though. I would rather consider it an improvement of Manuel's method.

Looking at it from the perspective of my suggested method, your suggestion would actually make things worse. :P My suggestion basically is to not have a poll at all. However, if the chosen method is going to be a poll, which it is, better to apply such improvements to it.

The view I presented is a somewhat unorthodox one, I understand that, and one unlikely to be very popular among users. All the more because the concept of user-producer interaction in innovation is on the rise. A few years ago I was quite an advocate of that concept. Since then though I unfortunately have had to learn that this is not a concept which can be applied to every situation it seems usefull for. Involving users at the wrong moments is detrimental to the process rather than beneficial. The manner in which users are involved also makes a big difference.

There is no clear common set of instructions on when is a good time to involve users and when not. Nor is there one for choosing the manner in which to involve users. There are some tools, but mostly it is about judging the context.

Manuel and I take at different view on this situation in a yes or no matter. He says user involvement is beneficial, I say detrimental. Since the point isn't related to a crucial matter, and this decision isn't going to have a massive impact, starting to argue about this is really the one thing that is going to do the most damage.

Besides that, there really is no reason for me to argue. I rarely visit here, and I'm sure I will be fine with any of the new designs in the poll.