Honestly, I would prefer *less design*. I think Lobsters (https://lobste.rs/) is a great update on the HN theme. Simple, clean, functional. No extra chrome that gets in the way. I want to A) find links that are interesting and B) easily read/respond to comments. Everything else just gets in the way.
Lobsters is excellent in other categories too (tagging, filtering, messaging, active development, etc). I know Inbound won't switch to it...but a guy can always dream =)
When we relaunched Inbound.org with this new guise, the focus was on replacing the platform (formerly Wordpess based) with something custom so we could build-on and tweak it much more easily. Design was looked at, but it was a definite second place.
Whilst the current design is "okay", it's not going to win any awards. It's much cleaner than the old site (less grey-on-grey!) and does have the responsive design, but there are various things wrong with it. For instance, look at this eye-tracking sample - the focus isn't on the titles. Rand's picked up on various inconsistencies too.
Whilst design by committee is a terrible idea, finding interesting interfaces and stand-out designers together as a community is much more interesting. Personally, I like Flipboard, Wernah.com, the old Svbtle homepage and the Google+ iOS app (Google's strangely good at iOS apps!).
We'd love your help in finding a great designer to bring onboard to develop a much refreshed interface for Inbound.org. Thanks to Rand and Dharmesh who still fund the site, we've got money to spend (within reason). This is something we'd be looking to kick-off early next year.
I guess this will also make for a nice swipe file, handy for other people too :)
Any suggestions will be very welcome!
You need a creative thinker, the actual output of the design is the easiest part, I find the difficulty comes from scoping and defining the visual language that gives the community a sense of value that doesn't exist on any other website. Why don't you ask for design submissions from the community and then A/B test them for engagement?
Hmmmm... not sure that would work. It would be unfair on the designers in this community since most of the work wouldn't be used and/or horrifically expensive for us. Also, as a community it would be super-irritating to dozens of very different designs to be tested on you.
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