Minor BME updates

I made some very minor changes to the front page of BME and BME/extreme. Mostly it’s just making the text a little bigger, taking off unused elements, and expanding ones that are being used a bit more. There’s nothing particularly dramatic about it, but if the “latest updates” ticker breaks anyone’s browser, please let me know. The members page is more heavy updated as an index, but since it was just a list of small-text updates before, I hope that’s a good thing.

Suggestions (if possible, with a mock-up or example) are very much appreciated!

I’m going to try and dedicate a day every week or two to clean up an element of the site, with galleries being next on my list (most of that work is already done)…


This entry was posted in ModBlog and tagged by Shannon Larratt. Bookmark the permalink.

About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

100 thoughts on “Minor BME updates

  1. I don’t like it. I think it make BME look cheap. IF it were my first time stumbling on the site I wouldn’t look at it, I’d move on.

  2. Daderain – What part? The update ticker? Because I assume the rest is an improvement as it’s really just a larger font. I’m open to suggestions if you want to post an idea.

  3. I think I have to agreewith #2… To me, it looks quite cheap (in fac, I saw the screenshots before reading the text, and I first thought they were from an old version of BME) and it’s not very clear.
    BME certainly needs a bit of refacing, but I don’t really like this one too.

  4. My only suggestion is to slow down the ticker a bit. Maybe different computers treat it differently, but for me they flash by too quick.

  5. Slowing down the ticker is no problem (cut it to half), and I can make the background darker (a la Modblog). Mostly the goal is to make it simple to find stuff — but like I said I’m VERY open to suggestions and/or mockups.

  6. greendayfan333 – I’ve never posted a link to the so-called “Ask BME” site, and it is not a site that I have anything to do with. QOD will get turned back on at some point.

  7. Sorry, Shannon, but I have to agree with a bunch of the earlier posters – it looks like a cheap website.

    I think it’s just a combination of a couple of changes. The bars running down both sides make the site look really busy and packed, while the plain black text, white background, blue hyperlinks in the center look just like one of those filler pages you get from an ad company.

    In fact, I think the entire update reminds me of that. The header with the big “bmezine.com” is pretty, and I think the site would look much less crowded if you moved the news column over to the other side under “What’s new”.

    Then just replace the plain blue links with something a bit flashier (but don’t actually use flash, PLEASE:).

    I really like the red/white/grey/black theme you’ve used for ModBlog – maybe something like that could be good?

    Definitely keep the script that shows the latest photos updates – that’s cool :)

  8. I agree that I think the new look is a little off.

    I understand that it is simple and usable, and I appreciate that effort. I think what may be throwing people off that it seems a little generic. It reminds me of the default sites that are built when a company owns a domain name that they don’t actually have a site for.

    Unbroken lists of links, little space between sections, default link colors, etc.

    I think that some wayfinding graphics would help, even something as simple as icons for each of the main sections.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to keep me from coming.

  9. This looks like a 90′s old fashioned website. Sadly, it does not honour the content.

  10. Silent-Fire / Bryan – Thanks :)

    I’m going out for the morning, but I definitely appreciate these tips and will fiddle with it. Any other suggestions are appreciated, and if anyone feels motivated to draw up mockups I’m VERY appreciative!

    Like I said, my design goal is just for it to be simple and accessible, so anything that keeps inside that but moves away from too generic is great.

  11. Awww…why??? I like the older version much better. Gave BME a nice polished feel. I have to agree Timple completely with this.

  12. You get used to seeing things a certain way.

    I’m very open to a lighter background. I’m dyslexic and quite sick of people having dark backgrounds on web pages, I can’t look at them.

    The ticker does move a bit fast though, I was actually waiting for it to stop.

    Anyway, I think you have to give everything new a few days to settle in.

  13. I think this is my 2nd post ever but I had to speak up! It looks awful, the members page is LESS usable now – there’s far too much scrolling it was a lovely directory before.

    I’m starting to think that Shannon never actually got control of the site after all – surely he would never have allowed a design like this to happen, it’s horrific!

    If you want a good design emulate this http://news.bbc.co.uk/ ! AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Apart from all that keep up the good work – love the old versions of the sites

  14. PickledPotato – Do you think I should put the simple text directory / site map down the side? It would be an easy add.

    PS. BBC is so busy!!!

  15. Sorry Shannon, my gripe is with the code (as well as design). In this day and age is not too much to ask to have a site coded properly? Having a correctly make-up document would be a good start. Have the javascript linked to the page instead of embedded. Use style sheets to control the look of the page? They have been a W3 recommendation since 1999, nearly ten years. Tables and inline styling of elements was fine…back in 1996! I’ll draw you up a design and hell i’ll even code it for you, just give me a week or so!

  16. i know that a lot of people can be resistant to change, especially with a website they use very often, but i really do believe that the negative feedback is completely accurate.

    The new page just have a very amateur web designer feel to it. i can’t quite put my finger on it. The last page design just looked sleek and nice, and I don’t know, this one just looks like a real basic column based text website (despite the picture ticker thing). The website just doesn’t give me the feeling that there’s a ton of content on it (like I know there is).

    At least that’s my two pennies. If I knew more about web design, i could offer better ideas, but alas, i don’t. I dunno, that’s just the feeling i get from it.

  17. i wouldnt have called it cheap, but i would call it ‘retro’.

    there are a bunch of elements on the page that make it look like you are using a netscape beta or ncsa mosaic:

    1) the large blue borders around the clickable images
    2) page is filled with underlines
    3) highly sautrated blue links go very badly with the rest of the color scheme
    4) the grey on white with a grey border looks amaturish
    5) grids of photos have larger ‘borders’ on the inside than on the outside.
    6)ticker should be prepopulated on startup, not start out blank and fill in
    7) slow down the ticker slightly
    8) the entire page has too much going on for you to justify such a huge border. use a smaller border and spread things out.
    9) links turn horrible purple when you visit them.. this is just so very retro

    i feel that the design of the main page could use an overhaul in colors and spacing, but the above should get the ‘cheap’ look fixed

  18. I think the problem is that most pages today use less and less html code and go for PHP and Flash which give, esthetically speaking, much bette results… Just compare BME to Needled and you’ll understand what I mean.

    I think that a regular “menu on the left, banner at the top and content in the middle” layout with beautiful graphics would be much better… The best example of what would probably work the best for you is another body mods related website: http://www.bodyartforms.com/
    You wouldn’t need as much space to show every sub-categories of piercings/tattoos/Scarifications… on the front page by having a menu “popping” out like Bodyarforms have when you pass your mouse over the Plugs & Eyelets category. Where “Sales, Essentials, Hanging styles” categories are could have “BME, BME HARD, BME EXTREME” categories with the different mods as sub-categories.

    As for making the text bigger, I was running my 17” widescreen laptop at 1600X1440 screen resolution and didn’t have any problems reading with my text size set at normal on firefox, now I changed my computer so I’m running at 1280×800 and I didn’t have any problems with the other front page…

    Personally I don’t like the fact that there’s no search bar anymore and I alway wondered why there wasn’t a direct link to the page with all the different columns because that’s probably the part of the website I’m the most interested in…

    Just my 2 cents… I’ll try to make a better example using a screenshot from bodyartforms, can’t guarantee the results though!

  19. I don’t like it :( The older one was prettier. The blue text just makes it look amateur.

    And yes Shannon, please do bring back QOD asap :)

  20. Lotn – On the experience updates page.

    Dd – Thanks, all good points.

    Al – Cool :) Definitely interested in seeing your ideas!

    MatLax – I actually disagree on the flash and pop-up menu interface point… Not a fan at all…

    Re: Search Bar
    I will try and rebuild the search later today and reinsert it. Totally forgot, sorry!

  21. I’m currently working with the BAF website to show you what it could look like if it was BME instead (using image editing, not reworking the code itself), I haven’t done much, but it’s coming along very well, it just involves a lot of “cleaning” to make place for the BMEcontent…

  22. I agree with Daderain. I think the new colors (the white background with blue font mostly) make the site look cheap. I much prefer the old color scheme/layout. In my opinion, it would have been a much nicer change if the Latest Updates ticker and Hot on Modblog was just added to the older layout.

  23. Obviously I’m the minority here in thinking that your simple minimalistic design is awesome. The site really draws people in for the content and not the flashy, bloated web design that most other sites have these days. I for one think you should stick with a really nice clean design like you have. I don’t think there is any reason to swap over.

    Also just quickly browsing through the normal BME site nothing seemed to break with IE7/8 or Firefox 3 beta 4. Good job man.


  24. Oops, just realized I forgot to write “Piercings” in the left menu over the “Ear” square…

  25. I thought I typed in the URL wrong and was brought to a site that was ripping off BMEs content.

  26. MatLax – That looks good, but I think that’s a level of redesign that’s probably better for when a more intense rework of the CMS is done.

  27. Oh, I’m sorry I thought askBME was the new QOD lol! Nevermind that then!

    I don’t mind the new layout, looks fine to me!

  28. Lack of CSS, poor image and text padding and structure, feels very generic, missing search, and missing askbme link (better than having no QOD at all)

  29. I like the old layout better, and I’m not too big on making things more simple either as I felt the old layout was incredibly straight forward and easy to navigate, this seems like you’re dumbing it down. For me personally this new layout seems harder to read. Also I agree with the majority of negative comments made about borders, colors etc. but I have faith in your awesomeness Shannon.

  30. Search engine is plugged in by the way (and a new one is building right now which I’ll upload later in the day) and the colors from here are largely mirrored.

    I definitely look forward to seeing people’s proposals and mockups, although the bigger changes will wait until I’m in a position to re-staff the site with more task-appropriate admins and can do a heavier rebuild.

  31. The ticker dosn’t crash my browser, but does seem to cut into my memory quite a bit (makes the mouse cursor jump). I’m not a big fan of it….the rest seems good – I would like to see the titles of the older interviews along with the images.

  32. I personally find the ticker to be very distracting, and it takes away from elements that should be of a greater focus (ie. the cover image). I think that the ‘latest updates’ would fit a lot better if the images remained static.

    Shannon, I’ve just read your comment about making the colours/styles fit with those of ModBlog, and I think that it’s a great idea. The colour scheme would look a whole lot less generic that way, without being too overbearing.

    I’m not really feeling the thumbnails for the older ‘recent articles’, but that might just be my personal loathing for mouseovers.

    On a more positive note, however, I’m really liking the ‘Hot on ModBlog’ feature, since it makes ModBlog a little bit more integral with the rest of the website than it used to be prior to the redesign.

  33. The “hot on modblog” are the top-six (in terms of comments) entries on modblog’s front page by the way.

    I’m not sure what you mean by mouseover on the recent articles? they’re just regular image links… or do you mean the tone change in the outline?

    On the recent updates, then maybe I’ll swap the whole set every ten seconds or something rather than doing a “ticker”? That would be cleaner, but still scroll through the set.

  34. This redesign has promise, but it is mired by some very 1998/web 1.0 type design flaws. the borders around the images are probably the biggest problem, and the use of default colors for links. using tables/font tags is more of a nit-pick, but seriously, just about every site worth its merit has used css for font styling/layout for the last 3-4 years.

    I do get that this is sort of a work-in-progress, and can probably be shifted into a pretty nice redesign with some more work. You probably jumped the gun a bit making this live,though.

  35. css should be moved to a separate document so that it can be cached seperately, and all font tags should be removed in favor of font styles in css.

    in fact it would probably look better if you ditched those grey bars on the side (make them white), it would at least hide most of the padding inconsistencies.

  36. Sorry, that was just me being a complete idiot – I meant the alt text on the images.

    I think that swapping the whole set would definitely work a lot better – like you said, you get the best of both worlds.

  37. I like seeing occasional changes on static pages because for me it shows the owner is paying attention. To me, the home page has far too much red, the image borders are red and the links are red — I don’t think it works too well on the light background. I also think the images need some padding because the left and right borders are touching and it looks odd. The ticker is moving to fast and it needs slowing down to about half.

  38. from the comments I’m seeing, I might be coming to this late (I’m seeing a different front page than the ones people are describing above), but as of 2.35 PM pacific time, it looks really great to me.
    I saw it and started dancing gleefully– I’ve been coming to BME for years, and my flaky sixteen year old brain was bored. Nice job, Shannon.

  39. I like it a lot better with the red font, very nice. The colors work a lot better now.
    It’ll take some getting used to, of course. I think just the newness of it is what’s causing a lot of the commotion.

    Are you planning on changing the just the color scheme of the link pages (tattoo, piercing, etc) to match?

    I really like how the News section is now set up.
    Thanks Shannon. :)

  40. It’s looking far nicer than when I looked a bit ago, but I can’t help but think that with the ‘Latest Updates’ the border should be a bit larger if there are going to be different sized pictures with the black bits going on, just to make it look less… meh..

  41. I don’t know if it breaks my browser but… the updating images all over the page made it have a little fit the page is constantly loading and after about five minutes of studying the new front page my whole computer slowed down.

    It’s a bit off, one thing I always loved about the bme frontpage was that I didn’t have to scroll horizontally, it’s the #1 thing I look at when I’m deciding weather or not a page is good and the new page does need to be scrolled horizontally for me – fix please? With a cherry and sprinkles and nuts on top?

    It looks a bit cluttered, the thumbnails all crammed together… I always thought the old front page was very cool and classic and distinguished I can’t imagine an improvement on that.

  42. Yeah – the red links look MUCH better than the blue ones!

    One suggestion: I think the links in the first category (Body piercing) would look neater if they didn’t all say “…. piercing”, but just said “Ear” “Tongue” “Nose” etc?

  43. I really dislike the ticker. Very annoying. I like the overall grey tones, but as a whole the page is ultra-bland.

  44. Still no poll?

    I was so confused when I first got on.

    It looks nice. I kind of liked the tiny font.
    I don’t really like the flicker thing, though.

  45. Oh.

    Maybe you could do each gallery on a different line, and not separated by commas?


    I don’t know.
    It’s kind of hard on the eyes to read through all of it.
    That would probably stretch out the page, don’t know if you’d like that.

  46. Well I like it. The only two things i don’t like are: There’s no Search Bar
    and two the moving pictures move too fast, i’d say cut that in half and put a search bar in there and we’ll be set *thumbs up*

  47. Buddy – The search bar is in the bottom left.

    Thanks everyone for the continued feedback. I’ll make a few of the changes mentioned, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing any mockups people do — if anyone wants to draw up gallery page ideas, be my guest!

  48. It looks different to be sure. I like it. Not better than the old one but I like it. I agree that the gallery pages links need to be corraled someway but I think it’s coming along fine.
    And nothing wrong with retro.
    I’m retro and I’m ok =)

  49. I actually think that the page was more simple and easy to use before the redesign; now it seems busy or jumbled. Here are my comments:

    (1) The blue borders around the images don’t fit with the overall theme, I think it would be better without them.

    (2) I’m not fond of the ticker at all. I would like to see the images in the “Latest Updates” section vertical and in the right column and the interviews in the center; basically swap these two sections.

    (3) Include small descriptions of the interviews.

    (4) Place the “Community and Interactive Sections” right below the banner

    (5) Bring back the polls :)

  50. It looks much better w/ the new coloring…
    I was a huge fan of the old layout but probably just because I was so used to seeing it…I think the consistency of the color scheme makes it all go together better. I disagree that you need some fancy pants layout — I think simplicity is nice and easy to navigate. Definitely diggin the ModBlog top thumbs, & I think the cover image is larger which I like as well. I think this new design definitely has potential :) It’s nice to see things moving forward after the hiatus. Good luck :)

  51. eh…i don’t really like it. i like the old layout. this one is too…i don’t know. to me it wouldn’t make me wat to look at the site if it was my first time seeing it.

  52. I don’t like the new layout at all. The changing images are annoying and really slow down my comp. My sis came in and saw it from across the room and thought I was on a porn site at first. >.<

  53. As long as it’s still fairly easy to navigate, I don’t really care what it looks like. I come here for the content, so if that’s still accessible it’s all good to me. As long as we’re on the topic and giving suggestions though, I think the site might be able to stand having a bit more colour. If there’s 100 posts after this one saying “no way” then don’t worry about it. :) I’m pretty easy going myself.

  54. Just a thought:

    Do you remember HULK HOGAN? His music “Real American”
    This is just metaphoric but…BME The way it was/is. was his intro “Real American” people go crazy for it music/and Hogan.

    If you change it: it’ll be like changing that theme song…people will still like it, as well as your TRUE fans…buuuuut it’s just not the same. Don’t change man.

  55. I personally think it is good, easy to see where everything is and looks great!

  56. I liked the way BME looked before this “new” look. It just doesn’t look as good – too busy looking and that changing picture ticker is annoying.

    I mean it’s the same content – but the look isn’t all that great.

  57. Guess I should clarify: I miss seeing a few “recently recommended” experiences on the front page. I thought that getting your story linked on that page was a great reward for writing something that got featured…

  58. I’m going to toss my hat in here…I wanted to dig the new layout and I really don’t like it. The first thing I though was “god there is so much STUFF on this page!”. As another poster said this does nothing to add to making the content special. I think the old layout did a really good job of seperating the content into visually different areas so it made navigating to those areas much easier to do(and on the eyes). I think on the gallery side of things it works better because the notion of an index is more appropriate for images, but this is just too much-and the rotating image block is annoying after a time. like having banner ads that constantly move and suck up processing space. also they’re very visually distacting(I think after the main image, you want the viewers eye to be able to move around the page, not have their eyes pulled to something that flashes or changes a lot. Also because some of the grids where the pictures populate are not edge to edge so it becomes a blob of graphic rather than nicely delineated images. Too much visual bleed.

    Then you have a large bank of text right in the middle-and that seems like a lot to sift through from a start page. Perhaps for experienced readers who know how to look for what they want, but not from outside or first time readers. You’ve lots of different text, sizes, alignments…its kind of all over the place. From a graphic design standpoint, it doesn’t look very harmonious and lacks flow-but you have a ton of content to provide gateways to…so I’d take another crack at it. You’re open to suggested layouts….I might try making one just to see if I can actually do any better with so much info. plus people said there even stuff missing? Hmmmmm. where should we send examples to? and since I would ask this of a client-is there anything you purposely want to stay away from-are you using CSS anywhere that you have to stick closely to?

  59. I’d say less is more when it comes to webdesign.
    I’d go for a nice row of well designed buttons on one side (which side doesn’t matter too much). That way everything is really easy to find because all the navigation is in one place.

    I’d then go with one big glossy cover photo. Instead of looking at tons of small pictures.

  60. The ticker was part of it, but I think the larger font and lots of pictures make it look cluttered. Before it was clean and simple. Plus the plain black/red text on a white background bothers me because most of the time it looks really unprofessional to me. Like a default setting that someone didn’t know how to change.

  61. It looks so cheap and amateur. Please change it back.
    I agree with others who said if this was as the site looked when I first discovered it, I would move right on and not take a second look.

    Hate the new layout. When I first saw it I thought that something had happened to your server and it had reverted to a much older layout until things could be fixed.

    Now it is so..bare and unimpressive.
    Also there is no focal point anymore. My eyes don’t know where to stay as various thumbnail photos and highlighted font are dueling for my attention. Its very uncohesive.

  62. On second thought……
    Seeing the old layout made me miss its fluidity and easiness to navigate. I think it’s because of the experiences, news, and story thumbs… I think these elements should be integrated into whatever the new layout may be. While I like the image and modblog graphics of the old one…they made the site run much slower.
    It’s really nice to see the user feedback being appreciated an acted upon. It looks like this community is really patching up and it’s really nice to see that.
    Thanks for all the dedication :)

  63. Everything’s back now?

    Maybe keep the old layout and change the colors and add some of the new features (if possible)? I think you had some really good ideas with the change.

  64. I’m very glad to see the old layout back, I find it easier to navigate and also that the modbog link is easier to see (in my opinion, or maybe it’s just habit).

  65. I suppose if you wanted people to draw up layouts you could hold a contest or something for it? Then everyone would vote on their favourite one and the one with the most votes wins?

  66. Comparing the old layout to the prototype of the new one, I now realize that what I didn’t like in the new one was the picture ‘ticker’. I do like the thumbnail images for each of the categories in the new Hard/Extreme cover, though, and would suggest replicating that design instead – even though it would inevitably make the page longer.

  67. I really really liked the last one… it’s been home for me for like three years and when I clicked it to go onto Modblog and it was all different it was really odd.

  68. Glad to see the old BME layout back today! In my personal opinion, it’s ordered, neat and easy to navigate as everything has its place. It looks professional (as someone said, “polished”) and ultimately does more justice to the content than the prototype layouts tested earlier. When people come across this page, they will immediately see the work and effort put into comprising this website, as it serves as a fit housing for its content. I really believe that the old layout just needs to be re-vamped a little with some of the suggestions offered here. I don’t think it needs to be discarded completely at all. Its lovely :)

  69. i want to see the new redesigned page back. i especially liked the “hot on modblog” feature.

  70. I definitely think that someone like “Hot on Modblog” could be intergrated into the old layout though. That’s something I’d also like to see in a re-vamp :)

  71. I missed the new layout on the front page, it looks the same as ever. However, I do NOT like the new extreme/hard entry point. That’s where I do most of my surfing of BME from, and it’s practically impossible for me to parse now. I much prefer the old text-only style. Furthermore, one of my favorite categories is utterly confusing: There’s a corsetry section, and a corsetry section? The second needs to be labeled as MALE corsetry. I like that some of the more hidden areas – facial sculpting, circumcision – are now more prominent, but PLEASE put it back to the text-only style!

  72. Meredith – Ah, thank you — you’re right — that’s a string parsing error actually. I’ll get that fixed. I’ll also put the text bar down the site — Don suggested the same thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>