questionswill you help us create a new home?

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Stupid checkbox. I wonder if the length of a comment has any greater effect on the popularity of a question, or if it's just mere numbers, and the frequency of them (as in, three comments close together count for more than five space more than fifteen minutes apart). Interesting thought. I wonder how many times a vendor has pushed something up to popularity via comments???

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You can get the clean look at any number of sites, and it's nice, but you'll stand out more with the bold look, it will also make it easier to match graphics in email and advertisements with the look of your site. If you use the clean look and you match everything to that, then you're also matching to every other clean site out there.

Even if everyone prefers the clean look in general there is nothing offensive about the bold look, I'd rather have a site that stands out and is easier to remember than have one that everyone thinks looks nice and clean, but just like so many other sites.

@shrdlu: Wha!? No fair putting "Commenting..." up as a place holder! Cheater! - type faster or risk having your opinion swept out from under you!

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I suppose I ought to go look at both of the potential sites. I was waiting until I'd had enough coffee to be pleasant. No sense looking at them before then.

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@tygerdave: And you just got beat out by less than a minute, too... :D

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I like green, but not the shade you have for the border.

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I liked the clean look. The bold look was too trendy.

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@tygerdave: Interesting that you saw the "Commenting..." line and thought that it was a place holder. I wasn't sure others would notice the question, and thought it was an interesting one. I'd been about to make five comments in a row, and was planning to say that on each one of them, but when I realized others were commenting, and went back and edited it out.

You guessed wrong, this time. ;-}

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@shrdlu: I saw where @hobbit out gun you earlier, seemed a safe assumption :-p

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@erikadyscern: Who is doing the design for this? Is it someone male? I wonder if I should go off and look at your original site. Ah. Just did.

I believe it would be more useful to ask about new designs by using an actual page, rather than a PDF. There are things on your current site that I suspect may also be on the new choices, but which are not apparent since you've just taken a snapshot, as it were. If I had to choose, I'd say the one you're calling "clean" would be better. The "framed" look that both your current site and the "bold" site have tends to continually force the eye inward, and may cause the new visitor to miss items you'd want them to see.

I'm not a fan of the seventies color scheme, but then, the last color scheme I really liked was on xkcd.com, so you should take that with a grain of salt. I'll have to think for a while about what sales sites I do like (and NO, Amazon's not one of them).

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I like the clean look. The other one looks too busy with all those colors.

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@erikadyscern: I did want to clarify my earlier statement, when I asked whether the site was being done by someone male. I notice that some of the color combinations (on all three sites) might benefit from further analysis. I think we had a discussion here on color blindedness, and the fact that some of the integral parts of your site are dependent on green (even though it's olive-ish) may be problematic for those folks.

Color blindness is far more common in males than in females (since it's passed from the mother, like male-pattern baldness) on the leg of the X that is undefended by the male Y.

I'm going to quit now, otherwise this well end up a dissertation on the design of things. In the meantime, here's some entertainment.

http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/

Great site (in case you haven't been there), with the premise that it's easier to learn how to be good when you can see what's bad, too.

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I'm not sure if I can note my opinion concisely, but here goes.

First: I like the color combination of the old site (burgundy and gray, although I've been in a gray kick lately -- also, deals.woot!) and am ambivalent about the colors in the new site (it looks fine to me). Of course, I am male...

Second: Remember that usability is paramount on websites -- so your design should keep usability in mind. While the clean site has a slight advantage in this case (less clutter), the bold site is actually a touch more effective in delineating the sections of your website. What would be nice is to take the clean site and make the upper banner have a different background (e.g., a very light grey or green) so I know right away where the "meat" of your site is.

Third: I think the bold site has a bit stronger branding due to color(see other comments above). I would love to get the same feel on the clean site. The key is to use a fairly limited palette but make it's presence stronger.

con't

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Fourth: As we talk about color and what "looks nice." Keep in mind that what looks nice is not always what's the most effective for a website. A common "challenge" with some websites is that they use colors that are very close together, e.g., "dark grey text on a light grey background," because it looks pretty. Which is true, it is pretty to look at from afar, but it's a pain for some people to read -- and if people are scanning your site for deals, contrast is key. Color combinations like Amazon's blue/orange or your GPS ad, while, in the wrong hands, can be aesthetically offensive, can work.

So basically, I guess the concise answer is function over form, but form can improve function.

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Thank you all for your time and for your very thoughtful comments and for filling out the survey. Interestingly, the comments that I received in this thread seemed more balanced on the two designs where the survey was very heavily skewed to the "clean" look. The overall voting was 70% clean to 30% bold. Perhaps not surprisingly, when you liked a store you liked them on all attributes. If you voted on for one of the skins on a single attribute, you voted thoughout for the same skin.

What I am reading in your comments is that in general, you like the "clean" but it is perhaps too clean and there isn't much in there to differentiate it from other stores on the web.

Your comments are so appreciated! I suspect you will hear from me again on this topic.

Erika