Visionati.com is a community for creatives (artists, musicians, designers, writers, filmmakers and photographers, for starters), based on Web 2.0 technologies.
The site allows a member to showcase their work, comment on and rate the work of others and collaborate on both personal and professional creative projects using tools which provide the ability to exchange notes, post and download files, and schedule events for the team. The site is pro and amateur alike.
Here is what we need
In short: A homepage design.
The site is currently in Beta, and we feel the homepage needs a rework to better promote, at first glance, what the site does, while at the same time showing the posted work by our members and other important content.
We have been through several page designs created by designers in our own network. We feel that, perhaps, these folks are just too close to the project, since we've been talking to them about the concept and other components for over a year.
Based on the other submissions we've seen here, it's clear that the www.crowdspring.community "gets it," and we feel you can hit a home run for us.
The logo and color palette are both locked down, and we're happy with them, but the shell-game of elements on the home page, and the "fit and finish" of same, needs a designer's touch who understands Web 2.0 UI design, and at the same time can put the polish on it that discerning creative individuals would warm to.
The necessary elements include (in the order of importance)
1). Sufficient space for, and a graphical representation of what the site does (showcase your work, comment on and rate the work of others, collaborate with other creatives on projects). This could take the form of a main "stage" at center with three different "frames" of how we roll. Our spec says that users who are not logged in will see this "about Visionati" content, but users who ARE logged in will probably see more thumbnails, and other content that is germane to their use of the site on a day-to-day basis. You only need worry about the former (not logged-in state).
2). Top and Bottom Navigation reflecting the same options on the current site.
3). Thumbnails of posted work ("work" can be visual assets such as photographs, or images of paintings, as well as audio, video and/or writing).
These non-visual assets allow the user to post a thumbnail, similar to "album art" to add a visual representation for that work. In the absence of a posted thumbnail, we have a generic thumbnail icon for each of the non-visual asset types).
4). Collaborations currently under way (where painters work with photographers, designers work with writers, etc). This will, most likely, take the form of a listing of title, a one-line description, and a 32x32 thumbnail on the left.
5). Search field with drop-down menu for options at top of page.
6). A 728x90 "leaderboard", 120 x 600 "Skyscraper" or 160 x 600 "wide skyscraper" ad unit (the site is ad-supported, so this is probably more important than #6, but content is, afterall, king). The size of ad unit used is your call, based on your layout.
7). Members online (a text list of members active within the past 15 minutes)
Other Content, If room is available
Recent Blog Posts
A block or two for "editorial" content
About our target audience
Our members are professional creatives as well as amateurs looking to break in to the field by showcasing their best work, and collaborating with other artists. The gender breakdown will probably end up being an even mix of male and female, and age profile is likely to be 20-40 range.
As creative individuals, our users are sensitive to (translation: critical of) how the site looks and feels, and the homepage is an essential element in establishing a "bond" from the first visit.
Visionati differs from other sites catering to creatives, in that it brings all creative disciplines together in one community, and offers collaboration tools for members to interact with other members on projects (versus other sites sites which simply offer portfolio pages in a specific "vertical," or discipline ).
Our design absolutely must have
Our layout is a fixed 920px, and can be as long as necessary. Essential elements should be in a 725-750px height.
See the elements above for the "what."
Also, of course, our logo, and the color palette (see current site). Other colors can be used in addition, if desired.
Things we dont like or need
We are not interested in any design that looks like we could have bought it off of a template site (visit templatemonster.com for a great lesson on what we DO NOT want). We need a true, Web 2.0 vibe, but one that does not make gratuitous use of the gradient tool and other cliche Web 2.0 elements.
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