Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Designing "topic centers"



I've been working on some new page types at work called "topic centers." They're basically intended to make related content from disparate sections on the site readily available in one place. For example: 1) audio software for your PC, 2) MP3s you can download, 3) games for your PC, and 4) video previews/trailers for upcoming DVD releases, all collected in a new topic center called "Home Entertainment."

It's been fun, because I can push the design envelope a little since these new sections need to look rather different than normal category "doors" (as we call them).

One of the challenges is to present these somewhat dissimilar content types in a unified page design. Another challenge is to humanize the site more — presenting hundreds of pages of software downloads can look boring as hell if you don't infuse some personality into your site.

So far, I think my solutions are working pretty well. Here's a snippet from one of the other topic centers, this one called "Best of Download.com," on which we feature the most popular downloads according to both our members and our editors.

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