PortlandWiki:GUI CA

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Competitive Assessment

Part of thinking about a new design is to see if we can look at other wikis out there. To see how other sites have evolved, and to deduce why they reached to that conclusion. Unless someone among us were part of the design, I can only analyze based on the conclusion. Sometimes this is called heuristics. We methodically look at other sites with similar purposes or similar technologies. We methodically note what we like.

Site Screenshot
WikiHow

Wikihow is a question and answers style Wiki. This wiki does a pretty good job feeling warm and friendly and yet still reserved enough to not feel bloggy

  • The top nav is great, though I would still contend taht the search block is more important than the Articles, Community & Profile items.
  • The 'Three-Step' is great looking. Lear, Write, Wiki -- Gorgeous!
WikiHow

Beer Wiki (Wikia)

This is a fun colorful wiki. Though it follows the Wikia template, which means the top navigation is actually a meta navigation between other wikis.

  • The google ads are lame, and create a confusing cloud of noise just above the brand.
  • What I like most about Beer Wiki is the fun graphic content. That's what I would want to bring to Piki are templates for placing images in a way that is fun and interesting.
Wikia's Beer Wiki cwrap


Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Wikia)

This is a fun colorful wiki. Though it follows the Wikia template, which means the top navigation is actually a meta navigation between other wikis.

  • The google ads are lame, and create a confusing cloud of noise just above the brand.
  • What I like most about Beer Wiki is the fun graphic content. That's what I would want to bring to Piki are templates for placing images in a way that is fun and interesting.
Wikia's Diary of a Wimpy Kid Wiki


WikiFashion

A part from looking like a consumer clothing retailer, Wikifashion is very very nice. Spacious and appealing. Though the layout is a bit complicated, I like the over all tone of the wiki. It uses subtle colors that make it feel warm and inviting.

  • Simple interesting content
  • Recent Photos column - Suddenly recent activity is interesting. Love the idea of having columns that tap into the volume of activity. New Topics, New updates...watch it all happen. NICE.


Wikia's Fashion Wiki


Wetpaint

From what I've deduced about Wetpaint's history. I think their goal was to show the range of what the Wetpaint Wiki Platform can do. To that end, they've sort of pushed the templates aggressively. Though interesting, it doesn't say 'wiki' or 'knowledge' to me. That could simply be the content they happen to be showing.

  • Shows a wide range of formatting, which I think is valid for areas of Piki (Portland Wiki), that we want to show lifestyle & event topics (most commonly presented on the homepage)
  • As discussed in Monday's meetup, there's a need to have content 'fed' in through rss. Wetpaint looks like they are tapping into cross-channel content, from Facebook and Youtube, which I think adds weight. For us, I think it would be worth looking into, at the very least, to take the burden off the front-page content update death march.
  • Daily background changes, makes the site feel dynamic. Every day is new. I like the idea of having a resource well of backgrounds that can be uploaded by local graphic artists.
Wetpaint Wiki


AOL Portal

I worked on the AOL portal when I was in New York City. I was fairly impressed by the size of their editorial team. About 15 full-time editors, and 20 or so full-time writers and a billion freelancers. They have a HUGE team which can provide daily content, and a team of graphic designers whose soul purpose is to create splashy graphics. For the record, I have no illusions about trying to mimic their exhaustive speed. However, there are some consistent area I think we can learn from

  • BIG Search field, front and center -- dig that
  • No side nav -- Full screen content
  • Image/content text blocks great for small-to-large articles.
  • Key product tie-ins (mail, aim, xmradio)


AOL Portal


MSN

I can only assume their editorial team is massive. This is a big factor in our design. With enough relevant pictures and content, the nav doesn't have to do much work. Layout can be more basic. MSN is king of the link-farm type design. Links and links and links. They have relevant updated photos, so they can get away with that. They assume people are photo-clickers, not page-readers.

  • Big search field (Bing of coarse)
  • Full screen content
  • Not thrilled by their 8 section tab nav + a more at the end? God no.



MSN Portal


Meetup.com

Besides not being a wiki, this site is gorgeous. I think it's a valid design reference because they, like us, have a lot of text, and spartan photos. They are able to create a design that is intelligent and welcoming.

  • LOVE the top nav. Simple clear very click-able
  • Full screen content (with columns in the content showing details. Would love to have a column that shows a digest of the page. Listing all the web page and page links, so someone doesn't have to comb the text to find a link or to cross-reference
  • GREAT margins (perfectly demonstrates how margins and spacing can add to the feeling of legitimacy)
  • Grey bkg + white text blocks (strange, and yet oddly comforting) It might even lend to making a page easy to scan.
Meetup Portal