I’m sharing what I wrote to our new Iranian.com team over the weekend about what changes we should make to bring more excitement and immediacy. These are just my thoughts and nothing is final. Your input as users would be very valuable.
Said, I love your design. It is clean, beautiful and functional. But this is what iranian.com should of had 3-4 years ago. If we implement this today, we will be in a much better position than we are now, but it will not be a knock-out. We need to give the biggest emphasis to Facebook and Twitter-like functions that would make iranian.com more immediate and up-to-date. Blogs are not history in today’s media, but they have taken a backseat to fast and short posts.
We can take the best of Facebook, Twitter, The Daily Beast and Balatarin, without being either.
Take a look at my “design”. I have copied my Facebook page and pasted it on the left side of Said’s design. Obviously this needs to be adjusted. I think it would be ideal if a third of the front page shows the profile page of the user (my bad patch-work design is taking up two thirds of the front page), filled in sequential order their blog summaries, short notes, image posts, links, etc. In other words if Said opened iranian.com, he would see his own profile page on the left. Clicking on a tab would change this particular section to a page which would prominently show updates from his favorite iranian.com users as well as a narrow column on the very left which would have a live up-to-date list of all user names who have posted something that moment.
The details of the above idea can be worked out, but the idea is to give top priority to prominent presentation of what the user has to say about his/her life and views. We are living in a time when the number one desire of most people is the quick and easy posting of their own stuff.
On the right side, we can present titles of the most popular blogs of the day, with a link taking users to a full list of recent blogs. These blogs can be voted on and titles of the most-voted would show up on the front page. Other items listed similarly on the right side would be top news items and youtube suggestions (voted by users, similar to what Balatarin does), editor’s picks, photo essays (more important than Iranians of the Day, in terms of general interest and high page-views), etc…
I think for now I’ve given you enough food for thought. It’s unconventional but I believe it’s the best of all worlds. We need to overhaul iranian.com and make it futuristic. Improving the look and feel alone is not going to take us where we need to be, even for an initial upgrade. We need to do something bold and different. Something in line with what we ourselves and the fastest growing number of people are doing on Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis, without the need to make a big investment in time and money to be exactly like them.
Looking forward to your thoughts.