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2006 Evolt Org Design Contest

Rated 4.07 (Ratings: 2)

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Martin Burns

Member info

User since: 26 Apr 1999

Articles written: 143

Over the years, has had a number of designs, produced and implemented by a small group of admin evolters. We've come a long way in developing the design in the 7 years we've been in existence, including this current iteration, which we've lived with for over 6 months since we replatformed the site last summer. In that time, we've progressively opened up the running of the community. But now we'd like to go a step further and open up the design too. Here's your opportunity to stamp your own creativity on evolt - we'd like you (yes, you) to redesign this site.



The first Drupal implementation for (aka weo) was based on Isaac's static images, produced in summer 2002. They were almost 3 years old when we launched the thing, and therefore look a wee bit tired. Also, because we only had a few representative pages, we didn't have a complete design palette to implement, so had to fill in a lot of gaps, some of which went against the original design intentions. Finally, because we didn't want to go back through the hell of design by committee, we weren't prepared to entertain improvements on the designs based on experience, or additional capabilities that Drupal offers us.

A number of people have commented that the current design could be better. So, money-where-the-mouth-is time. Are you up to it?


A beautiful design that showcases the best in current web development, and can be easily implemented into Drupal (ie within a day), with no further design discussion or database lifting required.


  • Designs must be either:

    • Complete Drupal templatesets (using the phptemplate Drupal template engine)
    • HTML mockups, based on the elements in the current live site, containing at the very least samples of:

      1. a home page
      2. the styleguide ( article page
      3. registration page
      4. edit page
      5. user page
  • Designs must include all CSS, scripting and images required to support the design
  • Designs must be standards-compliant - you may choose the standard you wish to support, subject to the following constraints:

    • CSS layouts only
    • You may add any CSS browser hacks required.
  • Designs must support the standard site edit and browse functionality for all browsers; however, you may add additional features & functionality targeted at specific browsers, provided it degrades gracefully for other browsers.
  • If you have the Drupal knowledge, you may suggest additional modules ( that will support your design. These must be 4.6.x modules, but will ideally also be supported in 4.7 to enable a smooth upgrade path. These should enhance what's already in place, not replace it - we don't intend to migrate the content to a different node type for example.
  • You must submit a colophon, outlining and explaining your design and implementation choices (eg ice-v-liquid layout, use of sIFR etc)
  • You must explain and/or demonstrate how your design would be applied to other evolt sites (such as the Browser archive) which may not be running in Drupal. Historically, this has been done by common layout and different colourschemes; however, feel free to propose alternative approaches.
  • You may submit entries that build on and/or incorporate the work of others, as long as you give appropriate attribution and comply with all licensing terms.
  • You may suggest a freshening up of the logo - this is ok but by no means required.

Judging Criteria

  • Strength of IA
  • Beauty of design
  • Showcases the best in current web dev practise
  • Degree of accessibility
  • Effectiveness in degrading to older browsers
  • Ease of implementation to (primary) and other fine evolt sites (secondary).

Submitting your entry

  • Make it web-accessible
  • Email theforum.
  • You retain the rights to your design and code, but grant a perpetual license to use and adapt your design and code.
  • Closing date: 30 April 2006
  • All entries will be linked from this article for the general education & comment of the evolt community

The winner will be decided by Evolt's Design and Development group, in consultation with theforum and Evolt's sysadmins, and will become the default design. Non-winning designs judged of a high enough standard will be made available as alternative themes for registered users to choose as how they wish to view

We reserve the right to enter, shortlist and select the current design as the overall winner. We reserve the right to combine features from entries, and will grant co-winner status to all those involved.

Additional hints for entrants submitting static HTML

  1. Take copies of pages from the existing site as a base for your HTML. If you need access to edit pages, we can set you up with appropriate rights on our test site.
  2. Study how the pages are built up in many circumstances, including new content, content that's 'sticky' (ie highlighted at the top of index pages) and so on.
  3. The site is currently made up of three templates:


    Controls the overall layout, where each section goes etc. There is a large area here that is essentially Main Content goes here


    Controls how the main content is presented, both as excerpts on the index pages, and on their own pages. This again has a Content goes here area. Additional functionality such as comment forms, trackbacks and so on are provided by modules and are part of this area. Their HTML is generally not editable, so styling these can only be achieved using CSS. We may be persuadable to add id=foo/class=bar hooks on these for a particularly effective solution, but don't bank on it.


    Controls how comments are displayed. NB, not the comment form, which is part of the Node Main Content area.

  4. Page-specific design is therefore generally not possible, other than defining which blocks (ie the content of the current site's sidebars) are visible on which pages (and to logged in users or not).
  5. Blocks can contain Static HTML (see the current Donations block for an example), RSS feeds, or content made available by specific modules.


This community contains some of the top web talent working today, with lots of experience in designing beautiful sites integrated with Content Management Systems such as Drupal. I know there are evolters capable of truly astonishing work that will astound us all. Come back with work that will make my jaw drop, because I know you can.

Martin Burns has been doing this stuff since Netscape 1.0 days. Starting with the communication ends that online media support, he moved back through design, HTML and server-side code. Then he got into running the whole show. These days he's working for these people as a Project Manager, and still thinks (nearly 6 years on) it's a hell of a lot better than working for a dot-com. In his Copious Free Time™, he helps out running a Cloth Nappies online store.

Amongst his favourite things is ZopeDrupal, which he uses to run his personal site. He's starting to (re)gain a sneaking regard for ECMAscript since the arrival of unobtrusive scripting.

He's been a member of since the very early days, a board member, a president, a writer and even contributed a modest amount of template code for the current site. Above all, he likes to do things because it knowingly chooses to do so, rather than randomly stumbling into them. He's also one of the boys and girls who beervolts in the UK, although the arrival of small children in his life have knocked the frequency for 6.

Most likely to ask: Why would a client pay you to do that?

Least likely to ask: Why isn't that navigation frame in Flash?

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