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LetsRun.com Homepage Design (Or Clean Up) Contest
by: LetsRun.com
December 3, 2008

After 8 years and getting sick of having to apologize for people for our lack of design, we're having a homepage re-design contest for letsrun.com.

We're not sure exactly what we want but we know we want to clean things up a bit. Instead of  "Re-design Contest" maybe we should call it a "Clean Up Contest" as we very much like the simplicity of our current design and think it gets its job done. Our main problem is not really our design but the fact we leave too many things up on the homepage at one time. We should probably limit the homepage to the most recent day or two of news. Then if anything was below the fold it would only be news from the most recent big events or maybe links to our archives.

We personally never go below the fold so it's not a problem for us. But new site visitors get lost the first time they come to letsrun.com and we want to prevent that.

There are very few rules for the design/clean up contest. We're not even sure how we'll evaluate the winning contribution (likely you, our viewers will have some input) but we're pretty sure we don't want too many bells and whistles, but the final design is up to you. When explaining our website to people we often say it is like the "Drudge Report" of running and when we saw this post the other day: "Why the Drudge Report is one of the best designed sites on the web " http://www.37signals.com/svn/posts/1407-why-the-drudge-report-is-one-of-the-best-designed-sites-on-the-web we knew what they were talking about. Simplicity works.

There's a reason letsrun.com is the most popular independent running website in the world, its (lack of) design works. Running journalists from around the globe come to letsrun.com because they know they can find what's going on in the running world very quickly.

So we're leaving the particulars up to you. You don't even have to be computer programmer to win. This is a DESIGN contest. Get out pencil and crayons if you want. If you code the entire thing it might help you win, but its not necessary.

Do whatever you want, but just let it be known that a bunch of bells and whistles aren't necessary to win.

Having said that there are a few parameters.

Parameters

1) There must be a 300*250 block for an ad above the fold. How big is 300*250? The rectangle ad/video player that you see up top on the right of the homepage next to the quote of the day is 300*250. Also the ad you see up top on this page in the body of this article is also 300*250. For those you not real smart, 300*250 is very close to being a square.
2) There must also be somewhere else on the page a 728*90 ad (hey we've got to pay the bills) but it does not have to be above the fold. How big is 728*90? The long rectangle ad that appears at the top of this page above the LetsRun.com logo is that size.
3) There must be a quote of the day.
4) You must have a link to the message boards.

Other suggestions:
1) A navigation toolbar (that can add sections) might be beneficial. The space currently in the leftmost column is largely wasted and could probably be replaced by a horizontal toolbar.
2) We don't have these things every day but if you have a space to incorporate a video box (300*250 or smaller) and a place for a daily poll that might be good.
3) Believe it or not, letsrun.com has daily archives (for example April 13th (Ryan Hall's London Marathon) http://www.letsrun.com/2008/homepage0413.php) If we're going to limit the day's news to a couple of days, we think it might be a good idea to link to other news from the week, so maybe a link to Monday's news, Tuesday's news, etc.
4) Picking a past days news and mocking it up in your design might be the best way to win. If you code the site even better.

But really we're leaving it up to you. Our visitors are super creative and have sent us suggested designs in the past, so now it is time for your creativity to show.

Prizes
If we use the winning design for the homepage of LetsRun.com we'll give you $1,000. Note: we reserve the right to say all the designs suck and keep what we have or to reopen the contest.

We're giving you 2+ weeks to get in submissions so they're due by December 19th.

To submit, just email us your submission at [email protected]. It can just be a mockup of a particular day's news (feel free to redo a day in the past) or if you want or you can actually code the entire site.

Good luck.

Feel free to email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

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