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Letsrun.com Re-Design Contest Final Round
by: LetsRun.com
January 9, 2009

(Please understand that we've made some changes to what we want from the original contest, it's critical that pepole read the new guidelines at
The LRC Design contest was a big-time success. We got a ton of great submissions from which we got a lot of great ideas.

The re-design contest certainly has been much more nerve-wracking of an affair that we anticipated. But itís been very worthwhile as itís made us think a lot about a whole host of things.

We got a lot of entries but in addition to the entries we often got lengthy tomes explaning the designers' ideas which were fascinating in and of themselves.  One of them from Chad Montgomery (design #1 below) summed up the redesign perfectly in our minds:

As a long-time reader and appreciator of LetsRun.com, I approached this re-design with a healthy amount of skepticism, but I decided to send in this proposal anyway with hope that your own feelings about the ďbrandĒ of LetsRun are similar to mine.

A website redesign is always some kind of re-branding. With an already successful website, it can be a little nerve-wracking. That being said, I think that the brand of LetsRun is not the ďlack of designĒ, but rather the density of information. The Drudge Report and LetsRun work so well because a large amount of information can actually be kind of nice to look at and peruse through, even though it violates traditional website organization.

This being said, Iíve structured this re-design around the following goals:
ē retain the density of information, but trade chaos for richness
ē update, (not abolish) the color scheme
ē clarify the typography so that information is easier to navigate 

The guy that wrote that almost won the contest right there as his description was perfect. The whole process made us realize that we really like our site.  In reality, we donít want to rebrand letsrun.com too much. We just want to clean it up, organize it, make it more professional.

Anyway, enough theory and on to specifics. We received a ton of good ideas but none that was a winner. We did pick 5 "Studly Designs" which we thought taught us a lot about what we want in a site (even if they honestly weren't the best designs - they taught us the most). Instead of awarding one of them $1,000, we decided to award all five of them $300 each if they are willing to let us share their designs with you. 

We're now going to give the community our feedback on some of the entries and re-open the contest. We've upped the prize to $2,000 and we've opened it up to people outside the LetsRun.com community by posting the contest on 99designs.com. At that site, we will be providing feedback on the new designs as we receive them.

The 2nd and final round of the contest will last one week. We will pick one winner at that point.

Based on your submissions, we're pretty sure we like the following:

  • The quote of the day is very important to the site and needs to be very prominently displayed.
  • The site must include two ad units above the fold: (this is a change from the 1st contest) space for a 300 x 250 ad/video player as well as 720 x 90 ad. Occasionally, we have another video player on the site.
  • The quote of the day is very important to the site and needs to be very prominently displayed.
  • Based on our previous contest on our own site, we're pretty sure we like the following:
  • Almost certainly 3 columns - our idea is to get rid of the column on the left and put in a horizontal nav bar but you are free to do what you want. (we don't care if you don't know what topics should be in the nav bar - we're looking for design).
  • Please note: At least two of the columns must be for news.  It's important for people to realize that we post 12-15 new news item per day. That is what the site is all about.  
  • The key is clean, simple lines between the columns with space between the lines and the text.
  • We don't think we want to underline the hyperlinks.  
  • A cleaner font.

Below you will find the designs that most inspired us with our comments about what we liked and didn't. If you take the criticisms below and add them to what we just wrote, you might just win the contest.

To enter the contest, you have to go to 99designs.com. PLEASE READ THE CRITERIA OUTLINED THERE.

Please note that if you click on the images they will enlarge on a separate window.

Full article: https://www.letsrun.com/contest2/montgomery.jpg

What We Like: A lot. This was one of our favorites.

∑         The inclusion of spacing between the characters and the start of the columns is great.

∑         The lack of underlinging of hyperlinks seems to add cleanliness to the site.

∑         Color horizontal nav bar is intersesting concept.

Changes we might make/What We Donít Like

∑         We envision this as just the 1st three columns. The 4th column/video player would be moved to the right of the quote of the day with the original logo going to the left of the quote of the day. On days where we needed two ads up top or an ad and a video player, you could move the logo back to itís traditional spot above the quote of the day. Make it 3 columns and you might win.

∑         Below the archives we could have Week That Was recaps.

JP Gary

What We Like:

∑         The inclusion of spacing between the characters and the start of the columns is great.

∑         The lack of underlinging of hyperlinks seems to add cleanliness to the site.  

∑         Color on far right and left columns reduces feeling of being overwhelmed by text. But how would it look if there was no color on the far left? 

Changes we might make/What We Donít Like

∑         We envision the site as having three columns

∑         Need to add a horizontal navigation bar.  Heís submitted another entry with a horizontal bar. If he merged these two, he might be the winner. 

∑         This design was done over a year ago. Obviously uptop by the quote of the day, youíd need to have the square ad. Needs a horizontal ad as well. Maybe above LRC logo?



What We Like:

         I didnít like this site they way itís currently designed other than the font makes it look more like a newspaper.

         The concept of the grey headers (ďLatest NewsĒ/ĒOn the BoardsĒ) is intriguing.

Changes we might make:

         Three columns/horizontal ad bar.



Full Design at: http://chuckkacsur.com/letsrun/

What We Like:

         The design overall is not what we want at all but if he followed our desires of 3 columns, quote of day in middle, original logo, etc he could be in the mix.

         I like how the archives count backwards. A few other people did it like this but itís good.

         Space between three columns is good

         On the boards thing looks great. Just move it down to third right column.

         Clean font, good spacing. We like space between columns.


Changes we might make/What We Donít Like

         The overall design isnít very good. He needs to move it to what we like. 

Get rid of underlining of links.  



Actual image at: http://users.ece.utexas.edu/~dburnham/letsrun/dynamic-organized.html

Huge Description of his ideas: http://users.ece.utexas.edu/~dburnham/letsrun/


What We Like:

         This guy's idea for the tag and thread links is very well thought out. We almost certainly will try something like this.

         His placement of the horizontal ad is very well done as is used to break the current news from the archives but unfortunately we need it above the fold.

Changes we might make/What We Donít Like

         Move the square ad/video player next to quote of day.

         Make the font cleaner like options #1 and #2 as the site seems cluttered by text. He says his site is based on http://www.alistapart.com/articles/holygrail - text like that is much cleaner. 



This is one of the site co-founders crude sketch of what he thinks he wants.

What We Like:

         3 columns. If all of them are at least 300 pixels wide, it gives us a lot more flexibility to move things around.

         Ads above the fold.

         Thumbnails in text help break up text.

         The picture isnít very clear but at the top we have the 720 x 90 ad.

         We have logo and quote of day in the middle and 300 x 250 to the right.

         TO the left of the logo and quote of day, we have a blank space which could be used for a 300 x 250 video player if we need one. 

This is a submission our ad partner sent after seeing what we liked:

What We Like:

∑         We like how the 720 x 90 ad is positioned at the top.

∑         The thumbnails in the text are an interesting idea.

∑         Posts frome messagboad is prominently featured.

What we donít like

          ∑  We want three columns. We donít like this design at all really but thought the ad positioning up top was worth showing.







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