Siliconera Redesign Launch

If you’re a fan of video games, you’re probably a fan of Siliconera, one of b5’s largest sites on the network. For those of you who came to Social Media Club DC, you’ll remember the video from the Siliconera author, Spencer Yip, in my presentation.

siliconera-before-after.png

The ground rules for the design project was “fun”. It is a market leading video games site, but it had a fun audience that enjoyed fun gaming. The next rule was that in Japanese culture, monster “icons” are a part of their marketing culture. We needed monsters since the audience is largely Japanese. The next rule was that we figure out how to organize 10,000+ posts in a meaningful way to allow people to find stuff.

So we did. We hired Adriana de Barros as our designer extraordinaire. Setting up conference calls between Spencer in L.A., me in Baltimore and Adriana in Portugal was… a challenge. :) Adriana designed this amazing design with ultra close attention to Spencer’s needs, our needs, and what I say WordPress could or could not do.

When she handed the skeleton HTML over to me early in February, I really had no idea what really was going to be at play in WordPressifying the design. I don’t want to steal any of Spencer’s thunder in explaining his thoughts behind the site but from a technical level, it was the most interesting and challenging WordPress project I’ve ever worked on.

  • Multiple category-level navigation point broke down according to his Media Radar concept, video game platforms as well as regional segmentation (games from the U.S., Japan, Korea, etc).
  • I had to do quite a bit of
    1
    remove_filter

    ,

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    add_filter

    kind of massaging of WordPress’ filters for excerpts, and other display elements.

  • Overriding of standard WordPress widgets as well as b5media standard widgets. A good example of this is the Video Games channel blogroll which is two column in this case, but is single column on every other blog we own.
  • WordPress theme options page within his wp-admin gives him a means of configuring various options on the site
  • Customized CSS per browser

As I said, it was one of the most challenging and interesting WordPress jobs of my career. I’ll talk more about that at WordCamp Dallas at the end of the month, so anyone who is there can pick my brain more about it there if you’d like.

Congrats, Spencer, Adriana and b5media for a great site design.

Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

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