Not that there’s anything wrong with the current front door, but as with any
evolving Web site, we’ve accumulated a few new features this year that aren’t
part of the current front door design. For example, there’s our new Builder Downloads section that we’d
like to bring to the fore, and we want to make better use of the Discussion Center than we

The current design just doesn’t lend itself to that kind of
thing, so we decided we’d try to redesign the page. Of course, like so many
tech companies in the past couple of years, CNET has had its share of layoffs,
including a lot of our designers. I spent weeks trying to find any designer in
the company with time to take a crack at the Builder front door redesign. To no
avail—there were simply no internal resources available. So, I decided I’d try
to find an outside design firm that could do the work.

The mock-up

Now the first step in working with an outside firm is that
you have to give them a mock-up—some kind of jumping-off point to help them
understand what you’re trying to do with the new design.

Unfortunately, like I said, there were no internal design
resources, so I had to craft the mock-up myself. It’s pretty ugly, but here it is.
Luckily it was enough for our freelance designer to take a crack at a real

The proposed design

And so here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for—the
designer turned in a page that we tweaked slightly and posted here for you to see. The main thing we tweaked from the
submitted design was to replace some of the HTML table structure with a bit
more CSS.

Also, the tabs in the upper right-hand corner are text-based
now instead of the GIF-based tabs that were in the originally submitted design.
This makes the page a bit more Google-friendly and a little nicer from an
accessibility standpoint. Other than those tweaks, this is largely the design
that was submitted.

Again it’s just a design—the links don’t work from the page,
but we’d love it if you would take a look and then come back here to this page to give us some
feedback in the discussion
link below