TechInformer

Client: IDG.net / Contract: In-house

TechInformer.com was one of IDG.net's first 'microsite', a repackaging of existing IDG-generated articles into a niche-targeted site. TechInformer was conceived by then-managing editor as a tech site for the younger Web professional. I kept the site going after she left, but by late 2001, it became obvious that traffic was dropping; in addition, I had to admit that maintaining the entire site by myself had become an untenable proposition long time ago.

Rather than kill it off, I decided to redesign and streamline it. Management agreed on the condition that 1) I not siphon off any hours needed for 'real projects' for what was increasingly being referred to as "the bastard child", and 2) use it to promote the recently-inherited corpse (to be referred to as archive) of the Industry Standard and bring in NexTag revenue. Since nobody cared what I did with the site as long as it didn't look as though it had been designed by fundies or engineers, I had the rare privilege of designing a corporate-owned media site as though it were a personal project.

About 90% of the final design was there in the first mockup (right top; click to enlarge). The nav design ended up being the only tricky thing to pin down. While the point of the redesign was to cut down massively on the scale of the site, I was also interested in seeing the different content areas receive much-needed traffic throught a new and more open look & feel.

Because TI was virtually a personal project and a tiny site, I wanted it make the most efficient use of the V2 publishing system as possible. The efficiency issue was all the more important since I designed Techinformer as a densely-packed, highly click-happy site with every page cross-pollinated with top headlines from all the other topic pages. To that end, I persuaded my boss to enable the snippet-within-snippet, swearing that I would control the cascade order (I did; not a single crash).

Summary of Major changes:
- Cut the content areas from FP+7 (front page plus 7 separate topic areas) to FP+3
- Add a skinned NexTag price-comparison shopping area
- Cross-pollinate the FP and 3 topic pages (Downloads, Gizmos, Trends) with content
- Feature a "Weekly Pick" of NexTag offerings
- Lighten the total site publishing load from 8 full pages to 6 small includes, automate rest

TechInformer is, along with all sites associated with IDG.net, dead as a doornail (exception: LinuxWorld, having been sold to SysCon). For old times' sake, I've put up several pages of the site exactly as it appeared on its very last publishing day. All non-working links have been changed to self-direct, so feel free to navigate around.

Original design proposals
  1. "7est"
Site repro
  1. Index
  2. Downloads
  3. Gadgets
  4. Trends
  5. About
  6. Top bar
  7. 404 w/ downloads
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