tyleryoung's picture

Here is my latest brainstorm on the navigation metaphor that Reveleare has created. The three screens represent three hypothetical levels of the site, in the order they appear.

The small logo on the second two levels fades-in once the root level is penetrated. This logo doubles as a quick navigation device and information bar.

I like this encarnation of the MT site ( other versions are visible elsewhere on the boards ) because it actually integrates the logo presence with the form of the site.

My main question to you is how well I've succeeded in taking the color-coded, zooming grid navigation metaphor that Revelare has pioneered, and incorporated it into my own site in a unique fashion.

aluminum's picture

"zooming grid navigation metaphor "

Is it really a metaphor? As far as I can tell, it is literally a zooming grid, no?

I kind of said this last's an interesting experiment in navigation, but it's been done before. Navigation is a rather practical element to a web site. While it's fun to come up with new ideas in interaction and then allow that interaction to really 'be' the site, I don't think using what has already been done really works, since this is no longer 'new' and therefore the 'hey, cool, check this out!' factor is no longer there and you're just left with a rather unfamiliar navigation system.

In otherwords, I'd suggest coming up with something new as in completely different, or stick with some good tried-and-true navigation systems.

As for comments on what I see now, my only concern would be that the type is incredibly small. I can't imagine too many people would find it that readable on a high resolution monitor (unless you are planning on making this a resizable flash piece, which may resolve some of the readability issues).

schwa's picture

some good points, darrel

additionally ... if i created a logo for myself that looked exactly like the coca-cola logo, except that i rotated it 45 degrees .. i'm still ripping off the coca-cola logo.

the diamond shapes destroy the 'pixel metaphor' that you mentioned in an earlier post, no?

tyleryoung's picture

Darrel, yes, it literally is a zooming grid. Your points are well-made in regards the tried and true nav systems. However, I disagree with you on a few points. Everyone I have tested the site with has one reaction: the site is new, cool, and intuitive. They actually get excited as they discover how the site works by their own experimentation as the fun factor sinks in, they begin to focus on my products, and in that brief time of newfound fun, my products become real to them, and they like them.

Not a bad way to present my products for sale, eh? As for those who have seen and used the zooming grid before, well, they already know how to use it.

As for trying to be the world's most original designer. I've said many times on these boards that this is not one of my goals with the site design. I just want a site that is going to reinforce my products as organically as possible. This zooming "pixel" navigation system does just that. Little pixels that grow large and relveal content over and over has the effect of transporting you into the world of the small, where pixel fonts traditionally reside.

As for the font being small: these are pixel fonts after all. Many MT fonts are much larger than the one used in the diamond titling. However, upon closer examination of the design, each square is on a 4x zoom factor. That means that the small titles that represent the next "tier" of options are set at 8pt. The title of the section you're residing in is set at 32pt. To go from 8 to 16 at the bottom would mean 64pt up top.

JH, it seems to me now that your intentions when replying to my posts are less motivated by a desire to contribute to the process of creation than a desire to tear down whatever enthusiasm/credibility I may have.

I could be misenterpreting your latest reply, of course, but consder this: your whole argument on the original post centered around the fact that my previous MT design was the exact design of Revelare's because I used the same grid system they used. The graphics of the two sites were too similar, and that destroyed any argument I might have about a zooming grid not being a proprietary design.

So now that I've taken that GRAPHIC DESIGN and completely reinvented it, so that the site, its products and the zooming itself actually takes on the shape and body of the logo presence itself ( something that the logo design had to allow for, doubling the DESIGN requirements to pull such a thing off ), you say I'm still ripping off

schwa's picture

"Everyone I have tested the site with has one reaction: the site is new, cool, and intuitive."

the site is not new. it is definitely cool and intuitive, but that credit should be given to the people who designed it.

Your enthusiasm is the one thing about you that I do respect. What I desire is for you to just admit that you stole the relevare site, and stop pretending that you 'completely reinvented' it.

as far as the coca-cola logo example goes .. you completely misunderstood. The point I was making is that if you take someone else's design, and rotate it 45 degrees, it doesn't make it a new design. That's what you've done with the Relevare site in this 'new' version of your site. Apparently my illustration was unclear. I was not saying anything about your logo, which I have no problems with.

I have realized that nothing i say will make you realize the offense you are committing by launching this site. So go for it. I simply hope that you give credit where credit is due, and provide a link to relevare, the designers of your site.

As for my work ... my homepage is listed in my profile .. here's the link ...

aluminum's picture

"has one reaction: the site is new, cool, and intuitive"

Well, then I'd say go for it.

Personally, I find whiz-bang navigation not to my liking, and tend to avoid sites that use it...especially sites trying to sell me something, but, like I said, that's just my own opinion.

As for JH's comments, he has a very valid point. You don't have to agree with it, but realize that a percentage of your target audience may agree with it. It's up to you to decide how big of an issue that is for you. A lot of people will say that your site is a clear knock-off, even though is may visually look a bit's the actual site navigation that makes the site design. The visual look is secondary. I can't say how many people will make that connection, of course.

tyleryoung's picture


First of all, let me say your work is very well done. I really like the quality and quantity of work. The client list on bigspaceship is very impressive as well.

Now, I just want to clear a few things up. Apparently, you have in turn not understood my words. If you visit tyleryoungcreative and navigate to the section entitled mean tangerine, and read the text description of the screen shot there, you will see that I have never claimed to invent the Revelare zoom system. TYC is now one year old. My posts here are on average six months old. Not sure about that, but ballpark.

I'll say it again. I'm not concerned with being the first one to invent the zooming grid. I never said I was its pioneer. I never will.

In your peepshow piece, you use a mouse-sensitive mask with scrolling content behind it. Were you the first to invent that? I doubt it, as cool as it looks. Did you commit an offence by launching that site? I don't think you did.

You are obviously an accomplished designer with many professional clients. At the very least, you are one member of a team of such designers. Don't you recognize what graphic design is?

The latest generation of MT takes the zooming grid idea that Revelare has pioneered, true. It's graphic design, that is, the layout of content, its position and coloration is completely unique.

The zooming squares are zooming squares. However, the beauty of zooming squares holding content for review is downright brilliant, just as a mouse and an iconic interface was in the past. I contend that a zooming grid of squares does not by itself constitute site design. Site design involves so much more! I suppose no one should ever use this elegant, intuitive system of organizing and presenting material for fear of not being the first one to build it?

As for Revelare designing my site: I couldn't even get them to reply to my emails.

As for me taking credit for the site being new, cool, and intuitive. Here again, you misinterpret my words. That is the audience's reaction. Not my assertion. Revisit every one of my long-winded replies and you will see that I freely give credit where credit is due.

Darrel, thanks for your reply. I hear everything you say. Now, I disgree with you on some points, but that is not to say that your counterpoint is not valid.

I do not think that the navigation system is the site design itself. Site design is a marriage of raw concept, product enhancement and image control. It is graphic design, content placement and description, typography, and other nuances that are much harder to define. As for the visual look being secondary, what about 90% of all websites that use the same nav button down the left and html content in a grid down the middle with ads across the top and down the right?

Graphical design is integral to the identity of a site. So that's my opinion, as briefly described as it is.

Many, many arthouses, even the big-name ones, feed off of one another's designs, including navigation systems. To deny this seems to me a silly thing to do.

Ideas build upon one another, no?

Jon Whipple's picture

If I may just pipe in here: Zooming User Interfaces are not new, nor is Relevare the first to implement such a concept. They seem to have been first to implement it well in Flash with beautiful style and with excellent production value.

There are more examples on the web just Google for Zooming User Interface.

I have never seen an installation of Relevare's Web Index system. From the stale date of the press releases cited on the site I think that these guys are out of business. Here's kind of a confirmation of what I suspected.

I think that the ZUI is an excellent match for MT's product. Too close to the original? Hmmm, I don't know. In the rest of computing a window and a menu bar and a scroll button look pretty similar from OS to OS, sometimes the colors are different, sometimes one looks 3D and one doesn't but it's still a button that does button things. A zoom box will pretty much look like I zoom box I suspect. A different colour, outline, label whatever but it will still do zoom box things.

I am not a lawyer but if I was you Tyler, I think that you should be concerned if you borrowed code. Even if these guys are bankrupt the code is probably still owned or under copyright by somebody. Keep records of all your attempted contacts.

I think that ZUIs have a far greater role to play in computing, wheter implemented in a grid system like this or in an infinitie space system like this.

Tyler, as I have said before, I think a zooming grid and a pixel font house are a natural match. And if your presentation is separated from your content, you can always modify things and tweak things later.

Good luck

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