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Under review
Aidian 6 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 months ago 13

Like the title says, I'm looking for examples of good design.

We've brought our entertainment and niche magazine publications off Wordpress and into Blox, and I hate, hate, hate the designs.

Does anyone out there have an example of well designed mag/niche/weekly publication sites or sections that are using Flex?

I'm beating my head up against the wall trying to find something that doesn't look like just another section of the newspaper site.


Thanks!

We have one niche publications in flex. It is for an entertainment/going out magazine Fly After 5 http://www.flyafter5.com. For that one, the calendar is a really big draw for users, so we made that a prominent feature on the homepage and did some customizations to the calendar search to make it more friendly for our users.


We are about to launch our second nice publication. That one is for our Spanish language magazine, which is sort of a news/features hybrid. That one should be live by early June. I'll give you the URL for it now, but it currently goes to a terrible Wordpress site http://www.lavozlancaster.com/

Thanks for the pointers, peeps.


One of the TN folks emailed me with some of the ones they like and use as examples when they demo flex. The best designed of those, IMHO: http://www.southernexposuremagazine.com/


I really like the idea of going full width because it's "featury" and it seems to be the way the web is going. But I'd like to know some drawbacks from people who've adopted that layout. For instance with Southern Exposure the top half looks great but once the left and right regions end the rest of the page kinda fizzles out. I still really like the look of their website though.


I'm not sure what others TN sent you but here are some of the ones I've found:


http://www.technicianonline.com/

http://www.iowastatedaily.com/

http://www.delaware1059.com/

http://coastobx.com/


My favorite is Technician because it's simple and it does a really good job of having the empty space not look empty mostly because of the background.

Under review

Something we're working on is giving blocks the ability to be full-width ... so your whole layout doesn't have to be full width. The article pages on the 'fluid' layout can be difficult to read on desktop... especially it you look at longform... BUT, they do look good on mobile, so we've been looking at more and more full-width options because it is more along the lines of mobile first design.


You can see my testing at http://flex-showcase.bloxcms.com, showing test blocks with a "full width" capability. Or, if that doesn't work (I change it a lot, so it may not be the same if you read this later), here is a screenshot of desktop.



On mobile I am not sure if I like the variation between the mosaic blocks with no padding and the mosaic single-item blocks with padding. So I've been thinking of just adding padding to the regular mosaic as an option.


Additionally, we are looking at having a background to the block, and then the option making that background full width, so you can have "strips" of full width items, or full width color. An example at the bottom of the site shows the unconstrained content and constrained content versions:



We've been looking at a lot of ways to do more full-width options like this, because it works so well on mobile. We're also working on full-width image options for inline photo placements. This is a tablet width, but looks similar on mobile:



Funny...I really don't like Technician. They've got most of a good design there, but they're missing enough little things that it adds up to ugly. On the other hand, I really like what the Iowa State Daily is doing online. It's not the design I'd choose for a daily, but it's a very nice magazine style design.

I think its simplicity is what I like about it. BLOX makes it VERY easy to put way too much content on the home page. And nothing against BLOX for allowing that, it's up to us to be responsible with what we put on our pages. I constantly battle having a cluttered home page. I'll revisit it every few weeks to see what needs to stay, go or change.

Our main news site http://lancasteronline.com and our entertainment magazine Fly After 5 http://www.flyafter5.com are both full width. We use full width for those sites because 60+% of our traffic to both of those sites is mobile, and full width makes for the best transition and most consistency from desktop to mobile.


Our Delaware sites http://www.delaware1059.com and http://www.wdel.com are not full width nor is our niche farming publication http://www.lancasterfarming.com. Although, Lancaster Farming is considering changing to full width.


Basically the biggest thing we've had to keep in mind with full width is that everything will fill the space, so we've had to do some css to keep photos at the top of the articles from being too large.


Of the sites you have listed http://www.iowastatedaily.com/ seems to be the only one that is really full width. There are points at which each of the other sites ends up with blank space at the bottom of columns or where some things look squished as you shrink your browser window from 1200+px down to 320px.

Good discussion. Our magazine site is still in Wordpress because the designer would rather post by hand (as opposed to TotalCMS handling it) to keep the clean layout they really like.

Here's our weekly magazine: http://www.voxmagazine.com/

When they made the switch from Wordpress to Blox, TownNews helped them figure out how to recreate it in Blox (for better or worse). But what I do like that they do is use an article form as a landing page for the week's main story/stories: http://www.voxmagazine.com/news/features/labor-intensive-fight-the-state-of-abortion-and-reproductive-health/article_d328ac34-302d-11e7-aca3-9b2cb9118c1e.html

They've gotten pretty creative in their article display, but it does take a lot of hands-on coding work.

+1

Well of course VOX has a great design, it's produced by the greatest journalism school in the world. M-I-Z-

Thought I'd update this since we've launched the new designs.  I stole shamelessly from pretty much everyone who replied, so thanks everyone.  

The final results are at: yakimaherald.com/scene/ and yakimaherald.com/discoveryakima/

They're not as great as they could be, but they're as great as they were going to get before deadline, and they're a lot better than they would be thanks to all your kind suggestions.