A couple of nights ago I added the new logo to the site. The logo looked so good it made the rest of the site look terrible. I had to spend the last two nights bringing everything else up to snuff.
Here is a screenshot that I took of my previous design attempt.
Compare that to this most recent screenshot of the home page and you'll see that the site is starting to really look like a site.
My forays into the dark side are showing promise (dark side = design). There are a few things that are not completed yet, but it's coming around. I don't know if I like the tabs still - I may replace them with a different style of tab or go with another style of navigation altogether. The logo looks good. The background gradients work well. The "My account/login" section on the top right still needs to have something done with it. There is a huge white gaping hole in the header to the left of the login section that looks like it needs something. I experimented with having a half-sized banner ad there, but it didn't work as well as I thought it would. I'm considering either putting a big "Join Now" (or something similar) button along with some simple instructions there or perhaps the expanded My Account/Login area will help cover some of that space. The big "Email2Database" banner is a Google Ad in case you were wondering.
It uses a liquid layout, but the sides each have a 100px margin to help frame the page as well as provide the opportunity for the background image (blue gradient) to show. This helps to give the otherwise all white page some character. I tried a black gradient as well as a green for the background, but the light blue seemed to work the best, pulling the same colors from the logo. I worried that it would be too heavy, but I think it looks good.
My next step is to apply the new styling to the remainder of the pages, the Wishlist page being the majority of that work. Then I have a few remaining pieces of functionality that I'd like to implement before putting a preview version of the site up for your perusal.
A couple of new things have been brought to my attention that I think will fit nicely with the project. One is an awesome Modal window, ModalBox, that James Avery pointed out on his blog. I have a need for a modal popup on the site in a couple of places, but I have put off implementing one because I'm not completely happy with the ones that I have used before. Note: I love the modal used in Community Server, but I have not looked into it at all for my own use. The other new thing is Kyle's AJAX Login project that I have pointed out before. I think that will work nicely with the WIWM site.