Welcome to Motionographer 3.0

Time for a reset

Except for a brief, glorious period in 2009, Motionographer has always been a hobby. I launched it when I was a full-time student, and as soon as I graduated, I started working full-time to pay the bills. All the contributors have full-time jobs, too. We’re busy people, scattered across the globe. We do this because we love it.

Unfortunately, that means there hasn’t been much time for a redesign. Sorry about that.

oops

The people have spoken

A couple months ago, I conducted a survey about Motionographer, and 574 of you shared your thoughts with me. You were honest and critical and awesome. I read every response and took it all to heart.

Some of things you said you wanted:

  • Responsive (i.e. mobile-friendly) site design
  • More frequent updates
  • Deeper coverage, including interviews, process breakdowns and industry trends
  • Improved search
  • A location search on the job board that actually works

There were many other great suggestions, but the items above were the crowd favorites. This new incarnation of Motionographer:

  • Is responsive
  • Has been set up to make posting projects faster while encouraging the creation of longer form content
  • Has a new search engine
  • Has new filtering tools (check the homepage)
  • Has a job board with a location filter that actually works
welcome-responsive

Motionographer is fully responsive, even though we don’t own all of these devices.

Pro tips

Try these things:

welcome-play

In a hurry? Click images with play buttons for an overlay frame that will instantly play the video.

  • If a post has a little play button in the lower-left hand corner, clicking on the image will play the associated video in an overlay frame.
  • When a video is playing in an overlay frame, use your keyboard arrows to watch other videos on that page.
  • Make a few typos in the search box. The new search engine can guess commonly misspelled words.

An agile approach

I’ve been wanting to redesign Motionographer for years. (It’s been about 6 years since our last substantial overhaul.) We had so many plans, too. Amazing plans. Beautiful plans. They would have moved you to tears.

And that was exactly the problem.

I was so busy trying to design the perfect site that it never happened. It was too big. It would have taken me a few weeks of full-time effort just to manage a development team to build it all. Then we’d have to spend even more time keeping all the new awesome stuff up to date and full of content.

Did I mention that Motionographer is a hobby?

In product development parlance, I was using a waterfall approach. That’s the old school way of making stuff with loads of sketches, a giant timeline on a piece of paper and a bunch of unrealistic milestones.

What I needed was a more modern approach, an “agile” approach.

A different kind of MVP

I won’t go into details, but the primary difference between waterfall and agile methodologies is that with agile, you’re not trying to make something perfect. You’re trying to make something that’s good enough to satisfy your basic requirements. This is sometimes called a “minimally viable product” (MVP).

If that sounds uninspiring, hang on. Agile is all about making something fast and then iterating on it over and over again, making it better each time. With agile, you’re constantly responding to your users, tweaking and polishing and sometimes destroying things to make the best possible product.

Never done, never perfect

Why am I going on about this? I want you to understand where we are now. This is the beginning. This is our MVP.

Is it perfect? Good lord, no. Are things missing? You bet. All sorts of things.

(Also: I don’t want to overstate my use of agile. I’m not an agile expert; I was simply inspired by the agile philosophy.)

What’s next?

There are lots of things on my to do list, but generally speaking, I want to focus on creating a vibrant community anchored by amazing artists and designers. (Those are two different things for me.) That means:

  • curating and producing awesome content
  • building tools that let people discuss that content in a meaningful way
  • fostering community online and offline to help steer our industry towards its best possible future

Technical details

For those who are interested, here are some technical bits about the redesign.

WordPress FTW

Motionographer has been running on WordPress (.org not .com) since 2006. Before that, Tween (Motionographer’s predecessor) also ran on WordPress. In other words, I’ve been using WordPress for a long time. Luckily, WordPress has turned into an incredibly powerful content management system with one of the largest, most supportive communities in the open source world.

The host with the most

Motionographer has been running on MediaTemple since birth. For the relaunch, we moved to a DV Level 4 setup, and I’m really excited to see how it goes.

A solid foundation

To start, I worked with Bones. Bones isn’t a framework — it’s like a starter kit that saves you a bunch of setup time (if you know what you’re doing).

welcome-bones

Bones is an awesome starter theme for intermediate to advanced WordPress people.

Kicking some SASS

Bones was built with SASS, a fancy way of writing CSS that has changed the way I think about web design. If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to learn SASS (or the equally popular LESS), find a small project to treat as a guinea pig. It’s well worth the time.

SASS allowed me to easily design for phones, tablets and desktops all at the same time. I won’t lie. It got dicey here and there, but knowing that I just needed to tweak a few lines instead of hundreds encouraged me to take some risks and learn.

FacetWP and SearchWP

I used FacetWP for an internal project at work and was amazed by its power. FacetWP is what allows for the filtering functionality on the homepage, and while it’s not free, it’s worth every penny.

The same people behind FacetWP make SearchWP, Motionographer’s new search engine. Over time, I’ll tweak the search settings as I learn from people’s behavior. SearchWP gives me analytics and simple weighting tools that should make that pretty easy.

Drop me a line

If you want more details about the redesign, hit me up on Twitter. If you spot something wrong with the site, please drop us a line via the Contact page.

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About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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37 Comments

Latham

YAY! This is sick! Congrats! This gave me the biggest shock when i came on for my daily dosage.

Dave Glanz (@daveglanz)

Well done! Thanks so much.

miraclemart

Great work! Love what you did with the place.

Scott

Lots of love for Motionographer! Great thanks to all the guys and girls that make this site what it was, what it is, and what it will be!

Siva

I used to love the logo! Is it gone forever?

schwarzgrau

I really like the simple redesign, but I miss a tiny bit of individuality. Like Siva mentioned, the logo would be nice. And I miss the separation between “real” articles and quickies.

Justin Cone

There’s still a separation between articles — Features are much more prominently placed at the top of the homepage.

As for the logo, I’m working on that. The old one looked, well, old on this site. But I didn’t want that to hold up the relaunch.

Like I say in the article: never done, never perfect! :-)

chia

THANK YOU ALWAYS, I BET~

Casper

Looks great, I love that it’s so much smoother on tablets.
Congrats!

nuno

yeS!

Dominique

Thank you for years of hard work on you hobby Justin! It benefits the rest of us and is much appreciated!

Francisco Fabrega

Thanks for all these years of awsome work!

Kyle

Awesome! Thank’s so much!

Ole

THANKS FOR YOUR GREAT WORK! THIS SITE IS WHAT I CHECK EVERY MORNING EVEN BEFORE BRUSHING TEETH! ;) KEEP ROCKIN

Jorge

SUPERB!!! What a lovely surprise i’ve got today opening Motionographer!!!
Beautiful work, Congrats!!!! :)

Matthew Ingram

Well done Justin. Thank you. Keep up the great work.

naujalis

Done is better than perfect!
Well done for doing all this!

Graham Reid

Loving the new redesign Justin and team! My main critique would be that I miss having “Main” posts and “Quickie” posts, and a clear visual difference between them. If you still do have those, my suggestion would be to have the main posts bigger on the screen, perhaps taking up 2 columns instead of one. That, or make the boxes of the main posts Motionographer Red.

Otherwise, I’m diggin it! Cheers!

Darrell

To be honest I was really happy with the old site, dont get me wrong the new site looks great too! I was so focused on looking at the post I never question the site’s design because it worked! lol

This will take some getting used to but I like this new layout. All in all i’m not here to complain but to rather say thank you! your site means a lot to me as a professional who does not always have time to catch up on whats going on in the world. I can always spend me free time on here learning & being inspired.

Regards,
Darrell

govinda

I just wanna hug this thing, it’s so lovely. Well done Justin!

Rajkrishna Mahanta

Justin this site is very nice and new design is awesome and lovely..Thank you for this beautiful gift.

Kriszti S

I am the opinion of Graham Reid and Darell, I liked much more the text part on the main site, the main and quickies separation and that I could already start to read some of the main articles and see, if I want to go in details or not (I don’t want to only see the big images, I want to be able to read content immediately too)… Your design has introduced some more browsing levels, which make you necessary to dig in it – which in the todays user’s browsing custom and the speed we need to get the information is not really good. This actual structure is very usually in todays web world – just for looking at nice pictures and see some movies quickly – and I see this new design strongly influenced by this trend which I don’t really appreciate over the older one.

I very much appreciate your work for the search improvements and categories specifications.
In my opinion, your website was and is, regarding the news/content a very high professional presentation of todays media trends, so I think, you should still improve on the user interface to also be more informative on the immediate look.

I feel a little disappointed. I still very much appreciate your work and I know, you mean if for the good!

Justin Cone

Thanks all for your kind words and thoughts.

I’m not going to belabor this, because I think most of the criticism is failure to deal with change, but I wanted to justify a couple decisions.

On the old site, you had to click on a Quickie to view its contents. On this site, you can click directly on images for “new Quickies” (aka video posts) to instantly watch a video in an overlay. Moreover, once you’re watching a video in an overlay, you can use your keyboard arrows or mouse to view other videos on the page. It’s a blazingly fast way to browse work, *much* more efficient than the old site. (And even faster than viewing work on Vimeo.)

You’re welcome.

Or, if you want some old school flavor, you can dive into the standalone post via the details link. It’s up to you.

As for the grid: This is a much better use of real estate. Just like old Quickies, you can gloss for images and headlines (it’s the EXACT same content from the old site, by the way), clicking only on the ones that interest you. But you don’t have to scroll a mile to see everything.

The main purpose of the homepage overhaul is to put our Feature stories — which often take a lot of time to prepare — on a pedestal where they belong.

I’ll continue to make tweaks, just as I said in the post above. There are some good ideas in the criticisms, and I promise I’m listening.

mista meow

This is easily one of the best creative sites to visit so thank you for keeping it alive for so long. New design looks great and works well :) Have you considered a donate option so people can say thanks with a few dollars?

Cian

As a long time (admittedly silent) reader and fan of the site I was delighted to visit this morning for my usual hit of motion design inspiration to be hit in the face with this tip-top re-design! Congratulations sir! Looks amazing, well done!

Justin Foren / \/ (@JustinForen)

The new site looks great. Threw me off a little bit at first.
A few things i am curious about, why get rid of the logo/wordmark? And with this adjustment does this mean no more quickies? I really enjoyed some of the more minimal articles because I am sure they are much easier to post instead of a full article.

either way, great job, looks awesome, so far functions great. look forward to the future.

Henry

Guess a redesign was in order!! Looks great!

Matt

Thanks so much! I really appreciate you taking the comments seriously.

lightnin' llama

Looks amazing, plays amazing, well done!! And thank you so much for posting the in depth breakdown of frameworks you used to build it.

Alejandrov

Awesome work! I love the new layout, it really put focus on the content. Simple, fast and the search filters are great! Thank you so much.

Juan JO

Been waiting a long time for this! Congrats! = )

Justin Lawes

Looking good dude! Thanks for putting in the extra hours to make this happen.

A

I dont like it. I’m sorry. I gave it time before coming to a decision, but I just find myself on motionographer less and less. Thanks for the memories.

Dan

Really nice redesign! It’ll take a little getting used to but overall I dig it; thanks so much for everything you do for the community!

yus

wheres the poppin creamy crops? i wanna pop some cream! new one is boring.

Justin Cone

The Cream has been gone for about 4 years. Welcome back to the site! ;-)

Comments are closed.