For the longest time, I didn’t understand the fascination with web sites like MySpace, Friendster and LiveJournal. It seemed like a such a waste of time and energy, especially when I can accomplish similar things with email and my own web site (see sethgunderson.com). But after signing up for Friendster, and subsequently for MySpace, too, I slowly began to see just how much community can be built into those sites.
I rarely go to LiveJournal anymore, but it has a pretty good blogging tool that many utilize. I also barely visit Friendster, and even though they’ve just re-tooled their look and feel, MySpace is usually the champ when it comes to ease of use. Ironically, ease of use also means “ugly as sin.”
Yes, it’s no secret that MySpace is an ugly piece of crap. That’s why so many people spend time making it look better different. There’s even web sites dedicated to making your profile look great less-shitty.
It’s simple to do, actually, all you need to know is a basic grasp of CSS and you simply write your own code and override the default styles. But here’s where it gets interesting... enter the CSS Zen Garden. The Zen Garden is an exercise of web site design using many different style sheets. The idea is simple: you have ONE web page (same text, same links, etc.) and you apply a different style sheet (images, layout instructions, etc.) and WHAM-O, you have a thousand different look/feels, but one actual page with content (to see how this works, in the right hand column, select a different design... really cool).
So what happens when you apply the CSS Zen Garden theory to your MySpace profile?
Ask Tim Benzinger, and he’d probably say, “you get the best looking profile, ever.”
This probably won’t last long, though, since he has hidden all of the advertising on the page. But how about the engineers at MySpace take a back seat to some designers for once? If it were only that easy.
Bonus Idea: Think about hosing MySpace for all they’re worth... host your designed images on their site and call them with your CSS! Free site anyone?