The Full-Frontal, Reverse Myspace

You remember Myspace right? That thing that some people were on before we realized that Facebook was way, way better.

The thing is, letting people create their own “look” isn’t a far-fetched idea; it’s a logical extension of the model the web already runs on. Website creators determine the look and feel of their site, and the visitors are stuck with whatever horrible or beautiful designs that they come up with. Myspace just made it absurdly easy to make a personal website and style it truly poorly.

We shouldn’t have to be dependent on what website and “content” creators want to foist on us. Whether it’s ugly tables or comic-sans, we shouldn’t have to look at it. This idea isn’t new, Helveticareader pretties up Google Reader, and Helvetical (get it?) does the same for Google Calendar via the clunky interface of a Grease Monkey script.

What I want is a Firefox/Chrome/Firebug (heck, even IE) extension that saves the changes I make to a site’s css from the inspector and remembers it every time I come back there. What’s more, you should want it too, because the other thing that I want is an easy site to share and vote on different website “skins”. Let’s give the web back to the people. Viva la Resolution and never again will I have to look at your puce tables with a 10px black border around each cell. You asshole.

yuk

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The Full-Frontal, Reverse Myspace

8 thoughts on “The Full-Frontal, Reverse Myspace

  1. Tiago says:

    Hum… Have you heard about Stylish? It’s basically all things for all men. Except you need to know how to code or need to be lucky to like one of the thousands of userstyles uploaded at userstyles.org…

    Anyway, try it out.

  2. Yeah, that’s halfway to what I am talking about, but as you said, it’s cumbersome, and doesn’t integrate with the browser’s already robust tools.

    Glad to see someone is already in this space!

    1. bculwell says:

      I think Stylish has half the problem licked, but it lacks discoverability and ease of use. Some recommended improvements:
      1. When you go to a site that has existing custom Stylish scripts, the Stylish button (sitting in your toolbar or the add-on bar) should glow
      2. Clicking the glowing Stylish button should drop down a list of the most popular Stylish scripts for the site you are currently viewing, along with any currently applied. Hovering over the name of a script should preview it like with Personas
      3. There should be a way to encourage Stylish scripts to be more user-friendly for n00bs to modify, since many scripts make a whole lot of changes and many users might only want to “activate” a few of those changes

  3. All of these are great! But all of them are hard, and lack the ease-of-use of even Firebug. I think to nail this a few simple (not necessarily non-technically challenging) things have to be done:

    1. A well-designed GUI
    2. Great user-created themes (almost all of the ones on Stylish were… bad)
    3. Dead simple rating and sharing (like Firefox Personas and Theme, or WordPress)

    … so far, these things are (mostly, if not entirely) lacking.

  4. James says:

    Firediff lets you grab the changes you make to the CSS, I guess someone just needs to write a little converter that will pop the diff into Stylish or userchrome. It’s probably not too hard to do manually, but adding some boilerplate everytime would get tedious.

  5. Have you looked into StyleBot? As far as I know it is Chrome-only, but it lets you edit CSS (using a nice interface or straight code) and saves it for following page-views.

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