Last August (2007), someone commented in my blog, saying something to the effect that they thought the biggest thing holding back mojoPortal was the lack of good looking skins included. Of course this was something I had been thinking too but the comment motivated me to do something about it. Not being a good designer myself but very knowledgable of Html and css I set out to find some free Xhtml compliant designs and implement them in mojoPortal. After a lot of browsing and downloading of designs I spent a period of 10 days doing nothing but implementing skins from the designs. On average I was able to implement one skin a day so I ended up with 10 good looking skins in 10 days.
Since releasing those 10 good looking skins the popularity of mojoPortal seemed to spike upwards fairly dramatically so I concluded that the time spent implementing those skins was well spent and the lack of good looking skins prior to that probably really was holding us back in terms of popularity. Those skins have since formed a nice starting point for others to make their own custom skins as I have seen in the wild on various mojoPortal sites.
Currently we ship about 30 skins with mojoPortal, 10 of which are good looking and 20 that are just ok or mediocre, or just outdated looking. So I'm thinking its time to drop out most of the boring ones and do another round of 10 skin implementations to bring us up to 20 good looking skins. I figure we can move the less good looking ones to the community download page so people can still get them if they want them but we will just package the 20 or so good looking ones with new versions of mojoPortal.
So I invite you to help pick out the designs for the next 10 skins that I will implement. Please post links in the comments to this post pointing to the designs you like the best. They have to be free, open source, and Xhtml compliant. Preferably with no tables used for layout and with ul and li elements used for the menu. Extra points for designs with interesting menu styling that is different than anything we have now. When I look at the designs I also consider whether they will make a good starting point for users to make custom skins.
Some places where you can browse good designs:
Let me know of others and I will update this post.
Now is your chance, if you know of a good looking design but not sure how to implement it as a skin yourself, post a link. If I agree its a good looking design I will probably implement it, it just depends on how many good suggestions I get. The 10 that I like best I will implement.
My goal is that when people try out mojoPortal they find it has a lot of good looking designs included so they have a lot to work with in customizing them for their own sites. So please, help me pick some really good looking ones!