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Blogs customisation

SAPO Blogs customisation | UI Design and Development

SAPO Blogs was an amazing project where my key responsibilities were: get to know and connect with the users, promote User Generated Content, get and manage users feedback, and provide support to empower the community.

Although SAPO Blogs always had available several different themes, it also offered several tools for personalisation. On top of that, it also had an advanced mode, involving CSS code. So when users wanted to do something that had to involve code, SAPO Blogs would do that for them, free of charge, just to see them happy. It was an amazing experience.

Let’s talk about 2 of those blogs I helped design. Help, as the authors are always co-creators 😉

Esquina do Tempo

In English it’s “Corner of Time” and in the author’s words:

This corner, where the time we spent drinking Cape Verdean culture, customs and people seems eternal and fleeting, was born in early 2010.

Dr. Brito Semedo

Context

I and Dr. Brito-Semedo, a professor at the University of Cape Verde UNICV, met on SAPO Blogs. I was responsible for the dynamization of international communities and he was curious about new technologies, within the scope of the launch of the SAPO Cabo Verde portal.

He had this idea that having a blog required technical knowledge he didn’t have, so I offered to help with whatever was needed. Business as usual at SAPO Blogs. Including the blog layout.

And so the idea of ​​a digital Cultural Magazine called Esquina do tempo was born. The layout we’re talking about here, was done 6 years after the first one.

Challenges

The initial layout blindly obeyed the requests for a “wine tone”, which, together with the weight of header composition, gave the blog a heavy tone.

Its structure was not yet elastic, so access via mobile devices had to use an uncharacterised version, since it was a common solution for all blogs whose layouts were still fixed.

Solution

I looked for images from the São Vicente Town Hall and discovered that the building, which is historic in Cape Verde’s culture, had a bold ocher yellow tone. The photo on previous layout was greyscale so I was happy with the discovery.

To the yellow ocher I added sky and sea, always present in any of the 9 inhabited islands of the archipelago. So the Town Hall image continues to represent the cultural meeting point, but wide windows were opened to breathe better.

You may check out the style guide and the blog Esquina do Tempo. Both pages are in Portuguese:

Dia de Clássico

Several football fans of different clubs wanted a sports debate where friendship is not burned by the sparks of confrontation, and so they gathered on a collective blog.

In their own voice, Daniel Santos once said:

Lately three club blogs have appeared, loaded with big names and representing the so-called three big Portuguese clubs, but we wanted to go further.

By Daniel Santos

And Joshua adds:

It would therefore be precious to go further. Accept the friction and sparks in the same house, because that is what is normal and normally fertile. Accepting to lose, face to face, eye to eye, just as it happens to us to win or not, even though we sweat hard to win big. Then there is this: not even a very strong passion, like the one that connects me to FC Porto, will separate me from my friends from other clubs, especially from Benfica, even if we sometimes bicker with each other.

By Joshua

Challenges

The great challenge was color, as all sports blogs usually focus on a specific club and its official color. The media of each club does the same. This normalizes that the color of the information or opinion is immediately identified by the color of the layout in which it is published.

Using diametrically opposite color codes would result in a heavy and confusing blog. I had to find a way to make everyone feel represented.

Solution

I’ve found the common denominator in a newspaper kiosk.

There were the newspapers of the three biggest clubs in Portugal, Benfica, Porto and Sporting, with a red, blue and green layout, respectively. They had in common the color and density of the paper, the color of the text and of the separating lines of the layout.

And it was with these elements, paper texture and ink color, that I designed a digital newspaper everyone was familiar with.

You may check out the style guide (in Portuguese).

The team

There were many other blogs, on each SAPO Blogs platform – Portugal, Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique and Timor Leste – all with a history of friendship, virtual or not. Each blog design project would happen as a natural consequence of that friendship, not just as a work task.

Recently SAPO Blogs team had lunch together. Some even came form Netherlands! Great project, great team!

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