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IDEA #84 – Reskin The Web

I kind of like this idea. Imagine this — users install a plugin to their browser; then they can view various designs of a website. Other designers/users can post new designs of a website — basically reskinning websites. Users can then vote on the various designs and use whichever one they want whenever they visit that website.

This works very well if the website itself agreed to allowing this to happen — because then anytime their style sheet or classes were updated in their source code, the designers could easily know and make the appropriate changes. It basically would be standardized a bit — the CSS for a site, so that it was easy for designers to reskin their website.

The other thing is ads — I’m sure some skins would want to rearrange a website so that the ads didn’t appear anymore — that wouldn’t be good/nice, and likely the website owner would keep altering their CSS/tags to ensure those design skins didn’t work in our system.

Think of this as allowing people out there to turn the web into a giant MySpace, where you can change the design of any website/webpage out there — but as a browsing user, you see the default skin [which is how the website wants themselves conveys in the first place], but then you could choose from a drop-down of design options to see what other user’s interpretations are of that website.

Yes there might be some ‘hate’ skins — but who is really going to see those on a regular basis? If those users hate a site, then they likely aren’t going to be visiting it anyhow.

  • James Pearson

    You on fire today,

    I really liked the Twitter sales idea, and I really like this one too. If I knew a little more about extensions then I’d run with it, or maybe its just time to learn a little more.

    Keep up the good work.


  • Jeff

    Sounds a lot like what Greasemonkey provides.

  • Mark Wolinski

    Isn’t this exactly what Stylish [] for Firefox allows people to do? There are tons of styles for different websites out there including GMail, Google Reader, Twitter etc. For an idea of what’s possible, check out Gmail Redesign [].


  • Scott T.

    Things that pop into mind when I hear this: bookmarklet; greasemonkey; metaweb; shiftspace ( )

  • Kevin George

    There’s a firefox plugin called Stylish worth looking into.

  • Kyle Mulka

    I’m a web developer, not really a web designer. I like to make things work, not necessarily make them pretty. I’m not a huge fan of CSS. Simple HTML and Javascript can do most of what I want to do. I wonder if your idea would allow web designers to more easily contribute designs for web pages that look really ugly. For example, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would like to make Craigslist look better. Maybe some designer will come along to one of my ugly web apps and make it look prettier. Then I could use that design as the default.

  • Spookyoldtree

    Check out the Stylish plugin for Firefox and Chrome, it does just that! Styles are found on the accompanying site

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  • chameleonpage – a bit different, but close concept