Design Spotlight: June 27, 2007 (The Leaky Cauldron)

Welcome to Design Spotlight. Today we have The Leaky Cauldron.

The Leaky Cauldron, or TLC (or “Leaky”) for short, is the oldest Harry Potter news site. Older, and larger, than Mugglenet (the second-largest Harry Potter site).

We’re here to analyze their design, not talk about their history. Let’s get started.

The Leaky Cauldron has a pretty unique layout, which really caught me off guard when I first visited TLC. Obviously it’s supposed to look like the place in the Harry Potter books with the same name, judging by the “wall-like” imagery. Their 3/4 column layout is cool as well. The main page has four columns, while the other pages have only three. Their news is not just one big roll of entries, like other sites’, but a box with the newest entry. The older entries’ titles appear in a scrolling box below. Sort of like North X East‘s new design.

There’s another design element I’ve always liked. The “Scribbulus” scroll on the right-hand sidebar. If you point to it, it unrolls! They achieved the effect with an ingenious method where they shift a background image vertically between the two states.

While not exactly design-related, the site utilized AJAX to load all the content, which is kind of cool. There still aren’t many sites that do that.

The Leaky Cauldron is one of the coolest sites I’ve ever seen, and a great source for news in their niche. They’ve used some ingenious techniques in their site, combining them with great practices.