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The other thread has now gone into discussions about template contents. So I’ve extracted what has been said about the design and content of the Textpattern.com home page and put it below. I’ve edited some things slightly but I hope I’ve got all the relevant points. Let me know if I should redo the formatting which has been lost. Perhaps a writeboard for this will be needed soon…
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Me – Can I suggest the download link is moved to the top of the left column and possibly given a yellow background.
I also think that something like this, immediately after the first paragraph, is needed:
Textpattern is often used by:
Bloggers who prefer the extra options and flexibility of self-hosting over services like Blogger
Businesses who regularly add content to their sites
Enterprises with several content providers who need efficient workflow and clear communication The two main paragraphs serve as a summary which hopefully will capture the attention enough to create a desire to read on.
Sven – i’d say the site could be greatly improved with minimal effort, i.e. (as others have said before me) making the download link more prominent and using a lead paragraph (or bulleted list for that matter) as you proposed in your previos comment (“Textpattern is often used by”). so, i’d say there’s no need for a complete redesign at the moment.
Stuart – I think that what should be considered most is one of the more important points that the article makes, which is that the front-page is just way too busy. I see the need for the first main block “What is it?” but the blocks after that could be reduced to a list of links to smaller individual articles. Further, the first 2 blocks in the right sidebar could be turned into individual articles containing the listings and also be reduced to links. Whether they stay in the sidebar or get moved into the new link-listing in the main content area is something to look at. With those 2 columns reduced some of the content in the left sidebar could be moved across to the right to equal out the lengths a bit resulting in a much shorter front-page. As far as the text itself is concerned I think it is pretty self-explanatory and the idea that the site is aimed at the more technically-minded might be laid at the feet of the “stark” theme though I think the changes I mention above might reduce that perception somewhat. Having said that, the site design is based on the default supplied templates and CSS and I feel that this it is a good connection which shouldn’t be broken just because some think that the site isn’t “pretty”. If the template-side of the site design is to be changed then the changes should be carried over into the download default template to maintain that connection but whatever changes a made, the design should remain simple. I agree that the download link needs projecting better. Maybe an image link?
Robert – I’d rather see a (significant) portion of the existing site fused into a new visual and architectural concept as a starting point for a complete relaunch than a sole “beauty contest” with a few mockups thrown into the arena. I do not want to look textpattern.com like WP.org or EE.com with gradients, huge font sizes, allegoric icons.
Martin – I agree with the author’s comment about the simple and effective branding of the Txp site by the use of the colour yellow. I think that should be preserved and also extended to for instance Txp Resources to unify the look of all related sites. No offense, but at the moment Txp Resources looks more like a sub division of Wordpress.
He’s also right regarding the information overload.
What I would like to see in addition on the front page…
1) See What Others Have Done With Txp
It would be great to have a small and diverse collection of well-designed Txp sites as a thumbnail collection. If I were to decide whether Txp is suitable for my needs, I’d want to see some samples up front. I came across Txp through Jon Hicks’ site. I was immediately impressed and thought, if Txp can do THAT, I’ll be able to make it work for me, too. 2) What Do You Want To Do With Txp? Find The Answers Here…
Recently a colleague complained about the lack of proper documentation on the various CMSes. While I agree in general, I think the Txp site has an excellent FAQ and Common “How Do I?” questions. Initially I spent a lot of time reading through these resources and found 95% of my questions answered there and I still refer to them regularly – brilliant! None of the other CMSes I looked at provided brief, task-based tips like the Common “How Do I?” questions – these tips deserve prominent placement. 3) Minimalistic And Efficient Interface
For me this is one of Txp’s greatest strengths. The tabs are laid out in a two-level hierarchy at the very top, clearly labelled, and below the respective content is being displayed. Again none of the other CMSes I checked out provided a separation as clear as Txp. There are buttons here and there, some rectangular, some rounded, some just plain text links, and more buttons popping up occasionally with labels hard to decipher. Not so in Txp. If you’re only running your personal site, this might not be much of an issue, but if you design sites for others to maintain it becomes crucial. I realise this is mentioned on the front page to some degree, but I think it could be emphasised more.
Julian – keep the yellow, add some red, subtly, and you will have a great brand (like Kodak, McDonalds, DHL, Cluster, —ops, that one is mine—). No big fonts, no shiny icons, less is more, CSS is the key, wabi-sabi
it should be stated (subtly) that TxP uses jQuery, but that it’s not exclusive.
so, it could be good to have a few “eye candies”, like some UI tabs, or serial.Scroll (it will make a great alternative to lightbox for screenshots) to enhance the design and usability
wet wrote: aiming at designers and web builders, this should transfer to the visuals and copy : so, it should be stated that Txp is an empty canvas. I still remember a sentence on an old version of the download page: something like “Textpattern requires knowledge on XHTML and CSS…”
embrace the flexibility
embrace the elegance
embrace the simplicity
embrace the text
embrace the pattern
Uli – the simplicity of writing/figuring out txp code and it’s human readability should find a place anywhere in the redesign of the page.
Martin – In my opinion it would be preferable to present a few hand-picked, outstanding sites right on the Txp homepage and then offer a link to more at WeLoveTXP.com.
Yiannis – wp’s branding went beyond its front page, it is embedded within the software and what it can produce. TXP is not about branding, it is about a utilitarian tool – a swiss knife – where how the front end functions is controlled by each individual designer and not by our developers. We can fall into the article’s trap and create the most amazing front page. But txp is a tool with a very helpful community attached to it. Not a product nor a brand. We all use it as such. Some better than others. This is what we should all try to promote…
Stef – this redesign should not get carried away making a flashy front page with glass buttons and stuff everywere. imo, the key focus should still be:
de-clutter the front page a little to make it look less geeky make the download link more prominent
tart the page up a bit (not much) — this may actually automatically happen by reshuffling the content Textpattern.com still has “branding” (the yellow bar, love it or hate it). As you say, the default template is stark — by design — to promote the idea that TXP is a blank canvas, not a “find a template and make your site look the same as everyone else’s” tool. To that end, the focus of the default template and the textpattern.com site should remain one of simplicity that echoes the sentiment of TXP: the first thing you see is the write tab, so just write TM.
Julian – wrote a lot here
Stuart – With regard to the live site, I haven’t really been thinking in terms of some radical re-design. I think that the template is perfectly adequate. What I think needs looking at is the text itself. There’s too much of it on that front-page. Good design includes something a lot of people forget – passing out the information in chewable chunks rather than trying to stuff the whole Christmas dinner down in one go. I think you should consider what I suggested earlier about reducing the content.
William – Some things txp.com should be/do:
Last edited by zero (2008-05-17 12:51:39)
zero wrote: (here)
Re audience. I think there’s probably many people who will get fed up of their predefined templates or hosted blogs and want more options. […] people wanting to dip their toes into web design.
Good point. I hadn’t thought of people completely new to web design. It looks like wordpress is going for this ‘first timer’ market (eg. no mention of php/mysql on the homepage, ‘wordpress for dummies’). As it stands I would say txp is a more technical tool (eg. vs. wp plugins/themes).
So the question is whether to focus the message at designer/developers, or dumb it down for noobs.
eg. the statement “complete control over your markup” would be music to a designers’ ears, but probably alienate your average joe sixpack.
It’s like Apple pushing all its iLife, ‘your digital lifestyle’ consumer junk, which feels like its not talking to me anymore.
So I guess my point is, let’s take an honest look at who txp is good for and craft a message targeted at them, and not waste energy chasing every new blogger. Of course, I’m totally biased as I am a designer/developer ;)
Last edited by milkshake (2008-05-18 09:29:24)
Good points, William, and I don’t think it should be dumbed down for newbies. But Textpattern is easy to use and quite within the reach of keen newbies who are looking for something more flexible than wordpress or blogger. So let’s try not to exclude them but try to find some good language to suit both pro and amateur designers.
I’ve created a Writeboard (pw txphome). What you see is my attempt to take all your views above on board and write something for the main content column. Is this content getting there? Please change it as you see fit.
In my imagination I see the following:
Main content is on the left.
Sidebar-1 is wide and on the right with image links to great websites.
Sidebar-2 is full width underneath all the content with links to all community resources.
Footer below that.
There’s a great header at the top with a slim Textpattern yellow band going across.
Designers! What is in your imagination?
Nice start, Peter. Very good work.
Will digest and possibly edit, but it looks fine from here already.
Without considering the layout, here’s some logical groupings for the content we already have.
This could be all on one page (maybe using a jquery scroller as suggested), or divided into separate pages.
— Writeboard version / password = txp
A shortlist of present and future core visuals: