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#13 2008-05-12 13:30:39

colak
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From: Cyprus
Registered: 2004-11-20
Posts: 8,870
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

yes, my misreading. I’;ll go back and strike that:)


Yiannis
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#14 2008-05-12 14:40:00

zero
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2004-04-19
Posts: 1,453
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

zero wrote:

the content is the priority, the design can follow after.

sthmtc wrote:

this is a dangerous, common misconception. i’d consider content (here: copywriting) as an integral part of the design process and in an ideal project, both should be tightly interwoven.

I’m not quite sure what you mean, Sven, but to clarify what I meant to say – I think the txp home page content needs rethinking first of all. What are the key things that need to be said and what is secondary? Only after that is decided do I think that you can start thinking about the design. Are all the links necessary? Where is the best place for them? Which explanations are necessary and which could be left for another page? Etc. That sort of thing.

I am not a professional web designer, however, so would love to hear your more hands-on point of view.


Gud One Blog
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#15 2008-05-12 15:58:43

sthmtc
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From: CGN, GER
Registered: 2005-01-17
Posts: 586
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

zero wrote:

I’m not quite sure what you mean, Sven, but to clarify what I meant to say – I think the txp home page content needs rethinking first of all. (…) Only after that is decided do I think that you can start thinking about the design.

you’re basically saying: the content is one thing, which has to be revised, then after that designers come into play to ‘make things pretty’. and i’m clarifying, that instead of being two completely different steps not connected to each other, the creation of the content (probably as in IA and copywriting) is in fact part of the design process.

(of course i agree with you, that changes to the content and information architecture are most important at the moment — but again, these are part of a design process)

Last edited by sthmtc (2008-05-12 16:01:39)

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#16 2008-05-12 16:45:55

jstubbs
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From: Hong Kong
Registered: 2004-12-13
Posts: 2,395
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

So – what about having some forum members send in some design mockups for a new TXP homepage – assuming the developers are willing?

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#17 2008-05-12 17:36:15

thebombsite
Archived Plugin Author
From: Exmouth, England
Registered: 2004-08-24
Posts: 3,251
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

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?


Stuart

In a Time of Universal Deceit
Telling the Truth is Revolutionary.

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#18 2008-05-12 18:03:39

zero
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2004-04-19
Posts: 1,453
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

jstubbs wrote:

So – what about having some forum members send in some design mockups for a new TXP homepage – assuming the developers are willing?

I like the idea but it also frightens me a bit. I see so many ‘designs’ that look great at first glance but then seem to fit the content in as an afterthought. That’s why I’ve been emphasising content first. But I do agree with Sven that it should all be part of one process and I would hope any design mockups would include real content that the forum member thinks would be good for Textpattern. Sorry if I sound like I’m knocking designers on the forum. To be honest, there are a few I don’t rate at all but I rate this forum and most of its users highly so I’m with Yiannis and Jonathan on some sort of friendly competition.

Perhaps there could be a first round so anyone can contribute. Even if we know we’re not great designers there will probably be some good things in all entries that might strike a chord (such as Stuart’s). Then after discussion everyone could submit their super-duper final design.


Gud One Blog
Wondrous Healing Wondrous ways to a healthy old age

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#19 2008-05-12 18:17:11

jstubbs
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From: Hong Kong
Registered: 2004-12-13
Posts: 2,395
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

If the devs are not comfortable with a competition, then I guess people could post design mockups instead. Then if it looks good (even if its just a shuffling of content with the default TXP design) the devs could decide what to do next.

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#20 2008-05-12 18:20:02

colak
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From: Cyprus
Registered: 2004-11-20
Posts: 8,870
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

jstubbs wrote:

So – what about having some forum members send in some design mockups for a new TXP homepage – assuming the developers are willing?

zero wrote:

I like the idea but it also frightens me a bit. I see so many ‘designs’ that look great at first glance but then seem to fit the content in as an afterthought. That’s why I’ve been emphasising content first. But I do agree with Sven that it should all be part of one process and I would hope any design mockups would include real content that the forum member thinks would be good for Textpattern. Sorry if I sound like I’m knocking designers on the forum. To be honest, there are a few I don’t rate at all but I rate this forum and most of its users highly so I’m with Yiannis and Jonathan on some sort of friendly competition.

Perhaps there could be a first round so anyone can contribute. Even if we know we’re not great designers there will probably be some good things in all entries that might strike a chord (such as Stuart’s). Then after discussion everyone could submit their super-duper final design.

Then there should be a system of elimination for the second round, maybe one of the rating plugins will come handy. Recently rhizome had a competition for new media art. their voting process seems very appropriate.

Last edited by colak (2008-05-12 18:25:03)


Yiannis
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neme.org | hblack.net | EMAP | NeMe @ github
I do my best editing after I click on the submit button.

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#21 2008-05-12 18:32:06

wet
Developer Emeritus
From: Schoerfling, Austria
Registered: 2005-06-06
Posts: 3,274
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

Good points here, I think. Admittedly, I myself got hooked onto Textpattern in those ancient times by the verbiage of the home page. But this was before web two oh, so we’d likely have to deal with different audience expectations now.

My very personal random thoughts on this topic:

  • For a possible relaunch process for textpattern.com, 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 am aware that many capable designers are usually not very eager to participate in a contest of any kind as large clients have abused that to an extent. I personally do not like the idea of a contest, as it feels somehow untextpatternish.
  • We are not in a position (nor are we inclined to) spend any monies on this – as we simply have none. All we can offer is “publicity” to for anyone who would contribute persistent results.
  • A possible time frame would extend roughly beyond the 4.0.7 release during summer / autumn 2008.
  • I do not want to look textpattern.com like WP.org or EE.com with gradients, huge font sizes, allegoric icons.
  • We are the Textpattern community aiming at designers and web builders, no startup/VC-funded company – this should transfer to the visuals and copy.

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#22 2008-05-12 19:05:40

Slaktad
Archived Plugin Author
From: Linköping, Sweden
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 50
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Re: Blog platforms design critique

colak wrote:

Maybe a competition should be launched for the redesign of the textpattern site. Since the software is open source then the competition should not offer any $$$ but an acknowledgment of the designer somewhere in the pages… Just an idea…

I think that’s a good idea. I would probably sign up for it.

Last edited by Slaktad (2008-05-12 19:06:39)

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#23 2008-05-12 21:02:48

zero
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2004-04-19
Posts: 1,453
Website

Re: Blog platforms design critique

I believe Textpattern is great because of the great people in its community. Helping, inspiring and talking to each other must influence the devs and the great code they produce which in turn causes more community feedback and growth. So how can we get some of these great people, such as those featured on TXPQ, involved in the txp design? How about this?

First stage: Invite everyone to submit their idea. This might be a fully designed web page, a photo of a pencil sketch or a few words explaining what should and should not be on the home page. I would hope that this will encourage the best designers (who are also the busiest designers no doubt) to donate their input. Everyone’s submission should be public so there can be cooperation, which is the next stage. All entrants to the first stage are winners and will be featured on a special txp.com page and qualify for the final prize which is the very prestigious recognition of their contribution to the final txp.com design.

Second stage: Open and honest discussion of the first stage ideas. Then cooperation with the devs in extracting the best ideas and coming to a consensus agreement about the criteria that must be included in the main design (including content and architecture) of the home page. By cooperation I include trying to keep on topic, trying to be concise, and of course not getting rude and personal.

Third stage: Depends on the second stage. The second stage might not be achievable. I have seen total agreement reached by a group of 30 people when we all agreed not to say anything unless we really thought it was definitely beneficial, but with a large community I realise this might well not be possible. However, striving to achieve a consensus will lead to something and with this community I think it will be something good. For example, it might be a competition to create a design that fulfils all the criteria agreed upon in the second stage. But I don’t want to impose such a limitation now, and I think it’s best to let the third stage grow out of the second stage.

Does that help?


Gud One Blog
Wondrous Healing Wondrous ways to a healthy old age

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#24 2008-05-12 21:22:06

masa
Member
From: Asturias, Spain
Registered: 2005-11-25
Posts: 1,091

Re: Blog platforms design critique

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.

Last edited by masa (2008-05-12 22:29:30)

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