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#25 2008-05-12 21:38:22

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 10,742
Website GitHub

Re: Blog platforms design critique

Totally agree masa. And Jon Hicks’ site was one of things that tipped TXP for me too. We should definitely play to all the strengths you mention imo.


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#26 2008-05-13 04:06:24

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

If there is a competition, regardless of the process, the requirements should ask for at least 4 templates

  1. home page
  2. article list
  3. individual article
  4. search results

In this way we can make sure that the design can work through the different areas. I believe that just a good home page is not enough, it is how that design relates to the rest of the site.

Last edited by colak (2008-05-13 04:06:47)


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#27 2008-05-13 07:34:04

joebaich
Member
From: DC Metro Area and elsewhere
Registered: 2006-09-24
Posts: 507
Website

Re: Blog platforms design critique

Reading through the 3 pages of this thread and the constructive criticism in the Design Shack article, there is almost enough material already to write up a statement of work (SOW) to instruct a designer to design a new site.

I agree 99% with WET’s sentiments about a new design for the Textpattern site and especially his requirement that it be ‘Textpatternish’. I note his comment about the lack of funds to pay a designer and the notion that prestige can be the only reward. In a selfless world where there were no bills to pay, that might work. Perhaps there is a middle way that would combine some financial reward with prestige and yet would remain true to Textpattern. I trust the Devs’ individual and collective judgement and undertake now to give them $100 towards paying for a designer. I’m a Scot and not generous by nature and so would expect, $200 worth of design in return for $100 cash and $100 worth of prestige (or whatever equivalent sum can be reasonably attributed towards the latter). If a few more TXP users make similar pledges of any amount then we can get on with it sooner than later. I am not proposing that there be a competition per se, personally I was disappointed with the last Textplates. I am simply proposing that other grateful TXP users cough up some cash and agree to appoint Robert, Ruud and Mary, if she is still in the frame, to select a designer. No votes required, just let them get on with a selection. It is important that this should not become a YAC (yet another chore) for the Devs and that their contribution be sensibly limited to the selection, if they are willing. A good way to proceed would simply be:
  • Send the SOW to, say, no more than 5 Dev selected full time designers with recognized TXP expertize and ask them to express an interest.
  • Select a designer based on his or her expression of interest and perhaps his or her portfolio and track record.

Others, including me perhaps, can assist by writing up a SOW from the input here and other necessary administration. It’s only an outline at this stage and I can expand if folks are taken with the notion, especially if the notion is backed up by a pledge.

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#28 2008-05-13 08:08:43

maniqui
Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2004-10-10
Posts: 3,070
Website

Re: Blog platforms design critique

Stop talking. Start doing. Right now.
(said by me, someone who’s always talking and never doing, so do what I say, not what I do).

I totally agree with Wet’s points

  • wet wrote: new visual and architectural concept.
    I add: let’s start by suggesting/creating the content, the real content, the paragraphs, the headings, the slogan, the screenshots. Write it down, now! You will be proud saying: “I wrote that paragraph, then wet gave it a spin, and now it’s on the home page!” Content is difficult, so let’s it make it all together and then someone with great writing abilities could “homogenize” it. Of course, many of the current content of TxP home could go through a recycling process.
  • I don’t like the idea of a contest either, but this means nothing. I just don’t like. No Spec work (although this is probably a little different than no-spec work).
  • no money -> so, let’s make this a real community effort, no egos involved, one of TxP strengths is its community.

And I’m not talking about a community-driven site (with everyone having access to edit/add new content, that would make a mess) nor everyone putting their dirty hands on the sensual body of TxP main website.
It’s like a trying to conquer a girl’s heart: say something nice about her, then you will be on her heart, and maybe she will even tattoo herself what you said about her (yeah, I’m on a delirium tremens).
What I wanted to say is: write content, say something nice/useful/unique about it, then extend the idea and maybe you get the next TxP slogan.

  • 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
  • ?
  • are you already writing some content? what are you waiting for?

masa wrote:


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.

Probably, the best/easiest way to achieve this is aggregating a feed from WeLoveTXP.com sorted by ranking (if possible).
No need to reinvent the wheel. WeLoveTXP is doing a great job on indexing Textpattern-driven sites.

Of course, the best move is probably to show the best TxP sites out there, so maybe there is a way to setup the feed to deliver sites picked by hand.
Also, it could be a mix: first, at top of the page, the best of the best in the world of Textpattern. Then, below, the rest, fed randomly or by rank.

Last edited by maniqui (2008-05-13 08:36:03)


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#29 2008-05-13 08:18:40

maniqui
Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2004-10-10
Posts: 3,070
Website

Re: Blog platforms design critique

Let’s continue with the list:

  • let’s show the world how easy is to create a multi-lingual webiste using Textpattern and the MLP. Of course, we should start with the english version, but have the MLP already installed. I can take care of Spanish translations (even dev weblog articles could be translated).
  • We need the content (did I already talk about the content?). Let’s get the content first: text, screenshots, bulleted list of features, sites using textpattern, bulleted list of best plug-ins out there, FAQs, help, dev weblog. We already have most of that content.
  • once we have the content, we can craft the HTML, of course, directly on Textpattern, using txp tags and all the magic.
  • yes, the final HTML could be touched here and there later, if there is really a need to adapt some complex design
  • then pick up your Photoshop and begin designing, based on the already carefully crafted content and HTML
  • yes! Like the CSS Zen Garden! I get it now! Do you?

So, let’s talk about some information architecture…

In the meanwhile, check this:
Textpattern.com on the WayBack Machine, I can’t find the sentence about HTML/CSS knowledge, but there is one similar: “if you’re not experienced editing with HTML then please hold off downloading Texpattern for now.”


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#30 2008-05-13 08:32:08

maniqui
Member
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2004-10-10
Posts: 3,070
Website

Re: Blog platforms design critique

And here is the strawberry of our dessert:

Lets ask our Benevolent Dictator For Life if he would like to be the One to choose among the submitted designs!

Or even more: lets ask Him if he would like to create the design, maybe a rapid sketched mock-up. He created Textpattern, nothing could go wrong. We need His magical touch.
He even says He is still proud of Textpattern: http://www.textism.com/colophon
yay!

Last edited by maniqui (2008-05-13 08:32:52)


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#31 2008-05-14 09:16:22

uli
Moderator
From: Cologne
Registered: 2006-08-15
Posts: 4,276

Re: Blog platforms design critique

One for the front page:

jcr4runner wrote

I just created a hierarchy of 25 index pages. Yeeha! […] I am sure there are a half dozen better ways, but I am congratulating myself since I didn’t know what a <txp: …> tag was for 72 hours ago.

Uh … well, not exactly the front page and not exactly testimonials, but at least the simplicity of writing/figuring out txp code and it’s human readability should find a place anywhere in the redesign of the page.


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#32 2008-05-14 18:07:01

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

Re: Blog platforms design critique

I hope you’re all doing what maniqui has told you! :)

I’ll get around to my take on the txp.com content in a bit, but right now I think there is something just as important or more important than redesigning txp.com – updating existing page templates and forms so they are more usable, accessible and solid when 4.0.7 comes out. I explain why in this article about Textpattern defaults and I’ve put up some alternatives and I’d like to display your alternatives, too, if you’re interested and we can figure out a good way to do it.

In case any of you are wondering, there’ll be more TXPQ interviews when some of the many people with my questions get back to me.


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#33 2008-05-15 15:04:53

thebombsite
Archived Plugin Author
From: Exmouth, England
Registered: 2004-08-24
Posts: 3,251
Website

Re: Blog platforms design critique

Well as I tend to keep abreast of the latest SVN I do think that some of the new additions since 4.0.6 are quite complex, for example how to fully utilize the new parser assuming it makes it to 4.0.7. I was thinking that maybe some new article and menu content might include examples of how to use some of the new stuff alongside a new design which I still think should match the textpattern.com site re-design.

EDIT

In fact, just thinking out loud, instead of having useless articles full of Lorem Ipsum, why don’t we have useful articles with a bit of instruction in them instead?

Last edited by thebombsite (2008-05-15 15:07:38)


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#34 2008-05-15 17:18:44

ruud
Developer Emeritus
From: a galaxy far far away
Registered: 2006-06-04
Posts: 5,068
Website

Re: Blog platforms design critique

I’ll write an article in the dev weblog about the new parser.

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#35 2008-05-15 17:41:31

Bloke
Developer
From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 10,742
Website GitHub

Re: Blog platforms design critique

thebombsite wrote:

instead of having useless articles full of Lorem Ipsum, why don’t we have useful articles with a bit of instruction in them instead?

A very worthwhile idea, imo. Providing the dev team don’t mind potentially updating the content in the template with each release, of course.


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#36 2008-05-15 17:57:15

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

Re: Blog platforms design critique

uli wrote:

Uh … well, not exactly the front page and not exactly testimonials, but at least the simplicity of writing/figuring out txp code and it’s human readability should find a place anywhere in the redesign of the page.

Yes, I totally agree.
The first time I looked at a Txp template I thought “hey, that all looks familiar!”

It was quite a stark contrast to the other CMSes’ templates, that contained all sorts of, to me, obscure code and/or PHP.

Strong selling point!

maniqui wrote:

Probably, the best/easiest way to achieve this is aggregating a feed from WeLoveTXP.com sorted by ranking (if possible).
No need to reinvent the wheel. WeLoveTXP is doing a great job on indexing Textpattern-driven sites.

While I do agree that WeLoveTXP.com does an excellent job at collecting impressive samples, I think we ought to be careful here not to redirect visitors too soon to another site.

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.

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