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Thu Jul 23 19:07:19 BST 2009

perception that Bazaar is moving forward rapidly and steadily, and
that should be advertised on the front page.

It's quite possible that this means the Bazaar home page should be
redesigned again in 12-18 months.  If that sounds too expensive,
then some compromises could be made.  But I think it's important to
recognize that this is a transition period for Bazaar, a coming of
age.  Catering to that awareness could pay really big dividends in
the next year.

 > > > 3. If you were to shuffle the components, what would your
 > > >    wireframe look like?

| Header                                                            |
| Navigation / branding / one-line slogan just like yours           |
| About Bazaar = "why we had to   | What Bazaar    | What Bazaar    |
| create Bazaar and make it what  | does, the most | will do - the  |
| it is in 25 words or less"      | important      | main features  |
+---------------------------------+ features to    | of each recent |
| Current release - important new | users aware of | monthly        |
| features                        | VC needs but   +----------------+
| Next release date (fine print)  | not expert yet | Contribute!    |
| Footer, pretty much like yours, BUT logo row is part of footer,   |
| maybe even at bottom of footer.                                   |

"25 words or less" for the mission statement actually probably is
more like "40", as you say.  Note that header and footer would be
subdivided as you do but I didn't feel like dealing with the ASCII
art or with flickr ;-).

The "Contribute!" box would *always* have a direct link to the beta
tester's page, as I see it.  The monthlies would be added one by
one, though so it would have to shrink as the 6-month cycle rolls
on.  Older monthlies would have their (ex post) most important
feature described in max 3 words; the most recent monthly might have
two or three major features described.  Other contributions would be
added as space available in the box: money, website, join the dev
team, patch contributions, etc.

 > > A few comments that popped into my head:
 > >
 > > - I feel that "About Bazaar" should be on the top-left (jumbled with
 > > features), and download+install on the top right, with help beneath it

Again, I tend to disagree.  Although About Bazaar should be at top
left (or maybe top right if you are of the New York Times/Yomiuri
Shimbun school of page design), its content should not be
featureful.  Rather it should be a mission statement, with the
features kept separate.  (1) The features to emphasize may and should
change with the improvement of the product.  (2) The mission statement
is foundational, and its size, rectangularity, and stability tells
the page's viewer that Bazaar is a stable, safe foundation for her
project.  You could even locate it lower on the page, and literally
"build the page on top of it" to strengthen that message (don't take
that too seriously, I'm not an experienced or talented designer to
judge whether it would actually "work", but I'm pretty good with

Download+install is a tough nut to crack.  It really shouldn't take
up much space (eg, the OpenAtrium page devotes way too much space to
it).  But Bazaar is intended to be cross-platform, universal
application.  "Universal" includes new or non-technical users, so
you need separate installation for Windows and Unix, and probably
for Mac too, at least for the semiannuals.  That's a lot of
confusing buttons.  You may also need links to Python.  I wonder if
it would be possible to add a box like this (scaled to fit, of

|                    +---------------+ +---------+ |
| Install Bazaar for | platform menu | | Get it! | |
|                    +---------------+ +---------+ |

to the (semiannual) Release corner?  And there would need to be a
separate page for the monthlies & other tester content.  Probably
each monthly would link to the release-specific Release Notes/
downloads page, while the Beta Tester link would go to a page with
short descriptions of all the releases, most recent first, and their

 > Many "Web 2.0-y" sites now use a big font description at the top
 > with smaller text propaganda lower in the page. I personally love
 > this style as it lets me get really focused on the big shiny print

I find this style makes my trigger finger itch.  I just *know* that
the information I want to find is available only by hitting the
download button and an expensive trial-and-error session with the
product ... "move on, people, there's nothing to see here anyway".

 > - (big text + screenshot)
 > - (big text leading into smaller text)
 > - (all pictures, virtually no front page
 >   text)

Yup, all good examples of the kind of site I return to only because
my boss bought the product without consulting me.  Yes, they're
pretty, but they are deadly uninformative.  Better to Google or
search at JoelOnSoftware.  Maybe that's "just me", but....

It's one thing to do that kind of thing *twice*, with *two* *new*
*different* products that you're promoting as a multiproduct +
serious afterservice firm (Apple Computer, I'm looking at *you*),
taking up say 40% of a max 1000x1600 pixel window.  Or you could
invest in per-product domain names, and have that be the *product*
home page with a "P.S. We also walk dogs." pointer to the
organizational home page.  But if that's the home page of a one-
product otherwise unknown organization, I get the feeling that
you've got some anonymous web design company sponsoring some
one-developer companies for free to advertise its design services,
rather than the other way around.

You could probably use any of the formats (basecamp, treehouse, or
openatrium) with about 10% of the area each devoted to Canonical,
Ubuntu, and Launchpad, respectively, as "natural exits" from this
home page, arranged to give the impression of a "Canonical family".
You'd need a link exchange with each of those, of course.  Otherwise
I don't think these formats "work" very well, at least not for fairly
technical users like myself.

 > Without being too prescriptive in the wireframe, I saw the strip
 > near the top as giving space for that < 40 word description of
 > Bazaar with the block at the bottom being the SEO-friendly text.

I think that strip near the top is a good place for a slogan.  What
you have there in the wireframe isn't bad, not bad at all.  But it
should be one line and emotional, just as you have it now.  There
should *also* be space for a mission statement that (1) at least
alludes to the need for version control and (2) explains why Yet
Another VCS needed to be written (but of course in terms that don't
presume that the reader even knows that there are other VCses).

Although I've presented a lot of ideas, it's not intended as a
coherent alternative.  I hope some part is useful.  I certainly must
second Martin's kudos!  Thank you for doing this, it's really a
timely contribution!


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