Putting the cart before the horse. (was: Final Notes on the Ubuntu Studio Website)

Benjamin Turner passionsplaydesign at gmail.com
Tue Oct 5 21:42:43 BST 2010

In response to Scott's original mockup:

Good work Scott!

So, starting with what works:

1) I like that things have been moved up the page.  The old site was pretty,
but simple, with specific information at least a scroll's length down the

2) Navigation wise, I would say that someone that lands here has the
potential of getting their bearings quickly.  The global nav is
easily accessible in the upper right, along with lower level categories on
the left being easily skimmed by the eye without having to 'move' the page.

3) On the old site the blog entries were pretty small, closer to tweets --
"Look a new release!"  With this mockup, the space is tuned more to those
types of posts.  Someone can easily take in the most recent information,
again without 'moving the page.'

As for what it can do better:

1) I don't really like the social media icons.  They seem to clutter up that
valuable 'upper right' real estate.  I would question how much use they will
get.  However, if we do decide that they belong, then I think the icons
themselves need to be desaturated.  These current colors are good for THEIR
respective brands, but totally destroy our color scheme, and our brand.
 Perhaps gray/black social media icons, that regain their color with a mouse

2) I would tend to agree with others that the mock-up feels busy.  I think
that the majority of this has to do with the font settings, and to a lesser
extent, certain page elements not lining up. (I'll post something later
showing what I mean)

I would submit that much 'breathing room' could be created by using a
tighter editorial writing style coupled with a larger line height, and
greater margins/padding.

A quick example - within the 'what is ubuntu' section:

"Watch the YouTube video for a quick explanation of what Ubuntu Studio
offers or look at the feature walkthrough for a more in depth exploration of
the features available in Ubuntu Studio."

This feels wordy, and could possibly be removed or rewritten to something
more succinct:

"Explore what Ubuntu Studio can do for you"

 ** A link to the walk-though would be included.  As for the youtube video,
having that video right there with the 'play' button ready to go, is more
than enough prompting for most people.

Summary :  All in all I think this shows some merit, with more work needed
on the actual wording, along with spacing the text correctly, and
better alignment of the various page elements.

I'll throw in a little design time this weekend, once I get a hold
on Scott's svg.  Good work guys!

-- Benjamin
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