I had a great time on Friday collaborating with Máirín Duffy on a new look for fedoraproject.org. This is somewhat related to the changes we’re making to the get.fedoraproject.org (also called “get-fedora”) and spins.fedoraproject.org sites. For those of us who are involved in Fedora all the time, it’s easy to take for granted how easy and fun Fedora can be to use and get involved in. Our page should capture the spirit I see every day in our diverse and talented community, and make it easy for people to get started.
Although my Westford visit was overall quite enjoyable, this was by far the highlight of my visit. I love getting involved in design, as long as there are other people around to bounce ideas around with me (and occasionally wave me off from silly ones). Máirín is really great at this work, not only because she’s about ten times faster at Inkscape than anyone I’ve seen, but also because she’s great at listening for subtext. I sometimes use lots of adjectives to describe an experience, or I’ll go off on a tangent about emotions we want the viewer to have. She was able to pick up on that context really quickly, understand the concepts behind the emotions, and refine it into something concrete. Not only that, but she came up with the rockin’ panda. ?
You can look at the mockups for the full story. Some of the ideas we tried to capture in the design (don’t shoot me if this gets too gooey):
* The emotional lift of freedom, starting with the top banner. Lots of happy, smiling people enjoying free software and feeling good about their choice.
* The one huge download button that yells, “Click me, I’m awesome!”
* A simpler way of telling people what they’re getting, without getting in their way.
* A showcase for simple, fun things that anyone can do with Fedora, and a link to how to do them. (“Anyone can do it.”) The Hulk thing was Mo’s idea, I swear!
* A way to showcase different people in the Fedora community and how they got started. (“You can too.”)
* Reducing the “link farm” feel by demoting the less important stuff to the bottom of the page, while making it more neatly organized.
As someone commented on the FAB mailing list, our pages should feel like invitations to become part of our community. There’s no better way to do that than by showing how fun and exciting Fedora can be, and by making it as easy as possible for people to get it. Something not shown on Mo’s blog is what happens after you click the big download button. The afterpage is so much easier to understand than our previous pages, and makes it a snap for people both to get the help they need, and to learn more about our community and how to get involved.
From the comments on Mo’s page, I think a lot of people are as excited about this redesign as we are. Laissez les bon temps rouler!