I've been working on a new website design for oVirt and have mockups ready for you to review.
Make sure to view the mockups and then send me feedback (either to the list or directly via direct email).
Note: This is simply a static PNG exported from Inkscape, wrapped in a very simple HTML page. Therefore, don't expect it to scale with your browser, have selectable text, etc. However, you are able to click on the headings to switch pages, due to a bit of special HTML+CSS.
The mockup has many different sections and updates, and I will explain each change, as well as the thought process that went into each, below.
There are two main things to remember about this design:
Also, the mockup was designed with our target audience in mind: administrators (setting up and running the software), enthusiasts (who may run instances at home), and programmers (tinkering with and contributing back to the project), all with experience using Linux or some form of UNIX. It is also important to note that our audience is specifically not casual desktop users (although they could benefit from someone setting up and maintaining oVirt for them).
I'm eager to hear feedback on any and all changes, and work with you to refine everything.
When you do provide feedback, and want to discuss more than one point, please limit each email to one aspect of the site at a time. If you'd like to talk about the logo and the site structure, for instance, please send one email specifically talking about the logo, and then another discussing the structure. This should make conversations easier for everyone to follow and make it easier for me to track requested updates. Thanks!
The oVirt logo is actually quite similar. I altered the "o" glyph, to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
Comparison graphic between current and new (in simple greyscale, to make it easy to see the difference):
oVirt.org, right now, uses a green color throughout the site. The oVirt administration UI also features green in its header. As a result, I've pulled in that green and used it as the primary accent color for the new site design.
(It also has the advantage that it is not blue, which is overused for iconography, on the Internet, and for software in general.)
Based on the typeface of our logo and our highlight color, our new style reflects simplicity, openness, vibrancy, and elegance.
We can make this style work for both the WordPress and Wiki parts of the site.
A revised site structure is hinted at in the front page mockup. You can see this reflected in the top navigation. I did some overall categorization, strongly influenced by Dave Neary's pre-existing work on the topic.
You can see a proposed sitemap on my "people" site.
This is a general grouping of types of content, not necessarily a view of the top-level page, or of sub-pages. In some cases, these items would be sub-level pages, in others, they would be part of the navigation page.
The documentation page would highlight the best documentation available, regardless of format - e.g. wiki, blog posts, etc. - and also have a prominent link to the wiki. Other sub-pages may also link to the wiki, if there is pertinent information (such as live docs for developers, linked to from the develop section).
This is a short, catchy phrase to indicate what the project is all about. Since the target of oVirt is running on a server, most likely in a datacenter, and it's open source, I figured we should make this prominent.
Usually taglines are simple and direct, and often have some sort of play on words. "Open your virtual datacenter" can be interpreted in a few ways:
It's important to start with some powerful explanatory text to state the overall goal of the project. Usually, this ranges from a phrase to around a sentence or two.
I wanted to express the purpose of the oVirt software in a very high-level view, as a hook to get people interested to read more.
"Start using oVirt now" is a call-to-action button. After the simple text explaining what oVirt is, it's important to provide an obvious next step.
After clicking the button, it would take the viewer to another page where it provides a quick and simple way to start using oVirt. Naturally, one would have to download oVirt to use it, so it should be super-easy to do on this page. The page should also start a simple step-by-step guide on getting oVirt working on one's own system(s).
I'm thinking that this may be, perhaps, simply a link to the "Download & Use" section. Yes, it's in the navigation, but it does provide a very important and clear next step, which helps with a natural-feeling progression for an interested viewer of oVirt.org.
(BTW: If the simple guide is too complex, then we need to work at further simplifying the process of setting up oVirt. It's important to try to lower the barrier to entry. Part of this is making sure that oVirt can run on one machine as well, and possibly booting from live USB media for first-time evaluation purposes.)
Most of text on the mockup is, in some way, based on content from the current oVirt.org website â€” it's just edited a bit.
While most everyone appreciates a clean aesthetic, our primary target group also likes to get to the point and see the information right up front. The mockup of the front page that I'm presenting is based on this concept.
In addition to being an overview of the project and the software it produces, it also makes it really easy to explore from the content areas to relevant other parts of the website. By bringing the top-level navigation into the context of the overviews, we make it easier for someone to jump to other sections, instead of having to scroll back up to rely on the navigation.
The order of the front-page sections is important too. A goal with this design was to:
Items #5 & #6 should both have a way to subscribe so that someone could access this information without visiting oVirt.org. Twitter solves the news component for us; we have to make sure the calendar is able to be subscribed to as well.
Thanks for reading all of this! I'm looking forward to all conversations, especially if it's constructive (regardless of a positive, negative, or neutral slant).