Well, I only tried to warn you that you can't "attach" a graphic
designer to the website team as a separate contributor from the design
And that is exactly what I said, too: The website design starts with IA and wireframe; not with
Therefore the Graphic designer is required to be part of the team from the start.
That's why I said I am surprised that such an important resource was missing so far.
How on earth did we straightaway launch text-writing?
I am even more surprised to learn that the layout design is NOW being done, unknown to everyone.
We seem to be designing the website in reverse.
Anyway better late than never.
I only hope that the IA and wireframe are discussed openly.
This is a job to be done by web professionals.
He/she would really have to introduce himself/herself to the
Design team, present ideas for discussion, and get approval that they
comply with the graphic charter, etc.
Of course, a graphic designer cannot work in isolation.
In fact, marketing has to be involved actively in the IA+wireframe design phase, because the entire
tone of the site is set by the graphic design.
Also, the graphic designer has to explain how all target customer segments are addressed through
Now that Christoph and others are acting as graphic designer, they also should present their ideas
I hope the design is not settled behind closed doors and unilaterally.
Narayan, you can't just short-circuit the Design team if you want the
work to be accepted... Whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, this
project just doesn't work like that...
The graphic designer is supposed to propose alternative designs.
Those are supposed to be vetted by the critiques (especially marketing and copywriters).
That is supposed to be the FIRST PHASE of the website design cycle.
But approval of a design is NOT the same as approval of the graphic designer himself.
It is neither warranted nor polite.
graphic design and page design
is something being carefully watched over by Christoph and the Design guys.
This is like putting the horse before the cart: The IA+Wireframe have to be finished first.
Also, why haven't we seen any comment on the present state of the website from them?
At present, the website looks exactly like a wiki (and thence the remark "text text text...").
Apart from the LibO logo (which is a mixed up thing, as logos go), there are no graphics at all.
All pages look exactly the same (Home page, L1, L2...), with no visual differential (with
color, layout, fonts, breaks...)
The screen space is not divided according to graphic design principles.
The site has no tagline, search or site map (three basic things).
Well, I disagree that it looks like a wiki... it's just that only part
of the work is done: work is needed from the design aspect, as I
originally mentioned, in cooperation with the people working on
OK let us finish that, then! :)
On the other hand, what you say about wikis suggests that you agree
that a wiki is a facility that is not organized or worked on as
promotional channel, it's a workplace where people store information
as a kind of memory pad. So it's not the place for marketing
LibreOffice. The website is where we fight the promotional battle.
Correct. But more words does not win us that battle.
The site must be made for SCANNING, not READING.
It is assumed that the visitor would be interested enough to stay and soak up all that text
(and text and text and...)
He will look through all pages till he finds what he wants (no map, no search).
We do have a wiki for LibO. So the website should be devoted to main points,
and for details, the visitor should be taken to the Wiki.
No, I disagree with you, Narayan. I don't think the wiki is where the
main selling of the product will be done, it's on the libreoffice.org
site. Like I just said above, the current wiki is a haphazard
collection of pages - it's more of a big notepad or brainstorming
The wiki is WIP: It should be put in order.
Many wikis serve as manuals and tutorials also.
Since we have separate odt manuals, our wiki won't be like that.
So we need to fix the scope for the wiki and then work on it.
But keep in mind that wiki is not part of the SEO strategy.
It is meant to provide in-depth reading to people whose mind is already made up in favor of LibO.
So wiki is not required so urgently as the main website.
It's not designed or intended to be a marketing and promotional
resource. But libreoffice.org *is*.
Compare the site with http://www.openoffice.org/ and http://why.openoffice.org/
I am not saying that OOo site is ideal, but at least it has many visual elements to hold the
interest of the visitor.
Yes, like I said, we need graphics and work on page layouts. Those
things are supposed to showcase the content attractively. Now we have
content, we need to work on presenting it nicely. Ivan's already done
some work on CSS styles in that direction. Now I'd like to collaborate
with him (and Houbsi as well, if he's interested in doing some work on
it), and see how we can optimize the presentation inside the pages.
That's not how it works. We sre supposed to settle the website design first.
That includes layouts for home page, and other pages.
Therefore we need graphic designers to redesign the pages.
And copywriters to brush up (and snip away) what we have written.
Well, I've written copy. Now we need to work on *presentation*. ;-)
That's not how it works.
This is as good as designing anothe3r website with the content of this one.
So Michael is not off the mark when he proposes that we should have a new, properly designed
@Role of SEO in success of LibO:
Since LibO is a OpenOffice fork, we actually do not need much help from SEO.
I have already added the metatags to most pages, which should be sufficient to start with
I'd disagree about that... We can't afford to be lax in any area. IMO,
we need to focus very carefully on SEO, because we need to float on
top in organic search results. We are not investing large quantities
of money in sponsored results.
SEO does not stop with one set of metatags: They need to be replaced based on ranking tests.
The end-purpose of SEO is to bring people to our website or download page.
Since a mention in wikipedia and major review/host sites also has similar effect, we should work on
the review/host sites.
(Wikipedia already has LibO well-covered.)
Now that SEO (machine reading/spidering) is out of the way, we must concentrate on HUMAN
How can we hold THEIR interest??
We need to emphasize how LibO is different from the other versions.
That should explained prominently at the website, in terms of (a) philosophy and (b) features.
This is what we're working on now. The work is partly done from the
"philosophy" viewpoint, in the "Get Involved" section.
More work doing on that subject in the "About Us" section, where we can talk a
lot more imaginatively about the community aspects of the project, and
the difference in the development process.
No I mean philosophy about how the PRODUCT-DESIGN.
It is about how the focus of LibO is different; not about "how WE are different" or "How we develop
That is why I mentioned Novell ("MSO-compatible"), and Oracle ("each upgrades with patches"). What
is our USP?
So the most appropriate page would be the "What is LibreOffice?" page.
The "About Us" and "Get involved" would not be seen by the potential user.
We want to get his attention by telling him how LibO is different from the rest of the pack.
In that context, philosophy means the consistent direction in which new features will be added.
It could be "optimized to work on tomorrow's notepads", "optimized for cloud technologies",
"optimized for collaborative authoring", etc.
This compliments how it is different from the rest of the pack TODAY.
So both these topics should be close to the home page.
Since LibO is the last to enter a field that already crammed with look-alikes, it has to declare
how it is superior.
For example, Novell version of OpenOffice boasts of compatibility with MSO.
Oracle version of OOpenOffice boasts of low download costs because of patch-based updates.
We also should position the product in this cluster of "apparently same" products.
No, I don't really agree with you about that. We're not just another
"also-ran", we're not another "another": we need to stand apart as
What I meant is-
Since LibO is a derivative of the OOo, you cannot pitch it as a totally different product for a few
So we will have to position LibO in the cluster, but with special unique features.
As the years roll by, our unique philosophy will make us select a different feature-set compared to
Thus the different forks will evolve in different directions.
[Stefan Weigel's post starts here...]
Also see: http://why.openoffice.org
OK, let's talk about that site. It contains some 10 or so pages that
vary between 260 to 430 words in length. There are graphics on the
pages, and there has been work on the presentation of the text.
Web pages are designed for SCANNING; not READING. So less is more.
This is the critical difference between the main website and a wiki for the same product.
But, IMHO, the content on those pages is not particularly
hard-hitting. One thing that none of you has said anything about is
the actual quality of the content that I wrote.
I did write the original. So I like it :)
But not the expansion- I wanted it to get shortened after the graphic design comes in.
I've tried to be
pertinent to the question posed in the title, and to put convincing
lines and strong arguments. I've given it what I *felt* was a
reasonable shot. :-D Are you sure you can write better? :-D
Sure the graphic designer can do this.
We do NOT use passionate VERBAL arguments on a website. It is VISUAL.
Also, all our arguments are not crammed on a single page anyway: Each topic can be explained with
photos and icons on L3 pages.
I'm proposing to pack similar coverage to why.OOo into 5 pages that,
after some post-editing, will probably end up at about 350 to 600
words each. Present that in a nice magazine-type page layout, and
things can look *totally* different.
A brochure follows entire differently rules compared to site.
Site <> wiki <> brochure.
BTW even brochures do not contain too many words.
Sorry, guys, but - personally - I don't agree that a product like
LibreOffice can be effectively marketed by 50 to 150 words per page
and a few nice graphics and screenshots.
And that is why I say website is a specialized subject. It should not be judged by outsiders. :)
It follows totally different rules, and engineers often misjudge it by using their own yardstick.
It can't provide the information wanted by the diverse market segments
we're chasing. You guys seem to have a very restricted view of our
market. There are plenty of targets out there that want to read
convincing info and arguments. IMHO, that's very much the case with
government, business and other institutional adopters.
That is why a site has L3 pages, and cross-references to wikis.
For complex products, there are application notes, white papers, video demos - All downloadable
from the main site.
Plus, the community segment *also* wants to read information about the
project, which is why sections like "Get Help" and "Get Involved" do
also need to contain a certain amount of textual information, and why
"About Us" needs a whole lot of imaginative work. I've tried not to be
verbose, but I have tried to talk informatively about the facts and
policies of the project.
Those pages descend into working details straightaway.
That should be reserved for an L3 page (or better, for a wiki).
Once again, I remind you again that I've provided content, and that
now we would need to work on presentation. And we do *also* need
things like big, prominent download buttons, screenshot shufflers and
other multimedia content *in addition* to high-quality text, as well
as division of the text into different blocks.
Plus, in addition, we *also* need to provide downloadable PDFs as
technical data sheets for offllne consumption.
We still have a *great deal of work* that can be done on content.
You can't sell the product or cultivate a community with just a few
fancy Flash animations and a few words on each page!
Yes. Some websites are built without a central idea, just to show off some fancy effects.
Just like there are presentations with all slide transitions and animations that LibO can come up
But professional presentations will not resort to such cheap gimmicks.
Similarly, in a website, the real magic is done by the graphic designer and the copywriter.
The present text can be used as an excellent in-depth briefing to them.
But much remains to be done, yet. By experienced web professionals.
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