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From Gregory Tappero <cou...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: CouchDB brand identity and design of couchdb.apache.org
Date Tue, 13 Apr 2010 11:17:13 GMT
I dare to say that i agree, it is repelling at first sight.


On Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 1:12 PM, James Fisher <jameshfisher@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
>
> I've recently fallen head-over-heels in love with CouchDB.  However, this
> (my first) email will probably be at best, constructively critical, and at
> worst, offensive, but:
>
> Does the CouchDB project have any agreed visual brand identity, or is it
> being worked on?  I speak mainly of the pages at
> http://couchdb.apache.org/.  I'm the kind of person that judges a book
> by its cover, and it took
> consIiderable effort for me to stop my eyes being repelled from that page.
> Compare it, for example, with the simple design at http://www.mongodb.org/ ,
> where many newbies (like me) to document-oriented DBs will be making an
> active comparison.
>
> CouchDB's slogan is "relax", but that web design gets me all agitated.
> There's no room to breathe: logotype squished into a corner, small font,
> subheadings imprisoned in dark green cells.  No ample footer telling me I've
> reached the end of the page and where I should go next; just a niggardly
> copyright notice.  Rather than relaxing, the guy on the sofa looks like he's
> trying to squirm as far away from the page as possible.
>
> The sofa logo I'm not particularly opposed to, but: entirely saturated
> primary red?  That's the universal visual symbol for "PANIC!".  I have this
> passage from The Vagina Monologues indelibly imprinted on my memory:
>
> ---
> Then he began to undress me.
>
> "What are you doing, Bob?" I said.
>
> "I need to see you," he replied.
>
> "No need," I said. "Just dive in."
>
> "I need to see what you look like," he said.
>
> "But you've seen a red leather couch before," I said.
> ---
>
> ... blech.
>
> And: who could ever relax on such an angular sofa?
>
> The index page just doesn't sell it.  A needless <h1> "The CouchDB Project"
> tells me what I already know from looking at the logotype.  The messy design
> schema, which could be a quirky feature (though its appearance on the first
> page is questionable), instead sits awkwardly on top of other headers and
> squashing text out of the way, with an inappropriate yellow background that
> together with the green suggests vomit (oh dear, on my nice new sofa).
> There's no big bold text telling me that I should use CouchDB.
>
> The first paragraph:  "Apache CouchDB is a document-oriented database that
> can be queried and indexed in a MapReduce fashion using JavaScript. CouchDB
> also offers incremental replication with bi-directional conflict detection
> and resolution."  This jumps into jargon way too soon -- as a prospective
> user, the first thing I want to hear is something simple, comforting, and
> whetting my appetite: "CouchDB is a new kind of database; it will change the
> way you work; come with me, and I will take you on a tour of its secrets."
>
> Next, the colour scheme.  Red and dark-half-saturated green (I'm not even
> sure whether that colour has a name)?  Under no system of colour theory is
> that an appropriate combination.  I suspect it hasn't consciously been
> decided upon as a palette -- the red appears nowhere else.
>
> What's with the needless breadcrumb trail across my entire 2000px-wide
> screen?  It might be appropriate for a massive site where getting lost is
> easier than finding anything, but not here where every page is easily listed
> down the left.
>
> And the diagonal pinstripe background -- that's so 2003.  Nothing else on
> the site implies that 45 degree angle.  Get rid of it.
>
> Futon displays a different scheme: red with shades of grey.  The slogan,
> "relax," sits in a different place to the same slogan in the logotype on the
> website.  The text sits under, rather than aside, the sofa logo.  The
> "contract the sidebar" arrow inexplicably points up rather than to the
> right.
>
> I'm getting into nitty-gritty now, but I hope I've made a point: CouchDB is
> surely losing users by pushing them away with bad design.  The main slogan,
> "relax," I really, really like, but it unfortunately doesn't come across
> anywhere.  It should.  The whole visual design specification should use this
> one word as its starting point.
>
> I don't just want to criticize.  Perhaps I can help -- I have no experience
> with Erlang, and I'd be much better suited to PR in this case.  AFAICT the
> site is hand-written static HTML/CSS, so a redesign is not a massive
> undertaking.
>
> Opinions?
>
>
>
> James Fisher
>



-- 
Greg Tappero
CTO co founder Edoboard
http://www.edoboard.com
+33 0645764425

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