Tara Cleveland evolt at taracleveland.com
Mon Feb 21 10:10:19 CST 2005

Hi All,

I have a few points to make on this discussion.

* The whole point of this exercise was to get off Jeff's hosting. We 
aren't doing that now because of the time it's taken to implement the 
design - and this discussion is only talking about extending the 
project. This is getting ridiculous. Will it really take two years+ to 
launch this?

* We all had plenty of chances to make comments about the design. It's 
been kicking around for more than a year now. We also made the decision 
to go ahead with the new design rather than recreating the site with 
the old design in drupal. If you all had such problems with the design, 
why didn't you speak up then?

* Martin seems to have learned a lesson about short deadlines and 
volunteer projects since before Xmas when he was pushing for a December 
14th launch. I thought Martin's deadlines were completely unrealistic 
then, and I think William's timelines are totally unrealistic now. 
Making and then not meeting deadlines on a consistent basis is not 
good. It makes all deadlines into a joke and hurts morale. Let's talk 
about realistic timelines this time around - not what we think could be 
*possible* but what we think will actually happen.

* I'm not satisfied with the design either. It's not the best we can 
do. I think a design competition is a *great* idea. But holding up the 
launch for months is *not* a great idea.

* I think we should launch with this current design and have a design 
competition announced prominently throughout the site. The *minimum* 
deadline for designs should be 3 weeks after the launch. We want to get 
as many proposals a possible - from people who aren't necessarily on 
our site everyday, from people who are busy and working designers not 
just people who are sitting on their hands waiting for something to do. 
We want people to really take time to consider the design - not just to 
run something off as fast a possible to make the deadline. We need a 
serious chunk of time to allow all of that to happen. (Take a look at 
these design competitions to get a comparison:

* Another reason for launching with the current design is to see *what* 
is going to exist in terms of drupal on the finished site. Part of the 
problem with Isaac's design (not his fault at all) is that he was 
designing for an amorphous *redesign* with no technological or content 
restraints. So he did neat things like added evolters.org, added lots 
of pictures and other things that just don't currently exist. It's 
important for the designers to get an idea of what it is they are 
designing for.

* We need a detailed spec - like which pages need to be part of the 
submission designed and how we want the designs delivered. What the 
constraints and restraints are. What colours should and shouldn't be 
used for what. Which images *must* stay. What - in total - will be 
redesigned (LEO, BEO etc. like do the list archives also get 
redesigned? - we know they aren't but someone not on theforum might not 
know). There's a lot of institutional knowledge that resides in each of 
us that will need to get put down in a design competition spec - we 
haven't really considered how much time it will take to do that. This 
is something that *should not* be rushed or done out of hand. If we 
want the designs to work really well and be the best then we've got to 
make sure that we're clear about what we want. "Garbage in, garbage 
out" also applies to RFPs and design competition specs.

* I agree with Martin (wow. will wonders never cease! ;-P ) that if we 
launch with the announcement that this is an interim design and we've 
switched CMS and platform etc. then I don't think that we'll get 
terrible comments. I agree with you all that the design is less than 
ideal, but worries about external comments is not IMHO a reason to 
launch or not launch - especially since making the design change wasn't 
really the reason for this project.

Okay. As usual this is *way* too long an email. I always seem to keep 
my mouth shut until I've got so much to say that it's really, really 
long to read.

My $2 - 'cause 2¢ just doesn't seem like enough!


Tara Cleveland
Web Design

More information about the theforum mailing list