Fwd: [wp-design] Priorities

Khaled Abou Alfa khaled.aboualfa at gmail.com
Tue Feb 15 20:29:26 GMT 2005

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Khaled Abou Alfa <khaled.aboualfa at gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 20:28:59 +0000
Subject: Re: [wp-design] Priorities
To: Chris Messina <chris.messina at gmail.com>


I'm not familiar with Civispace and I've only heard of Drupal so
excuse my ignorance.

I'm not familiar with your work, could you possibly elaborate where
you fit into Shuttle? Are you a designer, because you talk about the
WP branding etc, or are you more from a usability background?. Are you
more into the coding aspects?

The structure of Shuttle is as follows 3 designers 2.5 coders with
Matt overlooking to see if we're going completely astray.

The team dynamic has been such so that we can allow those that design
to design and those that understand code to do their magic as well.
Best of both worlds really.

I understand my limitations as a coder (I'm not one) which is why you
bring in the likes of Chris and Joshua and Matt onto this subject. In
that respect I won't be dabbling and telling them how to structure
their code.

These initial discussions are mainly for the benefit of all the team
but more specifically the design part of the team. The code part of
the team is free and will always be free to chip in and contribute
ideas, however I don't see the guys really all that interested about
us fighting about the fonts, colours and general layout, that's our

In answering your point about the WP branding. I don't think it's a
strong identity. I think it does it's job, ie tells people what the
program is called, but it doesn't excite me personally in anyway. I
understand that Matt is attached to the current logo, however I think
if we come up with something better then we should pursue that rather
than sticking with something just for sentimental value. I'm honestly
very sorry to seem harsh about the subject but that's how I feel about
it. Do I think it's going to be a MASSIVE change? No. I've said this
before, in fact in one of the very first e-mails sent (my apple
comparison). We could very well use the same colour, a serif font, the
whole grey and blue scheme, no additional graphics, whatever.

The logo idea I sent out was sent out because it's been in my
sketchbook and my head since Christmas so it had to get out there. If
we use it or not is something that's going to come out as we tackle
the subject more and more. Again this is something the design team
will decide and present forward.

Same applies for the admin panel. That's why we're all here, because
we've all acknowledged that more can be done with the admin panel.

Also what gets talked about in the list isn't the only thing that's
been discussed. While this list is good, it's a bit disjointed so msn
is a handy alternative, as I've had two long conversations with both
Michael and Joen. Where a great number of issues have been discussed.
We're seeing more where each one of us is coming on this. So I do
think there is focus. It's a very hard thing to get 3 designers to
agree on a particular approach but I'm absolutely over the moon that
we all seem to understand what we should be doing.

We're all going to go away and come up with a design based on all that
has been said. Then we start sending things around between us, till we
get closer and closer to the final product.

I don't think however at this stage in the game we should be limiting
ourselves. We do that all creativity is stifled. At least we should
explore the options in front of us. They don't work, that's cool why
not? What is it that's appealing? Can we use that in another way that
would work?

Having 3 people doing this isn't because it's fun (which it is) but
it's also more practical. This is a major project to complete
properly. If successful could really have a major and positive impact
on WP; and I guess ultimately that's why we're all here. Because we're
users and supporters. I guess the point is that the rest of the team
has to trust that we're going to keep the core values but remove the
"codey" stigma attached to WP.

Sorry about the long e-mail, but I think it's important to get these
things out there for discussion.

On Mon, 14 Feb 2005 20:36:44 -0800, Chris Messina
<chris.messina at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hey all,
> I wanted to throw my hat into the ring briefly. I asked Matt and
> Michael if I could join in (or at least observe) the Project Shuttle
> discussion as the User Experience Architect for CivicSpace -- open
> source grassroots organizing software built on top of Drupal.
> I'm interested in participating for a number of reasons, but most of
> all because I think that WordPress and Drupal have a huge opportunity
> to innovate and set the bar for web-based OS applications. Already
> you've all discussed making WP look more like a web-based desktop app
> than a website and I think that there are vert important ramifications
> in operating with that paradigm (note that I'm not qualifying that
> statement).
> What I've observed so far has been a rather slight lack of focus that
> I think might be keeping the project from steady advancement. It seems
> that there are questions about priorities -- of what should be given
> the most focus first, namely WP branding or the admin UI. Truly both
> are intimately related and in many senses, one begets the other... but
> in which order?
> I would argue that WordPress already has a strong brand. In fact, its
> basic strength lies, like in the software itself, in its subtleties.
> The logo is not overtly loud or ostentatious, nor is the UI. Yet it
> works. It's solid. It's practical and pragmatic. To relate a personal
> story: just this past weekend I gave up on Drupal for my personal blog
> and installed WordPress. Why? Because I _knew_ it would just work. In
> the world of OS software development, that reputation is a huge asset.
> So I would be very cautious about OVER-developing the WordPress brand,
> though it stands to be improved. Additionally, I would caution against
> OVER-designing the admin UI, though it too could be improved by
> evolution means rather than by revolutionary changes (note that Drupal
> is in need of a revolution!).
> I think that this project is indeed very important and will keep
> WordPress on the cutting edge of blog software. I also think that a
> good deal of discipline is needed to preserve the original values that
> stand out so subtly in the current identity and UI.
> Thus I think a discussion should be had about priorities and of what
> comes first... the brand...? The logo...? The qualities of the
> brand...? The interface...? I honestly don't have an answer, but I do
> think that this question should be decided before much more thought is
> expended. Not that you can't develop each concurrently, but I think,
> at the very least, a decision one way or the other should be made.
> I look forward to working on/observing this project -- and would be
> very happy to hear your thoughts on this.
> Chris
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