[Zope] Zope.com Facelift

Paul Howell paul at smoothstone.com
Fri May 7 20:58:51 EDT 2004

I agree with Chris.

Two key design elements that look particularly retro (or even immature) on 
the new zope.com site are:

1.  Setting the link hover to "bolder" for many of the site's 
links.  Visual interactivity with the user is a very important design 
element, but overly stimulating the user is bad, very bad.  I'd recommend 
using FireFox to view the site, but as soon as you get there, right click 
and hit Edit CSS.  In the edit box, near the top, find the following lines...

         text-decoration: underline;
         font-weight: bolder;

...and as quickly as possible, change it so that only underlining takes 
place when you hover over a link...

         text-decoration: underline;
         font-weight: none;

You'll find the remainder of your browsing the site much more 
pleasant.  This is only a start, of course.

2.  The cheesy, shrunken look of the icons taking you to each of the main 
product lines from the home page.  Granted, they look better when you see 
each one up close at its native size... but there's nothing sacred about 
using them shrunken to one third size for the front page.  They simply do 
not readily convey to the visitor what that icon will take you to, nor who 
should be going there.  In general, icons and buttons should talk to us, 
either pointing to the content within or to the audience desired.  This is 
not happening here.
     For example, Zope4Edu has the SuperZ superimposed on some old book 
covers, which look actually more like a library, even a law library, than a 
clear academic reference.  An approach that might work nicely here would be 
a "mortarboard" hat motif -- a fairly universal symbol for higher 
education, that would match both content and audience.   Perhaps it could 
be jauntily placed atop the SuperZ trademark.
     Zope4Intranets -- a spiderweb?  The oldest web metaphor we have?  Ugh.
     Zope  Managed Hosting -- the shrunken servers are unrecognizable on my 

3.  I know I said two, but there are three key design flaws.  Number three 
is to always have a very clear "Call To Action" on the site and make it 
impossibly easy to take that Action.  In this case, the only call to action 
are a series of mailto links.  Why not a simple Contact Form?  Use a 
miniscule fraction of the power of Zope to place the Contact Form link in 
the footer (and in a border) of each page, and have it customized so that 
if you click on the form it will tell Zope Corp where you were surfing when 
you clicked on it?  Better, it may contain cookie information about you, so 
that someone in marketing can correlate your contact message back to (1) 
your entry page to the site, (2) the referring link that brought you here, 
and (3) the pattern of surfing that you did on the site before hitting the 
contact form.   All to see if the new site design is performing adequately, 
or even as expected.

I can't compare to the old site... didn't visit often enough to 
remember.  I didn't see anything broken, so that's good.  Love the product, 
and would consider hiring Zope for services, but not for site design.

At 12:00 AM 5/8/2004 +0100, Chris Withers wrote:
>Hadar Pedhazur wrote:
>>A week ago, http://www.zope.com/ received a significant facelift. In 
>>addition, some of the previous pages were available in PDF format only, 
>>and the entire site is now HTML, and therefore more easily searchable as well.
>In all honestly, I prefered the old site visually. The rollover menus and 
>font-size-changing left menu link hovers are particularly nasty :-S
>Still, maybe that's just my personal opinion? Besides, I'm hardly one to 
>talk given the state of my own company website ;-)
>Chris . o O ( hey, mine looks good on WAP phones :-P )
>Simplistix - Content Management, Zope & Python Consulting
>            - http://www.simplistix.co.uk

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