Archive | Design Site Redesign Update

It’s been awhile since I blogged about the site redesign, so it feels like time for an update on our recent progress. In order to provide some context, I’ll also take a step back and give a little background about the process and how we’ve approached this project.

First, why redesign
* To support the Firefox 3 release…we did the same for the launch of versions 1.5 and 2.0.
* To provide new and improved content about both Firefox and Mozilla.
* To make sure the site continues to evolve and improve along with our organization, our expanding userbase and the Mozilla Project as a whole.

The process so far:

* September 2007: We began soliciting internal suggestions for design agencies.
* October 2007: We sent RFPs (requests for proposals) to six agencies that seemed like good potential fits.
* November 2007: Based on their design abilities, understanding of our brand and history of working on sites with heavy community involvement, we selected the Royal Order and immediately began giving them massive amounts of background info about Mozilla.
* December 2007: The Royal Order created a detailed information architecture plan and did some initial design exploration.
* January 2008: Worked with the Royal Order to refine the design direction; they began designing the site in earnest.

Design background:
The overall design goal is that the site should embody Mozilla’s unique nature, while still being very usable, informative, etc (read more about our design objectives). Having said that, it’s also important that the design not overshadow the key content goals of driving Firefox downloads and educating people about Mozilla. Plus, the site also needs to be easily localized, highly accessible and compliant with Web standards.

After sifting through people’s reactions to the initial design explorations, Paul and I realized that, although the basic layouts were quite solid, they were still lacking a main visual element that met the above design goals. Specifically, we decided that using photography as the main element would make it too difficult to fully represent the global scope of Mozilla, so we and the Royal Order began to focus on illustration options instead.

With regard to illustration style, we wanted hand-created elements rather than slick, vector art in order to represent the fact that Mozilla software is created by a community of people around the world rather being than a faceless corporate entity. The Royal Order recommended an illustration studio called the Delicious Design League, whose style really complemented this concept, and things began to come together.

Our somewhat ambitious goal for the illustrations was that they should abstractly reflect the good things about the Web itself…things like connectivity, collaboration, creativity, etc. That’s certainly not an easy task, but the designers and illustrators have come up with several different concepts – all based around metaphors for networks – that support this really well. The final site will incorporate a few of these, one of which is shown below.

This mockup of the homepage will still receive a few more tweaks before it’s all said and done, but it’s a good sneak peak of what’s to come. As noted earlier, the illustration of the tree is meant to suggest the power and possibility of the Web, as well as the way Mozilla works. And the various handmade elements, such as the pencil-drawn lines and background shadings are all meant to evoke the grassroots, people-powered nature of Mozilla itself. Site Redesign Update

What next?
The design work is still in progress, and we’re busy creating some cool new content like a detailed Firefox features page. From there, we move on to development with our friends at silverorange(who have been closely involved in the entire process), localization (for more on this, definitely check out Pascal’s recent post on the subject) and QA – all with the goal having the site ready for the upcoming Firefox 3 launch.

There’s still lots more work to be done, and I’ll have plenty more to say about the design and the specifics of the new site later. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more!

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The Robot is Back!

There are still many unsolved mysteries, but his return for the Firefox 3 Beta 3 brings a few more clues about his origins and mission. You guys had some truly excellent theories about the beta 2 page, so I’d love to hear your take on his newest adventures…please leave your thoughts in the comments section (alas, no contest this time though).

Where does he go from here? That remains to be seen…

The Robot is Back!

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And the Winners Are…

Last month I announced an impromptu contest to see who could come up with the best interpretation of the Firefox 3 Beta 2 ‘robot’ artwork. I have to say, I was both surprised by and impressed with the volume and creativity of your comments. There were certainly a lot of great ones.

It took me a little longer than planned to determine the winners, but I’m pleased to report that after much careful deliberation, I have the results. Before I go any further, though, let me make it clear that these are not the “right” answers. There is no single “right” answer…it’s all just a matter of highly subjective interpretation, and these were the three that struck me the most (and won the t-shirts).

The “Extremely Thorough Analysis” award goes to Lim Chee Aun:
“The robot doesn’t seem like a bad guy. It’s actually a good guy! It’s beaming up the Firefox logo in the sky, just like in the Batman movies! It’ll fight off all the bad guys with its powerful boxing gloves and could run super fast like Flash (notice the Flash superhero symbol on the ears?). It’s built to be tough against any attacks, bugs and even evil UFO’s that shoot down buildings. ‘The world needs Firefox 3!’ The robot’s antenna (on the head) shall spread the news through all forms of telecommunication. Though it’s getting dark (notice the dark background and the sun sets), the robot shall not rest and will always fight till the end! Firefox rules!”

The “Should Have Been the Sequel to ‘the Matrix’” award goes to Lachlan:
“This is of course a picture taken at the mighty Firefox take over in 2011, Giant Robots will be built from rival software developers to destroy the Mozilla headquarters, but of course, the robots discover the power of their programs and preach holograms of Firefox and Thunderbird logos! Reminding the world to switch.”

The “Abstract Art Interpretation” award goes to Veekay:
“Well, here goes my thoughts… The robot is FF3 ! And the buildings are actually IE – look at the three buildings that look prominently – thats the ‘E’ lying down and the ‘I’ had already fled the place fearing the UFO’s that are the bugs that hit you hard due to non-standard HTML done by ‘IE’ gurus”

Thanks to everybody who participated…this was a lot of fun. And will we see the robot again in the future? Stay tuned!

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The Robots Are Coming!

Goal: Create a first run page for the latest Firefox 3 beta that would be eye-catching enough to make people stop and explore ways they can provide feedback.

Solution: A giant robot, of course.

Your Challenge: Answer the unanswered questions…who is behind this rampaging robot? Are the UFO’s in the background working with or against it? What’s the significance of it all? Post your theories in the comments section – the best one gets a Firefox t-shirt.

The robots are coming

Thanks to Nobox for getting in touch with their inner sci-fi geeks and creating the very cool art for this page.

The informal contest is now over (details here)…thanks to everyone who submitted their theories. I’ve been really blown away by all your ideas!

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Creating a New Look for

We’ve been working on a redesign to coincide with the Firefox 3 launch for a few weeks (check out my earlier post for a refresher on project goals and other details), and now have four early-stage design directions to consider. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, definitely take a look at the options and let us know what you think. It wouldn’t really be a Mozilla project without community input, and and your feedback (along with thoughts from Mozilla Japan, Mozilla Europe, etc) will be extremely helpful towards us deciding which direction to pursue.

The key thing to remember as you review is that this is the first step in a long process rather than a vote between four final choices. In other words, these are design directions rather than final designs, so it’s best to consider the overall look & feel rather than focusing on specifics like photography, text, etc. That stuff is mostly placeholder and almost certainly will change before all is said and done.

With that caveat in mind, check out the options and leave a comment below with your thoughts. Thanks!

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