New theme for the Orchard community websites

Topics: Administration, Announcements
Nov 19, 2013 at 7:59 PM
It's been discussed earlier that the general theme for Orchard's community websites should be renewed: now is the time. Your ideas and suggestions are welcome to make it as cool as possbible!
Until this point Chris Pyle (Web Advanced) offered help by providing a wireframe for the layout and design, Lombiq offered help with a possible design and building the theme based on the design. Design steps will be published along the way so you can reflect on them.

The current high-level design ideas are the following (new ones will be added):
Nov 19, 2013 at 9:40 PM
So, our company (Web Advanced) just yesterday kicked off some effort towards this. We have a junior designer assigned to figuring out some content organization, an initial sitemap, and wireframes. We'll be posting everything here as we have things to show. We are completely open to doing an iterative approach where we will take input and suggestions from this forum before moving on in the process.

To add to the high-level ideas, here are some things we came up with:
  • Loosely segment out the developer community-oriented content. We need to target our audiences more directly with what we present. Here's a pretty good reference for the kind of targeting that other CMS sites do. The dev resources would not change much from what they are now other than maybe being moved around.
  • Incorporate the features of a site like ShowOrchard. We should showcase the kinds of things people are doing right on the site.
  • A general product feature list, with some highlights for some of the cooler features (eg. Workflow. That stuff is awesome.)
  • Design-wise, go with a flat Microsofty look while mostly keeping with the current color palette and iconography.
We don't know who will actually be implementing this yet, but we'll get there later. Everyone should feel free to contribute.

Some other points that were voiced in the meeting:
  • The end game is an entirely new site built on the newest Orchard.
  • It may be a lot to tackle all at once. Do we start with a generic enough theme to apply it to the existing site first? Do we just deal with being light on content for a bit?
Nov 20, 2013 at 2:50 AM
We should take care not exploiting images of children and the vidéo should run on mobiles without plugin as...wp8...
Nov 24, 2013 at 8:15 PM
So regarding the contribution of Lombiq: because Web Advanced is doing the graphical design we won't do that naturally (Sebastien joked about competing but we don't think that's the way to go :-)), so we can help with the theme as Benedek explained.

The ones also offering their help on the meeting can speak up now too!
Nov 27, 2013 at 5:23 AM
I'm so glad to hear this news!
Does this new theme design will use dynamic layout like onestop layout and whether use bootstrap for the default theme?
Nov 27, 2013 at 10:52 AM
Edited Nov 27, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Chris mentioned yesterday that the wireframe will be published soon, so we'll see about the layout (although Onestop Layout is an open module, so the site owners may decide to use it, but I don't think it will be necessary at all). As for bootstrap, the current plan is to use the PrettyGoodBootstrapBaseTheme for a base theme as mentioned in the first post, so the responsiveness is covered there.
Dec 3, 2013 at 7:34 PM
Edited Dec 3, 2013 at 7:36 PM
Sorry for the delay, we wanted to do a quick write up to go along with the wireframes to kind of explain some of the decisions there. There's more that could be said as well.

Wireframes & Designer Notes

All text / imagery can be considered placeholders at the moment, but should give you a general idea of what we're going for. Any questions, feedback, suggestions etc. are welcome.
Dec 3, 2013 at 7:57 PM
Nice work.

Why is it using the old messaging, instead of the one currently on the home page? ("Orchard is a free, open source, community-focused Content Management System built on the ASP.NET MVC platform."). I do like the "no limit" message.

I think access to the downloads should be a lot easier to find (I only see it in the bottom menu). Same thing for documentation. I'm generally confused by what's been chosen to be on the top menu.

Showcase could/should be pulled from, with a link to their full site.

The Pluralsight, Outercurve, and TeamCity ads are contractual obligations: they provide free services to us in exchange for their presence on the home page. This needs to be preserved somehow.

I think the list of posts currently on the home page is important as the heartbeat of the community. We could move it from the home to a deeper page, but it needs to be preserved.
Dec 3, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Edited Dec 3, 2013 at 10:44 PM
I especially like that the site looks like it is advertising a product - what Orchard in the end is.

A few remarks/questions:
  • "We’re interested in having the photography show individuals in a creative workspace, appearing as if brainstorming through a new feature or exciting product" While I totally agree with the goal of using photography ("make Orchard feel approachable")I think such stock photography is kind of banal and overused (and enterprise-y in the wrong sense). Couldn't we use pictures of actual community members (last Harvest, anyone?)?
  • What would be in "A few of our friends who use Orchard"?
  • Agree with Bertrand about the community blogposts. These really communicate the activity of the community: something that is as important in an open-source and community driven project as the company behind proprietary software.
Dec 3, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Very nice, gives some material for discussing. Once the brainstorming posts are done we should try to consolidate the ideas and decide what to change.
  • I like the features section, I really see what could be here, text+image, maybe text when hover the image (workflow, media, ... sexy stuff)
  • Maybe you could create a nice little mock-up for the community content like you did for the features, maybe like cards, with the latest community content and a link to another page for a more blog style view with paging and longer summaries. Will also contain the discussion tools information like forum, jabbr, mailing list
  • Missing documentation page link, download page link,I think this is important as Bertrand said. The download link could actually be predominant also on the homepage.
  • Showcase section is fine, bonus if the content is from and someone updates it ;) The risk is the dependency though. Maybe we would like a more curated list than the one on showorchard, one which would not change as much, and still provide a link to it.
  • I think there is some flexibility to go even lower on the page (make it longer) if we need to add some content
Dec 4, 2013 at 9:36 PM
I really like that you guys are putting some thought into this, but as a frequent user (customer? Basically, the company I work for uses Orchard in a lot of projects we have in development at the moment) and someone who is still trying to learn the ropes, the forums need to be MUCH more accessible from the front page. In the same way that the documentation/tutorials table of contents are only one click away from the front page, the forum categories also need to be one click away.

This is where the majority of support for how to do things with Orchard exists, so you need to make it more accessible and inviting to prospective developers.
Dec 9, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Edited Dec 9, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Interesting and valuable work on many points.

I don't think the intended audience should be limited to 'Developpers',' IT Director' and 'Designer', everybody should be able to say that he/she likes Orchard and thus the Orchard Site should be strongly connected to 'peers' in the main Social Networks'. (also because the IT Director role will disappear.....)

May be audience should be regarded as the interest in but not as directs roles. Everybody could be a Developper or a Designer, even if not good, the idea is to give the power to people to do it. Not to raise barriers on the first page.
Why should you be interested in Orchard: Innovative, Easy, Open Source, beautifull, great community, nice colors in the pictures (???), nice icons, very clean concept, not technical (???), not DNN, not Drupal, etc...

But that's only my thinking.
Dec 18, 2013 at 9:56 PM
We've uploaded a new set of wireframes and a tentative sitemap following the discussion yesterday: Wireframes

Feedback is encouraged!
Dec 20, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Jan 9 at 1:47 PM
I like the changes!

The "Latest Post" on the home page shows the title of the latest blogpost under Community, right? Because I think that with such a project it's quite important to see how well it "lives", i.e. what the latest notable activity of its community was and when. This little box would server very well for communicating this.

I mentioned this on the meeting and the current design fully enables this, but we have to keep in mind that this theme wouldn't just be the theme of but also for the local community sites. We just have to make its core generic enough (in graphical and technical sense too) that it can be re-used for such a purpose too.
Feb 16 at 6:30 AM
I like a lot.
My suggestions:
  • Audiences: I'm afraid we are a little biased here :). I mean that designer, developer, it-director-project-manager won't be the core user of a cms like orchard. I think that the person that will expend more time using our framework is the editor-author of content. So definitely we need to add a fourth target audience. I'm not sure about the name: content authors, editors... I mean the person that will be adding menus, images, galleries, large blog posts, latest offers etc.
  • I agree that the forums need to be prominent. Reason is two fold: 1. It is a clear indicator of how alive the system is. 2. It is the first place to go when you have a problem; after reading the f***** manual , of course :)
Mar 27 at 7:00 PM
has there been any progress on this?