Building a better Drumbeat: How would you design Mozilla Drumbeat’s alpha web site?

As Mark mentioned in his January Drumbeat update, the Drumbeat community has spent the last several weeks working hard on designs for our upcoming alpha web site launch. And we’re at a point in the process where we could really use your fresh perspective, feedback and hands-on design help!

The challenge for the Drumbeat site is big, exciting and difficult. How do we…

  • get across the Drumbeat story and brand in a way that’s intuitive, inspiring and immediatetly “grok-able”?
  • design online workspaces that really work — in terms of drawing volunteers and helping great projects succeed?
  • design like its 2010, not 2008. Meaning: make the site more social. People use the web differently now than they did a couple years ago. Everything’s pushed out to the margins, not gathered into little web site silos. So how do we design in ways that reflect that dramatically more social nature? And recognize that a huge part of the conversation and work will happen outside of the site — not inside it?

We’ve taken a first pass at designs that try to address these challenges here. The toughest part — and in many ways the heart and soul of the whole project — are the project pages. And the one thing we know for sure is: we haven’t gotten there yet. Our hope is that what we’ve created on our wiki (and now in active development on our staging server — link coming soon!) is a good foundation and spring board for your feedback and improvements. Our goal is to get an alpha site up quickly at drumbeat.org to give our early bootstrap projects a more robust home than our existing wiki. And give our community of designers, developers and participation geniuses something concrete they can respond to and start hacking against. So we’re aiming for fast — not perfect!

What do you think?

I’ll describe some specific design lessons and challenges we’re struggling with here soon.  In the mean time, I’d especially love to know what you think about…

  • the latest project page mock-up — headed in the right direction? what more can we learn from kickstarter.com, changemakers.com, and other existing community-sourcing platforms?
  • the front page — too much information? is the slideshow-type carousel a good way to highlight feature projects?
  • the early theme and overall look and feel – is the header too busy? is the drum-skin texture background and color pallette a good fit? or would something more stripped-down and clean work better for the next iteration?

Would welcome your thoughts as comments here or (even better) on our Drumbeat newsgroup. And if you’re interested in helping out with some graphic design, participation strategy, or Drupal development, we need you to help us innovate and iterate into our next phase! Given that Drumbeat is all about making and building together, what better place to start than with the Drumbeat web site itself?

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