New Krita.org Site Deployed!
I have been spending the past couple of months working with the community reorganizing, rethinking, and re-designing the Krita marketing website. It was really fun working with the community, artists, and other developers to make this happen.
Like any project that has stakeholders, there is a lot of feedback that had to be processed. We started with a brainstorming session and we had a forum going for all of the objectives we really wanted to accomplish. Krita is still relatively known, so many of the core objectives of the site are aimed at new users learning about Krita for the first time.
- What is Krita
- What can Krita do (artwork)
- What tools does Krita have?
- What do other artists say about this?
Forums can easily become difficult to manage the more people are posting it. What we decided on doing was to create a new thread for each step of the site design process. This really helped the community focus on the task that we were trying to focus on. An unclear subject line is the main reason why forum threads can get so off topic. We would create due dates for decisions with each step and move on. This would help prevent topics that were discussed previously.
You never know when great ideas might come up, so it is also important to be flexible within reason. Managing open source project initiatives is different than managing at a company or corporation. People can decide to leave and come at any time. Trust is built over time.
The previous website didn’t have very good analytics set up, so it was difficult to monitor usage and determine what was important to people. Even simple things like what browsers or screen sizes to support weren’t available.
We just had to use our gut to determine what sections seemed to make sense and what was common for artists. The new site has Google Analytics with event tracking and site search, so we can get a better picture of how much demand there is for different areas in the future. For example, there are a lot of ways to download Krita for Linux, but we really aren’t sure exactly how many people are using the different distributions. Is it even worth adding those? Time will tell.
We spent a lot of time updating the information architecture of the site: moving things around, condensing some sections, expanding others. We tried to do as much as we could before mockups were created. Some areas flowed and connected well with each other - so we tried to create logical links between the different sections. One example is the bottom of the features page. We are hoping that after seeing some of the features that Krita offers, an aritst might be interested in checking out tutorials or downloading the application.
Some sections like the Press page were split because of some of the great history content that was tucked away in it.
Krita has quite a bit of news updates going on. With new features being added, Kickstarter campaigns going, and artists being interviewed, it can be a lot to digest. Previously the news area was very prominent on the site and homepage. While the news is very important, it is very much target toward existing users. We decided to move the news area under main content. We also added an easy to find RSS icon (the old site’s was difficult to find). The added search feature is nice as well.
We thought hard about the types of sites and communities that artists belong to. We thought it would be good to use those as reference when coming up with ideas and solutions for the design. Some of the inspirations for the new site design were the following:
With the wire frames finalized, adding the eye candy aspect fell into place almost instantly. We all agreed to use Kiki (Krita’s mascot) to determine the color palette. I rarely think to use pink in a design, but it has a very refreshing feel to it.
Like most design projects, my role as a designer is only to kick off the process with something simple and let it evolve. I would not have been able to come up with the final design on my own. It was only through feedback from the community, developers, and artists that turned it into what it is. I was merely an ear that translated all of the ideas and thoughts into single embodiment of what Krita is.
I mostly keep this blog to help me remember things. Writing is also a great way to understand things at a deeper level. I would highly recommend it if you don't write at all.