[ocaml-infra] OCaml.org design work

Amir Chaudhry amc79 at cam.ac.uk
Mon Feb 4 18:05:11 GMT 2013

Dear all,

We're starting work on the OCaml.org design project.  We're working with a professional design agency in Cambridge so this is to give people an overview of what's happening. The people working directly with the firm are me, Ashish, Christophe and Anil.  We'll be keeping everyone up to date with progress via this list and on the relevant OCaml Labs page [1].  Just as an additional note, this is the same agency Anil and I worked with to get the Real World OCaml website done [2].

-- Overall goals of the website --

One of the first and important points the design firm raised was who the site is for.  Admittedly, this isn't a direct design question but it's important that the design firm understands what we're trying to achieve so that we get the result we want.

Overall, the site is meant for 'the community' but in more practical terms I broke that down as follows:

1 - It must be useful to current OCaml users
2 - It needs to be a place those current users can point others to for info/updates
3 - It needs to be useful for the wider group of casual visitors/newbies/community

My reasoning for the above is as follows.  The core group (current users) must find utility from the site or there's less drive for them to visit or contribute.  When those users get something useful from the site, then they're more likely to remember to point others to it.  Once the first two groups are catered for then the site starts becoming useful to the wider crowd of people who are generally interested and find their way to the site themselves.

Of course, I'm happy for feedback on the above and I expect that others have already thought about such things.  I had a quick look at previous mailing-list archives but didn't find anything obvious regarding website goals.

-- Timelines --

We've mentioned that we need final design/templates by April and this will be an iterative process.  The reason for this is to tie in with the Platform and book launch but if either of those is pushed back then we'll consider how we want to proceed.  The firm should be getting started this week and we have a fixed quote for a specific amount of time (OCaml Labs is covering the cost of the work).

-- Deliverables --

The design firm is aware of the following:
    - We want to use the bootstrap grid
    - Ashish and Christophe have done a lot of work to date on design, content and information architecture
    - We're doing more work on an OCaml logo

I've asked them initially to think about mockups/design examples of a home page and a deeper page (e.g tutorial page or something else within the site) and we can use these as a discussion point.  Ashish put together a list of other good sites (with brief comments) so that they can get a feel for what we're after.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Best wishes,

[1] http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/projects/ocamllabs/projects/infrastructure.html
[2] http://www.realworldocaml.org

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