[geeklog-devel] Themes (was: FrOSCon 2007)

Ramnath R Iyer casual.dodo at gmail.com
Wed Aug 29 16:17:28 EDT 2007

I sent this mail a few days ago, and just realized I had done so using the 
wrong email address, so it never turned up on the list. :(

On Monday 27 August 2007 17:22:44 Mark R. Evans wrote:
> My point being, marketing is more than a snazzy look, it is also a positive
> presentation of your product or service.  When key links like report a bug
> go nowhere, it doesn't send the positive message.  I realize these systems
> are down and will probably be up again some day, but until then, it is best
> to replace them with a static page that states what / where to report bug
> in the interim.

Well, that's true, but a snazzy look is a good start to any marketing attempt.

What I'd really like to see is to see two different viewpoints, one from 
a 'marketing team' that tells us what the "non-geeky" user wants, and another 
team that tells us what serious users and website administrators want. Then 
we can strike a balance between the two.

The content of the main site could also be restructured to maintain this 
distinction. Look at the Mozilla website for example (www.mozilla.com). There 
is no development news at all, except for the 'Developers' link on the top. 
My point is that a casual user would see Firefox/Thunderbird as 
an "end-product" rather than some developmental process that he/she needs to 
get involved in. The Geeklog site in contrast has a lot of text on the main 
page that the inexperienced user would not understand.

We do need some kind of a roadmap that we can stick to. (If I remember 
correctly, Joe has been quite vocal about this.)

What I think is that no matter what kind of user we are ultimately targetting, 
we should try to ensure that GL is noticed by everyone, even if it is not 
*used* by all. Yes, it is a kind of marketing campaign, but I think it is 
worth the effort that would be required.

> On 8/27/07, Dirk Haun <dirk at haun-online.de> wrote:
> > Ramnath R Iyer wrote:
> > >On the marketing front, it would be good idea to have a pretty Web
> > > 2.0style theme as a default.
> >
> > Wouldn't that be false advertising? ;-) I always get a good laugh out of
> > people when I point out that Geeklog is decidedly Web 1.0

I don't it is false advertising. It's not that we are trying to portray GL as 
something it is not; rather we are trying to make people believe that they 
may be looking at something they want, so that they then take a closer look. 
It is all about anticipating the requirements of different classes of users 
and highlighting those features.

> > Personally, I like the Professional theme. IMHO, it's in need of a once-
> > over by someone with an eye for colors, spacing, and such. But other
> > than that, it's a good starting point to create your own theme.

Probably true, but I submit that we should also think of the users who don't 
want to and don't care about creating their own themes. A major chunk of 
users looking for something like GL would be of this type.

Sometime ago, there was a suggestion that GL be packaged as a forum, or 
something to that effect. There was some merit to that suggestion, because 
lots of people are on the lookout for forum software. But GL can do much 
more, right? So why not package GL as different aspects of a CMS - a blog, a 
forum etc. with its own set of themes and defaults so that anyone who is 
interested can give it a shot?

I guess the bottomline of all this talk is that if our aim is to increase the 
popularity of GL, we need to cater to different kinds of audiences. Some of 
these types would be willing to play with the software, but a majority will 

Ramnath R Iyer
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