The intention of this article is to discover and examine the problems creativecommons.org has with regards to user experience, accessibility, ease of use, content, etc. Constructive thoughts about how you feel the site currently looks and works, and how you believe it could be improved.
Site Architecture and Design
- What is CC; Why is it compelling?
- How can I use/understand CC easily and efficiently?
- Remove the blog from the front page of the site and replace it with a concise summary of CC and a handful of highly relevant links to other parts of the site. I seriously doubt whether many people go to CC.org simply to read the blog, and those that do will have no problem clicking on a new tab that says "Weblog." Most people interested in the CC blog are probably somewhat technical and will most likely be using a feed aggregator of some sort. Rename "Jurisdiction News" to something like "Latest News" and incorporate items from the CC blog into the list, then move the list into the right column where there is presently nothing but whitespace, thereby leaving more room for relevant content in the main content area. (Nathan Kinkade)
- I agree with Kinkade for the most part, but I think that the blog serves a secondary purpose of showing people who come to the site that there is always interesting news happening in our world and that there are always cool projects that we are working on. So, while I agree that the blog should not be the focus of the page (I mean, right now, the site looks like little more than a blog when you land on the front page), I think the fact that the blog is newsy and provides dynamic content is a major plus, and that it should remain in some form on the front page. I kind of like how the EFF handles updates on their site (http://www.eff.org/), although I'm not crazy about their overall design. (ES)
- The licenses are our 'bread and butter' - they should be featured here in some form (perhaps just the conditions) in a way that is straight forward and simple (Cameron Parkins)
The "Support" tab has an unfortunate name. When I'm at a website and I see a link to "Support" the first thing I think about is "Technical Support" or Help, not a place where I can donate money or buy things. It could perhaps be made more clear with something like "Support CC" or "Donate" or anything that disambiguates it from the normal "help me" meaning on the web. (Nathan Kinkade)
- Agree with Kinkade. I like the site menu http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/ (on the left), both for its design and language. (ES)
The "Participate" tab should be renamed to something like "Wiki" or "CC Wiki" so that it's clear that CC has a wiki. My mind makes no natural connection between the word "participate" and a wiki. People, even non-technical ones, know about wikis these days, and to make it clearer on the front page that we have one might increase the traffic to it. (Nathan Kinkade)
- Suggestion to make front page 'stupidly simple'
- Two LARGE (150x150px) green buttons on dark background
- LEARN MORE (about, blog, etc, similar to what we have)
- LICENSE YOUR WORK (Link license chooser with no other information)
- I think that having the license chooser on the front page could be somewhat daunting for people who don't know anything about CC. A link to a license chooser, after some explanation as to what conditions a license can carry, is a better option IMO (Cameron Parkins)
- Agreed -- I meant it more as a link to the license chooser. Fred Benenson 16:28, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
- The link off the main page from License Your Work shouldn't go to the chooser first, we should have that link land on an explanation page like the page linked from the About page - explain/provide basic info before asking them to choose. The page License Your Work (that you land on when you click License your Work off the About page is a good simple landing point providing a basic explanation. More below under License Chooser. (Diane Peters)
- No text, no other information Fred Benenson 15:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
- Two LARGE (150x150px) green buttons on dark background
- There should be a quick way to get to the list of the 6 licenses/deeds/legal code, along with an explanation of the terms (combining the 2 links indicated below in "near duplicates" section).
- Need quick link to Opportunities page.
- I think the landing main page should have minimal content, but to explain in a concise compelling way why CC is important, what we offer, etc.. (MR)
- I agree that the blog should not be the landing page (MR)
I think that the support button should be either Join or Take Action - and should be a different color than the rest. I know *take action* sounds cheesy, but it does cause people to click through.(MR) Need a quick way to sign-up for the newsletter and events, as of right now both are extremely buried. Both of these options are great methods of community building and outreach and we should be promoting them as much as possible(MR)
Information and Content
- An average, non-technical, person should be able to come to CC.ORG, and very quickly find out the basics of what CC provides and how it can help him. As it stands, a first time visitor has a hard time digging into the dense information currently provided.
- (Not sure who wrote the above, but this is Eric): This really is the thing. You have to get pretty far into the site before you can really figure out what is going on. For sheer simplicity, I do like Google.org's (http://www.google.org/) information design.
- Ideally, less words up front.
- People new to CC would probably prefer bite sized introductions, and pictures — compelling hooks to allow them to learn and, hopefully, disseminate to friends, colleagues, students. Long articles describing what CC is, and what the licenses are, etc. are great for those who already know about CC.
- Videos easy to find
- (Eric again) - Yes, and not all of the videos we have should really be lumped together. Like, the very basic intros to CC should not be in the same place as the ten minute explanation of how CC licenses can work in conjunction with separate commercial licensing deals. Or the ccSearch screencast (which is currently at the top of the videos page - if I didn't know anything about CC and landed there and hit that top video, I don't think it'd be of much help).
- CUT THE TEXT!! Most people skim webpages - they do not take the time to read pages and pages of information. I think that what we do and why we're important need to be communicated through video and image. I think, especially for the main page, that we need more pictures/video/etc. to draw people in and then give them an easy way to find out more information. But not dump information so much information on them that they end up closing the About page and emailing email@example.com for a concise explanation instead - or even worse - just leaving it be and not pursuing the info anymore. (MR)
- Try and get rid of as much jargon as possible. We don't want to come off as elitist or academic by how we communicate. If the average American reads at a 6th grade level, then we need to keep that in mind. (MR)
- If all goes well, then I think we should highlight the stories we start to gather during the campaign. I think this has the potential to be very valuable in terms of communicating our mission. (MR)
- I think sometimes we focus so much on what we provide, we lose sight of what we enable people to do. The latter is the more humanistic component of CC and the side that more people will relate to/understand. (MR)
- I agree with this in essence, which is why I usually push for us to describe CC as either "a nonprofit that promotes the sharing and reuse of creative works" or "works to increase the amount of creative material available to the public for free and legal use" rather than "provides copyright licenses/legal tools, etc." Most people's eyes glaze over when you mention "copyright" and they've nearly passed out with boredom by the time you get to the word "licenses." (ES)
The About page starts with "Creative Commons is a Massachusetts-chartered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable corporation." Not very helpful. I'd like to see this page totally rewritten. (ES)
Specific pages needing overhaul
Near duplicate content
Please list highly redundant pages so we can decide which to merge and which to more highly focus:
- http://creativecommons.org/presskit now includes not just graphics, approximately same information as http://creativecommons.org/about (one click away for latter)
- http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/meet-the-licenses / http://creativecommons.org/about/license/
- not exactly redundant, but here is a list of all the pages on licensing that may be condensed (jane):
Wiki Main Page
- http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Main_Page -- way too much text and way too much info to take in; could definitely be streamlined so that pertinent info is easy to find right away. Good idea to have the "Participate" tab changed to "CC Wiki," and though many people visiting the site may know what a wiki is, not everyone will - so it would be worth it to briefly explain what the wiki is and does, and how an individual can navigate and use it. (AD)
- To much explanatory text about the links on the main page. Should just link to the pages and have relevant info there. (MR)
- I agree. I've never quite understood why we have the wiki laid out the way we do. When you get to its front page, you're basically looking at a bunch of info that's repeated elsewhere on the regular site. Prominent links to case studies, salon info, content directories, and other stuff we actually want people to contribute to would be much more helpful (ES)
- Also, I've been automatically logged out of the wiki twice this morning while trying to add stuff to this page, and have lost a bunch of what I've written as a result. Annoying as can be! (ES)
- Section revised on 12/11/2008 - AR
The About page is currently a compendium of links to many things that having nothing to do with CC as an organization. To me, the About page should have nothing more than a synopsis of the organization, the history and perhaps a link to the People/Staff page. (Nathan Kinkade) I mostly agree w/ Kinkade, although I think some of the links on this page do have a place there (videos, for instance). (ES) The licensing links should be taken off About and instead have a link to license info on the main page. (MR)
- There should be a listing of the FFAQ questions above the contact form, which links to the answers on the FFAQ wiki page. Right now there is a bit of text suggesting that someone take a look at the FAQ, but clearly few people do. The vast majority of info@ emails could be headed off if people were to actually read the FFAQ, so actually having some text like "Is your question like one of these: <iteration of FFAQ questions>?" above the contact form might preemptively answer many people's questions, and lighten the load to info@. (Nathan Kinkade)
Theme and Layout
- New design ideas Alex has been working on look very fresh to me - having them placed through out the site would be a nice way to liven up the look
- This will also keep CC's web properties in aesthetic coherence (Cameron Parkins)
- I'd be really interested in seeing a design that provided more modular flexibility. Right now, the front page has two giant blocks of info right at the top (I'm not even really sure the case studies one is of much value to the general public, but that's a different conversation) - and it doesn't seem like either really takes advantage of the space. It would be good for there to be the ability to put blocks of info/images of various sizes around the front page, so that we can highlight more than just our topline description and a single project below it. (ES)
- Updated results page
- There is a fairly urgent need to reword the descriptive text to clarify unambiguously and in no uncertain terms that the chooser is in no way whatsoever a registration form, nor is it creating a unique license of any sort. It's need to explicitly state, and probably in a highlighted fashion, that it is nothing more and nothing less than a helpful tool to help someone select the right type of license, and also useful for generating some good HTML for the purposes of marking a work online. I can't tell you how many info@ emails I get where people think that they are creating a license or registering a work. And if the info@ emails can be taken a somewhat representative sample of the general CC-using public, then there is a huge amount of mis-understanding floating around. (Nathan Kinkade)
- Agreed. In addition, we should move would-be-licensors through a logical process or roadmap that ends in selection of a license rather than starts at that point (which is where people start now if they click through the License Your Work link from the top of the home page). Currently, depending on where they click, they enter the license selection process at different points. We should be encouraging a progression that ensures they're educated about the choices they're making before they choose the license. The progression is suggested (but currently incomplete) on the current "License your work" link from the About page: (1) Review Conditions (overview of license permissions already on that page), (2) Before Licensing (the page linked from the License Your Work button on the home page, under "choose license", then (3) Review our Licenses (brief summary that we now have on that same page, but instead of saying "Select a License" have it be "Review" or "Understand", and then (4) the License chooser (with all of the changes suggested by Kinkade/Benenson on this wiki). (Diane Peters)
- An easier way to quickly attribute a work via the deed.
- Utilize categories/tags beyond sorting posts
- Come up with structure/protocol
- Easily find posts within a category or topic (i.e. music, education, etc.)
- Tags could also enable more specialized RSS feeds.
- Refresh design
- A featured article at the top of page, followed by recently updated posts.
- More information presented in less space without feeling cluttered.
- Visually divide posts into columns based on tag/categories (i.e. music, education, etc.)
- See worldchanging.org
- A featured article at the top of page, followed by recently updated posts.
- Expand scope to include not only stories that directly reference CC, but also ones on related topics.
- "Zoom out" on issues on to put news pieces into context.