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Progress of new fsfe.org website design

At the FSFE web sprint on the weekend before last I focused on implementing a new design for fsfe.org. The design will provide a fresh new appearance for all fsfe.org pages (it wont affect other FSFE sites like fellowship or planet; that will come later), and is the result of more than a year of discussion and planning.

Since I began working full time at FSFE’s Berlin office three months ago, I have been working towards getting a fresh look for the site, and replacing the current design which has desperately needed attention since before I first joined the organisation in 2009.

In September and early October I created several detailed vector based design proposals, based upon Andreas Tolf Tolfsen’s inspired ‘ribbon’ themed mock-ups. New site wide menus, a theme-integrated identi.ca feed, and interactive rotation-animated campaign banners were some of the innovations that I showcased in my submissions.

Together, Andreas and I worked out solutions to usability problems arising from new site features, and responded to reactions from community members. Aided by astute and encouraging feedback from Reinhard Muller, I worked feverishly in the run up to the web sprint to create a design that was as progressive as possible, whilst remaining sufficiently conservative to maintain consensus amongst web team members.

Whilst other team members worked on fixing existing bugs with the site and the new build system (which handles generation of our thousands of translations, amongst other things), I worked on turning the new design into the code of fsfe.org for the first time. The schedule, which I published two days before the sprint, stated the implementation of the new design as the number one priority.

Although I had hoped to have the design implemented and approved for launch by the end of the week following the sprint, it turned out to be more work than I had anticipated. I had also not expected to be the only one working on this task, which, aside from a few appreciated commits made by Andreas, turned out to be the case. As a result, nearly two weeks after the sprint fsfe.org remains its old ugly self. But not for long.

Approximately 85% of the front page, 95% of generic content pages, and 70% of specialised pages (such as ‘about’, ‘contribute’, ‘shop’ etc.) are complete. Since the sprint I have been squeezing in a few rushed minutes here and there between other tasks, and the site is finally nearing completion.

Once my implementation is ready on the ‘design’ branch of the web SVN. I’ll send it to the FSFE team mailing-list for approval, which I trust it shall speedily receive. Then will come the task of merging it with the current ‘trunk’ version of the website, at which point all my changes and improvements will, finally, be publicly visible.

So, what do you think ?