It’s been a while since the last update on MCS but things were moving on and it’s time to catch up with the progress in the project.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to a new Mozilla Community Theme style guide. MCT Style Guide is a document that explains the design decisions made by the theme authors that allows people who use the theme to extend it following the original concepts and keeping their new elements in sync with original one.
Mozilla Community Theme was created to give us a fresh theme that can make it easier for communities to set up a professionally looking website without having to look for a designer or crafting something on their own. Three months after the release, MCS is becoming a popular option among our communities when they’re making their choices with regard to the website. We like to think that the reason is because we offered maximum freedom and flexibility with this set, letting people do what they want, while providing high quality of the design itself.
One element that we did not cover very well until today, was how to extend the theme. How to move forward. Not only modify what we gave you, but also add new elements, theme new websites, or T-shirts, or posters… That’s where the Style Guide hits.
Style Guide is a short book that presents the concept choices together with list of modification options that, in the theme author’s opinion, will match the theme and let you keep the unified look and feel no matter where you’ll go.
What’s exciting about it, is that it opens communities to a new level where they have all the tools and resources that usually professional web agencies have and they can develop their skills and get accustomed to the new concepts. While working on our hobbies, we’re getting real experience that translates directly into our portfolio.
This Style Guide lets you dig into:
layout and grid models
methods of preserving space and light between text blocks that influences readability of the text
texture options that influence how the website looks
We hand this to you, so that you can experiment and develop the theme further or just customize it to your needs. What’s really important and exciting is that as all other parts of this project, the style guide is open! You can download Indesign document or editable PDF document and hack the Style Guide itself.
I’d also like to use this moment to thank Tara Shahian and Seth Bindernagel who have worked together with the theme authors on this 1.0 release of the guide.
Today, we present you a revised Mozilla Community Theme:
The new logo you can see here is a proposal for a Community Logo in Mozilla world. It means that we will offer it as a unifying branding element for all communities that will operate inside Mozilla environment, and it’s perfectly in line with our Manifesto:
(…) The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities. We create communities of people involved in making the Internet experience better for all of us. (…)
It has been combined, together with other elements into an improved screen of an example website:
We will offer several options for the header bar, several header backgrounds and several color palettes:
This, of course, is still just an option set, since you can go beyond that and use the color set you want.
We’re currently preparing a guidelines document for you, which should help you work with the sources once they’re public. We’re working on the template for other webtools (like forum, wiki), we’re preparing sources for publishing, and we’re open to hear your feedback once again on what do you think about this theme, so let us know what you think!
We’re listening to you and we’re excited about your ideas
Some time ago, Staś and Seth started a survey program to get an idea on what You feel about Mozilla. And in the very first survey they led, the very most commonly requested support from Mozilla was to provide Mozilla website template for community sites.
We were not surprised to see this in the survey results because it has been something that many of us have been considering a long time. How could we find creative ways to support all of our Mozilla contributors? How can we make life easier for everyone? We have all levels of communities, from large to small and new to old. Many do not have all the resources needed to create this on their own.
That’s exactly how Mozilla Community Sites project started. We’re going to work on customization of several commonly used community webtools to make it easy to set up and deploy a website for your community. If a contributor community chooses to use the tools provided, they can get a site up and running that looks like a Mozilla Community project website, with several features built in specific that do not requiring mastering PHP/MySQL etc. (but if you want, feel free to support us with your skills :)).
The tool presents several commonly used webtools like Drupal, WordPress, phpBB/punBB, PlanetPlanet etc. and prepare them to be ready to start in the Mozilla community environment. We’re planning to offer two kinds of websites:
powerful and highly customizable website using Drupal CMS
smaller, easier to deploy and less interactive based on WordPress.
One featured below is a much requested Mozilla Community Theme.
From the survey, we gathered that people wanted a theme that clearly indicated that websie was part of the Mozilla Project, while at the same time not an effort from the Mozilla Corporation or Foundation.
We worked with designers to help us create something that had a feel somewhere close to the Corporation and Foundation sites, but still unique and different.
And today, I’d like to present you the draft and ask for you feedback on it!
Below is the screenshot of how the website could look like.
The content presented on the screenshots above is of course just an example. Website maintainer will decide what to present there.
Also, the theme is not obligatory to anyone. It’ll be just an option you can use while preparing your website. We appreciate and respect how our communities are independent.
We will also provide you a special Guidelines that will help you customize the template according to your needs (changing colors – green, orange, blue etc., backgrounds, etc.). These guidelines are intended to make it easier to modify the template if you want to skin another webtool from outside of our list with this theme while still maintaining quality.
Just to be clear, with this tool you will be able to select the following:
components you want to display (top header, header bar, left, right panels, etc.).
colors to use (Guidelines will provide a list of color pallets that fits the theme well)
ideas to put in the background (maybe something specific to your community – Eiffel tower in the header background?)
We will suggest you to follow those Guidelines, but if you want to go beyond, feel free!
Oh, and… the theme will be, of course, open sourced
So, now, that we spent some time with designers on this, we need your feedback before going any further. We need to know what you think, would it fit your community if you lead one, which kind of community does this mockup fit, what could be improved to fit others, what can we do better and what is missing. It’s especially crucial to find out what’s missing to make sure it’ll be covered with the final version. Please, focus on clear, productive feedback. Thanks!
Open-source development violates almost all known management theories.