It seems the web-dev are starting to post again, as they get ready for the egg shell cracking of OOo 2.0. The new OOo seems exciting and almost ready for prime time, just few days and we will all see the gull-suite take off.But from a web-dev point of view, this is actually a hard task since we need to get more and more into the actual launch. Marketing, art, feedback, tryouts, templates, and everything in the spectrum between R-G-B are fliying all over the mailing list. Taking a step back I would like to see how other Office suties companies promote their products, here is a comprenhensive study of the different sites promoting their products and how do they compare: Microsoft Office is one of the most resourceful office suites, the content is massive and should aim all target markets, not just the new users but also the very sophisticate ones. Their site isn’t really a selling site but mostly like an e-Zine site. The content is dynamic and it has a heavy rotation, they keep current with the events happening right now. For example they have articles about Halloween and how the Suite validates it’s existance as a solution for Halloween. Lotus is the other big, corporate office suite which is also popular on the enterprise. The site also needs to provides massive ammount of content and is also somehow hard to follow. Since their product is really connected with more than itself it provides external links and are aiming at the collaboration services. So this is really an entry to their collaboration and messaging services. The site is not event driven like microsoft but product driven by whatever IBM plugs with the suite. On the design angle of things they provide many options which are hidden somehow by tabs but stil make a similar layout as the microsoft site triying to put eyes on the middle of the screen. Apple iWorks definetly aiming at end users which are triying to survive on a MS world. However they seem to have the same approach as all of their products. They aim the content at the product and not at the enviroment. They hightlight the key advantages of their product and they offer tours to get a sense about it. The site drives to a semantic, a feeling more than the actual product, so big images, large fonts and very space-like deisng make the iworks site a site for presentation of the product more than information cluttering. StarOffice the sister project of OpenOffice.org also have an aim towards the enterprise on a similar fashion to IBM. They provide a lot of content with aims about product description. They do mantain it more on the feeling side of things, rather than the actual product. They don’t provide any screenshot of the actual product (similar to Office and Lotus) and is basically a big fact sheet with the eyes drawing people to an abstract image. EasyOffice I like this site, actually one of my favorites, the difference between this one and the rest is that the site is made exclusively for the office suite. So it doesn’t have to respect a higher template to promote related products. This site focus everyhing on new users, so the product is the most important highlighting the key aspects of it. They have a clean design with big fonts small reading and easy to browse. The site is builded like a tour site itself since it brings the users to the different enviroments of the suite without being too extensive.
Overal all this sites have a good design, the pocket sites for office suites have a less professional builted sites. I think that OpenOffice.org varies on the quality of the website, the front page however do succeed on some key aspects.
Promotes the ‘feeling’ of the product, have direct links on the front page, have a nice design and a overal good feeling to it.
The fallout is the consistency of the site, they look like what it is, a site desinged by many people and not all of them have the same way of presenting content, nor do they have the right icon-set.
The features of the products are not so visible and even if the frontpage is presented mainly on one page a product page might not be as condensed.
An OpenOffice.org Box might help users to be more confortable, cereal boxes play magic on end users. Even if that box isn’t actually real, they feel that the software at least has a physical backup on the retial store and is not an internet scam.
My thoughts and suggestions for OOo site is, keep it simple, make the site with big fonts, avoid menu’s and use descriptive bulletpoints.
Make a tour or a screenshot of key features like, PDF export, Stylist, Navigation, improved interface, wordcount, etc. OpenDocument compliant.
Aim to the feelings, this is more an end user software than a mature corporate tool. So for that reason we should aim at the family pointing out the ease of use.
I would like to see some blender experts design the pictures, 3D pictures are appealing to users, a 3D box is too and also because blender is open source we could reach out the community to get involved.