[drupal-devel] Brochure Design

Steven Wittens steven at acko.net
Thu Jun 16 13:22:29 UTC 2005

Some quick comments:

- The opening doesn't tell me anything if I'm not at home in the world 
of CMSes. I think this is an important aspect, and something that I 
noticed myself when I showed the old brochure to others. They said: 
"Nice, but what does it DO?". Phrases like "establish online presence" 
or "manage online activities" are a lot more vague than "build your 
website". I participated in a student-organised website contest at my 
university a while ago: most sites were simple, plain, non-interactive 
affairs. When polling the other contestants about this, most of them 
said "yes, but I'm not a programmer and I don't know anything about PHP 
/ MySQL / ...". When I talked to them, I tried to make it clear that 
with systems like Drupal, you can set up complicated features without 
touching a single line of code.

- Mentioning "friend of a friend" in such a prominent position at the 
top seems wasteful: it is not a core feature and very few people are 
familiar with it. Perhaps it should be "user identity" modules.

- Search engine optimization should mention clean URLs. They are an 
important feature. And not only do we have clean URLs, but we also allow 
arbitrary custom URLs. And with pathauto module, automatic, meaningful 
URLs derived from the content. We could add a bold claim: "Drupal sites 
consistently rank high in search results.". It is what several of our 
users have said:

- The "stability" "speed" and "power" sections seem to overlap a lot. 
Even if there are subtle underlying differences, it is my experience 
that this is lost on unfamiliar readers and perceived as repetition 
instead. Perhaps they should be merged into a single section 
"Performance and stability", while "power" should be aimed more at 
modularity and flexiblity.

- A title like "Power that expert users and IT administrators demand" is 
completely ineffective and near-impossible to use in a nice design.

- The "feature rich" section seems to mention Drupal's modularity as a 
side-effect... in the last brochure this was a very important section 
covering one full "flap". It illustrated effectively how many features, 
which would be hardcoded and/or inflexible in a traditional CMS, are 
removable and customizable in Drupal. Now it's more like "yeah, you can 
turn stuff off if you don't like it, and modules have something to do 
with it". This hardly describes what Drupal modules are and the way they 
can hook into every aspect of the CMS and integrate every feature with 
every other feature, or how most features (like the profile module) are 
built as a flexible system rather than a fixed set of functions. While 
underlying architecture is not directly important for end-users, it is 
important for customizability and flexibility. If you don't include a 
big "architecture" section, at the very least you should

- All in all, I think many people are a lot more familiar with the term 
"open source" rather than free. "Free", to me, reminds me more of how 
Drupal doesn't tie you down to fixed things, but how every component is 
built as a flexible, customizable system. "Freedom" as a section header 
just doesn't strike me as effective (especially when you consider how 
that certain country *cough* has been abusing the word recently).

- The text introduces a lot of concepts, but lacks concrete illustration 
and examples. The last leaflet's use cases were nice in this, but we 
could improve it by tying examples directly into the listed points.

- Perhaps we could include a "what do people say about Drupal?" section. 
There are plenty of nice quotes on the forums, like the one about search 

- The text needs a definite proofreading: "Bryte" "several organization" ...

And as a graphics person, I think it is really a bad idea to write the 
text, then have it 'poured' into a brochure. Brochures have a very 
specific design to them and are read in a certain fashion (I tried to 
illustrate this in the brochure thread on drupal.org). This text doesn't 
seem to be written with presentation in mind, and that's a pity: 
presentation and content should go hand in hand. It also seems too short 
to fill a whole brochure..

To be honest I can see no remains of the last brochure in this... it 
feels as if you started from scratch! A lot of discussion preceded the 
creation of the last brochure with some nice ideas and try outs to learn 
The last brochure had several problems, but it did many things right as 
well. It would be silly to ignore all that...

Steven Wittens

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