jQuery Site Redesign – The Community Speaks

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As many of you have seen by now, the jQuery Project’s site has been redesigned. It had been a long overdue task and it was important to put a fresh new spin on the main hub, and the face, of jQuery. One of the things about the jQuery Project is that we’ve never run with the crowd or accepted the norm. By pushing boundaries and sometimes being “in your face” we’ve not only grown tremendously in popularity but we’ve pushed most of the other JS library projects to rethink their own principles and make changes to improve their products. That’s a good thing for everyone as competition is always good.

So, it should come as no surprise by the drastic change in the jQuery website. So far, the single biggest complaint has been associated with the new banner (ie: rockstar caricature & slogan). Again, we wanted to push the boundaries and come up with something that would generate a lot of buzz. Overall, we’ve succeeded in that goal with plenty of positive feedback but unfortunately, with some very negative comments as well. We actually value both types of feedback and want more as it’s the only way to determine if we’re on the right track. As with any site redesign, you can’t please everyone and we understand that. But we also want everyone to realize that this is a first cut and it doesn’t mean that it can’t be tweaked.

We’re actively reviewing all of the feedback and will certainly be looking at how to best handle some of the concerns of the community. After all, the community is what makes the jQuery Project so special and so different from other projects. In addition, the jQuery team has always listened to the needs of the community and this time is no exception. Again, I think the team is unique in that we *DO LISTEN* to the community and we’re going to work on making the site an invaluable tool for everyone. So just give us some time to go through the messages and keep an eye on this blog for updates.
Thanks for your patience and we truly appreciate your feedback.

159 thoughts on “jQuery Site Redesign – The Community Speaks

  1. Andreas on said:

    (Disclaimer: technically and artistically, I think the design is great)

    That said, design is a means to an end, and should reflect the subject. In this regard, the new look is an utter failure.

    I don’t need a rockstar, I need a professional JS library. The message is all wrong. Both the illustration and the message have nothing to do with the subject.

    And most important of all, as others have already said: I sometimes need to refer clients or employees of my clients or subcontractors in a professional environment to jquery.com. I just recently had a client that required me ot have their grumpy IT department to approve of the tools used for a project.

    Sorry, this is ridiculous.

  2. Andreas on said:

    @Marcos

    quote: “On the other hand, why we have to convince our bosses or clients to “use” jquery??? we use it, period. Nobody has to do or say about how we develop solutions. They just have to enjoy the solution.”

    Have you ever worked for a corporate client?

  3. The new design is fantastic but I have to agree that the cartoon rockstar banner is way off the mark.

    I’d especially like to comment on the new logo though. The typography is fantastic and does more than anything else to make jQuery look like a serious professional tool. I am thoroughly confused about the icon though. What is the thinking behind that and how is it supposed to add to the logo?

    The icon really looks like some stock company logo icon that was smacked on there as an afterthought. Surely there is a better way to encapsulate the great functionality of jQuery in an icon that can enhance the logo and not detract from it in the way that the current one does.

  4. Ippy R on said:

    What’s with all the negative reaction to the banner.

    The colors bother me a bit, preferring dark on light with less saturation.

    The illustration is somewhat dated, 1995 Comic Book Semi Hentai Convention old school.

    But all the links work. Response is good. Effects seem to do what was intended. The site is a good demo of the power of JQuery.

    Maybe the theme says: “Look, we are not the graphics pros, but whatever tricks you throw up there will probably not crash and burn”

    And that’s an honest statement about an honest product.

  5. Pingback: jQuery’s Logo And Website Gets A Redesign | ajb{log}: learn something new each day

  6. i am actually not concerned with if the site looks professional or not, i think jquery is a wonderful framework and we can convince anyone to use it after 1 example. The problem for me is that the illustration is tacky and the “be a rockstar” thingy is a huuuuuuge cliche. Also I have to scroll down to get to some important information, i feel like I have a dead area where the illustration is. The rest of the redesign looks very nice, congrats. But the banner has to go.

  7. Daniel on said:

    And just to drive a point home. Nethier John Resig or the jQuery team have said this is a ‘professional js framework’. The only people even calling it a professional js framework are the people complaining.

    and lol @ whoever said they were going back to prototype.

  8. Everything looks great! Except (…of course) the cheesy-ass tag line and the goofy-ass illustration. “Be a Rockstar” sounds like a hook for some karaoke machine targeted at pre-teens. The Type used for Rockstar isn’t too hot either.

  9. I don’t think anyone has mentioned this aspect of the redesign yet, but I think you should ditch the rockstar graphic.

  10. I love jQuery. Really, I do. I think that it is the bee’s knees. But if the site had looked like this when I loaded it up for the first time, I would never have started using it. Everything else is nice (except the code-block text is a little unreadable)… just please, please, *please* kill that banner.

  11. Personally I don’t really care for the rock star thing either – everything else is great design wise – but I do have a small practical request – the “current version” in dark red on black is really small and hard to read – My request would be to make that a bit easier to find and see bigger/brighter/different place – any of the above – I generally check the page to see if there is a new version so that little gem of info is pretty important.

    PS: LOVE jQuery and all the work going into it.

  12. Turf the banner and the ‘rock star’ tag line. You know it’s gotta go. Everything else about the redesign is great.

    And adding an MVC plugin would be nice, by the by.

  13. I like it. Clean, easy to navigate, with a nice touch of humor and style.

    For the folks whining about the professionalism of the banner: a professional is someone who gets paid for their work. A “professional library” or website then (if such a thing could be said to exist), would be one that helps you get your work done so you can get paid for it. This does not preclude having a bit of fun.

    I’ve spent all too much time on “professional” sites that think generic clip art and empty boilerplate is appropriate, even necessary, to be taken seriously – they have a nasty tendency to hide any and all useful information deep within a sub-site because it doesn’t fit with their self-imposed necktie style.

    jQuery got to where it is by being a tool that promotes productivity, and by appealing honestly to developers who are tired of being told that verbose, convoluted frameworks are the only means to this end. A rockstar, like jQuery, cuts to the chase and plays the damn music – the web site can, should, and *does* reflect that.

  14. > “Again, we wanted to push the boundaries and come up with something that would generate a lot of buzz.”

    See, but this ISN’T pushing boundaries. It’s a complete cliche, and (with apologies to the illustrator) not even a well-executed one, at that. I can understand wanting to inject a little personality into your site, but at the expense of all your professionalism?

    A huge part of your target audience are not only developers, but designers as well, and this is exactly the kind of misguided marketing fluff that we can see right through. This looks and feels like the equivalent of a 40-year-old dad who has blue hair and loves “extreme sports.”

    Yes, taste is largely subjective, but even if half the people like this design and think it’s “totally rad” or whatever, the other 50% is just going to find it immature, corny, and tasteless, and they’re going to pass your product by. You’re not trying to sell a lifestyle brand like, say, Sony or Apple. You’re trying to attract people who are going to be working on projects of all stripes.

    I don’t mean to sound overly harsh — it’s just that I love your product and want to provide some forcefully constructive criticism of what is a huge blunder in direction.

    A few other quick notes:
    - The bottom of “ROCK STAR” is getting cropped off. (I hope you consider removing this completely, though.)
    - The top of the diagonal stripes in the “Learn jQuery now!” box are getting cropped off.
    - The right side of the Dell logo is getting cropped off.
    - Slightly-off background colors are visible behind all the company logos.
    - All the blue needs to either be tweaked to be shades of a consistent hue, or reconsidered entirely.
    - There are so many things wrong with the “Download jQuery” button (the gloss, the outlines, the vertical off-centeredness) that I don’t even know where to start.
    - Trebuchet MS. Kill it. I know web font options are limited, but that font is the bane of many a designer’s existence.
    - The new logo’s wordmark is a little Star Trek-ish (and not in a good way), but it’s passable. Those concentric circle signal line things are terrible though. No connection to the product, and again, not even well-executed.

    There are so many talented design firms using your product that would jump at the chance to help you out with your website design. Please use them.

  15. Antony on said:

    I’m with everyone else. It’s just too cool. Anyone saying “don’t judge the packaging” obviously misses the point of this post, where we are asked to judge the packaging.

    Calm it down. Keep it slick, keep it professional, don’t try to look like your selling a movie or action figure.

    Also, the main example on the homepage I’ve always had issue with. It only works once, without a refresh (necessary to keep the code simple maybe) and the .show() effect is the least impressive, giving other framework supporters an immediate thing to sneer at. Why not just fade it in, or slide, or something other than that jumpy glitchy effect?

    Better, though :)

  16. So essentially your argument is that this design is non-conformist, pushing boundaries, and potentially trend setting? Well, if those are the kind of rationalizations your designers need to make to sleep at night, so be it…

    But seriously, there is one, and ONLY one, problem with your design: the freaking ridiculous rock star picture. It severely detracts from the rest of the site. jQuery is an awesome bit of software, so this redesign isn’t going to cause anyone to stop using it, but it is just so out of place in what would have been an otherwise fantastic design. He just has no place being there–or really anywhere for that matter. I move that he be forcibly removed and stricken from the record.

  17. Gregory on said:

    I like the design, but the home page looks like it was made by a wannbe youth program at a local arts center.

    It’s ugly, not a good example of the style, unprofessional, and frankly completely pointless.

    The partners needs to more obvious too.

  18. Yes, puleaase remove the rockstar. I just *totally* don’t, like, connect with that, you know?

    Please remove the rockstar. Not even my teenage nephew thinks that’s cool anymore.

  19. In fact, I dislike the logo too. In the 80s that may have worked.

    But remove the rockstar, easy fix, sure the designer will have hurt feelings, but so be it.

  20. I agree the majority here. I love the new jQuery logo, but can’t stand the banner.

    Like others have said here, I’m not inclined to direct “professional” “work place” people to the site with that banner.

    Like Antony said, calm it down. I like all of the new look, just not the banner.

  21. I agree with an earlier assessment in that if I were unfamiliar with the library and were to run across this site I would dismiss it out of hand.

    jQuery is all about quick, simplicity, ease-of-use, and minimalist code. This design does not convey that message.

  22. I don’t really give a shit what the site looks like. I think overall it’s clean and usable, though I don’t really care for the rock star picture. But what is really important is improving the API docs. Whenever I come to the site, I’m 99.9% looking through the API and for about the past 3 weeks, there have been times where it’s painfully slow to times where it doesn’t even load.

    The docs are the most important thing on the site (to me), and should be where the most energy and design is focused. I don’t care for prototype, but I find their docs to be much easier to read and use. I think it’s a waste of time and energy to worry about the illustration on the home page when those resources could be used to improve the API docs.

  23. Professional. What is the obsession with this, looking professional. jQuery doesn’t need to ‘look’ professional. It is professional, it is a serious tool being used by many of the most prominent developers, by well-known companies, in their central projects.
    Although I agree with the criticism of the Rock Star message, Unfortunately it is an overused cliche, I don’t mind the in-your-face concept. I actually think it is a great way of conveying this idea of jQuery being different, pushing the boundaries.
    The people who get turned away for the ‘unprofessional’ look are going to find another reason to turn away anyway. They do not understand the difference between the frameworks, what makes jQuery unique. I’m going to go on a limb here and say that they are probably crappy coders anyway. Go ahead and use extjs, or prototype. It will make absolutely no difference, they won’t have any loyalty to those projects either, and will not understand their advantages or disadvantages. They are looking for the latest buzz.
    The redesign looks great. It is slick, clear and new. jQuery’s presentation card is not its website anyway. It is the conferences that John attends, and his presentations. It is the great work done by the developers, and the core community that understands jQuery’s philosophy and therefore loves it.

  24. Andreas on said:

    @Alejandro Giacometti: “They do not understand the difference between the frameworks, what makes jQuery unique. I’m going to go on a limb here and say that they are probably crappy coders anyway.”

    They aren’t coders at aal, they are IT department bosses and compilance department people. Unfortunately, those matter, as much as I may hate them.

    And for the record, I will of course keep using jquery :)

  25. I like the redesign except the header. But really, who cares about the header? Its a bit silly, but if jQuery loses users due to it, they were here for the wrong reasons anyway.

    Pick a library for technical reasons, not their choice of graphic design styles.

  26. Celsius on said:

    I was out of bed early this morning to seek out some plugins for an upcoming project. Seeing the de-design (not sic) I thought I was still between the sheets having a bad dream.

    Fortunately, being a mature adult, I had the sense to wait rather than submit a knee-jerk “Yuck!” diatribe.

    Now I’ve had time to digest the new look I’m ready to give it a considered appraisal:

    Double Yuck!!

    The design (especially the grotesquely adolescent home page illustration) embodies the antithesis of my perception of what jQuery is about, which is a well thought out, innovative, standards friendly, ungimmicky, solid javascript library. Why on earth do you feel the need to wrap it up in cheesy generic pseudo-cool mid-noughties imagery? Is it part of a considered promotional drive targeting jQuery as a product to a certain demographic, or does whoever call the shots just like this kind of stuff?

    The previous design was great. Clear, open, fresh, functional and discreetly tasteful.

    Slabs of #FAFAFA on #000000 are really hard on the eye – on mine at least (and my sight is pretty good). The sensation I get is of the dark areas pressing in, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere.

    Wondering if I was perhaps overreacting, I asked a friend to check out the site. Without any prompting. Her response was to ask if a certain clueless wannabee Frontpage user we know had something to do with it.

    The only constructive comment I have to offer is: either return to the previous design or provide us with an switching option.

    Otherwise, I can see myself wasting precious time on a user stylesheet. Perhaps you could make the old CSS available for download?

    Ho hum…

  27. Why the focus on being professional? If you’re trying to convince your boss or manager that you should use jQuery, they’ll want to see some sort of professionalism. Philip Morton said it the best: “You can’t present jQuery at work without having to apologise for the site’s immature look.” Works fine if you’re doing your own project or if you’re a one-person shop, but would you really want to present the home page to someone at Bank of America or NBC during a discussion of how professional-quality jQuery really is?

    Overall, though, great stuff. The new logo proves you can be edgy while still being professional, and the site seems a lot more solid overall. One nitpick – the white content areas seem a bit harsh against the dark backgrounds; maybe there’d be some room for a small drop shadow or something else to set them apart?

  28. I agree with John on this one… The site design is great. It has good layout, good colours and its edgy. I would really lose the illustration and the tagline.

    i could sit here and think up of points of why not to use it but the reality of it is that it does not look very good.. infact its quite badly drawn. the the “rockstar” tagline is just bad.

    all this is design issue. the rest of the site, functionality and of course Jquery are quite well done.

    keep up the good work.

  29. I don’t care about the message “be a javacscript rockstar” is a fine motto. There’s no need to be professional. Jquery can/should appear younger, more fun, less complicated. Whatever.

    It’s just a complete shit illustration though, looks torn from the book of a first year art student. The type treatment is clichéd on the motto … it’s just … really poorly designed.

    The rest of the site is fine … nothing innovative. No great use of Jquery. Fairly standard and unoffensive.

    One illustration on the home page does not a creative concept make.

  30. I love it! I think it’s hilarious. I really wan to put, “Being a Javascrpt Rock Star with jQuery!” in the footer of all the sites I use jQuery with.

    Along with the banner I really like the whole site’s redesign. Only thing that’s really hit me so far is on the front page, the “Learn jQuery Now” box and the sections below that with the blue-backed headers don’t really feel like they fit that well into the design. But it doesn’t look bad, just not quite right. But I’m a perfectionist… so yeah.

  31. Seriously? For chrissakes, I have to scroll down nearly half the screen before I see any useful info on what JQuery is/does. The Rockstar banner is a stupid waste of space, and a terrible cliche. The old front page was more usable AND informative.

    If you say you are a rockstar, you aren’t.

    Lay off the PCP.

  32. John Farrar on said:

    I also LOVE the look of the site… but the ‘punk’ developer tone doesn’t work IMO. What an amazing way to neutralize the first impression of the new site in a way that will leave a bad taste in the mouths of so many. Of course if this is about making personal statements and not promoting jQuery then the technology might be a great platform to promote someone’s social thinking! lol

  33. In the end it does not matter if something looks professional or not. Most open source stuff does not look professional and is still great. Most corporate stuff looks professional but is crap.

    However terms “Rock Star” and “Ninja” are so 2007 already. They stopped being cool when you saw same term being used by corporate recruiters.

  34. Freach on said:

    Wow, I saw the new site and thought “Cool they made a web site just for me…”. It’s playfull, it’s fun and totally works on the “Guitar Hero” concept.

    As for those calling the banner and tag line unprofessional and that are worried that your clients will not appreciate it. Think about it, JQuery is free, rocks like a hurricane and turns normal coders into Javascript Rock God. I’d rather be a rock star than a professional anything…any day…

  35. Hi, I’m not in love with the, “Be a rockstar” tagline or graphic. Artisticly speaking, it’s very good and I wish I could do that type of illustration. I would say it’d be good to rotate that out periodically with other concepts. I saw a ninja proposed, that would be good, guru might be nice as well. Keep it changing because it will quickly wear out. It may be nice to weave in a few more boring “business” type slogans and graphics too.

    I personally use jQuery because it helps me get my work done faster. I’m never going to make it to the front page of the newspaper because of that (i.e be a rockstar) and few people associate “being more productive” with “being a rockstar.” Therefore that could be one to switch in occasionally that is a bit more “business.” You could have an image of a sprinter hitting the finish tape.

    Other practical features a JS library provides are reliability and the ability to use plugins written by others.

  36. I’ll quote Jack on the illustration:

    “It’s just a complete shit illustration though, looks torn from the book of a first year art student. The type treatment is clichéd on the motto … it’s just … really poorly designed.”

    As i see it, the problem isn’t that the home page doesn’t look professional. The problem is it looks awfully amateurish, from an aesthetic point of view.
    The illustration is completely out of place, this is definitely not a comics website. And this not to say that comics are bad, just to say that comics style is fit for comics websites. I’d never design a hospital website with the style of a portfolio website. In design, graphics and illustration are not good or bad by themselves; they are good or bad in a context, and relating to a function; this is a principle of design.
    This design has absolutely nothing to do with the function of the website. It’s just build around the overstretched (and overrated) metaphor of the rockstar.
    Compare this useless rockstar metaphor with, say, the css Zen Garden concept. They have chosen a deep metaphor, and built a portal around it. The problem is you already had “content”, jQuery itself; a designer cannot be free as someone shaping a concept AND content.
    What would you think of an hospital with you illustration and the motto “Our doctor rock”?
    Apart from the homepage, the website is fine, athough the blue gamma is a bit too dark fpr my linking, but that’s personal taste.
    Davide

  37. The rockstar thing doesn’t turn me off, but it doesn’t do anything for me either. If anything, I’d say the image is a little distracting.

    jQuery is a fantastic tool that sells itself in the developer community. You don’t need to turn up the cool.

  38. I’m sorry, but its just bad :-( really, really bad.

    The rest of the site looks fine, but that banner. Oh man, it would be like if John McCain using Red Bull as his sponsor in order to look edgy and energetic.

    jQuery is a great tool. Let it speak for itself, put a funky animated banner smiler to the one that WooThemes.com use on their site.

    Anything but that image, its turning my stomach.

  39. This design is bad ass. I suppose if you only use jquery to do mundane tasks you feel cast out, but being a javascript rockstar myself this is totally representing how I feel when I’m kicking code ass. Keep up the good work!