I think the website for Scrivener and Scapple are really antiquated; the fonts are ugly (who the hell uses times new roman anymore?), the graphics could be massively improved to make things seem sexier, and the way in which everything is situated on the webpage just doesn’t seem enjoyable to look at. Honestly I think a professional artist or an artist of some kind should be hired to redesign your website as currently, it kinda, well, sucks.
I thought I’d just shoot this out there in case anyone else feels similarly. As a comparison just take look at the website of these inferior products:
I just want to clarify that when I say “I think the folks and lit’n’latte should step up their game” I mean only in the sense that their website should be improved. Their product however is sensationally good and levels above any other product.
One of the big reasons Apple became the empire that it is, is because of their attention to aesthetics, and user friendliness…something that utilitarian-based windows folks never caught on until it was too freakin late…
I just think that having a good-looking website would ultimately result in more sales, which would result in the company having the capacity to hire more ‘henchman’ to do the ‘coding’…
One of the appeals of Scrivener is that it is, and is marketed as, a tool. It is not a fashion statement, not an electronic toy, not a media celebrity. It is a tool, designed to perform a specific set of operations. And that is precisely what it does.
Perhaps, having spent many years in advertising, I am instinctively suspicious of marketing which highlights the sizzle of the steak rather than the taste. (It’s a sad reality that on-line promotion involves so much inane and irrelevant gadgetry.)
As with most writers, a strange array of writing programs seems to have settled in on my computer. But I find Scrivener and Ulysses are the only ones I use regularly. There is – for me – a different feel to the two: I tend to write longer works, mostly fiction, in Scrivener, and shorter works, mostly essays and reports, in Ulysses.
The point of all this: each of them is a program I discovered by reading critics, by talking with other writers, and by test-driving the product. In neither case was I influenced by design of a web site.
Running a small business is a matter of choices: “either… or…”, not “and…”. When you look at the list of projects that L&L is definitely currently publicly committed to (launching Scrivener for iOS, bringing Scrivener for Windows up to feature-parity with Scrivener for Mac), let alone the list that it might conceivably be committed to in the next two or three years (Scrivener 3, Scrivener for Android, Online Scrivener, maybe others - I’ve absolutely no inside knowledge), it’s no surprise to me that revamping the L&L website apparently hasn’t been higher on the list of priorities. (But I’m an unreconstructed user of Times New Roman, so probably no one should listen to me… )
Thing is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps some people are deterred by the look of the Desk, Ulysses, and Ommwriter websites, so it might not be wise for the L&L website to be revamped in their image.
For me, the L&L website played no part in my decision to buy Scrivener. Also assume a fair number of people come to Scrivener on the Mac side through the App Store and never see the L&L website at all.
Personally, I would prefer a different aesthetic, but my taste might well put other folk off.
As it is, it works in all its utilitarian glory. Far better for L&L to focus on product development. If people decide not to buy (or even try) Scrivener because of how the L&L website looks (it may not be a bleeding-edge design, but it works well enough), they’re probably looking for something else entirely. Other opinions are available.
My thoughts were never that the folks at Scrivener should stop working on the actual app in anyway…that would be wrong…
It’s just that, should they have extra time on their hands, or the money to hire a professional…I think the website could use a little sprucing up…and that’s all I thought. As it stands, the website just looks unprofessional…and certainly not up to the standards of the crazy good product that Scrivener is…
But what gives…it’s not like I’m getting any money out of this, so I’ll stop here…
Hmmmm, there’s part of me that says, “Never judge a book by its cover,” but then I’m the first author to kick off when my publisher gives my book a naff cover!
Knowing there’s only a small team behind Scrivener, and as an existing user, I’d rather the team spent time coding Scrivener 3 and Scrivener for iOS. But then, I do see your point, that as I’m an existing user I don’t really care what the website looks like now. New potential users might feel differently, although I would hope they read the text and watch the tutorial videos.
Mind you, if you’re offering your services free of charge to revamp the website, I’m sure the Scrivener team will be pleased to hear from you
Website looks fine, is easy to use, does the job well: don’t waste time and money chasing temporary design fads that don’t add anything useful.
In other words, don’t be like the Guardian, which is in the process of breaking what has been an excellent and informative site to use in favour of a Fisher Price abomination sacrificing reader convenience on the altar of designer ego and the apparent desire to throw away existing users in pursuit of random drive-by clicks by those with the attention of four year olds.
Wow. Glad it’s not just me who feels infantilized by the Guardian’s metamorphosis du jour. It reminds me of those self-published books that started coming out when Apple produced the LaserWriter and every Designer could enliven text with a zillion stomach-churning fonts.
Gimme dat ol’ Times Roman. Or maybe Garmond or Baskerville.
I was going to keep my yap shut. But since Ahab hits a point …
Why would anyone think a fancy website is better? Scrivener is, to a large part, anti-fancy. Just write. Their website seems to me to properly reflect the application development philosophy. Which I would attempt to paraphrase as
As such, a simple UI on with a few niceties but no bells and whistles is perfect. You want flash and glam and cruft and things you don’t need… apple and microsoft would love to take a lot of money from you so they can pay for the web team.
I believe this is the new “default” site layout for “information portals” that is being pushed by the big research and design firms. I did ask for supportive data on “user preference” and “targeted marketing” and “directed access” only to get asked to drop off the call by the pushers. As it turns out we were never provided with anything that showed any positive result. But we will adopt it anyway since that’s what all the lemmings seem to expect.
So much for distinctive brand identification.
The only rational thought I can come up with is that this format is default for many OSS site engines and the real ROI is in reduced costing for app server licensing and content dev teams. I don’t buy that answer but it make sense of the numbers.
And yes, my job is to be a contrarian. I’m good at it. So there.
What is particularly annoying about the Guardian fiasco is that every time there is an article explaining how good it is or is going to be (only some parts of the site are infected at the moment, although the diseased is ‘promised’ for the rest of the site very soon), feedback from the comments BTL is overwhelmingly negative – I haven’t counted precisely, but I would estimate in the 90% against range, if not higher.
Each time we are promised that they are listening to our views, and that they have had a lot of positive feedback – but the numbers are never disclosed, and the only changes that ever appear are minor tweaks around the edges, rather than a revisiting of the entire concept, which is what is actually needed. It’s a project doomed to success clearly, but it’s a self-defeating one: how can a company whose very selling-point is the quality of its journalism think it’s a good idea to make it harder for the readers to read that journalism?
The reality seems to be they wanted a system which allows them to ‘serve’ any device without taking into account the fact that desktop and laptop users (and even tablet-users to some extent) have very different needs and expectations from mobile phone users. And they appeared to have come up with a design that only works well on a mobile phone – how many people do all their serious reading on a phone? They going for the casual user, not the committed reader.
On a laptop and desktop you end up buggering around with the zoom settings to find a size that doesn’t have acres of wasted white space – and then have to change it when your read the comments because some genius has decided that the article text and the comments text should be different sizes… Then you have to resize again when you return to an index page because the sensible size for the article is completely wrong for the index page – you get huge garish boxes with enormous pictures and no useful information whatsoever.
Yes, I am annoyed that a newspaper that has been part of my daily life for the last 30 years is treating its regular users with such contempt. How did you guess?
Perhaps some one can chime me in on what this whole ‘guardian’ thing is…I live in Canada…so is that some kind of newspaper?
Back to the matter of the website…I guess a better way to go about is, is if you could change anything at all about the way in which the lit’n’latte website is constructed or looks, what change would you implement?
For me, I would like to see things more interactive about the actual experience of writing in Scrivener…as it is a fairly unique experience that I am sure all of you have felt. The current set up of the website barely says anything about what the app has to offer. It’s all very stoical, visually.
Everyone seems to undermine visuality, but I happen to think that, regardless of the naysayers, a good looking website is a good looking website that serves a primal purpose: sell a product. And that’s really the bottom line here. Scrivener is a good product and deserves a better looking website.
We actually agree to a large extent with yosimiti here - our website is looking a little dated now. It hasn’t had a significant makeover in four years (back then it looked very modern and state of the art ). I don’t think the content needs significantly changing - I think a complex app for writers does need to contain a significant amount of information so that potential users really get an idea of what it can do, and I think the site does that fairly well. But it does need a revamp, and we’ve been meaning to get simple video intro made for years. We had planned to get it revamped this year, but certain internal plans changed. It will be happening sometime next year, though, to fit in with other significant developments.