On May 8, I mentioned that we were redesigning the Autodesk Labs home page in Ideas for redesigning the Autodesk labs home page. Since that time we have gotten lots of great feedback. Thanks to all those who responded.
One thing that people were keen to mention is that you are not so thrilled with our green, gray, black, and white color scheme. You sometimes find the green text hard to read. I am no colorist, so I will let people with a sense of style like Amanda Collins and Doug Look sort that out. Another thing I will mention is that Amanda would like to put my picture back on the home page. Though I would have never suggested it myself, Amanda believes it gives the site a bit of personality. So with these caveats in mind, I mocked up a minimalist version of our home page:
The thinking on this page is twofold:
- The Autodesk Labs site has many items available for download or try. Having them appear on the home page is the most sure fire way for people to find them. I thought I would see how many I could fit.
- The items are organized by Autodesk application. I figured many Labs visitors already have an Autodesk application and want to see what "cool tool" they can get from Labs to go with it.
When I created the mock-up I noticed that the text was indeed small. Whereas we already received feedback that green on white is hard to read, this probably makes things even worse. So I tried increasing the text size a bit:
This helped with readability somewhat (or does it?) but now you will probably need to scroll to see all of the page. This is normally not a good idea. The other thing we are considering is to group items by industry instead of application. Autodesk currently caters to the following industries:
- Architecture, Engineering, & Construction
- Automotive & Transportation
- Media & Entertainment
- Utilities & Telecommunications
The next thing I did was remove the descriptive text. Though this is helpful to see if you should click the link to the tool's information page, it does crowd things a bit. So here's version 3:
By the way, if you regroup the items by industry, it basically looks like:
So how say yee? Are you an application user or a captain of industry? Do you want your AutoCAD mixed with your Revit or are you are a purist? Perhaps learning about another application (that you don't currently have) related to your industry is a good thing? What do you think? Inquiring minds want to know at TheLabs@autodesk.com. Thanks in advance for the deluge of email that we will get suggesting that I keep my day job as a software development manager instead of web page designer.