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Lingo Website Feedback (take 2)

About a month ago this forum gave me very useful feedback on my Lingo website. I've made all the changes so please criticize the new improved site on http://www.lingolanguage.com

I'm after the 'first impressions' type of feedback. I'm serious about developing this into a product, and I want to know all the visual annoyances, things that look tacky, or anything that doesn't make sense. It doesn't have to be in-depth criticism, and you don't have to justify it.

In a week or so I'll summarize the suggestions with a new topic titled 'Tips for professional looking sites' or something similar. Hopefully it will be useful for anyone else doing their own site.

Bill Rayer
Saturday, July 19, 2003

First impression:

You're gonna get a letter for Macromedia's attorneys.

http://www.macromedia.com/help/trademarkguideline.html

Eric W. Sink
Saturday, July 19, 2003

s/for/from/

Eric W. Sink
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Your website looks a lot more attactive now; in fact, I think it looks very nice. However, your application's layout could use a slight makeover.
  IMO, you should consider upgrading your 3.11-esque toolbar buttons to something slightly more modern. If you use the Windows Common- or Extended Controls, a simple XML manifest - enabling the use of ComCtl32.dll Version 6 - will make your app. look much more inviting to users of WinXP.

  Also, I think you should make a "1-2-3" example and really show how easy it is to make applications with Lingo. Now, I know your screenshots relate to something similar to this, but something 'spelled out' would be helpful. This could be something as trivial as showing how you make a dialog saying "Hello, World!".

Mickey Petersen
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Eric:

1. I've used Lingo as a trade name from 1992, and registered Lingo as a trademark in the US (#1905439) and Australia (#591171) in 1995. You can see the certificates if you want.

2. In spite of their page, Macromedia have not registered Lingo in the USA. You can check yourself. Go to http://www.uspto.gov/web/menu/search.html , click Trademarks, click New User search, type Search term = Macromedia and Field = Owner name and address. They have 66 trademarks registered or pending, none of which include Lingo.

3. I'm a UK and Australian citizen, currently in the UK and subject to UK or Australian law.

Did you have any other thoughts about the website :)

Bill Rayer
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Bill, I know you hate this subject but I'm going to drag it on as I believe this is thi biggest issue you'll be dealing with.

I have Lingo version 4, copyright 1994.

Director 1 introduced Lingo in 1988:

http://www.lingoworkshop.com/articles/article2.asp

It was sold internationally at the time, including Australia.

Your much more recent trademark is invalid.

Not only are you looking to do legal battle with a large well-financed company, but you are going to do nothing but confuse your customers which is extremely foolish.

Com visit my  website featuring the new "C" language I have invented, registered trademark. C is a new graphical programming language in which you connect color icons in 3D space with 'microtubules'. Welcome to the future - the "C" language.

See, if I did that, whatever benefits my new language have would be oveerlooked because every programmer who has heard of ANSI C is going to say "Why is this guy calling that C and why did he get a trademark on something that predates his work?"

Take this path and your product is doomed from the start. htat's why it keeps coming up. When it bites you in the ass don't say we didn't do everything we could to try to help you see it coming and save yourself a lot of trouble!

Linguist
Saturday, July 19, 2003

I hate to be among the naysayers, but I have to agree with the "Lingo = trouble" camp.

Lingo definitely has currency in the US as a Macromedia technology, so I can't encourage you to press on with that name.

Names are impotant, and Lingo is a good name. Do your best to rename your language with an equally catchy, but unique title.

The website is getting better. Definitely better than when you first announced a while back. Nice screenshots.

A few comments: In Opera, your site tagline "Lingo - the easy way to write programs for Windows!" is in very small typeface on the page-- it looks out of place. Also I don't recommend center-aligning your code samples (such as on the "Hello World page").

Best of luck to you with this endeavor. Charging $ for languages is contary to market forces these days, so be sure to differentiate yourself with features & conveniences that can't be had elsewhere, and build integration points with other important tools.

Edoc
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Looking alot better. The website wouldnt put me off from buying it. Its not 100%, but I cant tell you what missing exactly. Perhaps a more "profiled" look that is inspired by the logo?

Also, after browsing the site for a few minuets Im still a little at loss regarding the caps of this language.

Could I use it to write an IRC-client with ssl support? A webserver? Im not saying that it should be capable of this, just that it would be good to know where the limits are.

The "What Lingo can do" pargraph is good, but how about tossing in some generic examples or downloadble "Made with lingo" programs?

Eric DeBois
Saturday, July 19, 2003

"The Lingo compiler detects most bugs (such as incompatible data types, misspelt variables, "

Spelling errors ("misspelt") detract from the credibility.

Common Sense Guy
Saturday, July 19, 2003

I don't get it.  Copyright != Trademark.  What does Macromedia copyrighting a piece of code have to do with someones trademark?

Oren Miller
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Macromedia has an unregistered trademark for Lingo. It has nothing to do with copyright.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, July 19, 2003

I've started another topic for the trade mark issues: 'Lingo, Trademarks and Macromedia'.

Website comments are still welcome :)

Bill Rayer
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Hey Bill.

I took the liberty of playing alittle with your design. I just simplified it a bit actually. Just first page though.

http://193.10.37.11/~mtwp1/INFO/eric.zip

Just my 2c

Eric DeBois
Saturday, July 19, 2003

It's far too late for the unregistered trademark to make a difference.  The holder of an unregistered trademark has 30 days after a registered trademark is published to oppose it.  Macromedia apparently did not do this.

Oren Miller
Saturday, July 19, 2003

I've fixed the mis-spelling of misspelled (blush).

Eric - thanks for the zip with the white theme. It does look calming and professional and restrained. It's funny that the website gets better as I take stuff out (no funky quotes, no rollovers, no gif buttons etc).

I could have just used notepad and plain vanilla HTML and saved a lot of time!

Bill Rayer
Saturday, July 19, 2003

"Use the secure order form and buy Lingo now! Lingo is competitively priced "

What order form? =b~

www.marktaw.com
Saturday, July 19, 2003

I think he said that his software wasn't available commercially yet, which is probably why he's asking us for our help.

Mickey Petersen
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Okay, here's my honest opinion. I could be wrong. ;)

My biggest issue is that both the web site and the product don't look professional enough. That's not saying that the product is a bad product, mind you (I haven't tried it), but the maxim "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" has never been more true than on the 'net.

What I didn't like:

- The home page of the web site needs to be MUCH more concise. What you have as your home page is more appropriately a "product" page. The home page needs to deliver your vision and selling point, with a very few words. Tell us who it's for, what pain it solves. That's it.

- The left-nav buttons should be links across the entire button face, not just across the text.

- The font you've choose italicizes poorly.

- The walk-through on the download page belongs somewhere else, perhaps as a help file that's shown the first time you run the application. Or, even better, replace the screen-shots with a tour of the application. Kill two birds with one stone.

- You might want to consider two levels of navigation. For example, make upper-level groups like "Product" and "Support", and move things around under those upper-level groups.

- The FAQ should all be on one page, not 6 pages.

- The news page isn't very interesting to a potential customer. Similarly, the product is about Windows development, but when I go to Links, it talks about web development.

- The product looks very much like early versions of Visual Basic. The UI feels very mid-1990s. Updating the UI to be consistent with XP guidelines would be very welcome. Especially important is to leverage the existing common controls, so your app looks like other apps.

- Not enough differentiation between versions. Either drop the personal version, or perhaps make the free version usable for personal (non-redistribution). Then the commercial version offers all the stuff a serious person is going to want: source code, manuals, CD, etc.

What I did like:

- The layout is clean and uncluttered. The text is easy to read, and the colors are well chosen. You heroically buck the trend of micro-tiny fonts. :)

- Free trial download is very useful.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, July 19, 2003

One really small detail, you did not specify HEIGHT and WIDTH in your IMG tag for images/screenshots1.jpg. This makes the image change its size when it is loaded, so the text jumps around on the page.

Fredrik
Monday, July 21, 2003

Brad:

You're right about the home page being more of a product page. Earlier on I had a much briefer home page and the feedback was there was too little info and people might go away without looking at the rest of the site. So I tried to make the home page into a 'taster' page for the product and the rest of the site.

In my case the product == the company so it's hard to have a home page without product info. Maybe I'll make the home page smaller so it's fully visible without scrolling.

I agree with you on the navbar buttons. They are a-linked text centered in a table with CSS for the blue color. I had problems getting that to work properly and to be valid HTML. I'll have another go, and apply the link to the table cell instead of the text.

The FAQ and links I can fix easily.

The version issue is interesting. Someone covered this on an earlier thread and I liked the idea of 3 versions: economy, std, deluxe (or whatever you want to call them). That was the main reason for the Lingo Trial pack, Std pack and Pro pack.

Linguist:

I do appreciate the comments, maybe you're right and Lingo == trouble. My heart sinks considering the work to change the name though. I'm still unsure about this.

Fredrik:

I have no excuse apart from laziness!!!

Order form:

There are still some changes I want to make before releasing the proper v1. Also I don't think Joel would be happy for the forum to discuss commercial details of a released product to the same level of detail (maybe I'm wrong). I value everyone's comments a lot.

Bill Rayer
Monday, July 21, 2003

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