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CityDesk Designer Wanted

Hi.  I have a CityDesk site I have created for my company.

I started with a blog-like template from Fog Creek, and made some very minor modifications.  I have focused only on structure, content, and navigation. The content is not yet complete, but it is just more of the same. The structure of the site is more or less complete.

I am looking for a designer to take the CityDesk file, work some magic on it, and send it back.  Everything about the site's color, graphics, fonts, ond overall style and look needs to be addressed.  The only thing we want to keep is the structure, navigation, and content.

Anyone interested? Or can you recommend some talented CityDesk designers?

Paul Mansour
Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Dave Shea of Mezzoblue designed the very nice blank template that comes with CityDesk 2.0.

Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, August 6, 2003

That's a wide open area Paul... What kind of designs did you have in mind? One person's great design is another person's miserable design.

Any web sites you can point to that show what you like?
Wednesday, August 6, 2003

I agree that some baseline would be helpful to determine what you are looking for, like some example sites.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

The site if for a small software company. We sell a shrink-wrapped software product to banks.

I'm a fan of the blog format, where the style is somewhat "vertical".  For some strange reason, I really don't like home pages that don't scroll down, and that expand to the entire width of the window.  I generally do not like the typical corporate site.

I also like a site to have something new on it everytime I go to it, so the CityDesk template I started with has a blog as its home page. We will use it to post info on new releases, or pictures of the home office when it snows if nothing else is going on. 

I like a clean, uncluttered, simple site with minimal graphics, no Flash, no appearing/disappearing menus.  A site I like is:

I'm putting together a package of the CityDesk file, some bitmaps and jpegs of logos for our company and our product, and some hard-copy promotional materials of our product, which I will forward to interested designers.

I hope this helps.

Paul Mansour
Wednesday, August 6, 2003


I was a designer @ Citigroup for 3 years where we used CitiyDesk and yes, the name threw everyone off because nearly every internal app was called 'Citi-something' so everyone assumed CityDesk was some internal app they'd never heard of. I probably should've played that aspect up and had them think I wrote it.

Anyway, I have a few comments on the things you said.

1. I don't know that a very long page is suitable for sales. You usually want to make your points quickly and consicely, at least up front. A picture is worth a thousand words, and when looking at a new software package, I personally ALWAYS go to the screen shots page first.

2. Banks love blue & white with the occasional splash of red. (q.v.,,, etc.) Blue implies trustworthyness, which is why blue shirts caught on a few years back in the business world.

3. Banks love top nav & portal style homepages. If not portal style, then with a left nav & right sidebar at least. (q.v. the same as above)

4. This doesn't mean they won't buy software from someone without these things, but I figure the same way you'd wear a blue pinstriped suit to sell to a bank, it helps to have a blue pinstripe website, so to speak.

5. I'm not sure a "blog" is appropriate to selling software... Are you selling your product or your services? What kinds of things will you write about? I'd never hire a Philo because I'd be afraid he'd write about all the bad experiences he had with me. At least, not as a corporate entity. Lastly, what could each entry add to the sales mix? Shouldn't you choose your highest points and stick with them, rather than rambling on about good your product is? Sure you could do a JoS type site, but FogCreek has a very static brochure-ware style site when it gets down to the brass tacks of selling.
Wednesday, August 6, 2003

> left nav & right sidebar

i.e. the traditional 3 column web layout. Even this discussion board subliminally subscribes to it... just without anything in the right column.
Wednesday, August 6, 2003


Thanks for your comments. I don't disagree with much of your analysis. A couple of comments:

On point 1:

Agreed. I’m not going too long,  just long enough so the proportions are more like a piece 8x11 paper than a computer screen. Also, I’ve designed the navigation so the user is only 2 clicks away from any page. For example, on the left navigation bar is a link for our product. Click on the link and you get a page full of teasers each of which describes a feature where you can click for the “full story”, screen shots, etc.  Thus, two clicks to a screen shot.     

On point 5:

Agreed also. (We are selling a product, not services)  I’m not talking InstaPundit here. Posts will be neither often or lengthy.  Right now I have only 4 links on the nav bar: Home, Company, Product, Support – I didn’t want to jump right in to the company or the product, hence the home blog page.  Most of our regular users will check in about once a month, tops. I figure we will have something to post about once or twice a  month regarding the product our company that will be of interest to them. I don’t think this will add much to sales mix at all, but it will make the site a bit more interesting to our current customers, and most importantly it will mean that I will edit and visit the site on  a regular basis. This keeps the site a living thing – Otherwise I will go six months without using the site, I’ll forget how to use CityDesk, and I won’t be making constant, little improvements. That’s my theory, anyway.

Paul Mansour
Thursday, August 7, 2003

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