The UX of the new jQuery website

jQuery relaunched their websiteSee site here.

The comments on the post are fascinating.  The re-design immediately erupted a firestorm of “Yay!” and “Yuck!” proclamations.  Issues such as how professional (or not) it looked or how cool (or not) it looked dominated the threads.  It shows how similar people using the identical tool can bake into it such different mental models.

Mental models are incredibly important.  They are the reason people adopt various products and positions.  Mess around with how people think about their favorite things and they will get pretty hot.  This redesign does just that.

The jQuery team (for better or worse) is making a stand and saying, “This is our image”.  If you happened to be someone who doesn’t resonate with that image then you might feel alientated.

Truthfully, I feel alienated by it.  It doesn’t resonate with me.  It makes me feel old and lame.  My hair is not long and flowing. The rockstar isn’t me.  jQuery is me.  It’s different.

The color palette makes the site a little harsh to look at.  The illustration makes me cringe.  Up to this point, I have told people jQuery is the greatest web innovation since CSS.  I still think it is.  However, the site doesn’t fit my mental model of what jQuery is or who I am.  I am embarrassed by the site because I have been such an ardent jQuery promoter.

I feel horrible saying this because I love LOVE jquery.  It’s AWESOME.  jQuery is still the greatest innovation since CSS.  I just can’t look at the site.

My suggestions to the jQuery designers would be:

  1. Implement a style switcher.  Let people choose their own theme.  That is a cool JS feature anyway.
  2. Do a SurveyMonkey to see how the audience feels.

Man, August has been a horrible month for me.  All kinds of bad things happening.  We need some good Karma.

6 replies on “The UX of the new jQuery website”

You couldn’t be more right on that one. First thing that came to my mind when first visiting the new jQ site was “how the hell did I end up on the Van Halen MySpace site?”. I’m 25 and I felt too old for the site!

Glad they’ve changed it now, though the gray empty bar looks kinda.. empty? Maybe they should stick the “Who’s using jQuery?” logo thing there.

Anyhow.. pozdrowienia z Polski ;).

I had seen it a few months ago and stated my perception of it, so I was surprised that it was taken down so quickly. I figured a style switcher would have been ok.

I should redo my UX of the site analysis again. Now my issues are much more mundane, like hover states or font/color choices. Nothing dramatic, just nit-picky. It’s amazing how different the site looks with that illustration. Its definetely a lesson.

I was also dismayed by the graphic and tagline wording, until I read the comments protesting them. Then I realized that this design gaffe exposed just who really uses jQuery. It seems most of us are mid-career professionals tired of typing “document.getElementById” or “window.event” over and over, not timid Web novices afraid of everything command-line. Maybe now I can persuade tech leads that using a well-tested library or framework is not a sign of incapability.

Whatya think?