Making Embark more appealing


#1

After spending some great quality time with Status people in Prague and Devcon being over, it’s probably a good idea to start talking about how to implement the ideas and thoughts we’ve discussed onsite.

While there’s a lot of great ideas on what we want to do, I think one of the things that needs much love is the overall appearance of Embark.

@cryptowanderer has already done amazing work in streamlining the new Status website (https://status.im) with all the Status related projects and initiatives (Studio, Nimbus, etc).

I think this is a very important thing to do as the first impression can be very crucial. Having a polished website with a clear language and outstanding documentation is super important to increase user adoption (as I’ve touched on in On growing a community for Embark and increasing its adaption).

That’s why I’d like to see the same thing happening for Embark as well. I know this might not be the highest priority for most of the developers on the team, but I’d really really like to see a nice Embark Logo that will be consistently used across the board, whether it’s swag, the website, or anything else.

There’s already an ongoing effort by @Ned and @jonathan to create and implement a design language that is flexible enough to adapt to various projects inside and outside Status, including Embark. This effort will probably take some time until it’s ready to use, so until that happens, it’d be great to:

  1. Make the current logo good enough - We can use the “new” rocket we have an fine-tune it if needed.

  2. Add a “Font logo” as well. Right now all I’m I’m seeing is “embark BY STATUS”, but I’d rather like to see “Embark”. So if it’s feasible let’s remove the “by Status” part all together or at least make it very small.

  3. Come up with a clear, short and concise tagline that represents the values of Embark. Right now it says:

    Embark is a fast, simple and powerful framework to help you develop and deploy Decentralized Applications

    I actually don’t think that’s entirely true. We are not a framework but rather a tool(belt). I think we should put emphasis on what we’re good at, which is flexibility. As you know, Embark goes far beyond deploying Smart Contracts. We should make that part of our identity as I believe not many people are aware of this.

  4. Align our website with the new design. I know @cryptowanderer wanted to help with that or at least guide on that effort. It’d be super nice we could maybe also align this with the colors of the new rocket logo that we have.

  5. Documentation - We do have quite some documentation, but I’m having the feeling that not everything is documented, plus there seem to be common scenarios that people run into that could be documented as well. I’m happy to drive this effort as I’ve been adding a lot to the docs lately anyways.

Again, I fully understand if and that most of the developers don’t see this as a high priority, which is why I’m happy to push the needed buttons to make this happen.

Is this something we could tackle in collaboration with people from design etc? I really want Embark to look cool and appealing to use for new users.


#2

Hey Pascal, I think this is a good initiative and would be interested in collaborating. Perhaps we can have a conversation this week and make an organisational plan on how to move this forward?


#3

Ditto, I’d be happy to help and chime in on synthesising the design side of things. The most obvious thing for me at the minute refer to point 1. and the current identity which from my experience isn’t that cohesive. I’ve been supplied with the rocket previously to produce assets:


Yet on the website we have a very different logotype, colour scheme and overall aesthetic.
08
Just an initial observation - I’d also be keen to jump on a call this week to discuss these points further and see what we can do :slight_smile:


#4

Thanks! As discussed on Status, we’ll be meeting up onsite tomorrow just to talk about where this could go.

The most obvious thing for me at the minute refer to point 1. and the current identity which from my experience isn’t that cohesive

@Alex exactly! The new rocket is obviously much much better than the previous one we had. And as a matter of fact, I’m happy to go with that one until we decide to build something new based on the design system that’s being fleshed out at the moment.

It would already be a big step forward if we’d use the same theme on the embark website, with this new logo and its colors (instead of the purple that’s currently in use).

Also as mentioned in the post, it’d be really nice if we could get rid of this super big “BY STATUS” in the logo. People know that Embark is by Status and if not, they’ll find out sooner or later. But I wouldn’t make it as apparent in the logo itself.

@Alex how about we schedule a call later this week after I met with @Ned tomorrow and then we just talk about whatever thoughts we gathered? Would love some collaboration here.

Also, I should loop in @iurimatias as well here, just so that he’s aware of this.


#5

That all sounds good, lets fire off some ideas later in the week :point_right: alexh.stateofus.eth


#6

Okay quick update here:

I’ve started filling out the questionnaire about where Embark could go in terms of brand identity. Please have a look here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UA8aYAtL_ULFbj5e3azmSEYVtVizP4QSAykG_szVf6g/edit#


#7

Hey, I’d love to help with adoption. Apart from throwing out tutorials whenever I can, I’d love to provide someone from the Embark team with a platform via which to acquire new users. I’m hosting a conference in December, and we’re still open for workshops - 4 or 8 hours. Come host one and build something - hands on skills and demos are best for user acquisition. Since the conf is NFT focused, how about a workshop on how to build and deploy an NFT token and trading dapp for it within 4 hours? If that’s too short a timeframe to prepare it, the DTwitter workshop would work too.


#8

Hey @Bruno,

thank you for jumping on here. This sounds like a great idea, I just fear that it’ll be hard to find someone to be available for that. I for one am already at a conference in december. Not sure how the rest of the team feels about it.

/cc @iurimatias @anthony Jonathan, @michaelb, Andre, @emizzle


#9

I’m sure we can make something happen, someone’s bound to be available.


#10

@jonathan I think you wanted to leave some notes here you’ve taken during our call yesterday.

Would you mind updating this thread here to keep everyone in the loop?


#11

Hey @PascalPrechtsorry for delay on this. Here is a recap from our call. A lot of really insightful info and thoughts. Would love to know how @iurimatias @emizzle @anthony @michaelb andre and Jonathan feel.

What is Embark? How do you want people to feel about Embark?

  • I want people to think and say that it is a very cool project. Want people to talk about it. About how it is an amazing developer tool.

  • How much they enjoy using embark

  • People should know that it goes far beyond a command line tool

  • It is a set of tons of different plugins

Audience:

  • Smart contract devs use embark to build DApps (using CLI and maybe cockpit as an extensions)

  • DApp developers (ecosystem devs - build and use plugins)

Similar Projects:

  • Angular

Different from Truffle:

  • Embark goes far beyond compiling and deploying smart contracts

  • Can enable truly decentralized applications (the entire distribution of your smart contract). We’re doing more than truffle in the fact that we enable end to end decentralized applications (not just deploying smart contracts)

  • Much more flexible than truffle (you can even integrate with ganache if you like)

  • We give you more than just smart contract development (but we need to make sure we dont come off as too overwhelming and devs can use it as much or as little as they like)

  • needs to be clear that if you only want to do smart contracts, you can do that too

  • Can think of Embark a set of building blocks that allow you build what you want

How can we encourage involvement?

  • How open is the project? How is the vibe on githbub? Are the core contributor communicating friendly to everyone involved.

  • Are they encouraging external contribution

  • Maintainers of open source project needs to make it easy for everyone involved. (how much is going on in GitHub and in the PR’s - are they very clear in instructions)

Important Elements

  • Clear Documentation

  • Many easy to use plugins

  • Show many closed issues

  • Have a lot of open issues for people to get involved (commits should be very descriptive) - do we create templates for PR’s

  • Blog

  • Release Cycles + Changelog (important for transparency)

  • Active contributors

  • Documentation (see stripe)

  • Plug-ins

  • FAQ’s

  • Templates

  • Tutorials

  • Use Cases / Case studies

Good References:

  • Vue.js - document the ecosystem very well. But it also comes with a cli to build applications.

Key Principles: (in order of importance)

  • Transparency (developers know whats going on - we need a changelog)

  • Openness

  • Privacy & Security - there is only so much we can do. We need to make sure our tools are secure (i.e authenticate process with a token). Having commits and changelog is important to verify who is committing

Other Thoughts:

  • If we dont get it right, then who will (some pressure to perform and document)

  • There will be other tools that pop-up in the future that solve different aspects of

  • Make embark as generic and flexible as possible so we can adapt to things we dont have solved in the future.

Visual Branding:

  • Rocket theme could work well. Even makes sense to think of Embark as you full space (or foreign territory exporing companion)

  • Not sure if we want to make it entirely spacey. It is still a developer tool that should feel utilitarian and EASY

  • Not overly cartoony - needs to come off as professional

  • Naming convention can be funny and cool (rely on naming convention for theme i.e cockpit). This can come int the form of Easter egg references.

[LOGO]

  • We should remove “By Status” (people know it is from status) - it ruins the logo. Be subtle in reference to Status

  • New embark rocket with green/blue. What is it? Need consistency in color pallet and typeface

  • Blue rocket seems like WIP. Like blue with green more than red rocket. (still needs some love)

  • I like the fact it is flat (simple shapes, making more complex shapes) - you can build and create other things. Would be cool if it is modular similar to Embark itself

  • like the colors

Brand Feel:

  • Embark should be fun and playful

  • Intelligent and Functional with a hint of playfulness

  • Open source project - collaborative. Anyone can contribute.

  • Stereoptype developer doesnt really care what it looks like. Other developers do care and it can set us apart from competitors

  • Make it appealing. Make it approachable.

  • I want to think this is solid, cool, well documented. Good instructions. Good support

- Active community

  • We are the good guys. Not overly competitive (not putting down our competitors). Use the tool that you need. People should organically use embark

  • Not overly competitive

Logo:

Relation to Status:

  • not restricted to Status. Just so happens that it is used in Status

  • open source community

  • embark as a project is still isolated in its own way. Not coupled to the app.

  • A gift from Status to the community

  • fund and support an alternative tools to truffle. Healthy competition

Content Ideas:

  • Bursts (short form, quick-fire video tutorials)

  • Long form tutorials

  • Courses on blockgeeks, Udemy

  • Meetups, events, demos


#12

Thanks @jonathan!

I think another information to add here is that we decided to have someone create a design based on the current (new) status website, and fine-tune the (new) rocket for an updated logo.

This will then be the short term solution until we have flesh out the branding using the new design system that @ned and @jonathan and @alexh are working on.


#13

Jumping back into this thread after having spent some time thinking through a marketing plan for 2019 as well as Q1. I think in general what we need to do in the short term is GET THE BASICS RIGHT. So ive outlined some long term goals for 2019:

  • Product Use: Embark is the go to framework for DApp developers around the world.
  • Community Activity/Growth: The growing Embark community takes an active role in building and promoting the framework
  • Brand: Embark has consistent and recognizable branding

And some more short term Q1 Goals/Tactics. All of which can be found in this doc - https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1lDoSMDPoODd77RQGyzDaXduUKxTMsb0Ba48oZYotyMY/edit#slide=id.g480250c1a4_0_0

In order to achieve this, there is some ground work to be done in the remainder of the year. Here are some proposed roles and responsibilities to accomplish this work in the coming weeks in 2019. Please holler if you can commit to some time on these:

Update Brand:
@Ned - design lead
@Alex - design
@jonathan - support/PM

Q4 deliverables - Styleguide, website wireframes and copy writing, assets for social channels

Increase Community Involvement

Q4 Deliverables: List of bounties to create , process/roles/responsibilities for handling of bounties, strategy for onboarding

Events Plan
Pull list of ethereum focused, and non-etheruem (i.e. react, clojure, angular, etc) focused events - @jonathan @Blockchain_Islander @cryptowanderer @Hutch

Q4 Deliverable - List of events (so we can start outreach to event organizers and define the involvement/content needed)

Content & Campaigns:
Define BAU content (releases, content themes for social - basically stuff to fill out content calendar) - @jonathan @Blockchain_Islander @PascalPrecht
Process for collecting content (email newsletter, social, BAU) - @jonathan @Blockchain_Islander
Design social and email templates - @Alex
Define first set of bursts - @iurimatias
Create Burst design assets (intro/outro, social asstes, YT thumbnails) - @jonathan @Alex

Q4 Deliverables - Content themes, 2 weeks worth of social content, design templates, burst content ideas (we will move into production first of the year)

Reporting:
Reporting template - @Blockchain_Islander

Rough Plan/Timeline to help keep us on track. This gets us through the end of the year before a christmas break. Lot’s to do, but with some focus we can do it! We can walk through this in the project kick off tomorrow. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gRdvtUavcTgdOgwUTlf5ZBTS1lk3VWUqjRbsfWTSeAo/edit#gid=0

I propose a 30 min weekly sync call to talk through progress and present work (Tuesdays?)

Ill add weekly goals, deliverables, tasks in this thread if that works for everyone. For example, this week, we should try to accomplish:

  1. Visual Design Exploration (visual design, positioning, tone of voice)
  2. Bounty Process (roles, responsibilities, maintenance, etc)
  3. Kick off Channel Strategy
  4. Define types of non-ethereum event/groups to target (non eth blockchain? web2.0 groups? react? angular?)
  5. Welcome email flow definition (1-2 emails max)
  6. Shortlist burst content (from list created by Iuri)

#14

Thanks for putting this together @jonathan

I have one comment to make on

Increase Community Involvement

Not sure if meant like that or just an interpretation issue on my side: This section seems to be mostly focussed on getting the community engaged through bounties etc.

I think we actually want to keep the amount of bounties rather low (@iurimatias please correct me here if I’m wrong about this), because:

a) we still have a good amount of bounties sitting in our repo for a long time that need attention
b) I believe our community involvement will be much more sustainable when we have ppl contribute that don’t do it just because there’s a bounty

As a matter of fact, we discussed this a tiny bit in a team call yesterday, we need to make sure that it’s clear that not every contribution receives a bounty. If most of our community involvement is driven by that, chances are high ppl won’t contribute in the future anymore when there’s no bounty as incentive.

So I think it’s good that we have a couple of bounties, but it shouldn’t be the main driver to get ppl involved.

Just to give an idea for an alternative , we could for example flag some issues as great “first-timer” issues. There’s a lot of people out there that would like to contribute to any OSS project but don’t know where to start. If we give them something “easy” to work on and help them getting their first PRs into the codebase, they’ll be happy to get engaged more.


#15

Great point Pascal and in the deck I propose 5 bounties per month (which I think is manageable to maintain) and also a great way to expose Embark to a new set of developers + onbaord new devs.

I am not proposing this is the only mechanism for engagement. In the deck (and outline above) I call out launching of new channels to engage in public 1:1 conversation as well as production of light weight educational content (bursts) that we can distribute and use to onboard new devs.

So in short, definitely not all about bounties and we can talk through this on the call.


#16

Follow up from kick-off:

  • Weekly Calls scheduled for Tuesday 9am ET. Lets try to keep these short (15 min check ins)
  • Please drop all WIP and thoughts in this discuss thread
  • #embark-community set up in Status. Please join that channel for conversation/coordination
  • Embark Sign up form is currently active but we are not seeing large volume of sign ups. (17 sign ups in November / ~200 sign ups all time)

#17

Thanks for the sync everyone. Here are some notes and relevant docs from the call:

BRAND:
WIP directions here: https://www.figma.com/file/G4gJNO54nR36kTdVW7NQEFtz/Embark_Brand-Identity-Guidelines?node-id=0%3A25
[TODO]:

EMAIL STRATEGY
General goals and approach to on-boarding, product releases, monthly newsletter: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19Azgul-rLbvPYZX-2fV1jg8NgpTLvifEhRKtdbxAfK4/edit
[TODO]:

POSITIONING AND LANDING PAGE CONTENT
[TODO]:

CHANNEL STRATEGY

BURSTS
List of burst content in the “bursts” tab of the project plan doc here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gRdvtUavcTgdOgwUTlf5ZBTS1lk3VWUqjRbsfWTSeAo/edit#gid=464191789
[TODO]:

  • @jonathan to create work-back schedule for content creation and assign roles and responsibilities to Embark team members

GENERAL PROJECT PLAN & TIMELINE HERE:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gRdvtUavcTgdOgwUTlf5ZBTS1lk3VWUqjRbsfWTSeAo/edit#gid=0

Catch you all next Tuesday :slight_smile:


#18

Hey All,

Ahead of tomorrows call, I had a pass at outlining the web copy needed and some information architecture.

Ive added a simple wireframe in the doc here https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1lDoSMDPoODd77RQGyzDaXduUKxTMsb0Ba48oZYotyMY/edit#slide=id.g496f2136c7_0_0

Hoping @PascalPrecht and @iurimatias can help lock down the informational copy for the landing page asap, so we can move into design.

Also in working through the information, I think a community page will be a great asset in engaging the community and onbaording new community members. We can chat about this more on the call but would love your thoughts before we start outlining the content. Have a look at as a good example of a strong open source community (shout out to @kohola for the reference) https://rasa.com/


#19

Hey @jonathan

thanks for putting this together. As mentioned on Status, I started drafting something to but didn’t get to finish it. I think your copy is a much better start anyways.

As I don’t have privilege to comment on the slide deck, I’ll leave my thoughts here:

  • Community Page - Big yes. All for that. Thanks @Kohola for bringing that to our attention.
  • Wireframe
    • Navigation

      I have mixed feelings about the “Resources”. As per draft, right now we plan to put there “Tutorials”, “Plugins” and “Templates”. I actually think that we can drop those all together for the following reasons:

      • The problem with “Templates” is that templates listed under the official branding will always be expected to be up-to-date and working. Templates at the moment are badly maintained (IMO) and I don’t think we’ll have the resources to keep those always up to date anyways in the future. We shouldn’t promote them too much, let alone put them on our start page as navigation point. I believe we’re much better off having those maintained by the community as they need them. But that’s a probably content for a different discussion.

      • First of all, “Plugins” is kind of an overloaded term. Internally, we often refer to plugins as additional extensions that can be plugged into Embark. However, other times we even consider all the different modules that make Embark, plugins as well. Which is why I often like think of Embark as an “SDK” where ppl can pick and choose what they need. But that’s for the (near) future as we aren’t there yet. To clarify, the following refers to “Plugins” as extensions to the existing tool.

        I believe “Plugins” is something I rather see documented and referred to in the official documentation where it makes sense. I guess it’d be good to put a small plugins “Section” on the landing page but I wouldn’t necessarily put them in the main navigation. Similar to “Templates” I believe we should have the community create and maintain the plugins they need and reduce the number of plugins we officially support to just a handful. Considering that, it probably isn’t enough “content” to put that in the navigation anyways. We’re prolly better off linking to the plugins documentation from the landing page.

      • With the above in mind “Tutorials” would be the only point left. Since we don’t have a ton of those either at the moment, I’d even consider dropping this one until we have more content. Another option would be to have a link to our “Quickstart” instead.

      We might want to consider having “Docs” as a dropdown instead, which expands to “Guides” and “API Reference”. Both are needed, the latter doesn’t exist yet AFAIK.

    • Content
      As mentioned above, when it comes to Embark’s pick-and-choose philosophy, we’re not entirely there yet. Which means the section on “Modular by design” is true but not so much for developers yet. We might want to put a “Coming Soon” badge or something there. That enables us to tease the modularity without promising something that doesn’t exist yet.

      I really like the section for Cockpit. As mentioned in one of our calls, we still need to clarify whether we want Cockpit to come with Embark and make it truly a feature of Embark, so it can be promoted accordingly on the website, or if Cockpit is really “just” going to be the hosted web interface that developers can connect to. In the latter case, it’s no longer a feature of Embark and should be communicated accordingly.

      Once we have an official confirmation that certain organizations in the web3 space use Embark, we should totally ask them if we can put their logo on our website in a “trusted by friends” section.

Hope all this makes sense. We can discuss this further in the upcoming call.


#20

Hey All,

Thanks again for the sync and sorry for the abrupt end. Any other comments, feel free to coordinate async here in this thread. Some notes and next steps:

Brand/Design: - @alex - can you share out your variations on logo/color in this thread?

  • Alex to continue exploring logo variations and color combinations. Lets try to have a final logo direction and color palette by next check in so we can move forward with web design.
  • Also - what illustrative style do we want to move on? If we all like the option in the figma file, lets reach out to the illustrator for availability and rates.
  • Are there any thoughts on typography?
  • @Ned - to give a review of brand design work

Bounty Definition:

  • @PascalPrecht @iurimatias can you guys have a think about what some begginner, intermediate, advanced bounties would look like?
  • Lets aim to have them identified, scoped ahead of Jan 1
  • Lets aim for 5 - 6 bounties per month (a number that should be manageable for the team)

Web Content:

  • @jonathan to have a second pass at IA & wireframes based on pascal feedback
  • @iurimatias will be good to get your thoughts on the next round
  • @jonathan to perform same exercise/wires for community page

Embark Social:

  • @Blockchain_Islander - please continue to refine role of each channel
  • Ive started a simple funnel for 2 main user journeys. Lets have a chat through these and identify content needs at each stage in the funnel (simple content gap analysis)
  • Lets identify content themes, and content needs by next Tuesday check in (i imagine there is a good amount we need to produce)

Event Strategy:

  • @jonathan to identify 1 eth and 1 non eth meetup to attend in Jan.
  • @jonathan to think about materials needed (i.e. presentation slides)

Bursts:

  • @iurimatias @PascalPrecht @metamorph.io can you guys have a look at the list of potential bursts in the project doc here
  • We should assign owners to 2 per person this week. These may take a bit of time to produce but if we split the work it will be manageable.
  • Can you guys commit to outlines and scripts produced next week and then we film the following?
  • These will be really important as part of the content strategy.

Thanks again everyone.
Project Plan and Docs - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gRdvtUavcTgdOgwUTlf5ZBTS1lk3VWUqjRbsfWTSeAo/edit#gid=0
Marketing Plan - https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1lDoSMDPoODd77RQGyzDaXduUKxTMsb0Ba48oZYotyMY/edit#slide=id.g4829d108f8_4_34

-Jonny