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Creative Commons Launches

21 Oct 2004

A couple months ago, Matt Haughey dropped by the Adaptive Path offices and asked us for help with Creative Commons site. They had just started work on a great new promotion with Wired Magazine, including a CC-licensed compact disc in every issue going out to subscribers. Big names, too, including David Byrne and the Beastie Boys.

We jumped at the chance, of course, since we’re big supporters of their effort to provide flexibility within the often overly-restrictive copyright law. The project was interesting from an audience point-of-view, as well. The Creative Commons site as historically been a site for copyright lawyers and policy wonks, but with a unique blend of artists looking to license their work. And with the Wired publicity, the audience would broaden even more.

So we did one of my favorite design techniques: we stripped absolutely everything away, and started putting them back on the page one-by-one. With each element, we spent time justifying it’s existence through discussions with the executives at CC and our own experience. It was a painful process – a site of any age builds up cruft based on organization culture – but in the end, well worth it.

A round of usability testing yielded even further tweaks, as well as a some startling observations. Case in point: nearly every user asked “This sounds great, how much does it cost?” Changing the tag-line to include the word “nonprofit” instantly realigned new users’ expectations with the organizations goals.

Finally, Matt commissioned Doug Bowman of stopdesign for new icons. The two graphics on the home page are his handiwork.

Have a look, and let us know what you think in the comments.

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