PIVX-Reboot

This page contains an ongoing list of ideas behind the work we’re doing on the PIVX site. It also concluded with some thoughts about why we’d be a better choice than an agency.

Visual design

  • We need to break away from the cookie cutter template that exists today, and go for something that PIVX can own. (Backstory: The current site is built on a popular WordPress theme called DIVI. To see how common the PIVX layout is, just google “DIVI websites”)
  • In general, we should to make the design reflect what the PIVX community actually aspire to be: friendly, inclusive, etc. The current purple-black, goth feel doesn’t reflect this. It’s in this dimension that it’s OK to deviate from any current brand guidelines.
  • Making the design less graphic heavy will allow a broader scope of people to be involved in its maintenance. A lot can be done with thoughtful use of CSS shapes.

Technical

  • It would be hard to overstate what a poor choice WordPress would be for PIVX. The website needs to be thought of as a technology component of the project, that’s capable of serving many purposes, from marketing, to interfacing with blockchain for proposal voting, to details like proving an RSS feed just for wallet release versions. You need the site built on a technology platform, not a blogging platform. We’ve been building web-based for two decades, from bespoke Ruby on Rails applications, to WordPress sites, to (now) a number of CraftCMS site—so we have first hand experience of the trade-offs involved and which technology maps to a given context.

  • It should be built on a CMS that provides for professional content management.

Content

  • Needs to strike a balance between easy enough of novices while allowing depth for those interested.
  • Needs way better organization and copywriting than what’s currently in place.
  • Copywriting is a form of design. It’s of fundamental importance. Every word.
  • Better addressing of specific use cases. For example, it should be possible for the project to make an important announcement, without taking over the whole home page. (A friend who I recently sent to the PIVX website came away thinking there was a crisis, as the home page was dominated with “IMPORTANT 3.0.1.2 MUST UPDATE NOW!” message.)

Why us?

  • If the project is given to an agency, the staff to whom it is assigned will have come from a previous project, will do the PIVX project, and then move on to the next. Ideally, you want a team that cares. I’ve been invested in PIVX for a long time, have contributed to the Discord for a while, and am doing this because I believe there’s no objective reason for a $1.5B market cap gap to DASH.
  • For a project like PIVX, the website needs to be thought of as a core technical component of the overall project, as opposed to a marketing tool. This is not the context for an agency, but rather the context of a product team who are invested enough in the project to stick around, and that’s what we are.
  • A few examples:
    • Over a period of 18 years, we designed and built an entire suite of public facing and internal facing web and mobile products for what grew to become the world’s fourth largest event promoter, who were acquired by Live Nation.
    • A Berkeley, California entrepreneur (who had sold their company to Salesforce), hired us to build a consumer platform in the environmental space, with the aim of acquiring 1 million users in its first year. We designed, built and operated that platform, and signed up more than 1 million users in the first, at which point a non-profit was formed and the project was handed over to them.
    • A California educational non-profit hired us to build a platform allowing US high school students to communicate concerns to the candidates of the Bush/Obama presidential campaign. We evolved the platform to later support the Trump/Clinton campaign. With demand from other non-profits, we created a meta-platform capable of creating and operating any number of platform-instances.
    • For Google’s Product Marketing department, we designed, developed and operated a game that allowed two flights of gamers and journalists (SF → LA and LA → SF) to compete against each other in mid-air. The branding and tech requirements were extremely demanding. Ogilvy & Mather later referred to the product as, “a glimpse into the future of marketing”.

The point of all this is that none of these type projects are done by “agencies”. They are done by product teams that are capable of deeply integrating design and technology, and are engaged enough to have aligned objectives.

You won’t find an agency who’s engaged enough to consider what experience could make being a masternode owner great (something DASH has done quite well). Most agencies won’t push back hard against the suggestion to use WordPress, arguing that for a project like PIVX, the website should be thought of as a tech component of the project. Most agencies won’t have been involved enough in the PIVX Discord to recognize the need to surface new content in the site as a result of having seen the same questions asked over and over.

In our case, I’m invested in PIVX at a level of operating two masternodes, and will invest considerably further if we get more deeply involved. My interest in seeing PIVX bridge the market gap to DASH. I recognize that my team can materially contribute to that in terms of (1) the website, and (2) the design of the wallet experience.

Going forward…

From Steve Jobs, we know that what’s left out is more important to a product’s success than what we say yes to. The discipline is in saying “no”. 37signals and Basecamp furthered this idea, by arguing that a change to a web-app has to sit on the shelf, getting nowhere near the product, until it has without question justified its existence.

As we go through the existing website, we’re getting a feeling that a dynamic is in play that’s typically found in corporations — i.e. that if there’s a budget for “website maintenance”, it will get spent, in updating the website. I’m not sure how to solve that, but once PIVX 2.0 tightly nails the uses cases for which it’s designed, we have to find a way to avoid incentives to change the site only for the sake of changing it.