Standardizing Templates

16 June 2015

In the past, we offered only a handful of templates to use with Barley. Why so few? Well, for a number of reasons, perhaps all stemming from a shift we made shortly after Barley’s launch. 

Our video and demos really resonated with web designers and developers, which caught us a little off-guard. Our initial concept was to offer the layman a dead simple way to update their website—to lower the barrier for the non tech-savvy and get more people and their businesses online. The problem is that educating and, ultimately, selling to this market takes a ton of effort, time, and money. Selling to those within our own industry seemed much easier. Once they saw Barley in action, they knew what it was. They were already making websites so we simply had to be a better option than the alternative. With the typical, non-hacker-news-reading human, we would have to sell them on the benefits of actually having a website (amazingly, there is still some resistance), then our specific platform. 

We thought that we would cut down on support requests by having a customer base of developers. We thought that every developer that we signed up could mean potentially 5-20 sites within a year or two. Plus, nearly everyone we talked to was looking for something new, something simple. We thought we could be that solution.

So, our messaging and philosophy gravitated towards Barley being the solution for freelance designers and small agencies. Our template offering became more of a set of examples for those developing their own, rather than a finite solution for end users. 

With the rebirth of Barley, we’re shifting the focus back to the technically-limited small business owner. We’ll design the solutions, rather than rely on a middle man. Our platform features and editing experience will be optimized to our templates, shedding the burden of needing to play nicely with everyone’s markup. Our constraints will now be clear and mostly self-imposed, which is empowering. 

We’re revamping our current templates to make them much more user-friendly and will be adding many new ones as well. We plan on offering a few basic options for each template, including font pairings, basic color schemes, etc.

Keeping the templates in-house will allow us to more easily maintain, improve and support each one, resulting in a better offering for our target customers. We can standardize the visual language of each template, the underlying structure, and the build process, making it much quicker and easier for us to create new ones. We’re really looking forward to that.

A peek at a newer version of or Sequoia template (previously on dribbble), which has been sitting on the shelf for a while but will soon be available:

Early shot of a new Cypress template concept:

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