CC Website Changes

John Wilbanks, January 7th, 2011

If you watch our website carefully, you’ll notice a few changes today. Some of those changes are small, and some are fairly significant, and we’ll be making more changes later in 2011.

We’re making these changes because we’ve received feedback — from our community of users, friends, supporters, and more — that the current set of web properties we have here at Creative Commons isn’t working as well as it could. Our websites have always emphasized using Creative Commons tools, or finding Creative Commons-licensed works. But we haven’t always made it easy to understand exactly how we are making possible the full potential of the internet via open licensing.

Today’s changes mark the first step towards fixing that problem.

The first change you’ll notice is that we’re putting learning about CC into a featured spot on the home page, right next to where you can choose a license for your works.

Another change is that we are making it easy to see that we work across culture, education, and science, instead of putting those as links in a sidebar or even onto different domains, as we have done in the past with education and science. On each of those pages, we put in a “carousel” of users and implementations that draw on our growing repository of CC case studies. All of our work is global across all three domains, so we’ve also updated and prominently feature our international affiliates network page.

Regarding science, we’re redirecting the old Science Commons front page to This is part of our comprehensive integration of science into the core of Creative Commons — on a par with culture and education. We’re still figuring out exactly how to migrate all of the content inside the domain, so for now we’re leaving that content up and linking to it from the new page.

We made it easier to find and learn about the licenses themselves, and we made our vision and mission explicit on the About Creative Commons page.

Last, we put a “fat footer” into place at the bottom, so that visitors and experienced CC users could rapidly access key parts of the site without having to dig around and click around in a site map.

This is just the beginning of the process. We’re working on a much more complete site redesign as part of our strategic plan for 2011, but we wanted to get these fixes implemented immediately. For those of you following CC’s progress over the long term, note that our previous significant website refresh came nearly two years ago. We will be tracking the impact of the changes through our website analytics, and we welcome feedback on how you use the site, what you’d like to see, and how you think we can make our website more effective throughout the course of the year.

3 Responses to “CC Website Changes”

  1. Mike Conway says:

    I notice that your licensing page is lacking in some of your other licenses, especially the Sampling Plus licenses. In the past, you’ve “retired” licenses with the rationale that “no one’s using them.” At the same time, you don’t put them on the same page as your main licenses so people can see them as another licensing option. So, would it be possible for you to add them to the licensing page so people can see them and potentially use them (and also use them with the machine readable code)?

  2. This is so much better! Great work!

    I’m not too sure about the main blurb (beneath Share, Remix, Reuse — Legally), though. It is a bit hard to read, and I don’t think people who aren’t already interested will get anything out of it. I had to read it twice to understand it properly myself. IMHO it should read more like an elevator pitch telling visitors what CC licenses is and why to use it.

    The about page also needs some work. I think the text that is there now is good (admittedly I haven’t read it all, I don’t have time right now), but there should also be easier access to very simple info on what CC licenses is, why you should use it on your own work, etc. The very basics that people who have no idea what CC licenses are would first be interested in.

    I’ve sometimes come to your website to find what I can tell someone asking what CC is, so that I wouldn’t have to type it out everytime, and so that I could be sure to get all the most important points. But I have not found those few human readable, super simple lines I’ve been looking for.

    I might just not have looked far enough, but my thinking is that most people won’t be looking too far either, so it needs to be at the very top. Then the little more complex and explanatory text can come a bit further down.

    Well, hope this can be of some help.. :)

    PS: I love that you have a “share on” button here. Keep it up!

    PPS: Can I add a donation when I check out from the store? If not, I should. :)

  3. Mike,

    [NC-]Sampling+ hasn’t been featured on the /licenses and similar pages (which were folded into /licenses with this refresh). They aren’t retired yet out of respect for one significant community that is using Sampling+ — They will be launching a v2 of the site with CC0, BY, and BY-NC as the license options (IIRC), at which point we’ll formally retire the sampling+ licenses. The organization (that is CC) has learned some things since the development of the sampling licenses, namely the importance of an easy to understand suite of tools, a minimum common set of permissions, and most strongly, interoperability. These are all pretty strongly interrelated. Sampling+ is both difficult to understand (few people remember that it permits commercial remix, but not commercial verbatim use) and not interoperable with the main CC licenses (although it allows commercial remix, it prohibits promotional use except for promotion of the work itself, which is probably more restrictive around promotion than our NC licenses are–also confusing).


    We’re trying putting our operational mission (and on top of the about page, broader vision we’re working toward) front and center — it’s the mission that helps us make decisions day to day, and strategically, eg not emphasizing and soon retiring sampling+. :) Maybe it is good enough to have those on the website (they weren’t at all previously, just our internal staff wiki and various board reports) somewhere, but not so prominent. If you or anyone reading have suggestions for brief language on front page or longer for about page or similar, please make them, anytime!

    Thanks for both your comments,