Mastodon, the decentralised, free, open, and interoperable alternative to Twitter, has been around for just over a year, and its design is a gradual and iterative process. However, the Mastodon landing page at joinmastodon.org has a very different goal: explaining Mastodon. As Eugen Rochko, the creator of Mastodon says: “It needs to be the kind of page anyone could send to their friend to introduce them to the idea.” As people can install their own Mastodon instance on their own server, the page has to be sufficiently distinct from the About page of each instance to prevent confusion about what’s the software and what’s the server. The page is an entirely static website, built using the create-react-app from React.
Eugen commissions the illustrations for empty spaces in the UI, as it’s nice to see a cute elephant once in a while. “When there are server issues, I am less upset about it when I know people get to see the elephant,” he says.
“Mastodon stands in stark contrast to Twitter as a shining example of ethical design” Aral Balkan, ind.ie
site of the Month