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Re: New website -- what do we lack?

From: Julian Foad <julian.foad_at_wandisco.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010 16:34:54 +0000

On Fri, 2010-01-22, C. Michael Pilato wrote:
> Julian Foad wrote:
> > I've been thinking about how to make entry easy for both newcomers and
> > regulars. Here's the resulting ideas.
> >
> >
> > * On the main page:
> >
> > Let's tell the visitor...
> >
> > - what the project is (and what it is not).
> >
> > - what this web site is, and why I should want to be here: who it is
> > aimed at, what I should expect to find here, and what I should look
> > elsewhere for.
> >
> > - what each main section in the nav pane is about. As a first-time or
> > infrequent visitor, I want an overview of the web site content so I can
> > then use the nav menu to quickly find my way to the main sections that
> > I've read about here, and not have to study the nav menu and guess
> > exactly what each link means in order to decide where to go. In
> > particular, each of the "Getting Subversion" and "Community" headings
> > needs an overview before a first-time visitor is ready to follow a
> > sub-heading link. I think each overview should be in a section on the
> > main page, but it could alternatively be in a separate page. Either way,
> > the heading should link to it.
>
> There are a few ways to approach this:
>
> The first is to leave the top-level menu items as non-links, and use the
> home page to describe those sections so folks know what to click. The
> benefit here is that a visitor to our homepage has access to the site layout
> knowledge before even having to make a decision about which top-level menu
> item to pick.

Yup...

> The downside is that this only applies to folks that land on
> the homepage itself.

But that down-side goes away if, instead of them being non-links, we
make them links to those sections of the home page.

> The other option is to make those top-level menu items point to general
> overview landing pages. But if that means maintaining redundant links in
> the landing page to each of the sub-pages, that's annoying. It smacks a bit
> of unnecessary verbosity (which is a sin of our previous site that I'd like
> to repent of).

Each nav-bar link would appear also in the overview text. Although
that's technically "redundant", I think that's good style*, as long as
we decide whether the nav menu or the text is regarded as the canonical
and complete version.

[* I mean it sounds like a good idea, now I think about it.]
 
> We could have a dedicated "Site Overview" page.

Yup, very similar to if these sections appeared on the home page.

> Finally, we could make use of title="" attributes (or some other
> pause-then-popup mechanism) on our left-nav links as tooltips for navigation
> hints.

I think those are very helpful if we can find something of the right
sort of length to say about each entry, in addition to full prose
descriptions.

> I've not yet formed an opinion about what I like best.
>
> > - Some status updates, such as the News section; I don't mind this
> > being at the top, but it shouldn't be the only thing on the main page.
>
> In the light of the length of the additions to the front page, should the
> News section be it's own page? I kinda think so.

I'm not a fan of news taking a large and prominent place on a home page,
but it's often regarded as an important item. The best thing would be a
small pane near the top of the home page showing approx the 2 most
recent news items, with a "More..." link to the full news page.

> > So, something like (and I've put this in what I think is a good
> > ordering):
>
> I've not reviewed in full, but in general, I like where you're going with this.

Thanks.

BTW (as I mentioned privately) I'm not intending to actually DO any of
this, goodness me, no. You look like you're having fun, so please carry
on and take what you like from my ideas.

- Julian
Received on 2010-01-26 17:35:37 CET

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