Talk:Jennyn/front page

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Initial Comments

  • Johncumbers 00:28, 24 July 2006 (EDT): Hey Jenny, nice layout, I really like the list of labs though, even as it grows, I think it shows people that they are part of something much bigger.
  • Sri Kosuri 12:06, 24 July 2006 (EDT): I like it too. It solves the problems with the labs with minimal links on the front page. Some comments if something like this were to go up. Make the Main page toolbar bigger... (maybe also add community portal there). Combine toolbar with image on template and add it too all the subgroup pages. Maybe also an informational block explaining what each thing on the toolbar is. I just think that is the strongest aspect of OpenWetWare, and it should be highlighted a little more.
  • Jennyn 11:51, 25 July 2006 (EDT): Added: logo into toolbar template, community portal link. I have made the font larger. Is there a way that we can have a mouse-over call-out box appear for links?

Front Page Makeover Discussion

Please proceed each comment with *'''~~~~''': to help keep track of discussion.

  • Nkuldell 16:17, 27 July 2006 (EDT):I think the trimmed front page is a big improvement but I miss some statement about what OWW is. Wikipedia has a short tag line that gives first timer visitors some idea of what they are looking at.
    • Jennyn 16:21, 27 July 2006 (EDT): I've added the statement about OWW. The blue divider is a bit bold, but that can be changed later.
  • BC 16:19, 27 July 2006 (EDT):I like the idea of stripping down the main page and think this is a good start. However, I wonder if it makes sense that each of the "boxes" on the new main page are news/highlights of one sort or another. Its not really clear how they are different or why they are separated. One suggestion would be to go to an even more minimalist design. For example, the 37 signals webpage could be used as a model with each of their products replaced by an icon for Getting Started, Labs, Groups, Resources etc. Then there could be one news section below that. Either way, I like the start you've made Jenny!
    • Jennyn 16:24, 27 July 2006 (EDT): Those are so cute! I will try that icon suggestion, and then try the news combined below it.
  • Ilya 16:30, 27 July 2006 (EDT): This is nice but I think that the OWW logo is too big at 969px across. Not everyone has a 1024x768 and higher screen res and those who do often don't run the browser maximized to full-screen. Having a horizontal scroll bar is annoying. I suggest that the banner should not be wider than 600px.
    • Jennyn 21:01, 27 July 2006 (EDT): I optimized it for 800x600 res, and it looks really tiny on 1024x768+. Our current front page has a 820px banner, does that work OK? Anyway, if the majority of the users like this size, we can keep it this way, or we can change the way the modules are in general and have them adjust to screensize and not be static sizes.
  • Jasonk 16:35, 27 July 2006 (EDT): I like this cleaned up version much better in general, nice work. Couple comments:
    1. I'd like to see the protocols(definitely) and materials(probably) on the front page so that new people on the site know that the shared pages exist and they should contribute.
    2. I'd like to know what links people are clicking on the front page before we remove something that's very popular. This would require more sophisticated site analytics software.
  • Kathleen 12:17, 31 July 2006 (EDT): In line with Jason, I'd like to see the entire Resources and Community sections remain on the front page for now to give new users a better idea of what they can find on the site and how they can contribute to the community.
    • Reshma 20:56, 31 July 2006 (EDT): I agree.
  • Johncumbers 20:50, 31 July 2006 (EDT): Hey Jenny, I really like having the labs list on the main page for a little longer. Whilst it is growing I think it is important to make people see what they are becoming part of. Have you thought if there is a way you could include it still or is it just too big? could you have one huge show hide with a number next to it maybe? lab (84) -show e.g.
In other news, we have permission to use some cool photos from these people on flickr, as long as we link back to them..
I'm working on a thing that could display a random image on the front page, so if you wanted to include one or more of these in the new design (and have it rotating each load) add one in and I'll do the rotate thing later in the week. cheers, John
  • Jennyn 21:41, 31 July 2006 (EDT): Taking all of this into consideration, we will end up keeping the same text-heavy front-page that we have. Personally, I don't think that moving these pages to a navigation bar will hinder people from feeling like they are part of the community. Most websites are structured this way, and it hasn't hindered people from clicking and exploring. If anything, I would think that a front page jam-packed with information would hinder someone from exploring. As long as the website is arranged like "frames," people will be able to see the same navigation bar throughout all of the pages, and therefore shouldn't be hesitant to click away and explore the website.

    We should take action early. If we need to see what links are clicked on most, we should obtain the software immediately to find out that information before we start accumulating many users and affect a larger population with the website change. What may happen is that if we keep the front page with all of the information, new users will become VERY used to the location of where links are located when they visit the site, and will be even more hesitant to changing the front page.

    One possible way to abridge the Labs is to sort them into categories rather than institution. On another page, we can arrange them by location, and then another page arrange them by institution (if we had a program where we could enter keywords to sort these automatically (categories?) that would work, also. Incorporating all the resources and community links on the front page is still just keeping a lot of text on the page.

    At the SC meeting, we discussed that we want to change the front page to have more images, much less text, and would resemble more of an "advertisement" than what it currently is -- lists of information. If we keep Resources, Community, Labs, Protocols, and Materials, well we're simply back to square one and haven't progressed.

    One thing we should think about is:
    1. Do we want OWW to be a book (a cover, then contents inside)? or
    2. Do we want OWW to be the classified ads of a newspaper (all the information on one page)?

    Knowing the answer to this, we can determine whether changing our front page would be a good idea or not.
  • Devin 22:29, 31 July 2006 (EDT): Jenny, I think this looks awesome. I like the move away from lots of text very much. I would say that there are two main things that are awkward right now. The first is the duplication of the double helix logo. I think that on the current main page having them differently sized relieves the tension somewhat, but on the new page they are too close to being the same size. But it would be best to have only one. Incidentally, I also feel that the front page should shed the wiki sidebar since a lot of the links are now also duplicated here--this takes care of the logo duplication at the same time. The second, smaller point, is that the news highlights and videos are sort of floating in the middle of the colored fields. They should either fill out the space or not be centered. Slate has a rather nice new redesign. The layout is similar to OWW but it makes much better use of repeated colors and motifs to organize the space. Strong hierarchy and flexible content, but it all hangs together nicely.
  • Kathleen 23:17, 31 July 2006 (EDT): Check this out as a general outline. It looks quite bad right now because I just cut and pasted some stuff. I would imagine something like Jenny's current layout in the center flanked by the Community and Resources sections. Slims things down a bit without losing the community aspects of the site from the main page. It should all fit without scrolling and will give people some idea as to what to expect from the site and how they can contribute to the community. Just my two cents. Feel free to hate it.
  • Smeister 05:16, 1 August 2006 (EDT): Jenny, it good, me like, keep it up. One thing, though: I think the navigation bar does not stick out enough. The first time I saw the page it took me quite a few seconds to find it - now maybe I'm just a bit slow but I knew what I was looking for and still had trouble. A bigger font would maybe help, but I guess then you run into space issues. Alternatively, you could add the navigation links to the center (where the 'Highlights' really are highlighted now) or better yet: to the bottom of the page.
  • Reshma 08:59, 1 August 2006 (EDT): So if we are going with the book cover model that Jenny describes above, then I think Devin is right and we should drop the sidebar and just go for a static page. This would give us more screen space to play with and free up design of the page to be closer to what Slate (Devin) or 37 signals webpage (Barry). I personally prefer the 37 signals icon bar but I think we may have more items than such a navigation bar would permit. Maybe do a table with each entry the approximate size of the basecamp boxes. Some slots would be highlights and some slots for "Getting started", "Labs", "Groups" ... "Community portal" etc. Now all this being said, I am still not convinced that the book cover model is preferable to the "classified ads" model.
  • Jennyn 10:13, 1 August 2006 (EDT): I also agree that if we do use the Book Cover model, we would have to make some changes to format of the wiki.
    1. We should change our wiki to the more typical website format (i.e. Python wiki or linux questions or atom project rather than the Wikipedia format).
    2. We can replace the left navbar with a horizontal one in the form of frames to give more space to work with (to address Ilya's issue about resolution).
    3. We can use more icons in place to text (addressing Barry's 37signals webpage suggestion). If icons replace the text, it wouldn't seem so text-heavy to have more text in the body rather than replacing the entire website with highlight icons, pictures of the week, and videos of the month.
    4. To address Devin's suggestion about the emblem duplicate, we can fade the color of the top-left-corner emblem into the background to keep it from standing out too much from the front page emblem with logo.
This may be a good way to compromise the Book Cover and Classified Ads models. At least for now.
  • Devin 22:26, 1 August 2006 (EDT): I think there are a lot of good things about the websites mentioned, they are generally simple, efficient designs. However, they all have a certain single-mindedness about them. 37 Signals, in particular, boils down to one thing--selling a handful of software packages. In this, it does the absolute minimum to distinguish among the five packages, making the icons visually very similar. The layout is also flabby, lots of space that doesn't really do anything visually. The others, Python, Linux, and Atom, all have these problems to some degree. The Slate front page is, in contrast, quite busy. However, OWW has more in common with Slate than with the others in that there are multiple layers of engagement that the user must navigate. Also, Slate and OWW both update some content quite frequently while keeping other content static, and have to have designs that accomodate both needs. Even the other wikis mentioned do not do a satisfactory job here. Another site that I happen to frequent, UChicago does better, and is much less busy than Slate. You can see how there are the hierarchies of usage, the changing and static content, and, importantly, how the composition leads the eye all around the page. A distinction between Slate and UChicago is vertical scrolling. UChicago, which is meant to get you to other sub-pages, is nearly contained in one vertical frame. Slate is meant to have everything on one page. It has a contained top frame, but invites you to scroll down. At least on my screen there is another frame of highlights, then there is the comprehensive list of stories. Another way to think about these issues is that Slate and UChicago are two-dimensional designs, while a lot of the others are one-dimensional. As with gels, if you have a lot of stuff it is better to resolve it in two dimensions.
  • Devin 10:21, 2 August 2006 (EDT): Sorry, one more comment. The current OWW Main Page and Jenny's new page are both much more interesting and functional designs than 37 Signals, Python, Linux, and Atom, as well as most wikis. Mainly for the reasons I outlined above. Good work everyone!

Final Comments for Front Page

Please proceed each comment with *'''~~~~''': to help keep track of discussion.

  • Jennyn 00:37, 17 August 2006 (EDT): This front page is updated with the current front page. As said in the last SC meeting, majority agree that this is "go" with minor wrinkles to iron out. Please make any comments.
Some things to keep in mind for new front page.
  • Left emblem will be faded into background for distinction of logo/emblem on front page.
  • To return to Main page on new front page, either click emblem or logo.
  • All modules on current front page are posted on navigation bar (adding Community Portal and Getting Started).
  • Left navigation bar can be personalized to reduce redundancy and increase easy usability.
  • This looks so much better than the current front page (I can say that because I designed that, too). Smiley.gif
  • Reshma 09:14, 17 August 2006 (EDT): Overall I like it. Just a few comments.
    • The widths of the navigation bar and logo aren't matching up on my browser (Firefox on a mac).
    • Do we want very small icons next to the items on the navigation bar (similar to what we have on the default sidebar)? Or would this be too cluttered?
    • What about making the default logged-in sidebar minimal and adding a customize link to it? We were going to keep the not-logged-in sidebar more complete (as it is now).
    • Do we need the underline on the links on the navigation bar? It kind of looks messier to me.
    • One thing that was suggested on the iGEM wiki is that if we could set things up such that every time you visit the page, there is a different highlight/picture, that might be cool. I am not sure how hard this is to implement (Randy was going to look into it). For the iGEM wiki it would enable rotation of team pictures. For OWW, it might mean rotation of highlights/pictures/videos.
  • Jennyn: Addressing the comments:
  • I adjusted the logo and navigation size to match.
  • I think small icons would be too cluttered (and we're out of space on the nagivation bar to implement this unless we decrease font size). A possible idea would be to replace text with icons, where mouse-roll-over would reveal link location --could be too complicated to follow for users.
  • Yes, the sidebar will be customizable.
  • I like it better without underlining the links. I haven't seen any websites that have underlined links on a navigation bar. Could be wrong??
  • John Cumbers is looking into image rotation on the front page. Pretty sure that can be implemented after the launch of the page.
  • BC 10:01, 17 August 2006 (EDT): Should we rename "Community" as "About" and "Portal" as "Community". I think those names might be more informative.
    • Should we also replace the first sentence of the introductory paragraph to match the draft mission statement from the retreat?
  • Jennyn: Renaming done! I think changing it to our mission statement would be a great idea. I will change it, and if there are any thoughts against it, we can change it back.
  • Jennyn: Another random thought: How cool would that be if we rewarded the host of the Image of the Week with an OpenWetWare...something, like t-shirt? This might bring more interest to OpenWetWare, AND to have really cool pictures hosted!
  • BC 10:33, 17 August 2006 (EDT): I would like to raise the issue of where one's attention is drawn on the main page. Right now, I get drawn to the news/picture/video highlights. Its only later that I see the navigation bar. I think the navigation bar is by far the most important thing on the main page and could benefit from further highlighting. I also think that if the news/picture/video highlights are going to be given prime location on the page that we might want to direct them more towards the content of the site (protocols, labs etc.) and less towards community news (birthdays, elections etc.). That might also reduce the burden on John to come up with news stories. For example, there could be a section that says - 100 new accounts this month, 4 new lab webpages started, 5 new protocols contributed or something to that effect. This could replace the video of the month highlight, at least until we have a steady stream of videos.
    • I still think the new front page is a big improvement on the old front page so I'm cool with switching over now and readdressing the issues I mention above on a later evolution of the page.
  • Sri Kosuri 12:34, 17 August 2006 (EDT): I kind of feel weird about having a picture on the front page that is not a reflection of OWW. It's a Flicker page that doesn't really reflect the users/content/mission of OWW (unlike the video). I'd much rather see a protocol of the week or something of the sort there.
    • Reshma 12:38, 17 August 2006 (EDT): Agreed.
    • Kathleen 13:43, 17 August 2006 (EDT): Me too!
    • Jasonk 13:57, 17 August 2006 (EDT): Agreed, I think the picture should go. We have a lot of 'meaty' stuff on OWW (e.g. labs using the site to share information you can't find published elsewhere) - we should make an effort to highlight that information rather than stuff that other sites (e.g. flikr, science tag) do better.
  • Sean 12:36, 17 August 2006 (EDT): I miss the list of labs on the front page. This has been touched upon in the discussion, but I think it's important to see the context of the front page at the same time as the list of labs, and having to navigate a layer deep to get to any one of courses, labs, etc. takes away from the effect of the home page. It looks simpler, but it's almost too simple to make an impression on someone visiting for the first time. Different for those of us who arrive knowing we want to look for a particular lab or protocol.
    • Smeister 12:50, 17 August 2006 (EDT) No, really, the lablist has to go - it's nice to see your lab up there on the front page and makes you feel like you belong, but it's simply too bulky for the front page and it will just get worse with time.
  • Reshma 12:46, 17 August 2006 (EDT): A few more comments.
    • The width of the lab, protocols and materials pages now don't seem to match up to the width of the logo and the navigation bar. Just wanted to point this out so that it gets fixed when things are settled.
    • Also, I prefer the "OWW Protocols" logo on the Protocols page rather than the general OWW logo. Same goes for materials.
    • I like the new mission statement but actually think the old explanation on the front page was preferable. It's a lot more modest and inviting (in my opinion).
  • Kathleen 13:43, 17 August 2006 (EDT): I'll just bring up one last time my (unpopular) opinion that I think we should keep the full Community and Resources sections on the front page, as these are areas that are (hopefully) used by and edited by the entire community. These sections really help new users to see what the benefits are of being part of this community instead of just starting their own lab or university wiki. The other current front page sections are more lab/institution-specific and belong at least one layer below the front page. These are also sections of OWW that could operate independently, unlike the intent of the Community and Resources sections.
  • Maureen 15:38, 17 August 2006 (EDT) : I liked a previous suggestion of having a link to "Newest Labs on OWW" --it sounds welcoming. Or maybe "Welcome to new labs on OWW"
  • '--Johncumbers 16:10, 17 August 2006 (EDT)' I agree, the image and or video look a little strange on the new main page design. But having some images on the front page would look nice I think. I'll work on the highlights and see if I can encorporate it. please contact me via my talk page if you also want to work on the highlights.
  • Jennyn: I was trying to incorporate as much input as possible, however was drawn to the comment about where the attention goes when visiting the site. At the moment, I'd like to explore a layout that will bring more attention to the navigation bar, and have the image/video sections be secondary. I think that we should definitely merge the "Image of the Week" and "Video of the Month" together and have them alternate however_so_we_choose. The other side, can display info stats about OWW. So we have a nice compromise of image and text. A VERY VERY rough draft is posted here on front page2. Please check it out, and keep in mind that it will be undergoing dramatic changes within the next few days, and does not reflect the description above yet.