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From Miles Fidelman <>
Subject Re: website & jira
Date Tue, 17 Apr 2012 20:36:24 GMT
Noah Slater wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 3:27 PM, Miles Fidelman
> <>wrote:
>> With all due respect and appreciation for your efforts.... marketing is
>> one thing, utility is another.  While there's value to marketing, (IMHO)
>> utility counts more.  We're not talking about a magazine ad, we're talking
>> about a web site that people have taken some effort to find and go to -
>> they're (we're) looking for information - if the information isn't there,
>> it doesn't matter how pretty the site is.
> I've been building websites for clients for the best part of a decade, so I
> assure you that I understand your points here. ;) When I said "a marketing
> site" I meant that it's primary purpose is to market CouchDB to new users.
> Not that we should think of it as a print ad. Trust me, I have worked with
> people who do think about websites like this, and I know how crazy that
> attitude is.
Not to get into a contest here, but I've been building web sites since 
about 1995 (and gopher sites
before that).  And doing sales and business development since 1974.

Web sites are, by and large, NOT like print ads - they generally are not 
the first point of contact that someone has with a "product." Rather 
they are "collateral" - akin to brochures, spec. sheets, case studies, 
and the like.  Someone is likely to go to the CouchDB web site AFTER 
hearing/reading about CouchDB somewhere else, and goes to (or more likely looking for details - 
specs, white papers, slide shows, a list of who's using CouchDB, a live 
demo, and signs that the project is alive, widely used, and supported by 
a strong community of maintainers and developers, (and perhaps a 
commercial ecosystem that can provide hosting, development, and other 
forms of support).

By and large, at least when I'm evaluating software for use on a project 
or internally, I'm looking for two things:
- a quick understanding of the software (who, what, where, why, how, 
etc.) - PPTs, screen shots, demos, white papers
- a strong community

By and large a user and developer oriented site, with a highly visible 
"learn more" link is far more effective as a marketing vehicle than 
something that looks like a print ad.

> Agreed, I think we could add a new section. This is already on the wiki.
> I am starting to wonder if anyone is even checking this page! ;)
> No body has added anything to it since I created it, and yet this thread
> rages on. ;)

Ummm... it's pretty hard to find.  I had to go back through the email 
thread to find it, and the archives are not even searchable.

>> For experienced users, updates, detailed documentation, code libraries
>> (when users are developing stuff), support for odd problems, ...
> This belongs on the wiki for now.
> The website is a single serving website.
> That is intentional, and I'd like to keep it that way.
> The wiki should be our primary focus for detailed information.

The quickest way to turn off potential users is to make information hard 
to find.  There's no link to the Wiki on the front page.

> The MongoDB website is easier to navigate? Heh. Ours is one page. By
> definition, there is no navigation, just scrolling. ;) Perhaps you mean
> that the sign posts to other resources are clearer. Again, all we've done
> is move our sign posts to the bottom of the page. We are, clearly,
> optimising for a specific use case here. Joe Random clicking on a link, and
> asking "WTF IS COUCHDB?" We answer that quite well, I think. Or at least,
> better than we used to. And there is certainly room for improvement. We
> could cram all of our project signposts in to the header, but we would be
> sacrificing the simplicity of the site, and the key focus on "WTF IS

Absolutely.  Pretty much everything anybody might look for is right 
there - including WTF is MongoDB and Download.

>> One thing that disturbed me, was a comment that there's no link to the
>> markmail archive because it's not "official."  That seems like a rather
>> unproductive approach to building and supporting a user community - links
>> to other resources should be encouraged, not discouraged - both as a way to
>> make the main site useful, and as a sign that the community is "alive."
> You have misinterpreted me. "Unofficial" resources are great! But with a
> single serving site you have to make some trade-offs in the name of
> simplicity. We have, in the design, a single link to the web interfaces for
> the mailing lists. So we have, naturally, chosen to link to the official
> ASF web interface. The Markmail links deserve a mention, but not here.
> There are other places we can promote them.
Well, if it were me, I'd have a single link to a mailing list page like - not clutter up the 
front page with all the details.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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