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From Rich Bowen <rbo...@rcbowen.com>
Subject Re: Change of web site layout
Date Tue, 17 Jun 2014 13:24:41 GMT

On 06/17/2014 05:19 AM, Daniel Gruno wrote:
> On 06/17/2014 12:46 AM, Tim Bannister wrote:
>> On 16 Jun 2014, at 22:23, Rich Bowen wrote:
>>
> In addition, I have some comments about your design proposal:
>
> - The apache.org design might be changing RSN (it's being discussed),
>    so using it might not be the most optimal route.
There is no requirement that a project site look like the main 
foundation site. Pick any project. Say, http://flume.apache.org/ or 
http://cloudstack.apache.org/ or http://etch.apache.org/ - each has 
their own unique feel.

And, frankly, at this point in time, I think that basing our design 
after the http://apache.org/ design is not at all desirable, as that 
site has a strong feeling of nostalgia too.

> - Using the apache.org design will require making a ton of new pages,
>    as the menu is not as complex as the original design or my proposal.
There are some new pages that need to be made, but I'm concerned about 
getting bogged down and this never happening.

> - Where are the download/changelog links? We need to push that, not
>    hide it away.

+1.. The call to action for the httpd site is Documentation, 
Release/Change notes, and Download, probably in that order. Ideally, we 
push "get involved" a lot, too.

> - The user guide/tips is a great idea on paper, but would require yet
>    more new documents, which won't be done until November (at ApacheCon).
>    perhaps we could just add those to the carousel?

Yeah, we need to not predicate a design on a bunch of new content. The 
content will come, I'm sure, and I've actually been thinking about a 
bunch of new content over the last few days (I just went to a 
documentation conference!) but it's going to be a long time coming.

> - Adding a search bar is always fun to do, but we don't have the tech
>    to implement a search as it is, unless we use Google (which people can
>    just use themselves)

The docs already use a custom Google Search thingy. We should extend 
that to the entire httpd.a.o site rather than try to implement something 
on our own.

Years ago, I approached the Lucene people about site search, but that 
never got anywhere. If someone wants to try again, it would be great to 
use our own technology. But I don't know how to get from here to there.

> - You use JavaScript to display the tabs. This, apparently, needs to be
>    done in a way that people without JS can view it as well. I have tried
> to accommodate that in my second proposal (see link above).
> - The documentation link just leads to our boring and unattractive docs
>    front page. I would prefer if people can go directly to documentation
>    for e.g. 2.4 right away from the front page (dropdowns?).

Yes, please.

I'd like to do something better with the main docs landing page but 
until then, bypassing it would be grand.

> I see this discussion going two ways now:
>
> 1) Which overall layout should we pick for the site?
> 2) How do we present out project on the front page?
>
> I think both proposals are valid, and I won't go into "who's got the
> prettiest design", as that's entirely personal opinions, but I think the
> second proposal leaves people wondering "where can I get it, and where
> can I find the changelog/docs/release notes quickly". Not that there
> aren't links to some of it, it's just not that obvious where to click.
>
The question needs to be, what do people come to the httpd site for? 
This is where some actual site usage stats would be lovely to have, but 
I don't think we've ever gotten around to doing that. (Tangent - Daniel 
- you think this is something that Infra would be the right place to go, 
or should we look at doing this ourselves?)

Anecdotally, I believe that the majority of people come for the reasons 
enumerated above - Documentation, Change/Release notes (what changed? 
Was it a security release?), and Downloads as a distant third, since 
most folks are using packages in this century.

I'd like to play up the "get involved" bit a lot more than we currently do.

So, whatever we do, these are the links that need to be most prominent, 
and to stand out in the navigation. I think Daniel's design accomplishes 
this, while also giving the site a more modern look.

This latter part - the more modern look - is not a "nice to have", but 
really is the reason for this exercise in the first place. Our existing 
site has all the information, and the links to get to it, but reinforces 
the growing perception that Apache httpd is yesterday's web server. 
httpd developers are doing amazingly cool stuff, and we suck at telling 
the world about it. (By "we", I mean the docs folks, primarily.) We 
present it as dry and dusty, and cleverly conceal the fact that we're 
out on the bleeding edge and everyone is copying us, but marketing it 
better.

Anyways, a huge +1 from me to pushing forward with the work that Daniel 
is doing, and also to incorporating Tim's remarks into this, as he seems 
to have a clear idea of the kind of information that folks want to have, 
as fast as possible, when they come to the site.


-- 
Rich Bowen - rbowen@rcbowen.com - @rbowen
http://apachecon.com/ - @apachecon


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