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From Sally Khudairi ...@apache.org>
Subject Feedback on proposed apache.org homepages
Date Sun, 09 Nov 2014 20:23:32 GMT
Hello Mike --I hope you are well.

Last week I forwarded the three links of the proposed redesigns to the apache.org homepage
to the ASF Members (copied here, along with the site-dev team).

Feedback was immediate and extensive. Below is a summary of their thoughts; please take it
as constructive, as intended:

1. Layout Preference

From those who stated their choice:

 - Index 1 --3 votes

 - Index 2 --11 votes

 - Index 3 --9 votes

2. Color

 - prefer older blue over newer purple (softer on the eyes)

 - all the red-style coloured links remind me of "missing translation: bla bla is not translated
yet". I understand, that the colour red is used to have a good contrast to the other colours
and that it is picked out of the Apache feather. But for me it is too extreme. It should be
at least be way darker and in the best case not red. 

 - the red color is very bad for designs, except you want to show errors. This is even more
true on websites often used by developers

 - I dislike the mix of colors on this site

 - I'll mirror the comments about the colors being a bit too bold

 - OMG! Purple and red... especially the red block on the purple top bar... Red means error,
red means low level marketing

 - color scheme hurt my eyes

 - don't like the purple color nor the red links

 - embarrassing colors

 - not a fan of red (orange?) link: it's like every link screams: "me! me! me!"

 - I am somewhat color blind but don’t have issues with the colors being used. Generally,
bright colors that are significantly different work best for me

 - I prefer a red color for the bike shed :-)

 - I find it hard to look past the jarring colours, when I turn my screen to black and white
and focus on the content I still have some trouble understanding the goals of the redesign

 - echo small nit comments on the colors, which a bit too contrast to me.

3. Fonts

 - expected something fresher and more modern

 - Century for the top statements always reminds me to good old Times New Roman, what is really
old school

 - the size of the Helvetica in the paragraphs is way too small --we see much bigger fonts
nowadays and for me (as I am 44 and wear glasses) it is really helpful these days ;-)

 - Helvetica is a font that is not bleeding edge

 - I also dislike the use of webfonts. Requiring the user to install random executable binaries
from the web is bad practice (Loading the whole font-awesome stuff for just a few icons, too)

 - fonts are not really easy for people over 45

 - dislike 90s typography

 - change to a modern font

 - embarrassing fonts

 - inconsistency of font size in the three blocks "Foundation News", "Latest Activity", "The
Apache Blogs" must be fixed: font size is set at 14px then overridden twice (.small at 80%
and then 85%) in the first and second column, while it is left untouched and more readable
in the third one

 - Using the serif font for just that one intro text blurb seems odd
 given that everything
else is sans

4. General Layout

 - the single column would work best on a variety of platforms (thinking mobile/tablets, but
don't have one to test with at the moment) 

 - index1 puts the featured projects section too low, and index3 has a bit of noise with the
second column of information.\ 

 - index2 has the front page section sorted in the order I would expect 

- proposal 3 is best, but I'd stick with the old page design 

 - keep the existing
 http://apache.org/ design over the proposed options, they look only
slightly more modern than what we have, not improved enough to give a good impression if we

 - index3 makes good use of screen real estate 

 - we have rounded corners. This style is starting to go away in modern web design. The cool
kids use flat designs nowadays...

 - these double lines in the scrolling teaser menu and on top of the Apache projects list.
This is definitely old school. I am not sure why this is used at all. There is no other part
on the webpage where I can find them again. So it is not a general style element. Why not
simply use a 2px horizontal line

 - the carousel feature is something which I really do not like, as it doesn't add value.
Usual visitors are not long enough on the website

 - the logo is shown on the content pane. But most visitors will come to us by search engines
and then they don't know where exactly they are without a logo on the usual top left. 

 - on a big screen I like the two-column format of index3 the best.
 However, I prefer the
layout of index2 when the layout shifts to one column on a small screen. Maybe we can have
a hybrid? 

 - the main navigation in all of the three options is seriously broken. It doesn't even show
up with noscript active. *With* javascript enabled and a non-fullscreen browser it show scrollbars
in every direction

layout #2 just put too much stres son the "featured projects" (eats 2/3rd of my browser),
and I don't like the way the new informations are presented (ie, on the right)

 - projects are easier to get: you don't have to scroll for pages to get the list! Top level
menu for projects does not bring you to a 1990's style web page... (http://projects.apache.org)

 - good: more focus on what's new at the ASF 

 - not convinced that the 'featured project' banner, which takes a
 huge part of the screen,
is really a god thing. At least, it should be smaller

- too many items in the top level menu : 12, it's well above the 5-7 limit. I feel like being
using Visualage/eclipse type of menus, with tens of possible choices... 

 - I'd rather have links to a complete new page with links in it, instead
 of dropboxes with
tens of elements 

 - 'Projects' menu, for instance, as you can't put 150 items, you have had to pick some of

 - what I don't like about the existing (and the new) site is a lack of focus on the Apache

 - Project list is located in the "drip pan" area that people normally don't pay attention
to, and the "Projects" top menu goes to http://projects.apache.org/, that looks like an old
style "internet directory" and still keeps users a couple of clicks away from the actual project

 - new site is a an improvement. Although it somewhat preserves the old structure, the project
list is not buried as much. Especially in #3. Still it doesn't go far enough in this direction.

 - please, please drop the carousel. Carousels are marginally tolerable on web pages of companies
who want to promote 3 or 4 products. I can't imagine what good it does on the ASF web page;
it's kind of hard to decide which 3 of 150 projects to "promote". (My personal opinion of
carousels in general is not printable ...) 

- the adaptive layout is not very adaptive. In all three variants, narrowing the browser page
actually makes the carousel use up more space than before; in #1 and #2, it makes the projects
list go from 6 columns directly to 1. No-one from today's attention-span-syndrome crowd is
going to even see them, let alone scroll through all of them. Ironically, #3 is best in that
respect, even though it puts the most interesting content at the bottom of the page

 - I've never found the alphabetical list of projects very useful. It would be nice if they
could be somehow grouped by categories, although I admit it's hard to come up with a short,
concise set of them

 - "Latest Activity": I have a hard time imagining why the general public would be interested
in commits (no longer just SVN commits, mind) or bug reports.

- "feature projects" in index1 aren't so featured as far down on the page as they sit 

 - I don't care for the columns in index3 

 - make apache.org a simple screen with just the feather logo and two elements:
 1) Go to Foundation Site; 2) Go to an Apache Project - a searchable dropdown with DOAP-powered
list of projects 

 - "Oh no, just another 2011ish bootstrap page"

 - worried about the rather uncustomized bootstrap look. In contrast to the proposed designs,
the current ASF website has unique look. While it is possible to create awesome designs with
bootstrap, most pages created with bootstrap (by developers) look always the same. The same
navbar, the same widgets, no individual style. 

 - try to make it a bit more modern --some project sites that might be worth looking at for
good design inspiration: http://accumulo.apache.org, http://ace.apache.org, http://buildr.apache.org,
http://bval.apache.org, http://cayenne.apache.org, http://clerezza.apache.org, http://cloudstack.apache.org,
http://cordova.apache.org, http://couchdb.apache.org, http://deltacloud.apache.org, http://flex.apache.org,
http://jclouds.apache.org, http://jena.apache.org, http://logging.apache.org, http://mesos.apache.org,
http://onami.apache.org,   http://pivot.apache.org, http://qpid.apache.org, http://rave.apache.org,
http://spark.apache.org,, http://tiles.apache.org, http://tika.apache.org, http://wink.apache.org

 - I like the carousel idea in principle but I'd make it much smaller, maybe at the top of
the right column of index3 design, and just rotate through all our projects slowly and randomly
to help people discover those. 

 - http://jena.apache.org/ and
 http://mesos.apache.org/ are decent examples of sites that look modern yet simple and robust
in terms of HTML/CSS design

 - We now have 150+ projects, and looking at the names, it's hard to tell what they do. Of
course, Tomcat has established its name for some time now, but for quite all of the others,
it's really difficult to remember what they do. But this is something that has to be addressed
at a different level than just the web site redesign.

 - disappointed in "old-school" look

 - too much visual clutter

 - I do like the carousel

 - on index2, the TLP are in columns but then in horizontal AB order, this is truly confusing.
I expected the order to be vertical, like a newspaper 

 - I am not a fan of automatic carousels...the auto-scroll is a distraction and is annoying
as heck. I'm not standing at a bus stop wanting distraction when I go to this site ;-) 
 - index3: not a fan of the layout with a column of stuff on the RHS

 - for me it's either 1 or 2 and I really do not like having to scroll back up to the top
of the page

 - simple is good

- I have the same concerns about carousels. I’d drop or replace it

 - I like the list of projects over the long scrolling we have today

 - I like the accessibility of more content from the menu (though that’s partially because
we don’t have good landing pages to navigate to). I share concerns about the number of menus
and organisation that others have said. I’d prefer to see this focus on just a few areas
based on the type of visitor, e.g.: 
   - Keep the "find a project" stuff in page, rather than in menu. 
   - People interested in foundation-level info 
   - People interested in contributing/“get involved” 
   - Committer information 
   - User information (download) 
   - Supporter information (support/thanks) 
   - Press information 

 - in both indexes 1 and 2 the Featured projects banner is huge and takes up most of my screen,
which is saying a lot on a large monitor

 - indexes 1 and 3 better than 2 since I can see the news, activity and blogs entry on the
screen with the browser window the default size and minimal scrolling

 - a big concern is that if the style of the home page changes, but the rest doesn’t, it
becomes even more jarring. If there are changes to the colour palette or layout, I think that
should be applied to the old site CSS & template, or alternatively a more conservative
change to the home page keeping some of the styling elements but improving layout might work

 - the "old fashioned" way with dropdown navigation is much more user friendly, at least on
regular computer screens. It might be different on a mobile, but I do not know the analytics
of the apache website, hence I cannot tell. Are the analytics somehow accessible?

 - the search form needs to be easy to find

 - generally speaking we should change the website based on
 observations based on analytics
and not just on individual (member) preferences

 - who are our audience? What have they come to find? How will they find it?
 We must be able
to clearly answer these three questions first. I'll take a stab at some possibilities and
maybe others will have more ideas:
   - Persona A: Sydney --Sydney is a sysadmin looking for help with Apache httpd. He typed
in "apache" into Google, but was really looking for http://httpd.apache.org/ even though he
doesn't understand the difference.

   - Persona B: Liza --Liza loves open source and wanted to find more about FSF, Apache and
the differences between GPL & Apache licensing. She landed on the apache.org homepage
and is looking for information about what license she should attach to her next project.
   - Persona C: Jerry --Jerry is a journalist, has no idea what this open source thing is
all about except that it sounds like communists. He has been given a story to write about
Poodle and thinks that open source software is somehow to blame but isn't quite sure how.
He wants to read something that gives him an introductory understanding and hopefully some
paragraphs to copy so he doesn't have to write the whole article by himself.
  - Persona D: Danielle --Danielle is a developer and has been using Apache Derby for years
now and thinks it is brilliant. She is a Java developer and keeps coming across libraries
in apache.org packaging that are really neat and useful. She wants to explore other projects
that have the same level of quality and wants a way to browse through database related projects.
She really only uses Java, so she'd like to filter by that too.
   - Person E: Edward --Edward an end-user is looking for "apache word". He has no idea how
he ended up on apache.org but his grandson told him that open office something, freedom, something,
evil corporates, something and that probably sounds like a good thing, although he isn't sure
why because Word works just fine. But he'll give it a go because now Microsoft want him to
pay money for an update, so why not.
   I'll not go into how the proposed sites solve the problems above. The menu is quite helpful
(although collapses under 1200px width) for some of them. The list down the bottom isn't great,
but it is a start for others. The carousel solves pretty much none of the above queries.
Of course Google does a MUCH better job that www.apache.org at directing you right to the
project you want, bypassing the whole process above. But for people who do arrive there, I
wonder how they arrived and what they want to find?

 - a prominent search box is a huge need 

- consider a simpler organization of top level menu items, focusing on type of user, and then
pointing to (perhaps) per-user type landing pages which would just be simple explanations
and pointers to content pages

 - -!- The design/style needs to be implemented across all top level
 apache.org content,
not just top landing pages

 - -!- Please use the default project logos. The Powered By Apache logos
 are primarily for
third party use, not our use

 - The navbar fails when shrinking the window. Simply removing all the menuitems and replacing
it with a menu icon on the right hand side (resulting in a plain purple bar with one simple
icon far right) is not acceptable for a homepage that needs to serve many purposes. Either
need to keep some of the menu items, or somehow provide better feedback on narrow screens

 - -!- The footer attribution should be updated to "Apache, the feather logo, and all Apache
project names are either registered trademarks or trademarks of the Apache Software Foundation
the United States and/or other countries.

 - I like index2 with single main page and looks very modern. 

 - I like both page 2 or 3 (but maybe 3 with news section could be better
 as front page),
anyway I like both

 - in page 3, the news column has higher importance ? If yes, it should go at left ...

 - print preview (for example in Chrome): probably some portions of the
 page could be rearranged
or not visible (for example the side bar in page 3) ... remember to test even this :-) 

5. Multi-platform/browser Issues

The navbar cuts off the top of the page for me in 2/3 browsers. In the third, it was still
unusually large but did not cut off any content below it --chrome 40 and firefox 33 on linux
(navbar overlaps content) and IE 11 on Windows (large)

 - What I do like a lot is the fact, that the website does have a responsive design so that
it will be readable on most devices

 - sliding effect in the carousel doesn't work in Safari
 7.1 on Mac OS X & iOS 7 (iPad)

- in index3 the larger issue is that when viewing on a smaller device the feeds (one of the
most dynamic elements on the page) wind up at the bottom, after the project list (one of the

 - not sure the new site is easy to browse on a mobile, or on a small

 - with index3, the page feels wrong as it shows up with the 1/2 half of the carousel cut
off. I do not expect pages to show up half way scrolled down. In fact, ALL pages show up partly
scrolled down, this is awful. I am on the latest Firefox

 - I tried all layouts on my iPad and they all good look, really none of them look very good
on an old iPhone 4S though ... iPhone 6 both looked much better

 - there’s a bug in the menu (in at least Safari 8 Mac) where the text switches weight when
you open and close the menu 

 - reviewing on a 15" Macbook Pro and a 7" Fire, #3 was initially my preference, with #1 being
my preference after thought
   - on the 15", I liked that there was use of width when it was available. I think this is
less me liking the width, and more my disliking the random project carousel. It doesn't add
enough value for the real estate it takes up. At that point #1 was my preferred as it pushes
the carousel away the most

   - on the 7", #3 was the only one to tabulate the list of projects, but then it lost it.
For the 7" the primary difference was the order in which items were shown. I think Boilerplate,
News, Project List, Carousel is the best order - none did this, with #1.html being the closest

6. Overall Tone + Content

 - top level menus have a bit too many options. I wonder if those can be a bit more hierarchical

 - the design looks still old school. It does not catch me

 - I miss a direction in the new design. What is the target of the design? What is the intention?
Where are the ideas to animate a visitor to stay and read?

 - The three designs are far away from really "cool"

 - I did not care for any of the style in the new options, but having new detail in some kind
of navigation bar is conceptually a good thing

 - main issue with the Apache websites is the tons of clutter and unstructured content...this
is not much of an improvement

 - menus have really too many links: 1) "Foundation" is not perceived as a menu due to the
different colors,  and it is probably the only useful one; 2) "Projects": Nobody will explore
projects by category (really, shall I open "Projects - Content" to learn about OpenOffice
and Any23?)...FAQ link at the end has nothing to do with projects; 3) most of the menus should
be shortened or removed: Projects and People can simply link to the corresponding sub-sites
(if those are bad, it's another issue); 4) "Community" has three entry points for newcomers,
mixed with "Travel  
Assistance" and "Summer of Code": if I was a newcomer I would be quite confused. Shorten,
shorten, shorten. ...there's also a "Get involved" main menu item! Oh well...

 - it's especially disturbing to find the same menu items in  multiple irrelevant places:
"Foundation - Licenses" = "Innovation - Licenses" (???) = "Legal - Licenses" 

 - I deeply miss some signs of modernity like a normal way to access the Twitter feed. It
is beyond me that it is buried under "Press - Twitter Feed" and not conveniently exposed as
an icon; same for the "Contact" link, now placed at the end of three menus

 - introductory texts are way too long and often unnecessary: in detail, the preamble to "Latest
activity" and "Apache Projects" can be easily killed. The main text should be shortened by

 - including the "@15" in the logo that way really shows that the ASF is old...it could be
done much better

 - the design is getting better for sure. In my non-creative engineering view
 though it has
went all the way from 1996 to 1999!

 - layout 3 provides more information on the top of the page, but it maybe too busy (and a
bit-y2k) for some people

 - the carousel at the top in index2 goes against the message we want to send (at least the
way I understand it). What's great about the current site is that the first messages that
greet the visitor are what "We consider ourselves", the the ASF is and a glimpse into the
Apache Way. I would have put the news above the "featured projects", I assume that's what
we want to communicate

 - maybe we could have a "project of the week" box with details at a glance (chosen randomly
or based on stats, although the latter may favour lager projects). It makes it easier to focus
(the carousel, again, hints at new look of the Netflix app, which I find more distracting
than useful)

 - re: index2 that block might be better if it were one of:
 1) regularly curated content
instead of randomly featured projects (I realise this isn’t a change, but it’s less prominent
on the home page right now); 2) a well-executed search or browse box for projects, that let
you find an Apache project - showing that there’s an Apache project for (almost) anything
you’re looking for. This gets more into a redesign of the site along with projects.apache.org

- I expected the projects to be sorted going down the columns instead of across the rows.
I find it a bit harder to locate the project the way it is now

 - the logo with the feather in between text differs from any form we’ve used before and
looks rather clunky to me 

 - in the carousel (if retained), I don’t see why we’d use the powered by logos instead
of the main project logos - those are for other projects to use 

 - similar to the comments on audience, I’m still unclear on what the measurable outcome
of the change - for a visitor - is intended to be: 
   - is it to make a visitor feel more positively towards the ASF by a more modern design?

   - is it to feature the 15 year anniversary more prominently so visitors are aware of it?

   - is it to make some content on the home page more prominent / accessible so that a visitor
can get to that info faster (or at all)? 
   - something else?

 - about the projects list, I think we should introduce categories instead
 just list them
alphabetically. Projects could be better accessible with the following categories (for example):
   - Mail
   - LDAP
   - Search
   - Content Management
   - Graphics
   - Utilities
   - ... 

- if you wanna go with the search box idea and wanted to use Solr, I'd be happy to work with
Infra to work out how to get that to work.
 It'd be really cool if submitting a page to the
CMS caused it to be indexed for search as well as published

 - I don't have a preference on the designs proposed for Apache.org. I do think that they
are improvements over what we have now.
 - don't forget about the Apache blogs. The theme we use on blogs is pretty sad and I would
love to see a new design there. If we can get some design help, I would be happy to translate
those designs into Roller templates and get them setup on blogs.apache.org

7. Markup

 - the source code is pretty cluttered. Bootstrap is being used, but also jQuery 2, Angular
and some other stuff. jQuery 2 does not support older browsers like ie 6-8 which would exclude
chinese ie6 users (10%). Also there are a lot of ie8 users out there. Not sure if that is
important for a site aiming at tech people but it's worth mentioning.
 - The worst thing here is because I simply cannot see a reason why people brought angularjs
into play. I like angular, but in this case they take this file: http://apache.hotwaxmedia.com/apache6/js/extras.js
to render some html. As long as they don't want to make a SPA I can't understand why they
did that. It's not possible to index that by search engines. I really believe we should stick
with plain html as long as possible. 
 - as a dev foundation, we definitely should care about "how is it done" in the same way as
"how does it look like". 

 - on Projects listing, if the revised page will still be done using AngularJS or jQuery,
why not even a client-side filtering of projects (initially full, and filtered if someone
write a text) on project name and maybe even on project group or description? For example:
 with the first sample searching in all content section, and second 
sample with selective filtering.
 Just as idea ... of course server-side indexing/filtering
is another (necessary) feature. 

Mike, we appreciate your continued generous assistance and understand that we will need to
accommodate your schedule and team's availability as these services are being donated. We
are aware that there is a chance these changes might not happen in time for ApacheCon Europe,
which is OK, however, I'm hoping we might be able to unveil something at the beginning of
the new year.

Let's connect this week to discuss next steps.

Thank so much,

= = = = = 
vox +1 617 921 8656 
skype sallykhudairi 

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