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Re: website redesign proposal

From: Stefan Bidi
Subject: Re: website redesign proposal
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 22:17:58 -0500

Sebastian and whoever else is interested in this discussion,
I've been following the discussions over the last few weeks but I haven't felt the need to chime in until now.

I looked at your example and read through most of your explanation (I must admit, I didn't read it all).  I like the general look, and I think it looks much better than the current website look.  However, I do not think the dock at the bottom is relevant--there are no such docks available for GNUstep applications.  In addition, I'm currently on vacation on only have my tablet, with this interface I can't actually hover over the icons at the bottom and had no idea what they were until after I clicked on them.  Nowadays, you need to consider that this is an use case and must cater to people on tablets as well as on desktops.

I like the idea of modeling against the website, as GNUstep caters to a lot of the same developers.

All this said, I think the first thing we must do first is define what is going to be included as "proper" GNUstep.  What are we going to include of the "Documentation" menu?  Obviously GNUstep-make, -base, -gui and -back are going to have documentation, but what else?  Is libobjc2 considered "proper" GNUstep?  If so, shouldn't it's documentation be prominently displayed, as well?  What other projects will be linked from the website?  Richard's EC and WebServer aren't currently mentioned anywhere on the website, only the wiki (at least, that I know of).  If these side project are "proper" GNUstep, shouldn't they be integrated with the rest of the project?

Additional thought:
* Are we going to continue supporting Nikolaus' Software Index?  If so, how can that be better integrated with the new website?  The current design looks very foreign.  Is it even something that we will continue to support?

Overall, I think the design is good and I would support the effort in whatever way I can (I know absolutely nothing about HTML or CSS, but can help with content and structure).

On Dec 30, 2013 8:10 PM, "Sebastian Reitenbach" <address@hidden> wrote:
Hi all,

I guess everybody knows, and also agrees that the GNUstep website is looking fairly dated, and that
finding contents in it, is somtetimes only possible with help of google.
the last few days I spent on thinking about the website, what it may need, digging html5 and css3,
and came up with the following design, that you can find here:

Note, not all pages and links are "implemented". I did not wanted to waste too much time, in case, the
majority of people doesn't like with what I've come up.

Older revisions, that finally lead to the design I have now, can be seen here:

The major design goals of the page are:
 * have a half way modern look, but don't overdo
 * easy and logical menu structuring, it should be easy to find things following a logic

Further Ideas and things I had considered while designing were:

Intended main audience:

* MAC Developers seeking to port their apps to other platforms
* Developers from other platforms, seeking to base their projects,
  commercial or free, on GNUstep
* Packagers, that want to package GNUstep for their favourite

Not intended main audience, but also welcomed:
* End users of any kind
  * direct End users to the pages to GWorkspace or SystemPreferences,
    Example applications, and screenshots
  * otherwise, direct end users to GAP and maybe other external sites

Why chose the main audience above?
* GNUstep is a set of libraries, providing an API to be used by
* libraries are accompanied by a set of development tools
* GWorkspace and SystemPreferences are nice show cases for developers
  that want to get to know what they can get from GNUstep

General design goals of the page:
* Its generally intended to attract the main intended audience
* have a modern look and feel, but keep the page simple
* page should work with recent modern browsers
 * making use of modern HTML5 and CSS3
 * page may look a bit odd with old browsers (this likely includes SWK ;)
 * but who is really using a browser that does not understand HTML5/CSS3,
   or at least a subset of it? Even Google doesn't support old browsers.
* simple wording, short and clear sentences
* simple page structure, simulating the MAC Desktop
  * main menu (the dock at the bottom on every page)
   * always all the time visible
  * horizontal menu on the top dependent on what's chosen
    from the dock at the bottom
   * the icon on the left shows which menu entry was chosen from the dock at the bottom
Some more specific design decisions are based on:
* design of the contents of the homepage:
  * do not overload with information or images, the page should
    load fast ;)
  * address the most interesting questions someone looking for
    GNUstep might have with links to the right subpages
  * generally inspired from
* Footer/Dock:
   * show some modern CSS tricks, hopefully giving the
     (right) impression of GNUstep being modern too
* mostly white background
  * white looks "clean"
  * but if there are better suggestions, and a different
    background color can be agreed on, then it should be ;)
* horizontal top menu is inspired by
  * make Mac developers feel at home
  * its simple, looking nice
  * no submenus, but having submenus there, if agreed on,
    can easily be added, see an "older" incarnation of the
  * the icon on the left is the same as the one clicked
    at the bottom, in order to signal where the user currently is
* grey color in the horizontal menu on the top,
  and other elements
  * GNUstep apps are grey, or maybe in the future that
    will (hopefully) change when another theme gets
    included in GUI, but the color is chosen in reference
    to the GUI apps and history to NeXT
  * but if there are other suggestions for coloring the
    menu and other elements, and it can be agreed on, then
    it should be ;)
* text alignment is "justified"
* differentiate external links: those are marked with icon
* News box on front page:
  * shows news on, releases, hackathons, papers, etc.
  * shows there is live in the community
* New pages: hackathons page and papers page:
  * show there is live in the community
  * show there is fun in the community
* make use of SSIs, to ease updating, at least for the
  top menu, and the dock at the bottom, and for example
  the news box on the front page
* The screenshot pages should show off more Themes to
  underline GNUsteps flexibility in the look 'n feel

Design ideas inspired by:
* Footer: MAC OS X dock
* horizontal top menu:
* main page:
* screenshot gallery:

Main Menu structure (the dock at the bottom)
* About GNUstep
  * about the project, and all other advocacy related stuff
* Software
  * information about what the software is that the project offers
* Development
  * any kind of information for developers about the software
  * review the Who's who page, move long inactive project members
    to an own section at the bottom, add new members not listed there.
* Get Help
  * any sort of general documentation, FAQ or HOWTO, bugtracker, etc. on
    how to install/use GNUstep
  * big part of this is to review the GNUstep HOWTO,
    flesh out old/outdated cruft
  * review the number of mailinglists, and their usefulness
* Related sites
  * links to GNUstep sites, i.e. savannah project site, wiki.
  * link to other affiliated site, i.e. GAP, Etoile, Quantum-Step
* Full Menu structure:
   * Homepage (IS THERE)
     * About GNUstep (IS THERE)
     * Project Goals (IS THERE)
     * Screenshots (IS THERE)
     * Papers
     * History
     * Success Stories
   * Software (IS THERE EMPTY)
     * Core Libraries
     * Development Tools (IS THERE)
       * ProjectCenter (IS THERE)
       * Gorm (IS THERE)
     * Other Libraries
     * GNUstep Desktop
     * Download
  * Development (IS THERE EMPTY)
     * Libraries Map
     * Development Docs
     * Theming
     * Testfarm
     * Hackathons
     * Who's who?
  * Get Help (IS THERE EMPTY)
     * FAQ/Howto
     * Mailing Lists
     * Bugtracker
     * Project Wiki
  * Related Sites (IS THERE EMPTY)
     * GNUstep Sites
     * External Sites

* As a project from developers, for developers, let's focus
  on the fun of developing, showing off i.e. hackathons, the
  one like in Cambridge, AlpenStep, etc.
* have a page showing off presentations done by project
  members about GNUstep (and related topics), i.e. FOSDEM
  slides, and others. This shows off that the project is alive.

Please bear in mind, I'm not a web developer, more or less
everything of the design is open for discussion.
But I'd hope that the majority of people like the general design,
and could live with it ;)
Defining different colors, or exchanging icons, or menu entries,
etc. that should be easy ;)


PS: Some other more general ideas, independent to the
Website design, so please when you answer on those,
create a new subject:

* Make a GNUstep maintained FAQ the main source of general
  documentation and answers on how to get things running
  (the wiki is just a big bad mess ;)

* Make GAP use the same, or similar design, to show off
the tight relationship between GNUstep and GAP.
* Redirect potential end users to GAP, and from GAP
  redirect developers to GNUstep (but only developers
  wanting to work on the libraries, not those wanting
  to work on Applications)

* maybe trash the
  * its unmaintainable, contains lots of outdated,
    incorrect and misleading information
  * incorporate important information into the main website
    OR someone (or a team) needs to be willing to review
    it regularly and if necessary clean it up/update outdated
    info there
* Talk to German, Adam, moving the stuff in gnustep-nonfsf
  to GAP, or GNUstep, closing off the gnustep-nonfsf project

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