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Re: website redesign proposal

From: Riccardo Mottola
Subject: Re: website redesign proposal
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2014 02:38:28 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; OpenBSD i386; rv:22.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/22.0 SeaMonkey/2.19

Sebastian Reitenbach 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
I disagree with this definition.
* 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

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 ;)
It is a big mess is here because of anarchy, I think the WIKI is valuable and should be cleaned up.

* Make GAP use the same, or similar design, to show off
the tight relationship between GNUstep and GAP.
Agreed, currently that's already so, 100%. Howver GAP is slightly different, so the design can be similar, but the structure, different.

Perhaps even the Etoile guys or other gnustep projects (e.g. PRICE) could "draw" more or less form a common design, perhaps by changing the color scheme.
* 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)
That's already done.

* 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
I'm against that. I'm perhaps the one who rarely copies from others, but most projects have a wiki. The wiki helps holding a lot of data, makes it maintainable by a lot of people.

What I envision is a design, used by many others where:
* the website is mostly static
* the website contains little information, because this is how it can be made look "clean" and "modern" as most people like
* the website references the wiki transparently
* the wiki is checked for quality regularly and improved.

* Talk to German, Adam, moving the stuff in gnustep-nonfsf
   to GAP, or GNUstep, closing off the gnustep-nonfsf project
That should be discussed separately perhaps, I'm not totally against it.


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