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WebGUI Site Redesign

User JT
Date 3/3/2009 11:41 am
Views 24088
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JT

At Plain Black we've decided it's long overdue to do an extreme makeover of webgui.org. However, since this is a community site, we didn't feel it was right for us to do this in a vacuum. So we want your feedback.

Attached to this post are some examples of what the new site will look like. There are a seven main sections to the site, depending upon what kind of information you're looking for at the present time. We call these "roles" and they are: learn, install, use, develop, design, promote, and administer.

Learn is kind of the marketing aspect of the site, letting people know what WebGUI is and why they should use it. Install is the section of the site where you can download WebGUI and get install instructions. Use is all about content managers. Develop is for programers. Design is for designers. Promote is the PR section of the site, for things like the People Behind WebGUI, and other campaigns. And Admin is for system administrators. 

Under each of these roles is a left hand subnav that will have pages specific to that role, including forums, wikis, and other community features.

We'd like to hear your feedback about navigation, content organization, the look and feel. Generally anything you want to comment on. We can't guarantee that just because you have a particular opinion we'll be able to accommodate it, but we'll do our very best to assimilate the feedback we get into the new design.

--- (Edited on March 3, 2009 11:41 am [GMT-0600] by JT) ---

Deleted the "community" mockup as it wasn't supposed to be there.

--- (Edited on March 3, 2009 12:53 pm [GMT-0600] by JT) ---



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koen

Hi JT,

That looks quite nice.

What I like:

  • it is something new and different
  • It is not so in your face colourfull like the current design, which makes it allready a lot more sophisticated.
  • a BIG download now button
  • a clear search field
  • dark font on a light background
  • karma and shopping cart more to the center of the page

What I don't like:

  • it is so crowded, I don't know where to look first
  • all that clockwork that is scattered around the page it distracts me from the content

What I would change:

  • the different sections have a style that look very similar make them more distinct and easier to recognise
  • make the landingpage less cluttered (less information) and move the 'main menu' to the bottom.
  • make the style 'a bit' adjustable to the user, for example add a switch to the stylesheet that allows you to turn off that clockwork or whatever it is
  • lose the line 'Join the..... can be.' from the landingpage. Just put there 'WebGUI, the best Content Management System in the universe.' and blow up the 'Get started with WebGUI' so that a first time user does not have to look where to go but gets there right away. 
  • Lose the 'What is WebGUI' the 'Get started with WebGUI should cover that'. Instead add a 'See a WebGUI demo now!' button.
  • Put a large screenshot of WebGUI in admin mode on the front page next to these two buttons and link it to a page that just has 50 thumbnails of WebGUI in one page that shows off a lot of the interface of WebGUI, like the features page, but with less info and a bit bigger thumbnails.
  • Put some of the swag in a small advertorial window and link directly to the swag shop on the community and developer portals.
  • On the community portal, don't put a story about what the community is, but provide a complete (and hopfully customisable) dashboard that shows latest comments to the git repositories, forums, rfe's and bugs as well as the staff blog and tbb.
  • On the community portal Make the header that contains that big banner with the people behind webgui smaller, or even better yet, move it to a column on the left or right
  • Create space next to "karma" and "basket" for "messages from friends" or "my RFE's" preferably again customisable

I'm sure I can come up with a lot more suggestions, but for now this should do. :)

I'm willing to help in achieving the above mentioned points in any way.

Koen de Jonge - ProcoliX
http://www.procolix.com
Hosting - WebGUI - Virtualization

--- (Edited on 3-March-2009 19:13 [GMT+0100] by koen) ---

Attached mockup to show what I mean for the landing page, also, look at the Joomla website for an example of something I think looks good.

--- (Edited on 3-March-2009 19:55 [GMT+0100] by koen) ---



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JT

Quick note. That was my mistake uploading the community photo. There won't be a community section, since the whole site is for the community. That's a hold over from the old design. So I'll delete that photo now.

--- (Edited on March 3, 2009 12:52 pm [GMT-0600] by JT) ---



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koen

If the whole site is a community site then I would suggest to have the content of the frontpage for first time users shown to visitors and not shown when logged in, but instead allow for a dashboard when users are loggedin.

If WebGUI has the features, then why not use them on your own site? Smile

Koen de Jonge - ProcoliX
http://www.procolix.com
Hosting - WebGUI - Virtualization

--- (Edited on 3-March-2009 20:00 [GMT+0100] by koen) ---



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kristi

I think koen has some great suggestions about enhancements to this design.

I really like the idea of using dashboards to allow registered users to customize the type of updates they receive. I think something like this would go far in promoting a community feel to the site, as well as help emphasize the roles jt mentioned- all aimed at helping our community better find the resources they need.

I also really like the idea proposed about making the landing page for visitors and registered users different. Again, this will allow us to better aim the homepage's content at both the newbies and existing users.

The idea of having the three main sections at the top of the homepage, as shown in the mock-up uploaded to a previous post, is also sound- it's something the designer would have to play with. It could get a bit busy since there are three areas on the bottom as well, but I'm sure the designer could make it pretty. Making things easy to spot at first glance is important, so I can see this approach working well.

--- (Edited on 3/3/2009 1:38 pm [GMT-0600] by kristi) ---



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perlDreamer

From the mock-up, it looks like there are 3 different wiki's.  If that's the case, then I'm a little worried about people trying to find information.  It's always nice to have 1 place to go looking, and if they're in 1 wiki, and should be in another, someone is going to get frustrated.  That would be either the person looking for information, or us, who will tell 50 kUsers that, "You're looking in the wrong wiki..."

Aside from that...

The design is beautiful.

I like the segmentation (aside from the wiki thing mentioned above).  Actually, maybe the site-wide search will address that kind of problem.

--- (Edited on 3/3/2009 12:15 pm [GMT-0800] by perlDreamer) ---



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tabb

From the mock-up, it looks like there are 3 different wiki's.  If that's the case, then I'm a little worried about people trying to find information.  It's always nice to have 1 place to go looking, and if they're in 1 wiki, and should be in another, someone is going to get frustrated.  That would be either the person looking for information, or us, who will tell 50 kUsers that, "You're looking in the wrong wiki..."

Aside from that...

The design is beautiful.

I like the segmentation (aside from the wiki thing mentioned above).  Actually, maybe the site-wide search will address that kind of problem.

--- (Edited on 3/3/2009 12:15 pm [GMT-0800] by perlDreamer) ---

My understanding of it is that each page (design, develop, etc) is linking to the entries in the wiki that pertain to that section, but that they are all contained in the same wiki.  I could be wrong though?

 

--- (Edited on 3/4/2009 4:03 pm [GMT-0600] by tabb) ---



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Albert2

First of, I like the new design!

A few suggestions:

  • for many reasons I prefer it if the first page shows change. I.e. news, list of the latest posting of the forum, maybe fields showing the latest versions etc. That stimulates coming back and improves your google ranking
  • currently, the thing I don't like about WebGUI.org is that the recent discussions list on the right is not on the first page. I really like that list. The extra click on discuss to get that list is a little barrier, albeit a small barrier. Again that helps to stimulate people returning.
  • perhaps a 'cloud' with keywords about what's cool about WebGUI? i.e. full-featured, secure, shop, framework, GPL, etc. etc.?

--- (Edited on 3/3/2009 9:24 pm [GMT+0100] by Albert2) ---



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patspam

Fantastic! Kudos to everyone who's been working on this.

I only have two comments, and they're more about implementation that visual appearance:

  1. Please make the URLs short and guessible. It annoys me that in the current live design the wiki link is called "Read Wiki" whereas the actual url is /community-wiki. Both of these should just be "Wiki". This looks promising in the design mock-up, I just hope that the URLs are equally succinct. Hopefully the new sections (Learn, Admin, etc.. will have similarly short urls)
  2. Don't redirect me to PlainBlack.com. Currently as soon as you log in on webgui.org (using the top login bar) you get redirected to plainblack.com. The login cookie is set for plainblack.com too, which means if you ever go back to webgui.org the site still thinks you're logged out. This gets in the way of webgui.org feeling like a community site.

Patrick

--- (Edited on 4-March-2009 10:49 am [GMT+1100] by patspam) ---



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dionak

This is really promising and will be a big help to the community as a whole. I really like the idea of focusing on drawing new users in via the homepage. I'm so glad to see this discussion.

The proposed design is more sophisticated and moving in a great direction. I like the interior pages and agree that the homepage can be leveraged more for first time users.

Here are my additional observations:

  • The design is a little busy with the gears. While these design elements are a nice touch, I think they can be toned down a little so the main focus is on content. This is especially true in the area where the download button is located. I had to take a second look to notice the button.
  • The white banner text in the homepage is a little hard to read as well. Can the people be toned down a little?
  • Dates on news releases would be helpful.
  • Will the Bazaar be searchable? If so, how will that functionality be represented and differenciated from the main search? I'm finding the tags misleading in the bazaar. An example is the 'themes' tag. (I know tags are added by users but they aren't consistant.)
  • Love the IRC link.
  • A dashboard would be very helpful for regular users.

Overall, nice job! Looking forward to the updated usability and appearance. Thanks for including us in the conversation.

Diona

----
Knowmad Technologies
http://www.knowmad.com

--- (Edited on 3/3/2009 7:37 pm [GMT-0500] by dionak) ---



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