[IAEP] http://www-testing.sugarlabs.org/

Christian Marc Schmidt schmidt at pentagram.com
Fri Feb 27 12:47:31 EST 2009

Ben, perhaps you can help us write some of the content you think is
inadequate. You are entitled to your opinion about the design, but really
what we need is constructive criticism, as many of us have dedicated a lot
of time to put this together.



On 2/27/09 12:39 PM, "Benjamin M. Schwartz" <bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu>

> Christian Marc Schmidt wrote:
>> Ben, could you please let us know where you encountered any bugs?
> Clicking "collaborative learning through rich-media expression" causes the
> page to scroll to a point where the "About" button obscures the text.  In
> general, the floating About button is ugly, confusing, and in other ways bad.
> I do not believe this site can be redeemed, so I cannot provide
> constructive criticism.  I can, however, provide destructive criticism:
> 1. This visual design reminds me principally of the website my friend
> Jeremy and I made in Dreamweaver when we were twelve years old:
> http://web.archive.org/web/19991012175905/http://members.aol.com/jekl84/welcom
> e.html.
>  Clashing colors do not a cool website make.  Fancy animations cannot
> redeem a lack of useful content.
> 2.  This site repeats the mistakes of the original laptop.org.  Even with
> the "redesign", the front page still presents the user with a bunch of
> meaningless words.  These words linked to other mysterious phrases, and to
> this day I cannot figure out how to get any useful information off of that
> site.  Sometimes the mistakes are repeated with remarkable exactness: for
> example, both sites make it difficult to discover where something is in
> the menu system.  At the sugarlabs.org beta, the menu items are invisible
> until you figure out that the menu (itself often nearly invisible due to
> the random color scheme) has a rollover dropdown... and the same thing
> applies again to the menu items, which (a) are of many different types,
> but all lumped together, and (b) provide no indication as to whether they
> have dropdown menus too.  Compare this to wiki.sugarlabs.org, where the
> principal option are highlighted in a green bar, right across the middle
> of the screen, with no searching required.
> 2a. The cardinal sin, in both sites, is to prize form over function.  OLPC
> didn't mind this, since they were sure that everyone who needed to know
> about OLPC already knew about it.  In fact, they were trying to cultivate
> a visionary image, so an unusably stylish website seemed perfect to convey
> the appropriate mysterious aura.
> Sugar Labs is the reverse.  We are engineers and educators.  We are here
> to get things done.  We are truly an open organization, with no need to
> present a false front of trendy but uninformative buzzwords, or make
> understanding our project into a game of hide and seek.
> 3.  It never says what Sugar is.  "Sugar is a computer operating
> environment for students, designed to replace or complement existing
> desktop user interfaces."  The website never states anything plainly,
> opting instead for this long list of dull incomplete aphorisms, which link
> to phrases that are _still_ not valid sentences.  Even aggregating all the
> information in that list, I would not be able to tell you what Sugar is.
> --Ben


Christian Marc Schmidt

schmidt at pentagram.com

Pentagram Design, Inc.
204 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
212/ 802 0248

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