[IAEP] New sugarlabs website

Eben Eliason eben.eliason at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 10:56:03 EDT 2009

On Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 7:50 AM, Bernie Innocenti <bernie at codewiz.org> wrote:
> Sean DALY wrote:
>> This is a good solution since people clicking on "wiki" from the intro
>> part of the site (which they will perceive as the "main" or "intro"
>> section) arrive at wiki.sugarlabs.org; while people who get lost in
>> the wiki will know they are in the wiki from the URL and will seek to
>> get back to the "main" site.
> We're depicting he wiki as if it was a maze of twisty little
> passages, all alike :-)

Well, it is kind of like a maze.  Only sometimes there are *no*
passages at all, and you have to climb over walls to get to the info
you need. (See below for clarification.)

> If it seems so confusing, we should work on improving usability
> rather than helping people escape from it.  I can't believe
> average people can't get used to Mediawiki, since the #2 most
> popular web site in the world is also based on it.

That's true, but the one you have in mind is distinctly different
because it thrives on the flatness of its content hierarchy. Wikis are
relatively poor for hierarchical content.  Dave et al. have done a
great job building a sensible hierarchy on our wiki, but I've been
meaning to bring up some problems with it, actually.

In general, I find that there is fairly poor inter-level linking.
That is, it's not actually very browsable.  I can *never* find the
release notes.  There's no link from the Development Team page to the
release page, and there aren't even links from the release page to the
notes for particular releases. The hierarchy is there, and logical,
but you still have to remember the whole path....there's no

I think as a rule we should make sure that any given page with a
number of related sub-pages has an index of sorts which exposes the
next-level-down to make browsing as natural as searching.  In other
words, every sub-page should have (at least) an incoming link from its
parent page, so the tree of all pages is connected in a browsable way.
(We get a link from the sub-page back to the parent page—all
ancestors, actually—for free.)

There's also search, of course, but wiki search isn't always that
great.  And, for that matter, the search field on the wiki is
currently halfway down the page, where I can't see it without
scrolling.  If we want people to find things that way, we should at
least push it to the top of the sidebar so that they needn't search
for the search field!

- Eben

>> Other fixes that are necessary for smooth integration:
>> * The wiki logo needs to link to the intro or "main"
> Ok.
>> * The menu bar at the top of the wiki should start with "main" or
>> "introduction" before "wiki", and link to the homepage
> Ok, I have a bug open for that.
>> * The wiki landing page http://sugarlabs.org/go/Main_Page in becoming
>> http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Main_Page will be clearly understood as
>> the main page for the wiki, but the title text needs to be updated to
>> reflect that: "Sugar Labs/Welcome to Sugar Labs" -> "Sugar
>> Labs/Welcome to the Sugar Labs wiki"
> It's currently the opposite: wiki.sugarlabs.org becomes sugarlabs.org.
> I'm not entirely against making this change, but the rationale for it
> shouldn't be protecting visitors from inadvertently seeing the wiki.

Not "inadvertently".  The static page is meant to be a portal to
specific useful areas of the wiki for individuals of varied
backgrounds.  I think we'd much rather target them directly if we can,
regardless of how usable the wiki is.  It's a convenience, rather than
a protection.

>> It's not a big problem that the wiki landing page has some redundant
>> material with the intro; streamlining can be done later. But these
>> navigation problems need to be fixed as soon as possible. I am very
>> concerned about this, I brought it up a week ago but I had assumed it
>> was only a technical oversight. It's very important we get our message
>> out.
> I agree, but so far none of these points has been impeding users from
> finding the static web site by typing a canonical "www.sugarlabs.org"
> URL like you'd do for any other web site.
> --
>   // Bernie Innocenti - http://www.codewiz.org/
>  \X/  Sugar Labs       - http://www.sugarlabs.org/
> _______________________________________________
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