Feedback re static frontend site

Sean DALY at
Fri Feb 27 13:16:43 EST 2009

Christian I apologize I've been compiling this feedback this week
perhaps I should have sent sooner

In general I like it. Although I have never liked the black background
(on the existing wiki and now on the homepage) which I found
lugubrious, I was pleasantly surprised to "step into the light" behind
it. I like the explanations, and the right-margin sidebars. I like
that (apparently) it will print out very, very easily (never
underestimate the importance of that function...). Dongyun Lee's
illustrations are fabulous.

I do feel however that the Activities need to be very prominently
displayed and talked about - they are the heart of the Sugar
experience and, in my view, the reason learners/parents/teachers would
consider trying Sugar. Perhaps even a separate menu section. Under the
Parents section, they are merely referred to as "the usual
collection", which clashes with the presentation of Sugar as specially
made for kids. Wouldn't it be better to say e.g.: "The heart of Sugar
is its Activities" (capitalized), then develop the collaboration
advantage, mention View Source which satisifies children's curiosity,
etc. Then: "In addition, more traditional Activities such as a web
browser, an ebook reader, ..."  On the Activities page, I would stress
the richness of the Activities, e.g. add a leader "Sugar Activities
are fun, friendly, thought-provoking, and collaborative - kids can't
get enough of them!" (P.S. I was a little confused that the links
leave the site to a page they can only return from with the back
button - perhaps links outside the site could load in a single
separate window, so people don't get lost?)

Also: every parent and teacher knows that if kids enjoy the material,
it's far easier for them to learn. So we need to communicate on that
first page that kids love using Sugar because it's fun. A photo would
be ideal, but even some quotable quotes could do it e.g.: "I like the
games and making music with TamTam", "I can chat with my friends", "I
like to draw with it", "I never lose my work because the computer
remembers it".

Other comments:

* Can we grow the logo x2 or x3?

* I found the floating menu disconcerting at first, since it hides
text - I thought it was a bug. It took me a while to figure out it is
a live menu. Could its function as a menu be indicated? Perhaps the
categories could be arranged in a bar at the top of each screen -
visitors will thus quickly gain an overview of the sections.

* May we add "Press" after Contributors? Which is where the contact
info will go ;-) but which could link to the Marketing Team page for

* Can we get screenshots on the Features page, like the Parents page?
Show & tell better than just tell ;-)

* As the site is very textual, is there a search function?

* There is a bug with the floating menu, if I click on Teachers, then
rollover the menu, then click Back on the browser, the hompage appears
with the menu opened but nothing selected. (Firefox v3.0.5 on OSX

* instead of "no files, folders, or applications", which I would
understand means there is nothing at all (!), may I suggest
"Activities, not applications". Kids won't care if there are no files
or folders, but parents and teachers (who have to worry about data)
will. The "no files" concept should be linked to "automatic backup"...
a magic reassuring phrase could be "automatic backup of Activity work,
no worrying about files & folders".

* instead of slashes, could we consider the "s" favicons? Keeping the
sugarlabs logo branding active even when the logo is out of sight as
we scroll down the page

* Although there is a license footer, there should first be a
copyright notice, e.g. "Copyright (c) 2009 Sugar Labs". Reminder, CC
licenses are based on copyright law and it's best-practice to assert
that right.

* Under features, I'd be tempted to add a downside section; e.g. "Is
Sugar right for my child's classroom?" which could be an opportunity
to knock down arguments that it's not Windows, it's too different,

* This has been under discussion & I've been meditating on it, but
there really should be a very short slogan under the logo which should
sum up Sugar Labs. Which could be changed later... but anything decent
will be better than nothing I feel. I'm afraid I don't like "the
learning engine for every child"... sounds technical, like they have
to spend too much time learning how to use it. Keeping in mind our
desire for teacher buy-in, how about "School software for children" or
"Learning software for children" ?

* The download link... to the directories... will appear to be a site
error to a nontechnical user. May I suggest instead, until we can
provide 1-click installers?

* In the floating menu I think "homepage" or even "table of contents"
would be better than "index"... an index is traditionally at the end
of a book ;-)

* Activities page: instead of alpha sort, I would mix them up and
start with the Journal

..more to come....


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