On Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 8:33 AM, AJ Ashton <aj.ashton@...> wrote:
> One important aspect of the site that we think needs work is the
> information architecture. We propose reducing the main navigation menu
> - News
> - Download
> - Documentation
> - Resources
> - Gallery
> - Community
> - Development
> I would like to open a discussion about people's thoughts on this, and
> perhaps get into some specifics regarding what pages/sections would
> need to be consolidated, rethought, or perhaps eliminated in order to
> do this.
Hi AJ and everyone,
If it means anything, thank you for thinking about this! :) The website
information structure is important, I agree. Using the mentioned structure,
I am playing the roles of a visitor here, and I would like to list some of
the possible problems... The good sides are many, but i am not listing those
here ;).. sorry. So, for example, dropping by the Inkscape website I glance
and I ask...
-What would be the difference between the Documentation and the Resources?
i.e. If I want to learn how to use that new Inkscape pattern thingy, where
should I go?
Where do I find the tutorials? Where do I find the function references?
Documentation or Resources?
-If I was a developer, where do I find dev docs? In 'Documentation' or
i.e. I just dropped by because I need some references for the UI functions.
Where could I find it?
-How do 'Community', 'Development' and even 'Gallery' relate to each other?
i.e. I would really like to submit and see what people think about this new
illustration I made... Now, where do I submit it? Community? Gallery?
Or, I'd like to ask the dev-masters what do they think about this little
piece of code I made... submit to Community? Development?
These cases might seem silly to someone already familiar with the website,
but to the others, the first experiences are incredibly important and
usually those first experiences define the decision: I like this place!/I'm
lost at this place, I'm outta here!. I believe that more people we manage to
make feel comfy, the better.
If you allow me, I think it would be good to rethink this information
structure by the roles of the visitors. I'd like to excuse myself in advance
for the 'philosophical' approach to this ;). A brief mental sketch for this
would be to establish two, *role based, transparent and complementary*
information structures. One for the girls and boys who create using Inkscape
- the Users, and one for those girls and boys who create the Inkscape
itself- the Devs; plus one more area that I will mention later. All of them
are intertwined in many places and probably equally represented on the
First, the User and Dev sides. Those are only role based information
structures, meaning that sometimes you feel like a developer (your dev-role)
and sometimes like an artist (your artist-role). In either case you will
find useful info according to the role and with no effort you can switch
between the two. Those two structures are not kept apart, it's more like two
sides of a coin ;) ahh... ye olde sayings. In other words, there's no
'border' in between, it's just a matter of information optimization; i.e,
they both share the same visual identity, navigation principles, etc. but at
any point it is clear to the visitor that a lot of care has put into serving
the 'good' information that fits the role.
Purpose: to be honest, besides serving the user-base, it is also showing-off
the power and general appeal of Inkscape.
...Here, a visitor can witness how inspiring, useful, sophisticated and
purposeful Inkscape can be. And fall in love with it!
/News (Inkscape sightings, achievements, release announcements, cool
/Tutorials and user documentation.
/Stable Inkscape downloads & additional resources (templates, palettes, art,
/Gallery of excellent finished works, etc.
*Purpose: A library, map-room and a reading room of the Inkscape
development. Or, 'the war room' perhaps? ;)
...Here, a visitor can witness how open, diligent, skilled, tidy and cool
Inkscape development is. And dive into it!
/Development Resources (Everything you need to develop Inkscape is here,
Guides, Dev-documentation, Dev Tools...)
/Milestones and roadmaps
/Dev Inkscape downloads (e.g. Nightly/unstable builds)
The third 'area' due to the lack of a better name, I will call 'the
playground'. The Playground is meant to be an 'in between' area. An area of
dynamic discussion, shared idea creation and test rides. Some users would
like to contribute but cannot code, or some developers are interested in how
the users are using some newly implemented function, or have an idea for a
new one? The Playground is the place. For example, those users that want to
try a new funky function that's still under the development, here they can
download a build good enough for the testing, with some brief description.
They can also submit their opinions and suggestions. When a development
effort needs some reference or guidance, here we can put UI surveys,
brainstorm sessions, etc. Basically, this is the place for Devs and Users to
learn form each other's magic.
Purpose: To initiate and support the symbiosis of all those involved with
...Here, a visitor can witness and experience the integrity and common sense
approach to evolving Inkscape.
/Cutting edge stuff to try and 'demand'! ;) (builds with experimental
functionality, UIs, abilities...)
/Analytics (shoutbox, surveys, analyses, etc.)
/Community (forum for both Users and developers)
OK, this is already getting too long for the first post.
So, I believe that the good side of this kind of approach to information
structure is that it will provide two focused environments where both
creative roles of our character can shine, Master-user and a
Master-developer, without the risk of stepping on each other's toes. Still
with no effort a person can switch between. I will stop here... promise! ;)