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 Post subject: Wiki Frontpage Usability
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:21 pm 
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Hi everyone,

I would like to suggest another step: Reworking the Documentation Homepage. Right now, the situation is the following:
• We have different boxes covering different topics
• Within these boxes is a lot of text, which leads me to sites with further information
Imho, this does not serve the purpose of a Documentation Homepage very well. When a developer reaches the homepage, and is looking for help, he essentially has to read the whole homepage, since everywhere he could find information that are valuable for him. I suggest to reduce the information on the frontpage drastically, and rather serve a target group based view (please see attached example).
Attachment:
docs_mainpage.jpg


I know this example looks very plain compared to the existing version. However, I think it serves the interests of the user who lands at our page better. He does not have to read any explainatory text to get to the information. Neither does he have to search any other section on the site, to get to the information he needs.

If the documentation working group thinks it is essential that some texts are published on the frontpage, I would place them below this intermediary section. I think it is important that knowledge seeking users have the chance to move very fast from generic content to special knowledge. If I look for Information on template design, I do want reach a site which provides information on template design fast.

We cannot trust the performance of the search either. Knowledge seeking users often don’t know, what specifically they are looking for. They just lack the contextual knowledge. That’s why the documentation has to provide a path, which leads the user from generic to specific content quickly.
So my propositions are:
• Target group centric design
• Distributing links first, describing text last
• Building comprehensive knowledge paths

I’m wondering what you’re thinking about that.
Best wishes,
Alex


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:35 pm 
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Hi Alex,

In general, I agree with your thinking.

As you have probably noticed, we have already tried to identify target groups for the documentation and did some initial work along the lines of developing "personae" for each of them, although much work remains to be done in that respect. The major groups, Administrators, Web designers and Developers, are well-established and I like the fact that you have carried them through in your design. Each of these groups/personae has a dedicated page and I think that would need to be linked to from the front page, perhaps by adding a "More..." link under each group.

The Beginners page is a bit of a misfit. You can be a beginner within any of the defined personae, so it doesn't really fit into any of them. On the other hand, the current Beginners page probably comes closest to the Administrator persona, so perhaps it's not a bad place for it for now. Ideally I'd like to see separate Beginners pages for each of the personae.

The Security Guidelines, FAQs and Tips and Tricks are not currently organised by persona, so there would need to be some work done to achieve that (I'm already working on some Secure Coding Guidelines for developers).

The Working Groups block is completely out-of-date on the current front page and has not been amended since our reorganisation some months ago. Consequently, the Working Groups block on your proposal is also out-of-date. There really are only two working groups now: Production and Community.

Development Cookie Jar should probably read Documentation Cookie Jar; the dev cookie jar belongs under Developers.

Perhaps something like this for the top row...

Administrators
Beginners Guide
Administrators Manual
Security Checklist
Vulnerable Extensions List
Technical Requirements
Installation Manual
Upgrade Instructions
FAQs
Tips and Tricks
More for administrators...

Web Designers
Tutorials
Joomla Templates
Security Guidelines
FAQs
Tips and Tricks
More for web designers...

Developers
Tutorials
API Reference
Secure Coding Guidelines
FAQs
Tips and Tricks
Development Cookie Jar
More for developers...

I wonder if we should also bring some of the other personae to the front page. In particular, Evaluators (which is often in the Most Popular Pages list) and Translators (because it's just so important).

The individual persona pages also need some love, particularly the Developers page, which has grown to such proportions that it is now rather hard to find what you need on it.

Good ideas, Alex. I think that if we go through a few iterations we can come up with a much improved front page. :)

All the best,
Chris.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:51 am 
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Hi Chris,

I realized that we already have something like a target group aproach on our homepage. The first problem I see, is that the "start here" page uses like 5% of the screen, and is easily overlooked. Second, it should be the goal that the target group approach becomes more consistent.

I think that pages that include content for different target groups (like the beginners page, etc.) only add unneccessary complexity to the documentation page, contradicting its purpose. I'm with you on the idea that the contents need to be separated into different groups. I sign on on this task.

Yes, the developer page is already very large, so is the beginners page. We have to categorize the content better (see further below). After that I see two possiblities: We could create expandable category lists, so the user only has to find the right category, clicks on it, and finds the right piece of content. Or we could create different category pages and link to them from the developer page for instance. I prefer the first option, but i don't know if a wiki extension for this purpose already exists.

Everything that is out of date or unnecessary for the target groups should be removed from the homepage. Imho the homepage should be plain, intuitive and reduced to the information necessary (--> google search results :-))

I largely agree with your categorization of the content. However I think a larger analysis of the content we have on the wiki is neccessary. I will start a categorization effort, that would create a category tree which is sustainable.

Let's keep on working on this.
Best wishes,
Alex


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:55 pm 
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Hey everyone,

in the process of giving the wiki a little bit more structure, I created a first user-centric category tree:

Image

On the frontpage the user would be able to quickly go to his target group, and choose the topic of his interest. So if he was an administrator, whose problem is template related, he would choose the link "Template Management" in the Administrator Section of the frontpage. Here he would have an overview of tutorial articles and an FAQ section on the botton.

In the future I would give FAQs a little more structure as well. I would like to use dynamic page lists (DPL) to include in each section those FAQ articles, that are relevant for the section. So an FAQ article that is related to Tutorials, this article would get the categories "FAQ" and "Templates". Via DPL we would then include all FAQs that are members of these two categories.

Feedback is appreciated.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:47 pm 
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Hi Alex,

This looks pretty good to me. Well thought out and a positive change. I have increased your access level so you can make changes to the wiki home page. Please feel free to get started. If you need anything, just ask. :-)

Chris.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:30 pm 
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Hey Chris,

I'm going through every page right now, assigning new categories, so we can use DPL to collect the pages that are relevant for a certain section. First of all, I separate between Tutorial, FAQ, Tipps and Tricks, and Reference. Mostly I can't really define the type of the document and then I mostly assign it to the tutorials.

Then I assign a category, telling in which section the article belongs. You can see a first idea on my page: http://docs.joomla.org/User:Batch1211/Frontpage. Below are the categories I use. My Question: Since I go through each page, do you want me to check anything else, while doing this?

[[Category:Stubs]]
[[Category:No Category]]

[[Category:Tutorials]]
[[Category:FAQ]]
[[Category:Tips and tricks]]
[[Category:References]]

[[Category:Installation]]
[[Category:Security]]
[[Category:User Management]]
[[Category:Article Management]]
[[Category:Module Management]]
[[Category:Menu Management]]
[[Category:Global Configuration Management]]
[[Category:Category Management]]


[[Category:Template Development]]
[[Category:Framework]]
[[Category:Module Development]]
[[Category:Plugin Development]]
[[Category:Language Development]]
[[Category:Component Development]]


[[Category:Glossary]]

[[Category:Working Groups]]


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:10 pm 
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Checking for other categories as you go is certainly not a bad idea. The more categorisation that is done, the easier it should be to find things.

You shouldn't need [[Category:No Category]] because you can always refer to http://docs.joomla.org/Special:UncategorizedPages.

Chris.

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Lion Coppice http://www.lioncoppice.org/
Davenport Technology Services http://www.davenporttechnology.com/


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