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Re: New Debian Site

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Hi Augusto,

thanks for your many suggestions instead of just proposing to add colors
everywhere ...

On Tue, Oct 17, 2006 at 04:16:24PM +0200, Augusto Frausin wrote:
> I started pulling down some notes on what I think we could do to improve the
> site's
> usability:
> 1) I noticed that when you get into a page of debian.org from google.com
> usually you have no clue where you have ended up inside the site. I was
> thinking that
> maybe a web crumbler could be useful to help the user understand his
> position inside
> the site.

(Nearly) each page contains a Debian logo so users should know that the
found a Debian page. This Debian logo refers to the main page and
provides general information about Debian.

To determine the position in the site I find the URL very useful :-)
It's not something like ?931649kahdka&ajhdf but readable (even if
English) (e.g. CD/http-ftp/).

Sorry, I do not know anything about web crumblers, is it something
similar (maybe clickable)? I use the up button of Konqueror to go up
but Firefox misses such a functionality IIRC.

Basically, if you go in a section then into a subsection there will be links saying:
Home (link) / Section (link) / Subsection (link)
Sort of an implementation of the site map inside each page.

> 2) I find that the anchors inside the various sections are a bit confusing:
> it
> kinda looks as if they were links to separate pages. What could be done is
> to stylize them or/and right a title on top saying "Anchors" (or something
> like that).

I agree. Changing the style should be trivial using CSS, right? There is
also in some pages (such as international/l10n/ddtp) a WML tag to insert
a table of content, which could be adopted.

> What I find useful instead is an anchor linking to the top of the page,
> after each
> paragraph.

Why? I would not like this. You can always easily move the scollbar.
Also most pages are hard to understand if you read only selected
paragraphs (except FAQs), most pages require you to start reading on the

Ok, I see your point of view...

> 3) The various languages selection are too much separated from the rest of
> the site
> and is located at the bottom of the page. As Jakob Nielsen suggested, most,
> or almost
> all users will not get to the bottom of the page before leaving the site.

There is no need to use this at all since the website uses content
negotiation. I know that Konqueror does not support it properly at the
moment but it works more or less. See http://www.us.debian.org/intro/cn.

But it was suggested multiple times to remember a manual language change
via the footer for other pages too. There exists an easy solution using
cookies (and _javascript_?) but Debian tries to minimise the requirements
for browsers and mirrors. Would it be possible to use this if required
features are available and otherwise not?

> Maybe I would also think of relocating the "Select a server near you".

I never used this form. Is it really useful?

I guess I agree, it is only useful when downloading files (iso images, etc)

On the other side there is
free space on the top of each page because of the large Debian logo.

A simple solution would be to add another scroll down menu next to or
instead of the server selection scroll down menu.

> 4) Last I would also put a "print page" in each page so that users don't
> have to
> print with all the colors in the way. (this can be easily done with CSSs.)

I would not like this. Each browser has a printing function and there
exists also tools such as html2ps. If you want avoid printing colors just
select the monochrome printer spooler!?

I know that yahoo mail deals with this very well: opens up a new page from which
one can print... what do you think of that?

> Please let me know your opinions and, if appreciated by the web developing
> team,
> weather you are able to modify the site to implement these features.

You should always rely on others. We can give hints and maybe agree on a
solution, but you should maybe show us your results too.


What I think is important:

Ensure that all pages are easily accessible starting from the Homepage.
I think there are a few pages not reachable from it. Important pages
should not require more than 2 or 3 clicks.

How do we know which pages are or are not accessible? Should I work with
a web crawler (spider) to see if I can track them down?

Using a given rating for each page (0-unimportant, 10 very important)
and maybe a simple Perl script which checks links could test this

I do not understand exactly what you mean.

A stupid question: Would it be possible to set up multiple CSS files and
let the user select the preferred one? Is this possible?

Should, or actually is very easy to do.
Only thing is that I have not looked how the CSSs are organised inside
the site but from what I understood there are different CSSs for each page.
Is this right?

See also http://www.us.debian.org/devel/website/todo

I'll take a look at that as soon as I have time.
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