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Re: Potential www redesign at www.deb.at

Kalle Söderman <kalle.soderman@gmail.com> writes:
> I might be wrong and apologies if im stepping on anyones toes, but I
> always assumed that the elements of the logo combined as seen on the
> current www.debian.org as well as the image above [1] is just someone
> combining two elements without adjusting them to actually work together. 
> The relative weight of the swirl to the text is very uneasy it looks
> like they were never designed to be placed together like that. Valessios
> proposal is a bit better that w.d.o though. The logo as found under
> /logos [2] is in my view a _lot_ better.

Ah, my comment was only about the big logo on the entry page, not
about the logo found on every page.

>>  (2) The navigation bar in the vertical center of the index page (or at
>>      the bottom of some of the other pages) seems weird. My flatmate
>>      commented this with "Woah, it looks like one of those ad boxes on
>>      domain squatter pages" - and I have to admit that I can understand
>>      this. 
>>      Is there a reason not to put the (redesigned, as it is now) boxes
>>      as a nav bar on the left side? It may be old-school, but it doesn't
>>      look bad and it is easy to find.
>>      Also, the nav bar at the bottom makes the footer cover half a screen
>>      page on my monitor, and I don't think that 24" qualifies as a small
>>      screen.
> In my view the use of left column navigation places you under the
> obligation to consistently repeat that element throughout the site. This
> has very far reaching implications for the structure and maintenance of
> the site. The centralised horizontal list of links reads more like a one
> off thing, see [3], [4]. Your friends comment is quite strange
> considering how common this practice is.

Perhaps I should clarify this. On www.deb.at, the nav bar is currently
in the horizontal center of the page. Actual content is above as well as
below it - this just feels wrong. Navigation elements and content
shouldn't be randomly mixed.

> Lists of links in the footer is a fairly recent but very useful feature,
> particularly for a site such as w.d.o that does not offer full
> contextual links, but is more document based. see [4], [5], [6]

A list of links in the footer is OK, the problem with the www.deb.at
footer is its size. Perhaps we should discuss if all of this information
is actually needed: Do we need a flat list (!) of languages, a drop-down
menu of mirrors, and contact information?

Could we, perhaps, move the list of languages to a drop-down list and
put it in the same row as the server selector? Could the "How to set the
default document language" be moved to a mouse over-text of a "?"-symbol
with the old link, right next to a drop-down selector? This would save
horizontal space.

The ubiquitous "Back to the Debian project homepage" link could be
integrated into the nav bar, which should probably be the top-most
element of the footer.
>>  (3) deb.at/devel/ is very hard to read. Definitely work needed, the old
>>      pages had boxes there, making it a lot easier to read.
>>      Coloring the borders in light grey might even do the job - no
>>      prominent change, but helps to keep the focus in one place.
> The columns are probably to close together. Boxing stuff in very rarely
> aids in readability, unless there is a lot of content to cram in. Try
> resting your eyes on the text on www.deb.at/devel and then
> www.debian.org/devel I think you will find that the black frames impose
> themselves into your field of view and disturb the text.

You are right that the current frames disturb the text, but I don't
think that the current proposal is actually better: I tried a few times
now, and after reading a line in the right box, I usually switched back
to the left side.

>>  (4) deb.at/doc/user-manuals is also hard to read, and might need some
>>      optimization - not only for the layout, but I can't see why a page
>>      with user docs should have a links to and checkout instructions for
>      the doc sources.
> Perhaps you are suffering from the relatively large font which limits
> the overview somewhat. I was suggested to me that the website should
> respect the users font settings, and I agreed that this was the correct
> approach.

Yeah, but the problem is not the font size, but the relative size of the
text elements. The "availability" blurb is usually the largest part of
the information. This is not a problem of your layout, it's a general
problem of presenting the content. 

I know I will get a few flames for that, but using a script language to
hide some of the uninteresting (aka != current language/english)
languages might help a lot. We have seen this approach on
bugs.debian.org, and it doesn't seem like people are very unhappy about

BOFH #311:
transient bus protocol violation

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