Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

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Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

Hi Narayan, Wheatbix, Houbsi, guys, :-)

ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS AND SHARED GOALS
============================================

I just spent an hour and a half talking to Houbsi on Skype, and it was
a very interesting discussion. Narayan, you and I have also had a
couple of long voice chats. Maybe this is a good time for me to share
some thoughts and ideas about things.

@Houbsi: I understand your ideas for the interface of the LibreOffice
software, and for the libreoffice.org site, and I really encourage you
to go forward and explore them with the Design team. Also, talk to
leading people in the l10n area of the project, such as Sophie
Gautier, about the ideas and principles behind localization in the
LibreOffice project.

@Narayan: I understand very well your thoughts and attitudes about
involving that talented graphic designer contact of yours. I also see
the need to someone to work closely with us on graphics and page
presentation. But, this is an OS project, and I don't think it can be
achieved in quite the manner you envision.

We have to remember that developing the libreoffice.org site is very
much a cooperative effort between design contributors and content
contributors, and that we need to keep Design in the loop about
things.

@Houbsi & Narayan: I've listened to your ideas about design
approaches, with wireframes, etc, and I understand. Speaking
personally, I don't really agree with your ideas about having a
minimum of content on the libreoffice.org pages and most of the
substance on the wiki. But, I definitely encourage you to expand on
your thoughts and ideas on your wiki user pages, and to do modelling
work on the pumbaa sandbox. You can count on me for any help you want
me to give you.

But, for the moment, the website has been developed in a certain
direction, and I'd like to guide it through to a concluded state:
development of the "Why?" pages, the "Features" section and the "About
Us" section.

At that time, LibO will have a decent website to fulfill needs for the
next few months, and those of you with those radically-different,
imaginative, creative visions can develop them at leisure for
presentation to the SC and community. I'll be pleased to contribute in
any way you want me to.

One of the most difficult things in a project like this is
communications. Even with the best will in the world, and even with
the aid of tools like email, wikis, IM and voice chats, ideas often
fail to pass effectively and we don't end up at a general consensus.
Compromise and flexibility is needed from all of us. A great deal of
contributing to an OS project like this lies in understanding and
coming to terms with the project's sociology.

Everyone wants the project to go forward - but often in different directions!

There comes a time when we have to choose one path and then all
contribute to it.

My humble proposal is this: I've played a leading role in *dragging*
the website in one particular direction. It was something that *had*
to be done at that time, IMHO. I'm not saying it's necessarily the
best, but it's already 80% on the road to its destination. I suggest
that we complete that work, so that the site is really in a final v1.0
state.

Then, I suggest that we thoroughly explore all other possible options
via confcalls, wiki writing and modeling on the pumbaa server until we
arrive at a v2.0 SilverStripe website to offer to the SC for approval
- something tangible, backed-up by written presentations and
proposals.

I know very well that the subject of Drupal is not gone from the minds
of several of you. Therefore, I suggest that, when libreoffice.org
v1.0 is at a finalized state, we should request the SC to request
Christian to set-up a Drupal sandbox on the pumbaa server, in parallel
to the SilverStripe sandbox. That way, you could thoroughly explore
your ideas, and could experiment and model, and build properly-working
demos that can be shown to the SC, for consideration, for whatever
applications you imagine.

Personally, I'd see this as a platform for progressively developing
things for a possible mid-term adoption - in 6 to 9 months time - if
the results are judged to have merit and real added-value for the
project.

That's my 2 cents...

But what about the immediate work to be done now?


WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? SOME PROPOSALS
================================================

For the "Why?" pages, I like Wheatbix's idea of concrete usage
examples for each marketing target category, and - speaking my own
view - I feel we should work on that. Me, I want to start by
re-working "Why for Home?" in that direction. But I'd see these as
being quite in-depth pages of maybe 500 words or more each.

For the "Features" section, I see a set of sub-pages for each of the
key apps, providing deeper coverage of key features and
functionalities of that app. For instance, for Writer, styles, would
be one. For Base, we'd need deeper individual coverage of table
design, query design, form design and report design. And so on.

We'd also need coverage of some of the great global functionality of
LibreOffice available in all the apps: macros and templates, for
instance.

The "About Us" section (I'm not sure if that is really the best name
for it) needs developing with content and pages about the community
and the governance. Some pages that come to mind, for me, are
"Credits", "LGPL license" and "Community Bylaws" (the latter needs
discussing with the SC first). We also need a page with LibO-related,
user-downloadable graphics, avatars and icons for people to use on
their blogs and sites. Personally, I'd like to see that page directly
on the site, rather than on the wiki. However, that supposes a
thorough validation of the graphics beforehand by Design.

I'm certain that there's other interesting content we can have in the
"About Us" section that I haven't even thought of yet. Ideas needed.

Most of those pages are forcibly going to contain quite a bit of text,
and will need a lot of collaboration with Ivan and Christoph. Houbsi,
as you suggested, maybe we can get Paulo involved with graphic
production, too?

Personally, I don't like the idea of burying content deeper in the IA
than necessary, nor of sending the visitor off the site to the wiki
(except for particular, frequently-updated content). Every additional
click is a risk of losing the surfer's attention. And the wiki is not
a facility designed to market the product, it's an auxiliary
information base and a brain-storming area. Telling your visitors to
go read information there is like a store's staff telling their
customers to go have a root around in the store's stockroom and
basement to see the products, rather than doing the presenting and
selling on the shop floor!

And, speaking personally, I think it's important to have plenty of
written content on the site. Proper coverage of some subjects
necessarily involves a certain amount of writing. If you don't provide
the information, where can people find it? Many companies and products
get a lot of in-depth technical coverage in the printed media and many
other websites on the Internet. So they can afford to have sites that
are light on content and that give mainly a superficial, visual UX,
because the visitor comes to the site with a lot of pre-seeded
knowledge of the product(s).

But LibreOffice cannot count on that. The LibreOffice site is the key
source of knowledge and information about the LibreOffice product and
community. We don't have continual, collateral, reliable media
coverage to educate people about the project. So all the info has to
be there on our site, to enlighten new visitors/users, and to dispell
incorrect perceptions and misinformation.

That's why, in my *humble* opinion, we *do* need a certain amount of
"text, text, text". :-D

However, we really need to get Ivan or other Design team guy closely
involved in working on the presentation of the existing pages and text
(some slight adaptations will undoubtedly be necessary). We need
graphics, and widespread use of the photo-shuffler. If possible, I'd
like Ivan to get actively involved in working on re-presenting many
pages. The "New Features" page is an urgent case.


NEWS SECTION
===============

One other thing I've been agitating for recently is a News section on
the site. This would be a place to publish regular articles, and would
involve close cooperation with Marketing.

We'd need to evaluate a choice between the SilverStripe blogging and
news modules on pumbaa, and then ask Christian to provide it on the
main libreoffice.org site.


CONCLUSION
============

Ideas, reactions and suggestions?

And how about some volunteers to take on specific work?

David Nelson

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Narayan Aras Narayan Aras
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RE: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]


Hi David,

> From: [hidden email]
> Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 10:32:56 +0800

> @Narayan: I understand very well your thoughts and attitudes about
> involving that talented graphic designer contact of yours. I also see
> the need to someone to work closely with us on graphics and page
> presentation. But, this is an OS project, and I don't think it can be
> achieved in quite the manner you envision.

> We have to remember that developing the libreoffice.org site is very
> much a cooperative effort between design contributors and content
> contributors, and that we need to keep Design in the loop about
> things.

First, let us differentiate between (a) the designer and (b) his designs for our project.

The designer would produce IA+wireframe+icon proposals.

The proposals are to be reviewed publicly and subject to change.

It is not a "take it or leave it" offer.



What is wrong with that picture?
Why do we have to get the designer approved?
After all, we are NOT screening a thousand contenders to select the lucky winner.
So why do you feel this compulsion to get the designer approved by the Design team?

And about this "approval" per se- How appropriate is it?
How exactly will the Design team approve the designer?

You know the professional profile of my friend.

Do we have bigger web professionals on board who can judge him?


And what has this to do with the OS model??
I refuse to believe that an OS project has to be run unprofessionally as a policy.
Website design is a specialized field, and even an OS project would have to follow its norms.

I have often heard about this "design" group, but-
I have not seen its leadership for the website (providing vision, setting scope of work, planning).
It failed to allocate resources to this project (e.g. graphic designer, copywriters).
It has not given periodic creative feedback on the work done so far.

Given that, they should not at least be a hindrance when we are struggling to manage on our own.
To be fair, I have not seen any evidence that they would block us from doing any positive work.

> One of the most difficult things in a project like this is
> communications. Even with the best will in the world, and even with
> the aid of tools like email, wikis, IM and voice chats, ideas often
> fail to pass effectively and we don't end up at a general consensus.
> Compromise and flexibility is needed from all of us. A great deal of
> contributing to an OS project like this lies in understanding and
> coming to terms with the project's sociology.

No I think the root cause is that some members lack knowledge of this field (website design).
Then they try to make it up with common sense. This results in conflicts.

When two disparate Communities of Practice come together, it is best to give space to the core specialists.

> Everyone wants the project to go forward - but often in different directions!
>
> There comes a time when we have to choose one path and then all
> contribute to it.

That was my point: The current design is way off course - Both in process and contents.
See this checklist and decide for yourself: http://www.abrook.com/website-design/website-planning-checklist/

Reality check: How much is the contribution from the design team on those topics?

> My humble proposal is this: I've played a leading role in *dragging*
> the website in one particular direction. It was something that *had*
> to be done at that time, IMHO. I'm not saying it's necessarily the
> best, but it's already 80% on the road to its destination. I suggest
> that we complete that work, so that the site is really in a final v1.0
> state.

I think all of us agree. The second phase actually builds on the first.

> Then, I suggest that we thoroughly explore all other possible options
> via confcalls, wiki writing and modeling on the pumbaa server until we
> arrive at a v2.0 SilverStripe website to offer to the SC for approval
> - something tangible, backed-up by written presentations and
> proposals.

Good idea. SC should give us a lab space.
Like Google labs, we should have an official idea-generation and prototyping area.
 
> I know very well that the subject of Drupal is not gone from the minds
> of several of you. Therefore, I suggest that, when libreoffice.org
> v1.0 is at a finalized state, we should request the SC to request
> Christian to set-up a Drupal sandbox on the pumbaa server, in parallel
> to the SilverStripe sandbox. That way, you could thoroughly explore
> your ideas, and could experiment and model, and build properly-working
> demos that can be shown to the SC, for consideration, for whatever
> applications you imagine.

In fact, why not NOW?
The two phases can run concurrently.
And we will also work on phase-1 unreservedly.

> Personally, I'd see this as a platform for progressively developing
> things for a possible mid-term adoption - in 6 to 9 months time - if
> the results are judged to have merit and real added-value for the
> project.

Charles Schulz thinks the website is already finished, and nothing more needs to be done. (?)
That position is at complete odds with our agenda for the conference call.
We should hear from SC about their own views on the matter of website.

Regards,
Narayan
     
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Wheatbix Wheatbix
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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by davidnelson
On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 12:02 PM, David Nelson <[hidden email]> wrote:
> At that time, LibO will have a decent website to fulfill needs for the
> next few months, and those of you with those radically-different,
> imaginative, creative visions can develop them at leisure for
> presentation to the SC and community. I'll be pleased to contribute in
> any way you want me to.
...
> Then, I suggest that we thoroughly explore all other possible options
> via confcalls, wiki writing and modeling on the pumbaa server until we
> arrive at a v2.0 SilverStripe website to offer to the SC for approval
> - something tangible, backed-up by written presentations and
> proposals.

David, one thing I think should be clear, is that the website team
creates, maintains and is responsible for the website.
Instead of working independently and presenting competing work to the
SC for some kind of royal approval as you have suggested and has
occurred in the past, we should work collaboratively without any need
for Steering Committee intervention or requests for approvals.
As the website team we have the mandate and authority to improve the
website content and infrastructure, we simply need to compromise then
come to a conclusion.

> I know very well that the subject of Drupal is not gone from the minds
> of several of you. Therefore, I suggest that, when libreoffice.org
> v1.0 is at a finalized state, we should request the SC to request
> Christian to set-up a Drupal sandbox on the pumbaa server, in parallel
> to the SilverStripe sandbox. That way, you could thoroughly explore
> your ideas, and could experiment and model, and build properly-working
> demos that can be shown to the SC, for consideration, for whatever
> applications you imagine.

We already have a Drupal development site, why would we move it to
another persons server.
It is hosted on my server and I am more than happy to continue
supporting the Drupal development when we kick it off again in a few
months.
Also the 'pumbaa' server you are talking about drives me nuts as it is
not on port 80/8080/8000 and some of the proxies I use don't allow
other ports.

> For the "Why?" pages, I like Wheatbix's idea of concrete usage
> examples for each marketing target category, and - speaking my own
> view - I feel we should work on that. Me, I want to start by
> re-working "Why for Home?" in that direction. But I'd see these as
> being quite in-depth pages of maybe 500 words or more each.

'500 words' is a long way from what I envisaged when developing the idea.
Considering there are people who would like to try out more visually
pleasing content how about we set the challenge for these 'why' pages
and see what people come up with?

If there is anyone out there who does not have/want a Silverstripe
username you can forward content you have created on to me and I will
publish it. Please include any images as files.

> We'd need to evaluate a choice between the SilverStripe blogging and
> news modules on pumbaa, and then ask Christian to provide it on the
> main libreoffice.org site.

IMO 'LibreOffice News' is already provided by the LibreOffice Blog and Planet.
We simply need a way to import the XML to page content and setup a
list of the pages.
Again, I am not sure how Silverstripe works, but this is pretty basic
functionality and should be very easy to set up.

Just a few thoughts,
Michael Wheatland

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davidnelson davidnelson
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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by Narayan Aras
Hi Narayan, Mike, :-)

For the present, you need to take account of the fact that work on the
website is currently being led by a four-person team: myself for
content, Ivan and Christoph as regards design (CSS, graphics), and
Christian. Therefore, these people have to be in agreement about the
decisions on developing the site. In turn, we implement the guidelines
and decisions of the SC. The SC is the final owner of the site, in its
role as custodian and federator of the community.

Therefore, no action or decisions are possible without consulting all
of the above people, with the SC having final veto.

You can certainly approach the SC and request a change as regards the
four-man team. For that, the best thing would be to come up with a
document laying out your ideas, and then to request an agenda item
before an SC meeting, so that the issue can be discussed and voted on
at the following meeting. In that case, you should be there at the
meeting, and I think you'd probably be asked to vocally present your
case.

But the SC will, in any case, always be the ultimate owner and
decision-taker as regards the website. That's the way it is and, in my
opinion, the way it should be.

Mike, you listened to my ideas during the last confcall, so you have a
pretty good idea where I stand about all that. ;-)

Guys, it would be so much better if we could move on past these
discussions about the raison d'être of the website team. It would be
so much easier to possibly achieve a good number of the things you
want, if we could work together contructively as a team and committed
members of the project, putting our support behind the project
governance and making a positive net contribution to the project.

Shouldn't we just get back to work on the site content? ;-)

David Nelson

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charles.h.schulz charles.h.schulz
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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

Hello Narayan, everyone,

Just a reminder:

We will not consider any move to another CMS, platform, etc. until at least 6 months. At that stage (in 6 months or so) we might/may perhaps *consider* (not necessarily approve) a move to a platform such as Drupal.

Until that stage:
1) no discussion about Drupal on this list.
2) no "major overhaul" of the website.

What this does not mean:
1) we can't change the way some of the content is presented on the website. (see the wiki page for this)
2) we can't improve the website in minor ways.
3) we can't fix bugs.


Yes, there comes a time when the website is "completed" and where only incremental improvements are needed.
Again: LibreOffice is not about a website nor about letting people satisfy their passion about web design, at least not primarily. We do not want a website that keeps on changing because people think their way is better.
We (the SC) do not want to reopen yet another thread about these topics. The level of energy and effort spent on this topic (the website) is ridiculously high compared to what we need to to work on. We're therefore glad that there are people who want to help but there comes a point where it's not helpful, because someone's always pushing, pushing and always pushing. Same thing with respect to the website confcall: we haven't agreed on working again on overhauling the website, we haven't agreed on changing the website team, which for the sake of clarity is composed of the same 4 people the SC has appointed.

Thank you,

--
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Sent with Sparrow


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Narayan Aras Narayan Aras
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RE: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by davidnelson

Hi David,

> From: [hidden email]

> For the present, you need to take account of the fact that work on the
> website is currently being led by a four-person team: myself for
> content, Ivan and Christoph as regards design (CSS, graphics), and
> Christian. Therefore, these people have to be in agreement about the
> decisions on developing the site.

Oh so you four guys are the LibreOffice website decision-makers?

And the rest have to work as bidden, against their professional judgment?


Nice. And completely meritocratic too.

> In turn, we implement the guidelines
> and decisions of the SC. The SC is the final owner of the site, in its
> role as custodian and federator of the community.

> Therefore, no action or decisions are possible without consulting all
> of the above people, with the SC having final veto.

> You can certainly approach the SC and request a change as regards the
> four-man team. For that, the best thing would be to come up with a
> document laying out your ideas, and then to request an agenda item
> before an SC meeting, so that the issue can be discussed and voted on
> at the following meeting. In that case, you should be there at the
> meeting, and I think you'd probably be asked to vocally present your
> case.

Is it not for the leadership to lay down the vision and drive it?
Why have this "come with your idea and let me see if I like it" attitude?
We are not even following the website design principles.
The checklist proves how half-baked this project is.
 
> But the SC will, in any case, always be the ultimate owner and
> decision-taker as regards the website. That's the way it is and, in my
> opinion, the way it should be.

Is this autocratic or meritocratic?

> Guys, it would be so much better if we could move on past these
> discussions about the raison d'être of the website team.

So it appears you never endorsed the agenda for the conference call?

> It would be
> so much easier to possibly achieve a good number of the things you
> want, if we could work together contructively as a team and committed
> members of the project, putting our support behind the project
> governance and making a positive net contribution to the project.

How can we have governance when we have self-appointed leaders who don't want to consult others
and a superpower with veto?

-Narayan
     
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charles.h.schulz charles.h.schulz
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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

Narayan,

The four people have been appointed by the SC. These people are not dictators, they are here to achieve a goal (designing the website and operating it).
The reason we chose these 4 people is precisely because these were the people who had been working on the website since the beginning so yes it is meritocratic.
The team of four people needs to be in agreement with each other indeed, and they have to be community enablers, not dictators.

If you feel the website is going against your judgement I would advise you to focus on other parts of the LibreOffice project or perhaps find other teams elsewhere outside it who would like to have a website done based on your opinion and wishes. Again, we're not going to restart the same thread.

Thanks,

--
charles.h.schulz
Sent with Sparrow
On jeudi 3 février 2011 at 08:53, Narayan Aras wrote:

>
> Hi David,
>
> > From: [hidden email]
>
> > For the present, you need to take account of the fact that work on the
> > website is currently being led by a four-person team: myself for
> > content, Ivan and Christoph as regards design (CSS, graphics), and
> > Christian. Therefore, these people have to be in agreement about the
> > decisions on developing the site.
>
> Oh so you four guys are the LibreOffice website decision-makers?
>
> And the rest have to work as bidden, against their professional judgment?
>
>
> Nice. And completely meritocratic too.
>
> > In turn, we implement the guidelines
> > and decisions of the SC. The SC is the final owner of the site, in its
> > role as custodian and federator of the community.
>
> > Therefore, no action or decisions are possible without consulting all
> > of the above people, with the SC having final veto.
>
> > You can certainly approach the SC and request a change as regards the
> > four-man team. For that, the best thing would be to come up with a
> > document laying out your ideas, and then to request an agenda item
> > before an SC meeting, so that the issue can be discussed and voted on
> > at the following meeting. In that case, you should be there at the
> > meeting, and I think you'd probably be asked to vocally present your
> > case.
>
> Is it not for the leadership to lay down the vision and drive it?
> Why have this "come with your idea and let me see if I like it" attitude?
> We are not even following the website design principles.
> The checklist proves how half-baked this project is.
>
> > But the SC will, in any case, always be the ultimate owner and
> > decision-taker as regards the website. That's the way it is and, in my
> > opinion, the way it should be.
>
> Is this autocratic or meritocratic?
>
> > Guys, it would be so much better if we could move on past these
> > discussions about the raison d'être of the website team.
>
> So it appears you never endorsed the agenda for the conference call?
>
> > It would be
> > so much easier to possibly achieve a good number of the things you
> > want, if we could work together contructively as a team and committed
> > members of the project, putting our support behind the project
> > governance and making a positive net contribution to the project.
>
> How can we have governance when we have self-appointed leaders who don't want to consult others
> and a superpower with veto?
>
> -Narayan
>
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> List archive: http://listarchives.libreoffice.org/www/website/
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>

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Ivan M. Ivan M.
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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by Narayan Aras
Hi Narayan, David, all,

Sorry for not jumping in earlier; I have been busy with travel, work,
etc these past few days. It seems we have another long discussion on
our hands :). I'd just like to respond to Narayan's comments with my
perspective/take.

On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 7:15 PM, Narayan Aras <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Hi David,
>
>> From: [hidden email]
>> Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 10:32:56 +0800
>
>> @Narayan: I understand very well your thoughts and attitudes about
>> involving that talented graphic designer contact of yours. I also see
>> the need to someone to work closely with us on graphics and page
>> presentation. But, this is an OS project, and I don't think it can be
>> achieved in quite the manner you envision.
>
>> We have to remember that developing the libreoffice.org site is very
>> much a cooperative effort between design contributors and content
>> contributors, and that we need to keep Design in the loop about
>> things.
>
> First, let us differentiate between (a) the designer and (b) his designs for our project.
>
> The designer would produce IA+wireframe+icon proposals.
>
> The proposals are to be reviewed publicly and subject to change.
>
> It is not a "take it or leave it" offer.
>
>
>
> What is wrong with that picture?
> Why do we have to get the designer approved?

There is no such approval process. The quality of a person's
contributions are the key to their progress and standing in the
project - that's reasonably meritocratic IMO.

> After all, we are NOT screening a thousand contenders to select the lucky winner.
> So why do you feel this compulsion to get the designer approved by the Design team?

I think there might be a misunderstanding here. The focus of the
Design team is much broader than the website. For one, it has a focus
on branding, which will necessarily set constraints on the website
design (e.g. which colors to use, what kinds of styles to develop,
etc). It also has a focus on user experience, which includes (among
many other things) wireframing. From what I gather, you are interested
in these topics. They can certainly be discussed here on the website
list, but to get the big picture, I would suggest you also subscribe
to the Design list to keep up with related developments. I think
you'll be surprised by the talent we have and it would be great to
have you on board.

> And about this "approval" per se- How appropriate is it?
> How exactly will the Design team approve the designer?
>
> You know the professional profile of my friend.
>
> Do we have bigger web professionals on board who can judge him?

Not necessarily, but I don't like the implication of what you are
saying because you are implicitly making a judgement yourself. No one
can come in expecting a mandate to be handed over to them just because
they are a professional - they will need to show that they can make
tangible contributions to meet the needs of the project *now*. This
will allow them to establish merit and have their suggestions taken
seriously in the future.

> And what has this to do with the OS model??
> I refuse to believe that an OS project has to be run unprofessionally as a policy.
> Website design is a specialized field, and even an OS project would have to follow its norms.

Yes, there are some norms we need to follow, but there are also norms
set by the project that website designers will need to follow. We are
a collaborative volunteer community, not a web design firm. The
dynamics are rather different - it can be a lot more complicated, much
slower, but also very rewarding when it's done.

> I have often heard about this "design" group, but-
> I have not seen its leadership for the website (providing vision, setting scope of work, planning).
> It failed to allocate resources to this project (e.g. graphic designer, copywriters).
> It has not given periodic creative feedback on the work done so far.

Please don't send me digging through mailing list archives to address
some of these points. A good number of the most active people from the
design group are also subscribed to this list and contribute
regularly. Much of the process you describe has been lacking due to
one reason: time. I have worked with David to get the website design
based on Nik's proposal online on a deadline. Given the time
constraints, I think what we have is now reasonable (albeit not
ideal). Work progresses slower now because contributions have become
more open the community and there are more discussions (like this one)
to be had.

> Given that, they should not at least be a hindrance when we are struggling to manage on our own.
> To be fair, I have not seen any evidence that they would block us from doing any positive work.
>
>> One of the most difficult things in a project like this is
>> communications. Even with the best will in the world, and even with
>> the aid of tools like email, wikis, IM and voice chats, ideas often
>> fail to pass effectively and we don't end up at a general consensus.
>> Compromise and flexibility is needed from all of us. A great deal of
>> contributing to an OS project like this lies in understanding and
>> coming to terms with the project's sociology.

And a little psychology :)

> No I think the root cause is that some members lack knowledge of this field (website design).
> Then they try to make it up with common sense. This results in conflicts.

I'm going to rewrite your statement in a way that I hope will make an
important point. Please don't interpret it as if it refers to you
specifically but rather try to see the point behind it (i.e., we need
'institutional knowledge' within the project as much as we need
'expertise' in a specific discipline):
Some members lack the knowledge of this project (LibreOffice). Then
they try to make it up with the way things are done elsewhere (be it
design school, web design firms, commercial/'real life' experience,
even other open source projects, etc). This results in conflicts.

> When two disparate Communities of Practice come together, it is best to give space to the core specialists.

Ideally, we will have a mix of big picture people and specialists. I
don't mean 'big picture' in terms of a redesign; I mean 'big picture'
as in "where does the website fit in LibreOffice, which projects or
people should I ask for help on this or that task, how does the
website design reflect, represent, or develop the visual 'language'
established in the branding guidelines", etc. Design and website are
not disparate communities; like Venn Diagrams, they have overlapping
areas of interest.

>> Everyone wants the project to go forward - but often in different directions!
>>
>> There comes a time when we have to choose one path and then all
>> contribute to it.
>
> That was my point: The current design is way off course - Both in process and contents.
> See this checklist and decide for yourself: http://www.abrook.com/website-design/website-planning-checklist/
>
> Reality check: How much is the contribution from the design team on those topics?

It's probably more than you think. However, at the same time, the
design team is busy with other things (e.g. application/document
icons) and as I've said before, these discussions take time to read
and respond to.
So, what's the way forward? Start by contributing where resources are
needed. Our productivity is lowered by these long discussions. It
might seem like making initial contributions to the site as it stands
would be like putting varnish on rust (by working on something you
don't necessarily agree with) but this is what is needed now.
Contributing to meet current needs is a pretty good way to establish
merit here.

>> My humble proposal is this: I've played a leading role in *dragging*
>> the website in one particular direction. It was something that *had*
>> to be done at that time, IMHO. I'm not saying it's necessarily the
>> best, but it's already 80% on the road to its destination. I suggest
>> that we complete that work, so that the site is really in a final v1.0
>> state.
>
> I think all of us agree. The second phase actually builds on the first.
>
>> Then, I suggest that we thoroughly explore all other possible options
>> via confcalls, wiki writing and modeling on the pumbaa server until we
>> arrive at a v2.0 SilverStripe website to offer to the SC for approval
>> - something tangible, backed-up by written presentations and
>> proposals.
>
> Good idea. SC should give us a lab space.
> Like Google labs, we should have an official idea-generation and prototyping area.
>
>> I know very well that the subject of Drupal is not gone from the minds
>> of several of you. Therefore, I suggest that, when libreoffice.org
>> v1.0 is at a finalized state, we should request the SC to request
>> Christian to set-up a Drupal sandbox on the pumbaa server, in parallel
>> to the SilverStripe sandbox. That way, you could thoroughly explore
>> your ideas, and could experiment and model, and build properly-working
>> demos that can be shown to the SC, for consideration, for whatever
>> applications you imagine.
>
> In fact, why not NOW?
> The two phases can run concurrently.
> And we will also work on phase-1 unreservedly.

Can we please work on the *current* website in the short-term - we
need people to work on the *current* website *now* (e.g. contribute to
the CSS styles effort). Later on we can talk about other phases.

This is all my (hopefully humble) opinion of course.

Regards,
Ivan.

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RE: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]


Hi Ivan,

> > After all, we are NOT screening a thousand contenders to select the lucky winner.
> > So why do you feel this compulsion to get the designer approved by the Design team?
 
I wanted to bring a designer strictly one time; only for the website work (not on permanent basis).

He would have done this as a big favor to me.

So I proposed that he should be doing his good deed and go his way, but I could not have him judged.

He would have been a rescuer, not a supplicant.

> I think there might be a misunderstanding here. The focus of the
> Design team is much broader than the website. For one, it has a focus
> on branding, which will necessarily set constraints on the website
> design (e.g. which colors to use, what kinds of styles to develop,
> etc). It also has a focus on user experience, which includes (among
> many other things) wireframing. From what I gather, you are interested
> in these topics. They can certainly be discussed here on the website
> list, but to get the big picture, I would suggest you also subscribe
> to the Design list to keep up with related developments. I think
> you'll be surprised by the talent we have and it would be great to
> have you on board.

sure! :)

> > And about this "approval" per se- How appropriate is it?
> > How exactly will the Design team approve the designer?
> >
> > You know the professional profile of my friend.
> >
> > Do we have bigger web professionals on board who can judge him?
>
> Not necessarily, but I don't like the implication of what you are
> saying because you are implicitly making a judgement yourself. No one
> can come in expecting a mandate to be handed over to them just because
> they are a professional - they will need to show that they can make
> tangible contributions to meet the needs of the project *now*. This
> will allow them to establish merit and have their suggestions taken
> seriously in the future.

He was NOT interested in joining the team.
He agreed to help out only because I requested.
He would have done his design, gifted it to me (to Libo) and moved on.
Why do we have to harass such good samaritans with our approval process?

If our car is wrecked on the road, and if someone is offering first aid, do we subject him to full approval process?
Or just grab his offer thankfully?
 
> > And what has this to do with the OS model??
> > I refuse to believe that an OS project has to be run unprofessionally as a policy.
> > Website design is a specialized field, and even an OS project would have to follow its norms.
>
> Yes, there are some norms we need to follow, but there are also norms
> set by the project that website designers will need to follow. We are
> a collaborative volunteer community, not a web design firm. The
> dynamics are rather different - it can be a lot more complicated, much
> slower, but also very rewarding when it's done.

While handling guests. we have to be extra courteous, and not make them jump hoops in the name of rules.

> > No I think the root cause is that some members lack knowledge of this field (website design).
> > Then they try to make it up with common sense. This results in conflicts.
>
> I'm going to rewrite your statement in a way that I hope will make an
> important point. Please don't interpret it as if it refers to you
> specifically but rather try to see the point behind it (i.e., we need
> 'institutional knowledge' within the project as much as we need
> 'expertise' in a specific discipline):
> Some members lack the knowledge of this project (LibreOffice). Then
> they try to make it up with the way things are done elsewhere (be it
> design school, web design firms, commercial/'real life' experience,
> even other open source projects, etc). This results in conflicts.

UX principles will remain universal, as applied to a website for any purpose.
It has nothing to do with organizational dynamics.
Are dynamics responsible for the fact that the website lacks search, tag line, AND site map?
Why is it designed for reading, as against scanning?

> > When two disparate Communities of Practice come together, it is best to give space to the core specialists.
>
> Ideally, we will have a mix of big picture people and specialists. I
> don't mean 'big picture' in terms of a redesign; I mean 'big picture'
> as in "where does the website fit in LibreOffice, which projects or
> people should I ask for help on this or that task, how does the
> website design reflect, represent, or develop the visual 'language'
> established in the branding guidelines", etc. Design and website are
> not disparate communities; like Venn Diagrams, they have overlapping
> areas of interest.

I meant content-writers and graphic designers are disparate groups! :)

BTW you are right about the big picture- That's what we are going to discuss at the conference call.

It's good to have this discussion.

Regards,
Narayan
     
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Mike Houben Mike Houben
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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

Only a little answer,

i'm having not much time. (preparation for fosdem and other things)

Am 03.02.2011 um 12:54 schrieb Narayan Aras:

>
> Hi Ivan,
>
>>> After all, we are NOT screening a thousand contenders to select the lucky winner.
>>> So why do you feel this compulsion to get the designer approved by the Design team?
>
> I wanted to bring a designer strictly one time; only for the website work (not on permanent basis).
>
> He would have done this as a big favor to me.
>
> So I proposed that he should be doing his good deed and go his way, but I could not have him judged.
>
> He would have been a rescuer, not a supplicant.

We have some good people and motivated people to work on the Design. It would be discouraging if we ask someone from the outside to work on it.
I'm not against, but we should work with what we have. But he's welcome to give some advice if we have done some work.


@all:
i'm putting all my ideas in a little presentation. so everyone can see what i have in mind and what i'm willing to do for libreoffice. (I'm having also some new people which would like to join the developer team. (I come with Ideas and Ressources ;) - I'm not someone who comes without some hands to work on my ideas).

Mike (Houbsi)


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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by charles.h.schulz

Good enough.

I don't have any issues with the SC decision at all. In fact, this same unequivocal reply should have come two months ago.

As I said in my first mail, we should not be forced to second-guess the SC's intent.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what we have been doing because SC's message was not clear earlier.

For that matter, the appointment of the as website team also came as a surprise.
This was not announced through the most obvious channel (in this mail list).
The information trickled through David as part of another discussion, which is very strange.

Let us hope the organizational announcements are made more gracefully in future.

-Narayan


> Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 08:38:40 +0100
> From: [hidden email]
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [libreoffice-website] Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]
>
> Hello Narayan, everyone,
>
> Just a reminder:
>
> We will not consider any move to another CMS, platform, etc. until at least 6 months. At that stage (in 6 months or so) we might/may perhaps *consider* (not necessarily approve) a move to a platform such as Drupal.
>
> Until that stage:
> 1) no discussion about Drupal on this list.
> 2) no "major overhaul" of the website.
>
> What this does not mean:
> 1) we can't change the way some of the content is presented on the website. (see the wiki page for this)
> 2) we can't improve the website in minor ways.
> 3) we can't fix bugs.
>
>
> Yes, there comes a time when the website is "completed" and where only incremental improvements are needed.
> Again: LibreOffice is not about a website nor about letting people satisfy their passion about web design, at least not primarily. We do not want a website that keeps on changing because people think their way is better.
> We (the SC) do not want to reopen yet another thread about these topics. The level of energy and effort spent on this topic (the website) is ridiculously high compared to what we need to to work on. We're therefore glad that there are people who want to help but there comes a point where it's not helpful, because someone's always pushing, pushing and always pushing. Same thing with respect to the website confcall: we haven't agreed on working again on overhauling the website, we haven't agreed on changing the website team, which for the sake of clarity is composed of the same 4 people the SC has appointed.
>
> Thank you,
>
> --
> charles.h.schulz
> Sent with Sparrow
>
>
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bedipp bedipp
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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by charles.h.schulz
Hi Charles, all,

just for clarification:

charles.h.schulz schrieb:
> Hello Narayan, everyone,
>
> [... 6 months ...]
>
> Until that stage:

> 1) no discussion about Drupal on this list.
>
> 2) no "major overhaul" of the website.

But implementation of UX and Design - I can't determine if this will be
a major or minor overhaul.
>
> What this does not mean: 1) we can't change the way some of the
> content is presented on the website. (see the wiki page for this) 2)
> we can't improve the website in minor ways. 3) we can't fix bugs.

Double negation:
It is allowed to change the presentation of the website content.
It is allowed to improve the website (whatever "minor ways" mean)
It is allowed to fix bugs.
>
>
> Yes, there comes a time when the website is "completed" and where
> only incremental improvements are needed.

But this goal has not been achieved. Please read Christoph's comments on
the wiki.

> Again: LibreOffice is not about a website nor about letting people
> satisfy their passion about web design, at least not primarily.

But one if it's goals is to reach people - therefore a good website is
important.

> We do not want a website that keeps on changing because people think
> their way is better. We (the SC) do not want to reopen yet another
> thread about these topics.

The website team had to hold off with their comments until the present
website was ready. This means, that it is *now* exactly the time to
discuss optimizations.

I can't believe that you - and the entire SC - think the website doesn't
need any improvement.

At the moment development is going in the wrong direction (text vs
graphics) - and this must be allowed to discuss.

> The level of energy and effort spent on
> this topic (the website) is ridiculously high compared to what we
> need to to work on.

Right - but I hope this will settle, once the team found it's common way.

> We're therefore glad that there are people who
> want to help but there comes a point where it's not helpful, because
> someone's always pushing, pushing and always pushing. Same thing with
> respect to the website confcall: we haven't agreed on working again
> on overhauling the website, we haven't agreed on changing the website
> team, which for the sake of clarity is composed of the same 4 people
> the SC has appointed.

I'm quite sure you don't mean what you wrote: The website team doesn't
consist of 4 people only!

It's a larger group - with the four people as "guides" in their
respective area of interest.

This doesn't mean that their opinions are the only reasonable ones, they
have to follow the expertise from the team (and outside experts) in
certain cases, even if this is not what they would do when they had to
decide on their own.

By the way: The SC decision for the four "leads" doesn't include a
marketing expert - perhaps this could be reconsidered (or we cross-post
our main questions to the marketing list).

Best regards

Bernhard

Best regards

Bernhard

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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

Hello Bernhard,

Le Thu, 03 Feb 2011 15:12:37 +0100,
Bernhard Dippold <[hidden email]> a écrit :

> Hi Charles, all,
>
> just for clarification:
>
> charles.h.schulz schrieb:
> > Hello Narayan, everyone,
> >
> > [... 6 months ...]
> >
> > Until that stage:
>
> > 1) no discussion about Drupal on this list.
> >
> > 2) no "major overhaul" of the website.
>
> But implementation of UX and Design - I can't determine if this will
> be a major or minor overhaul.

it still would be minor or considered minor imho.

> >
> > What this does not mean: 1) we can't change the way some of the
> > content is presented on the website. (see the wiki page for this) 2)
> > we can't improve the website in minor ways. 3) we can't fix bugs.
>
> Double negation:
> It is allowed to change the presentation of the website content.
> It is allowed to improve the website (whatever "minor ways" mean)
> It is allowed to fix bugs.

Yes.

> >
> >
> > Yes, there comes a time when the website is "completed" and where
> > only incremental improvements are needed.
>
> But this goal has not been achieved. Please read Christoph's comments
> on the wiki.
>
> > Again: LibreOffice is not about a website nor about letting people
> > satisfy their passion about web design, at least not primarily.
>
> But one if it's goals is to reach people - therefore a good website
> is important.

I think no one denies that?

>
> > We do not want a website that keeps on changing because people think
> > their way is better. We (the SC) do not want to reopen yet another
> > thread about these topics.
>
> The website team had to hold off with their comments until the
> present website was ready. This means, that it is *now* exactly the
> time to discuss optimizations.
>
> I can't believe that you - and the entire SC - think the website
> doesn't need any improvement.

I never implied that.  I just don't want us to change the website in a
major way, that's somewhat different.

>
> At the moment development is going in the wrong direction (text vs
> graphics) - and this must be allowed to discuss.
>
> > The level of energy and effort spent on
> > this topic (the website) is ridiculously high compared to what we
> > need to to work on.
>
> Right - but I hope this will settle, once the team found it's common
> way.

I'm afraid that it's been 2 to 3 months that the team is looking for a
common way...

>
> > We're therefore glad that there are people who
> > want to help but there comes a point where it's not helpful, because
> > someone's always pushing, pushing and always pushing. Same thing
> > with respect to the website confcall: we haven't agreed on working
> > again on overhauling the website, we haven't agreed on changing the
> > website team, which for the sake of clarity is composed of the same
> > 4 people the SC has appointed.
>
> I'm quite sure you don't mean what you wrote: The website team
> doesn't consist of 4 people only!
>
> It's a larger group - with the four people as "guides" in their
> respective area of interest.

Yes, I believe I even wrote that these 4 persons were "community
enablers" this morning...

>
> This doesn't mean that their opinions are the only reasonable ones,
> they have to follow the expertise from the team (and outside experts)
> in certain cases, even if this is not what they would do when they
> had to decide on their own.

Exactly.

>
> By the way: The SC decision for the four "leads" doesn't include a
> marketing expert - perhaps this could be reconsidered (or we
> cross-post our main questions to the marketing list).

I'm sure Italo can help without cross-posting to the marketing list.


best,
Charles.


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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by charles.h.schulz
Charles, it might be worth choosing your wording more carefully and
steering people toward a solution rather than dictating, just as you
have suggested others do.

On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 5:08 PM, charles.h.schulz
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Just a reminder:
>
> We will not consider any move to another CMS, platform, etc. until at least 6 months. At that stage (in 6 months or so) we might/may perhaps *consider* (not necessarily approve) a move to a platform such as Drupal.
>
> Until that stage:
> 1) no discussion about Drupal on this list.
> 2) no "major overhaul" of the website.

There may be people within the community who want to consider these
things, and they are free to do so. It's only natural for an open
source community.
BUT what we have been trying to discuss here is the development of the
'about pages', so I would suggest if you wish to discuss CMS choice
you start another thread.

> What this does not mean:
> 1) we can't change the way some of the content is presented on the website. (see the wiki page for this)
> 2) we can't improve the website in minor ways.
> 3) we can't fix bugs.

It is difficult to gauge your opinions here as some of the changes
that people are suggesting might be considered a major overhaul rather
than minor bug fixes.
The changes such as further development of media rich content and
improved CSS for page structures falls under this major overhaul but
IMO 'essential' category which I am unsure of your opinion on.
In any case I don't think it is good to discourage this work as your
comments seem to.

> Yes, there comes a time when the website is "completed" and where only incremental improvements are needed.
> Again: LibreOffice is not about a website nor about letting people satisfy their passion about web design, at least not primarily. We do not want a website that keeps on changing because people think their way is better.
> We (the SC) do not want to reopen yet another thread about these topics. The level of energy and effort spent on this topic (the website) is ridiculously high compared to what we need to to work on. We're therefore glad that there are people who want to help but there comes a point where it's not helpful, because someone's always pushing, pushing and always pushing. Same thing with respect to the website confcall: we haven't agreed on working again on overhauling the website, we haven't agreed on changing the website team, which for the sake of clarity is composed of the same 4 people the SC has appointed.


"We (The SC)" do not dictate what the website team discusses. The SC
suggestions and the website conf call has clearly steered us towards
improving the site as it stands before looking for improvements in the
infrastructure, which is occurring. But it does not stop others from
investigating other options or proposing new ideas.

I take offence to your insinuation that the only people in the website
team are appointed by the Steering Committee. The website team is a
wider group of people who work together, we do not rely on the
Steering Committee to tell us what to do, or appoint new members to
our team. There are many more people that 'the four' who I would
consider valuable, contributing members of the website team.

Could I suggest that, like Florian and some other well respected
members of the Steering Committee, you allow the website team a little
breathing space at the moment to organically work the kinks out rather
than attempting to dictate what the team must or must not discuss or
what opinions people can express.
I would not like your comments result in an 'Us vs Them' relationship.
We are a community who should be respectful of others views and open
to listen to others opinions.

Just some ideas on more careful communication :)
Michael Wheatland

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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by davidnelson
Hi David!

Am Donnerstag, den 03.02.2011, 15:20 +0800 schrieb David Nelson:

>
> Hi Narayan, Mike, :-)
>
> For the present, you need to take account of the fact that work on the
> website is currently being led by a four-person team: myself for
> content, Ivan and Christoph as regards design (CSS, graphics), and
> Christian. [...]
>
> Therefore, no action or decisions are possible without consulting all
> of the above people, with the SC having final veto.

I'm a bit surprised to read that - did anything change after the SC call
two weeks ago [1]? "This team should act as some kind of catalyst,
guiding people by giving advice instead of taking control, so that
people are encouraged to join the website team."

According to this "role", if somebody asks for some UX advice [2]
covering Information Architecture, Information Design, Usability and
such stuff, then I'm happy to discuss these ideas among the things I've
provided on this mailing list and in the wiki. And yes, there are
numerous things to improve that will make users happier when visiting
our site.

Cheers,
Christoph


[1]
http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/TDF/Steering_Committee_Meetings#Minutes_2011-01-13

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_experience_design


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davidnelson davidnelson
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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

Hi Christoph, :-)

On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 00:04, Christoph Noack <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> For the present, you need to take account of the fact that work on the
>> website is currently being led by a four-person team: myself for
>> content, Ivan and Christoph as regards design (CSS, graphics), and
>> Christian. [...]
>>
>> Therefore, no action or decisions are possible without consulting all
>> of the above people, with the SC having final veto.

Christoph, you have misunderstood what I meant.

Narayan told me that he had a very talented graphic artist contact who
had agreed, as a great favor to the project, to produce graphic
content for the website, but that the person should not be expected to
have to negotiate with the Design team for validation of his/her
contributions. He was hoping that I could approve this idea without
consulting you or Ivan.

I told him that I could not take any decision like that by myself. I
said that the person first had to make contact with the Design team
and get content approved by the Design team, and that the person could
not be granted some kind of superstar status by me and side-step the
normal workflow of producing graphic content for the site.

I hope this clarifies things. ;-)

David Nelson

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Charles-H. Schulz Charles-H. Schulz
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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by Wheatbix
Hello Michael,

Le Fri, 4 Feb 2011 00:35:40 +0930,
Michael Wheatland <[hidden email]> a écrit :

> Charles, it might be worth choosing your wording more carefully and
> steering people toward a solution rather than dictating, just as you
> have suggested others do.

I'm not dictating, I'm merely reminding.

>
> On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 5:08 PM, charles.h.schulz
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Just a reminder:
> >
> > We will not consider any move to another CMS, platform, etc. until
> > at least 6 months. At that stage (in 6 months or so) we might/may
> > perhaps *consider* (not necessarily approve) a move to a platform
> > such as Drupal.
> >
> > Until that stage:
> > 1) no discussion about Drupal on this list.
> > 2) no "major overhaul" of the website.
>
> There may be people within the community who want to consider these
> things, and they are free to do so. It's only natural for an open
> source community.

An open source community focuses on code, not on website experiments.

> BUT what we have been trying to discuss here is the development of the
> 'about pages', so I would suggest if you wish to discuss CMS choice
> you start another thread.

I'm glad if improvements are done; and I'm cautiously warning against
not having discussions on CMS choice.

>
> > What this does not mean:
> > 1) we can't change the way some of the content is presented on the
> > website. (see the wiki page for this) 2) we can't improve the
> > website in minor ways. 3) we can't fix bugs.
>
> It is difficult to gauge your opinions here as some of the changes
> that people are suggesting might be considered a major overhaul rather
> than minor bug fixes.

So let's call them "improvements"?  :-)

> The changes such as further development of media rich content and
> improved CSS for page structures falls under this major overhaul but
> IMO 'essential' category which I am unsure of your opinion on.
> In any case I don't think it is good to discourage this work as your
> comments seem to.

What you describe above seems to fall for sure in improvements.

>
> > Yes, there comes a time when the website is "completed" and where
> > only incremental improvements are needed. Again: LibreOffice is not
> > about a website nor about letting people satisfy their passion
> > about web design, at least not primarily. We do not want a website
> > that keeps on changing because people think their way is better. We
> > (the SC) do not want to reopen yet another thread about these
> > topics. The level of energy and effort spent on this topic (the
> > website) is ridiculously high compared to what we need to to work
> > on. We're therefore glad that there are people who want to help but
> > there comes a point where it's not helpful, because someone's
> > always pushing, pushing and always pushing. Same thing with respect
> > to the website confcall: we haven't agreed on working again on
> > overhauling the website, we haven't agreed on changing the website
> > team, which for the sake of clarity is composed of the same 4
> > people the SC has appointed.
>
>
> "We (The SC)" do not dictate what the website team discusses. The SC
> suggestions and the website conf call has clearly steered us towards
> improving the site as it stands before looking for improvements in the
> infrastructure, which is occurring. But it does not stop others from
> investigating other options or proposing new ideas.

I think that on this last topic given our past experiences we may want
to tone these down (the new ideas). Understand that the purpose of my
mail was to make sure everyone was still keeping in mind that we were
talking about improving the present website and not propose something
completely different.


>
> I take offence to your insinuation that the only people in the website
> team are appointed by the Steering Committee. The website team is a
> wider group of people who work together, we do not rely on the
> Steering Committee to tell us what to do, or appoint new members to
> our team. There are many more people that 'the four' who I would
> consider valuable, contributing members of the website team.

Given that I have already written precisely that the four people in
question are "community enablers" I'm not going to repeat it.

>
> Could I suggest that, like Florian and some other well respected
> members of the Steering Committee, you allow the website team a little
> breathing space at the moment to organically work the kinks out rather
> than attempting to dictate what the team must or must not discuss or
> what opinions people can express.
> I would not like your comments result in an 'Us vs Them' relationship.
> We are a community who should be respectful of others views and open
> to listen to others opinions.
>
> Just some ideas on more careful communication :)
> Michael Wheatland
>

Here's what my problem is: we (all of us here) invest time and effort
into something which in theory should not cost us that much. People
here don't seem to get along, have twenty different agendas, and the
very factual comment I can make is that they simply have trouble
working together. I could say that several of them are not used to OSS
communities, but that would perhaps sound too paternalistic or
arrogant. The net result is that we have a website, that there is room
for improvement (yes, this website has way too much text on it) but
that this website has been a birth in pain and tears.

Since LibreOffice is not about a website and that many of us are doing
many other things for this project, please understand that we are not
going to cover the activity here 100% of the time just to make sure
everyone agrees to contribute in any specific ways. Having said that,
it's obvious that reaching that stage shows we have a problem
(management problem, communication problem, skills problems, etc.) so
let's stick to the basics: website, improvement of the website, period.
That was the purpose of my mail, you can claim I am not carefully
wording it enough, that might be the case, but it seems whatever is
being written here is never fully understood, appreciated, integrated,
etc. Just understand it's not always about the website, it's not
always about the latest and greatest idea that "absolutely needs to
be implemented tomorrow". It's about many other things. It's about code
development, users support, QA, localization, marketing, documentation,
fundraising, etc.

Thank you,

--
Charles-H. Schulz
Membre du Comité exécutif
The Document Foundation.

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Christoph Noack Christoph Noack
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Website Tasks (was: Re: [libreoffice-website] Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages])

In reply to this post by Ivan M.
Hi Ivan,

you acted as some kind of reminder ;-)

Am Donnerstag, den 03.02.2011, 23:43 +1300 schrieb Ivan M.:
> Can we please work on the *current* website in the short-term - we
> need people to work on the *current* website *now* (e.g. contribute to
> the CSS styles effort). Later on we can talk about other phases.
>
> This is all my (hopefully humble) opinion of course.

What I would like to hear, what issues are the most urgent ones at the
moment - from your point-of-view. I briefly scanned this morning the
mails and read about the menu and such stuff. Maybe something we have to
address differently?

Cheers,
Christoph


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RE: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02 - [Was: Work on the "Why?" pages]

In reply to this post by Narayan Aras
Hi Narayan!

Am Donnerstag, den 03.02.2011, 17:24 +0530 schrieb Narayan Aras:
> I wanted to bring a designer strictly one time; only for the website
> work (not on permanent basis).
>
> He would have done this as a big favor to me.
>
> So I proposed that he should be doing his good deed and go his way,
> but I could not have him judged.
>
> He would have been a rescuer, not a supplicant.

Well, I think Italo already outlined it quite well - anybody will
welcome any contribution as long as it fits in the broader picture. And
if not, others can simply pick the provided material and tweak it until
it fits. If we don't succeed, well, then there is a little chance that
it won't be used. But (as Mike outlined) it would better, if somebody
feels comfortable to work within a team and stays :-)

For example, we worked on the current icons and improved them
iteratively. Then a new stepped in and created some breathtaking icons
to fill the still existing gaps, and improved existing ones ... But, his
initial work didn't fit perfectly to our branding guidelines he wasn't
aware of. After mentioning that, he tweaked the icons again, and now all
the stuff gets included in LibreOffice 3.3.1. Personally, I'm more than
happy about that ([1]).

Narayan, why shouldn't this work if someone provides material either for
the website team, or within the design team? I think our documentation
is rather good to get an idea how the project "wants to look like".


Cheers,
Christoph

[1]
http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Design/Kick-Off/CurrentWorkStatus#LibreOffice_Icons


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Re: Libreoffice.org website dev sitrep 2011-02-02

In reply to this post by davidnelson
Hi David, all,

thank you very much for this detailed description. It allows us to
understand your goals much better than in the past.

Sorry, that my reply can't be shorter...

David Nelson schrieb:
> Hi Narayan, Wheatbix, Houbsi, guys, :-)
>
> ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS AND SHARED GOALS
> ============================================
>
> [...]
>
> @Houbsi&  Narayan: I've listened to your ideas about design
> approaches, with wireframes, etc, and I understand.

In basic, these thoughts have been mentioned here on the list for months
by other team members too.

> Speaking personally, I don't really agree with your ideas about
> having a minimum of content on the libreoffice.org pages and most of
>  the substance on the wiki.

That's your personal opinion, as you states.

> But, I definitely encourage you to expand on your thoughts and ideas
>  on your wiki user pages, and to do modelling work on the pumbaa
> sandbox. [...]
>
> But, for the moment, the website has been developed in a certain
> direction, and I'd like to guide it through to a concluded state:
> development of the "Why?" pages, the "Features" section and the
> "About Us" section.

This direction is what you personally decided to be the right one. I
didn't read any comment supporting your text dependent approach here on
the list - quite the opposite.
>
> At that time, LibO will have a decent website to fulfill needs for
> the next few months, and those of you with those
> radically-different, imaginative, creative visions can develop them
> at leisure for presentation to the SC and community. I'll be pleased
> to contribute in any way you want me to.

What I read here is nothing about visions, but actual needs to improve
the website. I don't see any reason to keep improvements away from the
main website, provided that the team agrees on the same direction.
>
> One of the most difficult things in a project like this is
> communications. Even with the best will in the world, and even with
> the aid of tools like email, wikis, IM and voice chats, ideas often
> fail to pass effectively and we don't end up at a general consensus.
> Compromise and flexibility is needed from all of us.

Right! Please remember this, when you read on!

> [...]
>
> Everyone wants the project to go forward - but often in different
> directions!
>
> There comes a time when we have to choose one path and then all
> contribute to it.

+1
>
> My humble proposal is this: I've played a leading role in *dragging*
> the website in one particular direction. It was something that *had*
> to be done at that time, IMHO. I'm not saying it's necessarily the
> best, but it's already 80% on the road to its destination. I suggest
> that we complete that work, so that the site is really in a final
> v1.0 state.

Sorry, David, but this is exactly the wrong assumption.

We all are very thankful that you managed to create our website in such
a short period of time.

It was about providing content - and you did this in a great way.

But it was *not* a decision about the direction. From the very beginning
you've been told, that the page should have less text and more graphical
content.

As I read now, you didn't think that this is the way to go, so you kept
on your way - allowing only a very few people to join.

Now we have an existing website - that still needs improvement, but
there are different ideas about the direction.

You want to have long pages with descriptive content - and additional
images to aerate it.

Nearly everybody else asked you to remove a good part of the text
content from the first and second level pages to attract people to stay
on our website and reach their area of interest by a few mouse clicks.

This is a decision that needs to be taken *now*!

If you feel you have support by this website team with your approach,
then go ahead. If not, it's up to you to find out if your way might be
improved.
>
> Then, I suggest that we thoroughly explore all other possible
> options via confcalls, wiki writing and modeling on the pumbaa server
> until we arrive at a v2.0 SilverStripe website to offer to the SC for
>  approval - something tangible, backed-up by written presentations
> and proposals.

I strongly oppose.

We should define first the way to go, then work on the means to reach
our goals.

We had the problem of two teams working on different solutions for the
same area in the past - this led to less contribution to the main page.

I don't want to undergo this experience once more.
>
> I know very well that the subject of Drupal is not gone from the
> minds of several of you. Therefore, I suggest that, when
> libreoffice.org v1.0 is at a finalized state, we should request the
> SC to request Christian to set-up a Drupal sandbox on the pumbaa
> server, in parallel to the SilverStripe sandbox. That way, you could
>  thoroughly explore your ideas, and could experiment and model, and
> build properly-working demos that can be shown to the SC, for
> consideration, for whatever applications you imagine.

No - please don't set up several sandboxes at the moment. We need to
work on the live site.

> [...]
>
>
> WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? SOME PROPOSALS
> ================================================
>
> For the "Why?" pages, I like Wheatbix's idea of concrete usage
> examples for each marketing target category, and - speaking my own
> view - I feel we should work on that. Me, I want to start by
> re-working "Why for Home?" in that direction. But I'd see these as
> being quite in-depth pages of maybe 500 words or more each.

As Italo already stated - this is not the way to go.

We have to address these target groups, but not with features and long
descriptions on the website (they'll never read on their first visit).

Our marketing project will have to create specific documents for
download where these decision makers will find the replies to their
detailed questions.

Website is only an entry point - make them curious, keep them interested
and lead them to the place where they can get the necessary information.
>
> For the "Features" section, I see a set of sub-pages for each of the
> key apps, providing deeper coverage of key features and
> functionalities of that app. For instance, for Writer, styles, would
> be one. For Base, we'd need deeper individual coverage of table
> design, query design, form design and report design. And so on.

What you describe is a "Documentation" area. We can do this, but it is
(at least in my opinion) not something necessarily to be presented on
the website

Here a wiki is very reasonable - like the end-user dedicated
libreoffice-wiki we want to establish.

Linking from the website to the wiki, describing the applications and
features on hierarchical wiki pages (with detailed descriptions on third
level pages).

The website should point to the main features: What can we do with this
office suite - in short, descriptive words, supported by images.

The "new features" page is different: Here we present differences to the
previous version (and probably we'll move the previous "new features" to
the wiki for reference, when a new version is released).
>
> [...]
>
> The "About Us" section (I'm not sure if that is really the best name
> for it) needs developing with content and pages about the community
> and the governance. Some pages that come to mind, for me, are
> "Credits", "LGPL license" and "Community Bylaws" (the latter needs
> discussing with the SC first).

"Our Community", "The Document Foundation" - just a few thoughts...

> We also need a page with LibO-related, user-downloadable graphics,
> avatars and icons for people to use on their blogs and sites.
> Personally, I'd like to see that page directly on the site, rather
> than on the wiki. However, that supposes a thorough validation of the
> graphics beforehand by Design.

+1
>
> I'm certain that there's other interesting content we can have in
> the "About Us" section that I haven't even thought of yet. Ideas
> needed.
>
> Most of those pages are forcibly going to contain quite a bit of
> text,

Descriptions can be short and link to more detailed pages (wiki?).
License, Credits and Bylaws are texts that can't be reduced.

> and will need a lot of collaboration with Ivan and Christoph.
> Houbsi, as you suggested, maybe we can get Paulo involved with
> graphic production, too?

I don't think that we need to contact single persons directly: Just
include the Design Team - all the people you mentions are there,
together with others who might be helpful too.
>
> Personally, I don't like the idea of burying content deeper in the
> IA than necessary, nor of sending the visitor off the site to the
> wiki (except for particular, frequently-updated content). Every
> additional click is a risk of losing the surfer's attention.

Right - but every longer text is an even higher risk.

What you can't see during the first seconds, you'll never see, if you
are not highly interested. The trick is to raise the surfers interest -
I don't know if scrolling or clicking is worse.

> And the wiki is not a facility designed to market the product, it's
> an auxiliary information base and a brain-storming area.

This is highly dependent on the content and the way it is presented.

I still think it is possible to integrate website and wiki better than
nowadays.

> [...]
>
> And, speaking personally, I think it's important to have plenty of
> written content on the site.

As mentioned earlier, this is your personal opinion - shared by whom?

> Proper coverage of some subjects necessarily involves a certain
> amount of writing. If you don't provide the information, where can
> people find it?

In documentation? On the Wiki? Depending on the kind of question in FAQ?

There are plenty of possibilities to provide information. The website
needs to point there, not to cover all aspects directly.

> [...] The LibreOffice site is the key source of knowledge and
> information about the LibreOffice product and community.

I think, here is the main difference between your opinion and the
position of many other web team members:

We don't need to provide all the information on the website.

The website is the entry point for curious newcomers, possible and
actual users and contributors. It's not the only resource for interested
people.

> We don't have continual, collateral, reliable media coverage to
> educate people about the project.

I'm quite sure that our Marketing Team is working on this area.

> So all the info has to be there on our site, to enlighten new
> visitors/users, and to dispell incorrect perceptions and
> misinformation.

No - at least this is not necessary on the main and second level webpages.

Of course we need to present this information to people interested in a
certain topic - and we have to guide them there on a short way.

But this is not the primary goal of the website.
>
> That's why, in my *humble* opinion, we *do* need a certain amount of
> "text, text, text". :-D

The primary goal is to interest people, to satisfy their curiosity, to
lead possible users and community members to their areas of interest.

Therefore we need a visually approaching and professionally looking website.

This can't be done with such an amount of text on the most visible pages.
>
> However, we really need to get Ivan or other Design team guy closely
> involved in working on the presentation of the existing pages and
> text (some slight adaptations will undoubtedly be necessary). We
> need graphics, and widespread use of the photo-shuffler.

Adding graphics to the existing pages only make them even longer.

Any lighter page would need to be structured differently.

As Narayan already said, some of the textual content could be moved to
the wiki or a third navigation level.

We didn't want to add a third level on our website, but I don't know if
this is possible.

Perhaps a working compromise could be a strict distinction between a
short navigational area at the top of the pages and the textual content
below, reachable via links and scrolling (like most of the FAQ pages I
know).

This would lead to a clean and visually appealing page at the first
sight, where all the important information can be noticed and reached in
a few seconds. Following the provided links or scrolling down would lead
to the longer descriptions and detailed information.

> If possible, I'd like Ivan to get actively involved in working on
> re-presenting many pages. The "New Features" page is an urgent case.

So don't involve Ivan only. His task is coordination and guidance.

Let others work on the site too.

But first we need to define the way to go with the entire website.

My impression is that you are the only one proposing a mainly text based
website.

As long as you don't allow to change this main direction - even if this
question has been raised by many team members - this mailing list will
always suffer from too many discussions and too less real contribution.

Best regards

Bernhard

PS: Feel free to add as many smileys as you want to this mail - it is
not meant to blame you for any development here or to reduce your great
work on the website.

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