Forum: User Feedback
Topic: website help
started by: jaapz
Posted by jaapz on June 09 2008,17:02hello
I thought about how i could help DSL with my talents, and this is what i thought of:
I thought it would be a great idea to freshen up the DSL website (new design, userfriendlier and stuff), so i tried to contact the one who edits the site (John?), but i never got any answers on my mails or pb's. So now i try here.
I'm a webdesigner myself, so i know how to work with (x)HTML, CSS , PHP. And i know how to make sites compatible in all browsers.
So if robert or john thinks its a good idea that i could freshen-up the website, please say it here
Posted by roberts on June 09 2008,17:23Jaapz,
John is the website, wiki, blog, store, and general business side owner and maintainer, so he would have to answer you. I know, sometimes, I have a hard time to get answer too.
My sole involvement with DSL is programming, creating and maintaining the core DSL iso images. I also facilitate the posting of MyDSL extensions that the community provides and otherwise try to be helpful here in the forums.
I do know that John wants to keep DSL website to look good in minimal browsers such as Dillo.
Posted by ^thehatsrule^ on June 09 2008,18:08... which rules out CSS (fyi). I think most of the pages on this site use tables.
It could be a good idea to get some 'auto' server-side parsing for things like latest release, etc. so that one doesn't have to manually update those kind of things (if the server allows it).
I guess he's talking more in terms of looks, though.
I don't think the site conforms to w3c standards, but it has pretty much looked consistent throughout all the browsers I've used (iirc even text only browsers).
Posted by lucky13 on June 09 2008,18:19
< http://lucky13linux.files.wordpress.com/2008....602.png >
Posted by jaapz on June 09 2008,21:12
making the backend of the site will be the most important thing i'll do when i'll remake the site (if im ever going to do it)
and cause the design too has to look well in dillo, it wont look all glossy and stuff, probably much like the site we have now, more important to me is that here and there a new header or image is placed, and even more important is that the usability of the site will be increased, so better menu's and stuff, cos when i first came to damnsmalllinux.org i didnt know how to get on the forums, or how to download something.
so thats whats mostly going to be changed if john agrees, but first, we (i) gotta get John here, or atleast get a decent answer by mail...
Posted by florian on June 09 2008,21:46what I'd love to see if a new site is getting created:
* light on resources (bandwidth)
* degrades well for not fully capable browser
* site looks nice, but stays simple and functional
Posted by ^thehatsrule^ on June 10 2008,00:32
I'd agree that the site could use some changes. If this does happen, I'd vote on having this done with some kind of task group (though people are always hard to find and coordinate with).
jaapz: since there isn't a lot of dynamic content, I'm not too sure what you mean by backend. Do you mean templates or something?
Posted by jaapz on June 10 2008,07:54
not rude at all ;)
anyway, its no joke, i really had some probs finding the right links. this may sound strange to you but i heard friends of mine complain about that too, its just that the set-up of the site is not very logical, but when you know how it works its of course easy.
with backend of the site i mean for example (what someone said here before) a part of the site where John and Roberts could login to easily edit some part of texts on 1 particular page they choose to edit, this will for example be easy if roberts quickly wants to edit the latest release-texts on the front page
a taskgroup could be nice, roberts or another admin could then set up a special forum where only that taskgroup can post. also when that taskgroup will be formed, it would be easy to have a IRC-channel, but thats of later concern
Posted by lucky13 on June 10 2008,12:22I don't see a problem. The site opens to an introduction. It has a list of links below that. It's a common and sensible design.
Short of using more tables or frames, both of which can be problematic in certain browsers (again, remember who uses DSL and that not everyone is using bleeding edge browsers), and maybe splitting out the menu so it's closer to the top, I don't know what should be done differently. Maybe shorten the introduction somewhat and set the full story on a separate page so the links don't require scrolling so far down. That wouldn't require a full committee to accomplish -- John could do it himself.
Posted by jaapz on June 10 2008,12:41
the website is indeed quite good now, but here and there something could be renewed, for example, it would be a great idea if we put a CMS (content management system) behind the site, then the site would be easier to edit later on. this can be done by just one person, but when u have more persons it will be faster, and you have more people thinking in different ways about how something should be, so u'll probably get a better site when in a group then when alone.
and, when redesigning a site there doesnt always has to be a very important reason to do it. sometimes a site just needs a fresh look, and needs to be modernised (not too much ofcourse)
i just thought of the DSL blogs, John is renewing the blogs now for almost over a year i think... he'd probably need some help with that too. when we make a website-team i think we can handle the blogs too
Posted by WDef on June 10 2008,13:24I don't think it could hurt to re-examine the dsl site in terms of usability, so I think jaapz might be on to something here.
I've also thought the "forums" link could be somewhat more prominent.
For a cover page it is ok, but it is perhaps rather text dense. People don't like to be presented with too much text on an opening page.
I also think the point about John perhaps needing some support on the web and blog side of things is difficult to dispute.
Posted by lucky13 on June 10 2008,15:13I don't know if he's using Drupal throughout the site or just for the blog section. I know there have been (and always will be) issues wrt spammers anytime you have sections like the wiki or blogs. I was interested in moving my blog, at least the Linux-related one, to the DSL blog section but between the problems with it and the flexibility I have using WordPress I decided to stick with my own status quo. I'm all for making things easier and more functional -- as long as that's for all users and not just those with graphical browsers, etc. At the same time, we have to respect that DSL is John's and it's his decision how much control he's willing to cede and to whom.
Posted by ^thehatsrule^ on June 10 2008,18:00
There isn't much of a need for a fully fledged CMS imo since there isn't much dynamic content (as I have said). I mentioned auto-parsing of new releases, and I mean something like that, i.e. not manually editing the version numbers, etc. but grabbing new notes from the forum, and latest releases from the downloads/current/ etc. I suppose this is subject to debate though.
Posted by jaapz on June 10 2008,21:04
well, that is a good idea. it probably wont be too hard to fetch the latest RC and Release topic titles, and to filter the version numbers outta it, i could do that with a simple PHP script.
lucky13: afaik drupal is only used in the blogs, and as John is updating those, i dont think it would be a too big step to switch over to wordpress. this will be better in terms of usability, but als in terms of findability, if u know what i mean :P. wordpress uses "friendly" urls, and drupal (afaik) doesn't. and thats way better for (for example) google
Posted by curaga on June 11 2008,13:05Are those annoying pop-in ads in lucky13's blog a part of wordpress?
Also, wordpress is really heavy, like Wikipedia, in the sense that even with a fast connection, it takes time to render and chews up ram (and usually starts heavy swap activity..)
Posted by lucky13 on June 11 2008,14:03
What ads?! I don't see ads. The only "ads" I see are little banners I placed for vim, firefox, gimp, and open office.
It's important to differentiate between wordpress software and wordpress.com, which is a free and commercial host site. The software doesn't require placement of ads but allows for that through whatever the host server allows and user wants. The use of a host site like wordpress.com can place ads. John could install wordpress and continue to place google syndication ads like there are across the site or do whatever he wants.
And guess what software John is already using for the wiki... Yep, Mediawiki. The same stuff wikipedia uses. Look at the bottom of the wiki and see.
Posted by curaga on June 11 2008,14:09They sometimes have a double underlining on a random word, or accidentally hovering mouse over one of the pics brings one up. And they won't go away! No close buttons either. Even though I have to admit only half of those image pop-ins is ads, they are still annoying and block the text.
edit: and yet the DSL wiki is not as heavy as wikipedia.org. It can be customized to be lighter. But I'm not too sure about wordpress; actually I've heard nothing about it..
Posted by lucky13 on June 11 2008,16:13
Scrolling down closes them. Moving away from them closes them. That's the way wordpress.com sets up the wordpress.org software. That's something each site/host configures, not necessarily how the software works all the time. We use wordpress at work for both Inter- and intranet and that's not an issue because we don't have to generate google syndication revenue, etc. That, though, is something DSL does and is going to do anyway -- throughout the site (including on the forums), and on any blog software John decides to use.
Posted by WDef on June 11 2008,16:17One issue with the blog was it was not great for posting code. This is the main reason I didn't blog there. Neither is the wiki.
Some blogs appear to be good at this however.
Posted by curaga on June 11 2008,16:41
Nope, not for me. They usually stay all the time I'm on the page, sometimes only minutes.
No matter how many pages I scroll away.
Buggy software that -.-
Posted by jaapz on June 11 2008,16:56
like wordpress, easily install a plugin and then ur ready to post some code :P
so is wordpress, unless you use a design with many (big) images (which we're definatly not going to have), worpress wont be slow, also shutting down some features like blogroll will help.
anyway, wordpress is afaik faster than drupal, and drupal is now also converted in a fully grown CMS, while wordpress just is a blog, so for this DSL blog wordpress would be a better choice
Posted by jaapz on June 16 2008,14:15Still no message from John. Robert, could you try to contact him by phone maybe? ;)
Posted by roberts on June 16 2008,14:45I have, both home and cell, left messages. Waiting to hear back to discuss many things including this topic. Perhaps he is on vacation?
Posted by jaapz on June 16 2008,14:55
could be, but the last time i tried to contact him by email, way before i posted this topic, he also didnt answer... anyway, thanks
and if he was on vacation he shoulda taken his cell with him shouldnt he? :P
A perfect proof that a nice website also can be fast: the new site of < http://puppylinux.org/ >
Posted by chaostic on June 16 2008,20:28
Taking a vacation should be the best reason not to take a cell phone with him :P
And you're offering up that mess of a page (imho) as "nice"? lol.
Posted by jaapz on June 18 2008,11:35well, of course its not the perfect website fit for DSL, but i was more targeting the fastness of the site while being deisgned (as in colors and font-size and stuff) pretty good.
Posted by lucky13 on June 18 2008,11:48I don't know how you're measuring its speed. I just looked at it on two separate computers (using elinks, different dillo builds, opera, and firefox). On my lowest RAM computer it was noticeably slower each time. That's an issue to keep in mind with respect to DSL.
We're also right back to the issue of what looks "pretty good." What appeals to one person may not appeal to very many more people. It's very subjective.
DSL can achieve similar utility as that page by just adding some fast links at the top for the forums, download, wiki, etc.
Posted by John on June 22 2008,00:31Hi guys, thanks for the offer. When I settle down on a remodeling I'll start here for help, but for now any major changes have to be on hold.
Posted by jaapz on June 22 2008,20:59aaah, you also dont need any help with the blogs?
Posted by kuky on June 23 2008,20:34@ jaapz
I think that you can help with the world contest of DSL wallpapers
50 Mb To your disposition...also we can do the ciberbreewery...
< world contest of DSL wallpapers >
thanks an beers to all
Posted by lucky13 on July 01 2008,17:12
That behavior has now been corrected.
Posted by curaga on July 01 2008,17:18Yay And it is so. Glad to see there are no popups anymore in your blog. Significantly improves the experience.