Open Uru Site Styling and Organization (was Wiki Main Page)

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Mac_Fife
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Open Uru Site Styling and Organization (was Wiki Main Page)

Post by Mac_Fife » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:21 am

It crossed my mind that the wiki Main Page maybe ought to be a redirect to the Projects and Resources page?

Are there any other thoughts on what the "role" of the Main Page should be?
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Re: Wiki Main Page

Post by JWPlatt » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:54 pm

Mac_Fife wrote:Are there any other thoughts on what the "role" of the Main Page should be?
Simple, uncluttered white space with a welcome message and mission statement. Perhaps a blurb on any very current news. Useless home pages that contain only a link to the "real" website annoy me too, but I'm not sure thw wiki home page is quite that.
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Re: Wiki Main Page

Post by Mac_Fife » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:09 pm

OK. The current links on the Main Page are mostly redundant (or rather replicated elsewhere). Taking the forum for comparison, the root page is a functional index to the forums. At the moment the wiki Main Page is half-way between an introduction to the wiki and an index to the website. Statement of purpose is OK, but maybe the links here ought to be to "getting started with the wiki" pages?
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Re: Wiki Main Page

Post by JWPlatt » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:54 pm

Are those existing or proposed pages?
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Re: Wiki Main Page

Post by Mac_Fife » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:01 pm

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Re: Wiki Main Page

Post by JWPlatt » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:40 pm

Oh, I see what you're getting at. You're actually pointing out that the wiki's Main Page duplicates what is already on the site's home page. And why not focus the wiki's Main Page on the wiki itself, you're suggesting. As it turns out, all the links in the Main Page text, except blogs, also are already under the The OpenURU.org nav bar, creating even more duplication of function. Yeah, that kind of duplication of function is wasteful and confusing. I think that happened because the site home page and the wiki nav links weren't always there. The wiki Main Page was serving as an ersatz site home page for a while. And they haven't been collectively reevaluated after things were changed. So a Main Page that is focused on the wiki itself would be better.
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Re: Wiki Main Page

Post by Nalates » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:11 pm

I’ll ring up several points to get to a point… and mix some issues because I can't separate them in my mind.

The wiki’s Main page does seem more of an OpeUru.org home page. For the wiki I find the Community Portal more useful.

For one arriving at OU the wiki Main page provides an overview of what OU is about and, I think, does a better job of orienting new visitors than the Community page. The Community page does a good job of revealing information, provided you are somewhat knowledgeable of the issues in Uru OS Game Development. Otherwise, one would be at a loss. (Starting Point is really ambiguous.)

OU is not a typical forum and wiki. I think conveying that is done well in words but the visual impact is all many will see and it says this is a wiki or this is a forum and people go with that. Then they are confused as they try to use the sites, I can post here but not there, which topic is where... At some point one does have to start reading and figuring the place out to use OU. The unique nature of OU does not make it easy for the casual visitor to understand what is happening here. It is an obstacle for new users.

To complicate things, OU has pretty good search placement on open source Uru (#2) and open source Myst (#8). The OSU page is: Success Sooner Than Expected: Open Source Uru. The OSM page is: Forum Board Index.

I don’t know the frequency of searches on those terms. But, these are two pages with a high probability of being an initial landing page. I think it would be better if we got open source Uru and Myst searchers landing on the page of our choice. The forum home page is not a bad choice. If it is decided it should remain that way then the organization of the board index is very important.

Next, I’m unsure whether we have clear and unified goals. If JWP’s goal is to provide a Myst-Uru environment and resource, that has been accomplished. However, if the goal is to include ideas like useful and popular and actually have the sites used daily then there is some work yet to be done.

Who does what is a consideration too. In my perception OU provides a resource for Myst-Uru types that want to create useful resources and have a place to work. In deciding where to place such a resource site traffic can be a large part of the consideration. If there are lots of people/visitors a project can expect to pick up people to help or are at least be visible to the possibly interested. It seems there is little interest in OU and the interesting and active projects have moved to where there is more traffic or to the project creator/owner/director’s group’s or personal sites, which I think suggests something is not working.

I’m a believer in top down karma... a sort of energy in is equal to energy out type of thing. I can understand wanting OU to be easy to maintain and having limited time available to put into OU. However, what one puts in is what one gets out. So, minimizing time and effort (T&E) on the site is understandable, unless we leverage the T&E put in the site will probably be a low energy site with little activity.

At the end of the month it is likely the GoMa will close their forum and wiki. They will disappear. Andy is moving his tutorials to UAM Wiki. Some behind the scenes drama may seal the GoMa Forum’s fate. We’ll see if someone steps up to host the forum and wiki.

The Point
Considering the previous points, I think we have some criteria for deciding how some of JWP’s proposed changes should be made. Some of the other criteria are missing, or at least unclear to me. So, when asked which reorganization of the forum was better, I did not have a good answer or context I could frame it in. It isn't like there is a objective single best and I've been preaching against personal preference choices/decisions for sometime now. They don't seem to have served the community well. So, what does JWP want and how can we help and what best serves that?

If JWP wants to leave it up to others to use the resources here, then we consider how all this should work in one light. If we plan to market and promote the site and build it into something more often used, put energy into the sites, then it is another light.

Blogs give us a pretty good idea of what it takes to make a site popular and useful to an audience. For these sites to be popular and used most of the criteria for popularity and usefulness would need to be met. It is a question of what is desired and time available..

Do we want more people using the sites or not care or something else ?
Are we trying to provide an alternative development group?
Where will visitors come from? Or perhaps, are there enough people in the world interested for the effort to be worthwhile?
With Myst-Uru style modeling now in Blue Mars, OpenSim, and SL do we try to interest those Myst fans?
What is the typical visitor/user’s likely level of Myst-Uru knowledge?
Which pages in the sites do we want to bring new visitors to?
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Re: Wiki Main Page

Post by JWPlatt » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:27 am

Excellent, Nalates, thanks! You have good questions. It really applies to many areas, globally, not just the wiki. I'll come back later to answer your questions.

In the meantime, I've updated the wiki's Main Page. I hope it works better towards what Mac has in mind.
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Re: Wiki Main Page

Post by Mac_Fife » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:27 am

Yeah, I like that now. I did fix a couple of the external links in one of the tables (the syntax for internal links had been used) and the right margins looks a bit tight to the browser window edge on the tables (I'm using IE7 here just now, so it may be an IE issue), but otherwise I'm a lot happier with that.

Edit: Ah! The defined left and right margins are fighting with the width=100%. Making both margins 0 evens up the appearance and gets rid of the annoying scroll bar that was appearing at the bottom of the browser. Wrapping the whole thing in a <div> with 10px left and right margins then restores the insetting that the original seemed to be trying to achieve.
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Re: Wiki Main Page

Post by JWPlatt » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:32 pm

Gah! I was fighting with that right margin for more time than I care to admit. I just couldn't get it. Eventually, I committed it as good enough, figuring you'd correct it in a couple of seconds. ;) It was good learning anyway. Thanks for fixing it up - much better.

I'm using IE8 and checked all links. I see it was just a matter of one too many brackets.

Another problem I ran into that took a whole lot of time to make work (empiracally test, preview, change, preview, edit, preview...) was table and column widths in percentages. It just didn't work to declare the table at 100% width and apply percentages to the columns, adding up to 100%. It exploded if I declared all the columns that way. What I ended up with is declaring the table at 100% and only ONE of the columns at 33%. Then it worked very close to intended.

Also, there are certain things like padding that refuse to be applied to the whole table. I had to do it row by row. There are either a lot of idiosyncrasies, or just my own preconceptions leading me astray about how scope or classes work in scripted display languages versus OO applications.

Now explain to me why the leading/padding works in the Getting Started body cell (the space between bulleted lines of text), but doesn't, or is different, in the About and Resources cell? Argh! :? :lol:
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