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I feel Textbook needs some redesign. My reasons are listed below. Please share your opinions too and make Textbook a better site.
1 Why do people visit Textbook? To learn how to use Textpattern and for reference. So make this the main focus of the site. Downloads, wiki interests, developer interests, community interests, etc are all secondary.
2 Navigation appears designed to take you away from the site (top links) or is mainly for editors (top and side links). Navigation about the content leaves a lot to be desired. Eg, from the home page, click Tags. Then click Tag Attributes Cross Reference. So far so good because the sub menu is still across the top. But click Column Related Tags and you’ve lost the sub menu. Or click Textpattern Tag Index and you lose although clicking on a link in the content brings it back but the sub menu changes instead of always being the same. Consistent navigation so you always know exactly where you are is essential. So at the least there should be breadcrumbs for Textbook, imho. Sections might be: interface, tags, articles, editors.
4 Use the same label for links to a page consistently, eg it should always be Special Pages and not sometimes Power Pages. Otherwise, users can get ‘cognitive overload’.
5 “User login” would be better if it was “Editor login”. This won’t confuse casual users who just drop by to read some content. The whole left column navigation is almost all for editors. But because the left nav is generally considered the primary position for navigation it would be better if used for content navigation. Editor nav could go to the footer or only appear if an editor is logged in.
6 Visitors scan until they find what they want to read. So there should be clear layout and information architecture so it becomes obvious what the page is about, rather than explaining it all in sentences. Also every effort should be made to make Textbook more flat and less deep, imho. Many times you need to click then click again and even click again before you get to where you want to go.
7 Only the alphabetical list of tags is needed. Good meta keywords and description will help people find the right tag via Search. They will get an idea of how tags are grouped from the Tag Builders in the TXP Admin. The tag name itself also groups related tags together. A beginners tutorial might also explain tags better than newbies trying to figure out what the tag groupings are about.
8 Users like lists. But what is the point of the Contents list on each page? It doesn’t do anything.
9 A print stylesheet is needed because presently, even if “printable version” is selected, the navigation links are printed.
I also have my opinions about how to improve the Textbook layout. I’ve started with a very rough layout of the Textbook Home Page
Yeah, they will be fixed when everything is moved to doku wiki :P And it’s more automatic and better software, so it’s possible that you will see more content navigations and links.
I agree with you zero, in some point, but it’s going to be better in future, like The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony is :)
Rah-plugins | What? I’m a little confused… again :-)
Just noticed both topics aren’t exactly separated.
As far as tutorial writing goes, it should be clear, direct, and concise. Some of the current docs are far from it (example).
Also every effort should be made to make Textbook more flat and less deep, imho.
I disagree, the TextBook should be deeper, in terms of hierarchy. Right now, it’s too flat, which is why you have disassociated pages.
I’d already started writing some step-by-step guides, so I’ve pasted them onto my demo page so you can see what I mean. As for tutorials, some are too complicated, use too much technical language where it is not needed and tend to waffle.
Regarding depth, don’t you agree that a page like the demo, which puts things under heading and has all the important link readily available is better than headings and links which for a newbie don’t make a lot of sense, such as those on the Getting started with textpattern page?
zero, I think the your step-by-step guides could be much more concise. The problem is you’re trying to do too much at once by covering multiple Textpattern features. What the documentation needs is smaller guides.
For depth, I meant URI structure. Hopefully dokuwiki will let us have faux directories. I agree with you – an index of some sections should be provided on the home page. Ideally, the wiki will not have unimportant links.
Yes, I agree about smaller guides. They could be exercises 1, 2 and 3 maybe. But I wanted to put more in the front page guide so it does cover enough to get a better all round grasp. Perhaps they could be exercise 4, so users will know to try the others if it seems too much. With a full page to go at as well, a line per instruction would make them much more readable and easy to follow.
4 months on. Destry’s Return (isn’t that a cowboy film?) has prompted me to read over this thread. I’ve updated my very rough draft home page a little so you’ve got my idea should you want to incorporate any of it into Textbook’s new skin, Destry.
I’ve been waiting for something to happen on the move to Dokuwiki, and I was also seriously ill for a few weeks, plus improving the image of txp seemed more important to me lately, so my intention to help out with Textbook has not materialised into actually doing anything.
I think at this point sticking with MW might be the best thing. The log in issues seem to be solved and it seems to be pretty stable right now. It would allows to focus on improving vs porting.
Something that I think could be very useful is for us to maybe do an assessment of all the pages that are on Textbook and maybe come up with some different IA. Tag pages are good I think (and I do like teh idea of moving them to a tags: namespace) but I think an easier way for new comers to find introductory resources could be really good. Your article is fairly prominent, but remillard’s TXP 101 which is still great is sort of hard to find.
Maybe a wiki page with just some bulleted lists so we can visualize groupings. What do people think?
Last edited by hakjoon (2008-06-26 13:28:21)
Shoving is the answer – pusher robot
Destry’s Return (isn’t that a cowboy film?)
Actually, two. Both about gunslingers, but told in completely different ways. Destry Rides Again and just plain ol’ Destry (which oddly enough there is no link for on the web, but the movie does exist). The former starred the wuss Jimmy Stuart who went the whole film getting bitch-slapped* by the bad guys until the last 5 minutes when he shot them all. The latter film was far superior, and starred the ass-kicking Audie Murphy, who was in fact a real WWII hero (could beat down Jimmy with one finger, undoubtedly). More interesting than either move, however, is the man who created the story, Frederick Schiller Faust (aka Max Brand) whose real life was as incredible as (or more than) the stories he wrote.
Unbeknown to all American cowboys, however, is that the name Destry is French, based on a much older French-Latin word, destrier, which means “war horse” (Yeah, call me Warhorse!). There’s even a small French town not too far from where I’m at, Destry, France, where I’m sure they have a community Coat of Arms bearing two war stallions, though I haven’t yet been there.* Apologies to the ladies in the house. I’m not like that really, just a plot-building expression we’ve all heard before. :)
Last edited by Destry (2008-06-26 13:42:26)