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After a lengthy absence, I’ve had a chance to take a look at possible improvements to textpattern.org.
What I’ve done here is a simple version 1. It uses only existing functionality, and is really just a reorganisation and simplification of the existing site. Main changes are bringing the search box front and center, and moving the categories navigation to the left. It fits easily into the redesign which is being rolled out across the Wiki, etc.
Some of the things I’d really like to do I’ve left out of this version, as they would involve changes to the structure which I can’t assume will happen. However, they could be integrated into a version 2 without too much difficulty.
I’ve worked from the assumption that the Plugins would sit on their own, separately from Mods, Themes, etc. If that’s not the case, I could look at this again.
With all those caveats in mind, what does everyone think?
Looks like a good start to me. Nothing about that site currently is appealing nor top-rank usability.
My main points of view for change (speaking to anyone in general):
Oh, and here’s something hilarious. Discovered this via the Textpattern Twitter timeline. he-he. Wonder how much other garbage is in there getting free advertising.
Last edited by Destry (2009-02-18 09:07:11)
Thanks for the reply, Destry. To be honest I was underwhelmed by the response to this; I hadn’t made any changes that I thought were controversial, but even so I would have expected SOME feedback.
I’d be happy to keep developing this if there were some interest in my doing so, although I really believe that the site needs more than just a cosmetic refresh in order to be truly useful; IMHO I think the two main problems are that a) modules tend to be listed by a txp abbreviation which doesn’t mean a lot to new users, b) there is no easy way to find what modules other users rate and find useful, and c) updates to modules are not clearly flagged.
Here’s an article by the UX team responsible for the forthcoming new Drupal site, regarding their conclusions on module findability:
I think TXP requires similar attention; I’d like to do it, but I’d like to feel that there was interest in my (or at least, someone’s) doing so.
I think there’s more interest that what you see here. You have to realize this is a subject that has been beat like a venomous snake. Many people have put forth thought on this topic and it never goes anywhere. I think people are probably interested, but not going to waste more breath until someone (a community member with new energy) takes it somewhere. You can’t blame people for that.
Another problem here is the sense of .org ownership/stewardship. Alicson is deemed that owner/steward, but she’s largely absent from the scene anymore, at least by any measure here in the forum. Nevertheless, she’s still considered the decision maker, however futile that situation seems. I’ve mentioned before that ruud is probably second in command, as it were, as he largely helped revamp the site last time, but he’s one of those people I’ve mentioned who has already said much on the topic and is likely waiting to see what someone else comes up with.
So, fact is, you might be going solo at first, but that could change if you keep at it. Also, I would suggest you skip wireframes and go straight to mockups. People seem to respond better to those here.
Destry’s right (for me at least, a non-designer). I can’t add anything other than to say I’d love to see .org get an overhaul one day, as discussed elsewhere a few times. So if you want to hammer away at it, you’ll get my vote.
My pet thing is to try and push for a way of finding out if a plugin has been updated so it can be flagged as such in either the core plugins tab or (as a trial run maybe) from the plugin composer interface. That’s more techy than visual so I’m steering clear of this topic unless the design impacts something more technically-oriented.
Yeah, like Bloke is suggesting, there’s two sides to this coin. Both need to be met for anything to be worthwhile. First and foremost is some functional changes. On top of the functional changes is the new presentation layer, with all it’s cleanliness and usability — as well conformance with the Txp brand/style.
Thanks for the feedback.
As I mentioned, I’d also really like the plugin updates flag, but that’s really beyond my remit at this point. Better to organise the existing structure first, then add new functionality if that’s accepted.
As for mockups, I can work up the wireframes I did to be more complete, but going straight to mockups at this point is probably getting too far ahead; I don’t like introducing mockups too early as people can often get hung up on colour or type, and miss the broader points.
I’m about to start another big project in my spare time so this may take a back seat, but I’ll work on getting something more complete as soon as I can.