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Re: Comments on beta.w3.org

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2009 15:08:15 -0500
To: Robin Berjon <robin.berjon@gmail.com>
Message-Id: <F5A9F926-D75C-4181-A590-E522282B91BF@w3.org>
Cc: site-comments@w3.org

On 2 Apr 2009, at 9:33 AM, Robin Berjon wrote:

> Hi,
> here are my quick comments on the redesign. Overall, I find that the  
> new design is clearer and more readable, but I think that it can use  
> a few improvements.

Hi Robin,

Thank you for the comments. I have added them to the page I'm using to
track comments:

We've already made some changes that may help to address some of your
comments. See below.

  _ Ian
> My first concern is one of branding. It is hard to put my finger on  
> it, but the new design lacks some life, something to make it special  
> to W3C. Obviously I'm not asking to replace this with something  
> heavy and invasive, but I'm afraid that the Spartan approach might  
> have been slightly overdone here: it doesn't feel like any specific  
> website, in fact it looks like the default style for a CMS. More  
> importantly, nowhere does it say "World Wide Web Consortium" or  
> "Leading the Web to its Full Potential". Just a little extra  
> personal touch, possibly some light typographical enhancement could  
> go a long way to breathe life into it.
> The bottom of the front page feels like someone just dumped there  
> the stuff they didn't know where to put. Switching from large left  
> column and slim right column to the reverse is a bit confusing and  
> breaks the reading logic. "Web for all", "Services and Software",  
> "About", etc. could probably just go below "W3C by Region", leaving  
> the bottom space to take the full width of the content area.

We've sort of redone the home page:

We might have helped address some of your comments.

> The standards overview pages are really good, I have hope that  
> they'll help quell the endless flow of "where do I find that  
> specification" questions. The primary comment I'd make is that it'd  
> be clearer to have the list of technologies at the bottom of each  
> box be a vertical list instead of a linear list. I find the current  
> format hard to read.

I agree with you. I'll think about how to improve this.

> Oh, and I'm not sure that REX should be listed in there, it's dead  
> in the water due to its PAG not going anywhere.

The right place to say something is on the status page(s).

> The current status pages are also good. I like that recommendations  
> are called "standards" since only a few wonks care about the  
> difference (and it's not such a great difference in the first  
> place). In the summary table, when there is no draft for a given  
> status I'd recommend writing "None at this time" instead of just  
> leaving the cell empty  it's clearer.

I've changed the summary table. Here's an example:

> I have a number of issues with the Recommendation redesign. Short  
> story: recommendations are standalone documents, they don't need to  
> be integrated into the site, please revert to the old style, or make  
> less intrusive changes.

I've noted your concerns in the issues list; no changes made yet.

> Trying to apply the same usage to different context is a classic  
> design and usability mistake. Here it is made very obvious by the  
> fact that it's very likely that one would want to read specs with  
> the print style sheet but the rest of the site with the screen one,  
> but you have to keep switching back and forth if you're using both.
> I am fine with using our friends from Google for search on the site,  
> but having their logo on standards send the wrong message  it  
> really is hard to think that this is not, at least in part, a Google  
> standard.
> The blue top left corner label that reads "W3C Recommendation" (or  
> other) is the brand and the imprimatur. You can't move it! That's.  
> Just. Wrong. As you scroll down, it looks lost in the middle there.  
> Please please please please please. Kill kittens if you must but  
> don't break our pretty standards!
> All that's above the fold is pretty much "do everything except read  
> this specification". Again, that's a usage context error. When you  
> go to a spec, you want to read it and that's it. I don't deny that  
> some of the information there is useful, but I think it would be a  
> lot more useful to just have a little non-intrusive link in the top  
> corner called "more about this specification" that would show all  
> this information.

We're unlikely to completely dispense with the status information up  
(and it's much less noisy than before!). The value of the status bits up
front will increase for other types of documents: you'll see review end
dates, and other things you want to know for certain types of documents.

> Just listing editor names isn't the best thing either. Small  
> companies are often happy to provide the editing manpower to edit  
> because it means that they get a mention on the cover page, which is  
> good promotion for them.

I think you're right; we'll review that.

> Also, a lot of specifications added their own CSS. This may be a bad  
> idea and greater unification is desirable, but reformating those  
> that have already been published is the wrong way to go about this  
> as it actually breaks the format and intended readability. A review  
> of the common ways in which the base CSS has been extended so that  
> the same stuff can be made globally available going forward would be  
> great, but backwards fixing is too problematic.
> The Member home is much clearer and easier to navigate. I'm  
> delighted to see the ghastly light blue background disappear, and I  
> hope the Team is rewarded for its great work by having its ever  
> ghastlier jaune poussin background removed. I think that the guide  
> part will prove really useful, it would be nice if something similar  
> were made for to the chairs' guide. On the member front page I have  
> the similar difficulty reading the lists of actions for each  
> subsection as I had on the standards overview page. I think it may  
> be due to using commas of normal font weight to delimitate a list of  
> bold items.

I've updated the overview pages (including the Member home) based
on this comment. See, for example:

(or the Member home)
> Are dated URIs going too with the new redesign? That would be a  
> victory over pig-headedness well warranting a few beers :)

Those are out of scope. :) But you are not the only person to ask that  

> Summary: overall a really nice job, but please don't break our Recs!

Thank you for the feedback. For the Recs, I'm going to gather more  
before dramatic changes.

  _ Ian

> -- 
> Robin Berjon
>  Robineko (http://robineko.com/)

Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)    http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs/
Tel:                                      +1 718 260 9447
Received on Friday, 24 April 2009 20:08:26 UTC

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