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Author Topic: Suggestions for Lazarus web site  (Read 147678 times)

jwdietrich

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Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« on: March 29, 2013, 10:01:14 am »
Please discuss possible improvements for the Lazarus web site (and possibly also the Free Pascal site) here, rather than at http://www.lazarus.freepascal.org/index.php/topic,20388.msg117875 .
function GetRandomNumber: integer; // xkcd.com
begin
  GetRandomNumber := 4; // chosen by fair dice roll. Guaranteed to be random.
end;

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Dibo

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 11:03:26 am »
Pascal formatting in <code=pascal> tag from old site

jwdietrich

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 11:59:53 am »
I think, the first step should be to redesign the home page.

A re-implementation of the forum system is a possible later step, however it would require a large effort. As the current, SMF-based solution ist not bad, I wonder if it would be better to invest this time in the continued development of Lazarus and Free Pascal.
function GetRandomNumber: integer; // xkcd.com
begin
  GetRandomNumber := 4; // chosen by fair dice roll. Guaranteed to be random.
end;

http://www.formatio-reticularis.de

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nsunny

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 12:49:58 pm »
As JuhaManninen said in this topic there are lots of suggestions here: http://www.mail-archive.com/lazarus@lists.lazarus.freepascal.org/msg05702.html

In the messages I see a common suggestion that we should focus on the new users or potential users. We should focus on the features of Lazrus:
- Cross platform
- Drag and Drop Form designer
- Easily deployable (No frameworks needed)
- Variety of Components ready for use
- Full UTF-8 compatibility
- Modern, Object oriented language
- Human readable coding style
- Easily Extendable

We should focus on the ease of use of Lazarus. Remember, that Delphi, VB6 are not good IDEs according to some expert programers, but it succeeded. (Some software lives in the hearts of the users. For example people still use photoshop 6 when CS6 is latest.) Why? Because it is easier to learn. People still use them because they love them. ... Everybody wants to code and it should be encouraged. And it is not a bad thing. Because everybody has unique ideas that need to be expressed through their practical implementation.

We should also compare with other IDEs available. For example, Lazarus does not need any 20-300mb bulky frameworks... like M$ .net based softwares do... Lazarus is cross platform... etc.

The website developers should also look at the other IDE websites, such as:
http://netbeans.org/
http://www.eclipse.org/
http://projects.gnome.org/anjuta/
http://www.codeblocks.org/
http://qt-project.org/doc/qtcreator-2.6/
http://www.embarcadero.com/products/delphi
http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/office-dev-tools-for-visual-studio

We should focus on features, as many we can in the homepage. Once the users grow significantly, we can skip some and focus on our main strengths. Websites need change over time, because users' perception changes over time. Web devs should realize that.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 01:19:18 pm by nsunny »
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jwdietrich

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2013, 09:03:31 am »
We should focus on features, as many we can in the homepage. Once the users grow significantly, we can skip some and focus on our main strengths. Websites need change over time, because users' perception changes over time. Web devs should realize that.

You are right.

After looking at a lot of web pages of open-source projects including ubuntu.com, suse.com, debian.org, postgresql.org and the examples you provided I arrived at the conclusion that we should in a first step rebuild our home page. We have a lot of content, e.g. in the Lazarus Wiki that is hard to find, therefore a fast entry point would be useful.

I would suggest to divide the homepage in four areas in horizontal layers:

1: A systematic link bar, in some way similar to a menu bar
2: One or more screenshot and a large message (e.g. "Write once, compile anywhere")
3. Three blocks with a short description of Lazarus, current news, and a project of the month
4: Featured links (What's New, Case Studies, Services, Wiki, Bug Tracker etc.)

The following mock-up should demonstrate how this could be achieved. I tried to retain the traditional colouring scheme. However, this is, of course, one possibility of many.
function GetRandomNumber: integer; // xkcd.com
begin
  GetRandomNumber := 4; // chosen by fair dice roll. Guaranteed to be random.
end;

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JuhaManninen

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2013, 10:40:25 am »
Quote from: nsunny
We should focus on features, as many we can in the homepage. Once the users grow significantly, we can skip some and focus on our main strengths. Websites need change over time, because users' perception changes over time. Web devs should realize that.

I still think we should focus on new casual visitors who don't know anything of this project. The first impression is important. The first ~20 secs will determine if a new person will still be interested or if he continues to another web site.
That's why I have emphasized 2 things: answer for "What is this about?", and easy installation.
See also my post here:
  http://www.lazarus.freepascal.org/index.php/topic,20378.msg117632.html#msg117632

I had course about graphical user interfaces. Everybody had to
improve a web page of his choice and others gave comments of it.
I made a mockup of Lazarus main page. I replaced the forum posts with
an installation section copied from TeamViewer page, plus some other tweaks.
It looked like this:
  http://koti.phnet.fi/juhamann/Lazarus/Lazarus_After.png

It was a quickly made mockup for the course, not meant for actual use.
The point was only to get easy download/install for potential new users.
Anyway, all commenters asked "what is this page about?". It is a very unclear page ever for a geek project's page.


Quote from: jwdietrich
The following mock-up should demonstrate how this could be achieved.

Looks clear and pretty. The only problem is that didn't make the download/install as obvious as it should be.
I love the TeamViewer's JavaScript system which offers you the right download based you your OS. Maybe somebody knows how to do that.

Juha

P.S. This was only my personal opinion which is no better than other opinions. I am not a page admin.

jwdietrich

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2013, 10:46:18 am »
There are two download links in the mockup #1, one in the top systematic link bar and a second one in the featured links section with an own "Download" header. Do you think that this is not enough? Where would you suggest to place a third download option?
function GetRandomNumber: integer; // xkcd.com
begin
  GetRandomNumber := 4; // chosen by fair dice roll. Guaranteed to be random.
end;

http://www.formatio-reticularis.de

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JuhaManninen

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2013, 10:48:08 am »
The website developers should also look at the other IDE websites, such as:
...
http://www.eclipse.org/
...

The Eclipse page looks bad in casual visitor's POV, almost as bad as the current Lazarus page.
Eclipse project gets loads of money from big companies. I would imagine they could hire a proper web designer.

Juha

JuhaManninen

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2013, 11:14:46 am »
There are two download links in the mockup #1, one in the top systematic link bar and a second one in the featured links section with an own "Download" header. Do you think that this is not enough? Where would you suggest to place a third download option?

One link is enough if it is big enough and placed near the top or in the middle.
In fact my preference would be different downloads buttons for each OS right in the main page, with the automatic JavaScript selection as in TeamViever page.
TeamViever has those buttons behind the initial big download button.

Juha

jwdietrich

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2013, 01:02:12 pm »
One link is enough if it is big enough and placed near the top or in the middle.
In fact my preference would be different downloads buttons for each OS right in the main page, with the automatic JavaScript selection as in TeamViever page.

I agree, finding the correct download package may be a complex task, especially for first-time users on Linux, where many different formats are available.

Therefore, I tried to make a unified version from your and my mock-up, see the attached file.
function GetRandomNumber: integer; // xkcd.com
begin
  GetRandomNumber := 4; // chosen by fair dice roll. Guaranteed to be random.
end;

http://www.formatio-reticularis.de

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nsunny

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2013, 01:17:03 pm »
@jwdietrich
I like the mock-up very much. And the line "Lazarus - The professional open IDE for Free Pascal" is just what we need. It will work like a catch phrase to get the user interested to read the rest of the website.

I also started on a mockup. And I included these links at the top navigation bar:
Home | About | Screenshot | FAQ | Features | Downloads | Forum | Wiki

These are the typical items that users wish to find in a typical software webpage.

@Juha
Quote
I love the TeamViewer's JavaScript system which offers you the right download based you your OS. Maybe somebody knows how to do that.

It is very easy. This is the page which brought up with a quick search:
http://www.javascripter.net/faq/operatin.htm

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JuhaManninen

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2013, 01:27:07 pm »
It is very easy. This is the page which brought up with a quick search:
http://www.javascripter.net/faq/operatin.htm

Ok, that is easy! Thanks.

Juha

Bart

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2013, 05:02:52 pm »
I would like to propose to make the website accessible for visually impaired people.
  • Think carefully about color schemes
  • Don't define font sizes in pixels
  • Use proper markup and stylesheets, e.g. use <em> or <strong> and not <b> to mark text as needing emphasis
  • Don't use JavaScript for essential content
  • Supply values for Alt and Title tags for images always, and even more so if images are used as links

See also: http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-WEBCONTENT-19990505/ and http://www.vischeck.com/.

Remember there are visually impaired Lazarus users around there. They even supply patches to make the IDE more usable for the visually impaired.

Bart

jwdietrich

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2013, 05:49:45 pm »
I would like to propose to make the website accessible for visually impaired people.

That is a very important point. Thank you for the suggestion, Bart.
function GetRandomNumber: integer; // xkcd.com
begin
  GetRandomNumber := 4; // chosen by fair dice roll. Guaranteed to be random.
end;

http://www.formatio-reticularis.de

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nsunny

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Re: Suggestions for Lazarus web site
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2013, 06:00:17 pm »
It is an honor to present another mock-up of the homepage of the IDE that I love.

Thanks to jwdietrich for submitting his mockup. I have taken some help from his mockup image.

Besides that, I propose that a random project be added to the homepage. It is easy to make with php that will need a plain text file containing the description and the screenshot images in a directory.

EDIT: Oups! I forgot to add recent forum post list and announcements list!! But it is possible through SSI.php. Here are some examples:
http://wiki.simplemachines.org/smf/Using_SSI.php
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/ssi_examples.php
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 06:34:43 pm by nsunny »
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