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Documentation Proposal: The default webhomes are awful

Motivation

Improving TWiki's look and feel

Description

Everybody fist opens the WebHome. If he gets a headache from them then something is wrong: they are

  1. simply overcrowed
  2. do not describe what's in the web
  3. and neiver point to the most relevant entry points to the content in the web.

The webhomes should be a nice figurehead and support further navigation. The nicest skin will not shine without some obvious changes.

-- MichaelDaum - 02 Jul 2005

Impact

Documentation

Documentation in progress, before it is merged into the TWiki web.

Implementation

Any comments on how the documentation is written or could be improved


Discussion

See, for example, TWikiNewsPortal

There are many sites with outstanding "front pages", some of them even accessible via the Internet. Perhaps we should list them here?

A dozen people immediately expressed interest in the design shown at TWikiNewsPortal, but over 18 months later nothing has been done with it.

The other matter worth commenting on is the clunk term "WebHome". See http://ntwiki.ethermage.net/~develop/cgi-bin/view/Bugs/Item52[this bug report]]

-- AntonAylward - 02 Jul 2005

Wait, wait. I don't mean to ship a ready-made TWikiApplication with TWiki. Nor do I think that the terms "WebHome" of "FrontPage" realy matter. One has to get used to it in one or the other case.

I'd simply demand a certan level of clearance, "tender loving care". By now the content in WebHome hurts.

Cleaning the webhomes, however, does not finish the job of GoodDefaultContent. But hey, that's where it starts.

When I read WikiInTheNews with a screenshot of TWiki in it then I don't want to blush.

-- MichaelDaum - 02 Jul 2005

I fully agreem Micha. I point to TWikiNewsPortal as an example.

We learn by example. If these examples were published here, and some of the marvelous skins that remain unpublished were to be published, the impression that TWiki gives, not least of all "In the News", will rise. It will make myu job, the job of many of us, a lot easier when it comes to getting TWiki accepted in a corporate setting.

-- AntonAylward - 02 Jul 2005

Jakob Nielsen is my hero. Please read "Is Navigation Useful". I will not quote the complete article.

-- MichaelDaum - 03 Jul 2005

i know several TWikiAdmins have pruned down and reorganised their WebHome pages, perhaps some of you guys can contribute some of that work back. i'm creating a scratch work area at Bugs:DakarRevisedWebHome (in the hopes that this can be done in time for DakarRelease; otherwise, i should have named it EdinburghRevisedWebHome wink ). i've created this page on a DakarRelease installation so that, if needed, you can take advantage of DakarRelease-specific features.

i suppose also a Bugs:DakarRevisedWebLeftBar should be created, too...

-- WillNorris - 08 Jul 2005

I propose we build a list of "interesting" WebHomes.

Your criteria for "interesting" may vary, but that doens't really matter. And yes, I know some of the "interesting" might have more to do with unpublished skins than anything else.

These don't have to be TWiki sites, just examples that can be mapped to TWiki.

Let me start with:

and of course:

-- AntonAylward - 08 Jul 2005

Wasn't Michael's remark to restructure the current webhomes on twiki.org? Because they are the first impressions people get from twiki. So the task is very practical. Let's take the webhome of Support: what goals does each Support visitor have and what texts and links support the visitor in these goals? What can be removed or shortened? What is missing? Same goes for twiki.org homepage.

-- ArthurClemens - 08 Jul 2005

Webhomes on twiki.org are bad as well. But the webhomes in dakar should be very simple and light. They will be pruned anyway by someone deploying a TWiki. So let's simply prune them down right away:

  1. remove the sitemap
  2. remove the websitetools
  3. remove the youarehere blabla
  4. make the mainweb intro text actually different from the twikiweb text
  5. remove the vast list of docu links from the twiki webhome and put them on separates page directing to:
    1. user guide pages
    2. reference manual
    3. the frequently asked questions section
  6. add all admin stuff to a nice overview topic while removing it from the webhome
  7. add a nice image for each web to appear in the upper left corner of each webhome that illustrates the use of the web making the web recognisable, ie. use a different logo for the main and the twiki web; so far no image is on the sandbox web.

Idealy, each webhome spans only one screen page (on an average display): scrolling is nasty - clicking is better.

-- MichaelDaum - 08 Jul 2005

About the sitemap: distinguishing SITEMAPWHAT and SITEMAPUSETO is at least counter-intuitive. Let's dump one of them and rename the other to WEBDESCRIPTION.

-- MichaelDaum - 08 Jul 2005

Again: what I want is simple default webhome content for the upcoming dakar release. I am not taking about any funky front pages.

Here are my current webhomes:

Note, however, that underfull topics dispose a minor design flaw of the PatternSkin: the WebLeftBar and the topic main area should span the same height, IMHO. See the irregular borders and background colors depending on the charge of the topic page.

  • If you have an idea how to correct this (without tables!) - please - I have spent a lot of time on this last year. -- ArthurClemens - 08 Jul 2005
  • The straight doctrine demands to use divs only and to shy away from tables. AFAIK tables give you just the right layout constraints to cope with this layout. IMHO, this is the most robust approach. I struggled likewise to put the NatSkin on a pure div+css base but I failed. -- MichaelDaum - 08 Jul 2005

Improved the WebLeftBars also.

-- MichaelDaum - 08 Jul 2005

those WebHomes look great, michael. care to check them into SVN?

-- WillNorris - 08 Jul 2005

i concur - Michael, commit them! they also show that the DevelopBranch leftbar has too much admin gumpf in it - the defaults should be for users of the twiki, and the admin will have some other topics

-- SvenDowideit - 09 Jul 2005

Alright. But we have to decide on a text for the mainweb which is still identical to the twikiweb text. If at all, this one is only appropriate on the twikiweb. However, it should be along the lines of

"Congratulations, you have finished TWiki installation. If you want to learn more about TWiki then visit the TWikiWeb. Please ensure that the read/write permissions for each web on your site match your access control policies (see Main.WebPreferences, Sandbox.WebPreferences, TWiki06x00.WebPreferences and TWiki06x00.TWikiPreferences). Replace this text with a description of your new %WIKITOOLNAME% site."

Maybe the final installation steps should be more detailed. Even the twikiweb description could be more peppy. Suggestions?

-- MichaelDaum - 09 Jul 2005

Please check in, and let's work on changes incrementally.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 11 Jul 2005

Committed revision 4580.

-- MichaelDaum - 11 Jul 2005

Further improvements to Web Homes are being coordinated in Bugs:WebHome web.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 31 Aug 2005

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Topic revision: r22 - 2005-08-31 - CrawfordCurrie
 
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