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TWiki needs to sell itself better

In EZUsabilityUpgradePlan a key problem is put forward: TWiki distribution and docs are totally programmer/developer oriented. Now that other wiki systems are gaining pace it is even more important that TWiki starts to 'sell' itself.

By that I mean the selling of ideas (key features, Unique Selling Points):

  • What can you do with TWiki (with a wiki in general)?
    • Most people when I tell about twiki don't have a clue why you would want to edit pages...
  • Why TWiki?
    • Something about the ease of creating and linking pages.
    • Costs saving: Why invest in a separate CMS for an intranet?

Of course this is all on the twiki.org homepage. But the message isn't told in a compelling way. There is not one illustration. Show me the Calendar plugin!. The Slideshow plugin. The Chart plugin. Give me screenshots. Show me how easy it is to implement. Show me example usages from real sites. Give me ideas so I can develop my own.

Show me great skin examples.

Give me a FAQ.

More: Access control is pleading for a short text that tells me how you can set up a Workflow scheme.

Show me how TWiki can take on the role of CMS. For instance see how The Journal of Electronic Publishing tells the story:

Let's review for a moment: We start with content that is authored by many, and updated for print and electronic delivery every couple of years. Instead of going through that process somewhat manually with manual controls, costing the same or more each review cycle and leaving us with nothing usable for the next cycle, we use a CMS. At the concept level, this is a no brainer. Let's explore the benefits in more detail.

Documentation generally lacks a "How to" approach, seen from a higher problem level:

  • I have an Intranet noone uses.
  • I believe in Open Source Content. Can I tweak TWiki for my site?
  • I need an extranet solution to share corporate pictures.
  • We develop technical books.
  • I need a website for artists that do not know HTML.

What is important is to get real world examples from all of us. Not big companies success stories per se, but smart solutions to everyday's small problems.

And still we need more:

Support lacks a knowledge base approach. Questions and answers need to be grouped. How shall I read all 877 answered questions? (Search needs to be improved but still more can be done). And let users first look for answers, instead of pounding down a question at the homepage.

TWikiEvangelistRole is still open, but I think every member in the twiki community can contribute to this.

Just my first throw at it.

-- ArthurClemens - 01 Oct 2003

See for instance how InkNoise does it. An illustrated feature list, a What and Why in the center, a Faq. And all pleasantly designed.

-- ArthurClemens - 02 Oct 2003

Very nice Arthur. This will function well as a guideline for writing better introduction docs/examples. I'll see what I can do to contribute.

Also thanks for the juliediamond.net link. Aside: how/why is it that I skin I threw together in a few hours looks better than one I've spent months on??

-- MattWilkie - 03 Oct 2003

And thanks too Arthur for noticing the site (PS I agree with your usability comments - just as well as I am a dogged person who won't give up. It has taken me a long time to work out how to get the juliediamond.net Twiki to this point).

Forms and groups (for the access control I needed) where two of the more difficult areas to work through in terms of the documentation. I found copying the code from a page with the same functionality from the Twiki main site code and then slamming around the code for what I needed to do was the only way I could work with these aspects. A FAQ with exemplar pages would be great. Reading documentation is all very well to a point, but at the end of it I want to see an example of the code that executes a function.

Thanks Matt for the extra hints re CopyCat and for CopyCat in the first place (isn't it always the case that the spontaneous seems to work out best :-). I think because some aspects of usability are strongly linked to deep, unarticulated knowledge network maps held in the right brain - can't think of another way to say it). The result is worth it. The site hasn't been released yet (as at October 4, 2003) while I work on the last aspects of functionality, content and useability.

-- SueLocke - 04 Oct 2003

In answer to Matt's question "how/why is it that I skin I threw together in a few hours looks better than one I've spent months on??", I just wanted to point back to the original impetus for CopyCatSkin in my call to AdaptBlogSkins. The success of Sue's site speaks to the benefit of building upon work that had already been done rather than building from scratch. (Which is not to deminish the creativity of Sue's contribution! She makes great use of the foundation she built upon.)

In principle, at least, CopyCatSkin paves the way for us to build upon some of the other great skins that have been designed for MoveableType in CommunicatingTWiki. There's a lot of MoveableType users out there that might be ready to incorporate a wiki into their site!

-- LynnwoodBrown - 07 Oct 2003

Also a good introduction on the homepage is what MoinMoin does on its homepage: showing the different screens - targeted to people that haven't seen a wiki before.

-- ArthurClemens - 09 Jan 2004

Another example is Magnolia (OSS CMS)

-- ArthurClemens - 13 Jan 2004

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Topic revision: r8 - 2007-09-07 - MichaelCorbett
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