A couple more "fixed" news items needed?

Jeroen Coumans jeroen at linuxfromscratch.org
Sun Nov 2 19:16:55 PST 2003

Hi Bill Maltby, LFS Organizational. You said the following on 10/31/03
> On Fri, 31 Oct 2003, Jeroen Coumans wrote:
>>Hi Bill Maltby, LFS Organizational. You said the following on 10/30/03
>>>My desire for them under the chef stems only from minimal eye and mouse
>>>Not a major thing. Like I said, I'm not GUI oriented. But I am *lazy*.
>>Heh. I think the other way around (I'm GUI oriented) - if there are too
>>many things (images, links, headers, input boxes etc) together, I don't
>>I think a logical visual structure is actually more helpful for the lazy
>>because they don't have to think how to operate the site and should thus
>>find it more easy to get where they want.
> I can really have no strong objection to it, other than my personal
> preferences, which do/should not weigh heavily in the face of the
> considerations you mention.
> Stick with your style and thanks for hearing me out.

Ok, I'll keep your comments in mind.

>>>>>4. I like the search stuff where it's at, but I would like a wider
>>>>>   "enter text..." box.
>>Ok, I've set it at 20, that's the maximum without overlapping the logo
>>at 800x600. On a side note: I never use those boxes but use Mozilla's
>>"keywords". I have the following bookmark:
>>with keyword "lfs". When I type "lfs searchterm" in the adress bar,
>>Mozilla automatically brings me to the search results of that query.
> When I get Moz installed, I expect to be able to do things much
> differently in many areas. It's just a slow (re)building process here.

Or you can cheat and install the MozillaFirebird binary distribution... 
(build instructions in BLFS, relatively straight-forward).

>>>I do hope that all this org stuff is going to work out and the errata
>>>and other wiki things will be effectively maintained.
>>So do I, but it's harder to update a wiki then it is to send an e-mail.
>>For most people, mailing is all contribution they're willing to give. I
>>can't blame them...
> It's a matter of added value. The wiki content needs to achieve a
> "critical mass" such that a user (more experienced with LFS, anyway)
> will know that a visit to the wiki will likely give faster more complete
> results in a specific area than the alternatives available to them. My
> assumption is that this will occur in only two ways: dedicated
> development of the info content there by team members (and others,
> hopefully) and time.
> So all those supporting it's use need to be active in building it up.
> I'm using it for the Org stuff and plan to add some notes about various
> build items when I finish this BLFS pass.
> A stronger lobbying effort would probably be spurious noise until we get
> some substantial amount content that is not easily discovered via other
> tools.

That's true. Each medium has it's advantages. The Wiki is really useful 
for the creation of support documentation which is community-centered 
and should be democratically created. We just need to make sure it isn't 
used for things which require tighter control (like a finalized roadmap) 
or as a discussion board (that is the purpose of mail/news). Probably 
some points for the organizational docs...

>>>As to the roadmap, we will have a stable one and one in development at
>>>any given time. So I thought a link to both would be useful.
>>>But I have a conflicting thought about all this too. Don't know how
>>>valid it is.
>>>For the overall project, there are many "organizational" things.
>>>Roadmaps is certainly one. LFS teams is another. I don't know if it
>>>would be better to plan on linking to all those sorts of things from the
>>>eventual "Organization" link or not. My structured side says this is the
>>>right way to do it. My "user firendly" and "lazy side" says provide
>>>links with minimal navigation. Oh well. Since it is a website and a
>>>major function is navigation, I think a little less of the structural
>>>considerations and more of the ease-of-navigation and minimal traversal
>>>effort is more important.
>>Structural considerations are the basis of an easy and logical
>>navigation. The navigation should be reflected in the structure. Minimal
>>traversal is a layout issue, not a navigation issue. Placing all
>>menulinks on the right side minimizes traversal efforts and focuses on
>>content. We still need to consider the order and categorization of those
>>navigational links. I think we're half-way there, the current navigation
>>structure could be improved a bit. There are two considerations to
>>website navigation:
>>- user based, ie. what different users visit the site? Each should find
>>their start point relatively easy.
>>- task based, ie. what does the user want to do? It shouldn't take a lot
>>of effort to submit a bug report or to find out where to ask for help.
>>Then we have to consider the information we want to give:
>>- we want to inform people about our organization and "products"
>>- we want to communicate news items for either the whole LFS community
>>or for a specific section
>>- we want to provide easy access to static news items (news releases etc.)
>>- we want people to read about our "products", download them, test them,
>>and provide feedback. We want them to be able to solve mistakes by using
>>support documents, search facilities and communication channels.
>>Based on that we can decide the implementation of navigation. Besides a
>>list of categorically organized links, we could consider a fly-out menu
>>(I used a nice one at http://www.epa.unimaas.nl/whatisepa.html). First
>>of all, we need to consider *how* we organize everything and evaluate
>>the current navigation implementation. What are your thoughts on that?
> I really think you have a better handle on the issues, relative to what
> needs to happen on the website, than I do. But, to try an answer what
> you bring up, here is a brief view of my thoughts.
>>From the info side I see Organization of the project and Product of the
> project. Keeping in mind all you have passed on to me over these several
> posts, I don't see any major changes in the website to the organization
> of the product presentation or it's navigation (just a couple of
> shortcuts we mentioned).

Yep, it certainly seems that way. The current site is a good, stable basis.

> Within the project, anything that is not a "deliverable" might belong in
> Organization: the organization docs, team lists, info about how we do
> things, and roadmaps. Things that are "deliverable", books, support
> forums, ...  are all product.
> Another way to determine it: if X was removed, does the user lose
> substantial capability? Book - yes. Support forums - yes. Organization
> docs - no. Roadmap - (qualified) no. Teams list - no.

Yep, that's a good distinction to make. Should also be apparant in the 
website. We could combine products into menu-items.

> Within Organization, it seems to me that the usual visitor is mostly
> curious and has esssentially only three tasks: read-all-about-it,
> volunteer, and comment.
> While in that hierarchy, ideas, curiosity, etc. may cause an urge to
> jump to another leg in that hierarchy and it sounds like that "fly-out"
> menu might be just the ticket. But only if we are so complex (I don't
> *think* we are) that a few simple links would not do. As example of how
> my mind works on these, the wiki top level of Orgnization offers links
> to the roadmap and lfs teams. Further down in the organization docs,
> some are offered again, in context.

I don't think a flyout menu is necessary either. The arguments against 
them outweight the benefits in our case. I think people are more 
stimulated to explore the site when they have lots of choices at a 
glance (current layout) then when they'd click to a specific path (with 
flyout menus). We have pretty much worked out the organization and 
structure and it's reasonably well reflected in the navigation. We need 
a Developers section in LFS and an Organization section in the general 
navigation. Some menulinks should be adjusted (eg. bugzilla, patches) 
but more structural changes aren't necessary.

> I hope this has been useful.

Thanks, I trust you'll keep a critical eye once patches start landing :)

Jeroen Coumans (jeroen at linuxfromscratch.org)
FAQ and Website Maintainer

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