[Marketing] Website Redesign

Jason Birch Jason.Birch at nanaimo.ca
Fri Dec 12 12:09:37 EST 2008

I disagree :)

It's not about content or graphic design, it's about user experience and
findability.  A redesign has to be primarily about ensuring that the
site functions as well as possible.   You can have all of the content in
the world, or the prettiest site in the world, but they are both useless
if users can't immediately access the information they need.  The most
important part of a site design is knowing who your users are, what they
are looking for, and figuring out how to get them to it faster.

Any redesign needs to start from a document like this (unfinished?):
and be informed by accurate and intensive analysis of the web site's
current traffic patterns.  I don't think that we have the latter, and
would recommend something like Google Analytics for proper analysis.
The open source traffic analysis tools do not offer nearly the insight
that can be gained through Analytics, especially with its new custom
reports and segmentation features.

A redesign should also keep in mind search engine optimisation, because
most users will use their favourite search engine to find what they're
looking for rather than go to our main page.  Some of our content could
certainly do with some reorganisation, and there are some topics that we
need to write new content for.  For instance, searching for "OSGeo
Software" or "OSGeo Projects" or "OSGeo Source Code" do not come up with
useful results in Google.  Topics that have individual treatment come up
with good results (such as "OSGeo Sponsor").

We also need to look at adding a search engine to the site.  Users that
give up trying to find information via random search terms (and don't
know about the site: modifier) come to our site and are then stuck
trying to navigate to what they want.  We provide far too many options
on our main page, and don't address user/role segmentation at all, so
finding what they want will be a frustrating experience.  If Drupal's
search sucks, then set up a Google Custom Search Engine.  As a
non-profit, we can get one for free that doesn't run ads.  I know that
some people want to use open source tools for everything, but we need to
pick our battles and use our limited resources in the most effective way
possible to accomplish _our_ mission.

And yes, finally, we may need a bit of a layout redesign.  My preference
would be to drop the left and right menus from the main page, and
simplify the user experience.  I think that the Mozilla Foundation is a
good example of this:  http://www.mozilla.org/  Apache has gone part of
the way with the "quick-button" links at the top of the page, but I
think they could easily drop the second column on the right:

Notice that I didn't talk about colours, logo positioning, etc at all.
It's about functionality.  All of this is well within Drupal's
out-of-the-box capabilities.


-----Original Message-----
From: marketing-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
[mailto:marketing-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Paul Ramsey
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 08:17
To: Frank Warmerdam
Cc: OSGeo Marketing; Web committee discussions
Subject: Re: [Marketing] Website Redesign

IMO: it's about content, not look-and-feel. If you let look-and-feel
into the paddock, a lot of time will be spent juggling colors and
visual elements, and not enough juggling topics and words.  Break the
project into two.  Do content first, *then* address putting lipstick
on the pig.


On Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 7:07 AM, Frank Warmerdam <warmerdam at pobox.com>
> Dear Marketing Folks,
> Your budget includes $20000 for:
> """
> Following from Phase 2 above, redesign concepts for the website will
> implemented. Including refocus of target groups and content, as well
as look
> and feel
> """
> As a contributor to the website I'm concerned about how this is going
> work.
> How do you intend to turn a consultants design into something that is
> merged into what exists, and the ideas that existing contributors have
> how things should work?
> I'm concerned that we will end up either:
> 1) Giving the consultant free reign and the web site is radically
> resulting in the loss of some existing valuable elements, and more
> importantly
> the alienation of existing contributors who will presumably be left
> the bag after the consultant is gone again.
> - or -
> 2) Negotiation and reaching consensus with the existing web site
> contributors
> (as well as dealing with the limitations of Drupal) will result in
> relatively
> little being accomplished out of the consultants recommendations
> in
> most of the money/effort being wasted.
> --
> My suggestion to moderate the likely problems are to take into account
> following issues when selecting a consultant and giving them terms of
> reference.
> a) Drupal is our portal software and it is unlikely to be changed for
> convenience of the consultant.  We have limited expertise to do exotic
> things
> with it so it is best try and limit proposals to what can be
> with it in a practical fashion.  It would presumably be prudent to
> Tyler
> and Wolf involved in setting practical parameters.
> b) The consultant should be encouraged to prepare material (content),
> appropriate sidebar (and center pane) entry points to serve the
> target groups.
> c) I think there is substantial room to alter and restructure the
> "About the Foundation" and "FAQ" materials.  The results would have to
> be vetted of course, but these sections are clearly "on the table"
> for improvement.
> d) The consultant should not spend too much time dreaming up radical
> simplifications that toss things we have already decided to be
> into some seldom seen subpage.
> I hope you all understand that there are potentially negative dynamics
> that could come into play dropping a short term highly (by volunteer
> standards) paid consultant into an existing volunteer driven system
> giving them godlike powers to alter, with no long term responsibility
> to maintain.
> Needless to say, I'm speaking for myself, not the website committee as
> a whole.
> Best regards,
> --
> I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam,
> warmerdam at pobox.com
> light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
> and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for
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