[SciPy-dev] Scipy.org

Joe Harrington jh at oobleck.astro.cornell.edu
Mon Dec 19 13:15:56 CST 2005


Thanks for setting up the new site so quickly!

But, I think you've missed my point.

http://new.scipy.org/Wiki/KickTheTires:

Joe Harrington proposed an overall layout like:

"What is"
        summary page
        demos on web
        demos you can run
        links
Getting Started
        install
        intro docs
        intro demos
        community links
....


That was not a layout proposal!  It's just an unordered (and
incomplete) list of content types.  Much of my concern comes from the
fact that that our engineering mindset likes to equate the two, but a
website is more than an index.  I'd much rather see a front page that
is visually friendly, is not too cluttered, and is easily navigable
by newbies, yet has sufficient navigation tools to take experienced
users quickly to the "real stuff".  Obviously, there are choices to
be made here; some may be hard.  My point is that it's worth a
*DESIGN EFFORT* to get it right.  Then, the interior site has the
traditional tabs-and-sidebars look, and sports a lot of info at once,
but still has obvious "GO HERE FIRST" signs for newbies.

I think the next thing is for interested parties to post here some
text descriptions of front page concepts.  Alternatively, hang a faux
front page that you made off the main page of the wiki, with a like
like FredSmithsFrontPage.  Here's my (current) idea, very subject to
change:

It should have an attractive logo/banner, larger than the version
that will appear on top of the pages in the site.

It should have an attractive graphic made with the package (later, we
can put several of these in a random rotation, so that on each visit
you get a different one).  Size of the image matters here: physically
large but quick to download is nice.

It should have a short, non-jargony, non-boasting summary paragraph.
It has to be relatively narrow, so the right-side material isn't off
the edge.  It should be on the left to be read first.

It should have a moderate number of links for newbies by type of
visitor (see previously posted list).  These should be down the right
side, in a column.  We should eventually collect hit statistics and
promote the more-visited ones to the top of the list, and replace
underused ones.

Below that should be some news.

Below that should be a content listing (the key interior navigation
headers) on the right side.

No "notices" junk at the bottom.

For example, a crude text version, all parts up for discussion:

----------------------------------------------------------------------
[big logo: S C I P Y]

Deutsch, Francais, Espagnol, $()#(%, [more]

Scipy is open-source software for		Introductions and       
mathematics, science, and engineering.		demos for new users:    
It runs on all popular operating		  Researcher/College student
systems, is quick to install, and is		  Teacher/Professor        
free of charge.  Scipy is easy enough		  K-12 Student               
that a 12-year-old can use it to plot		  Media                 
up her math homework, but complete		  [more]                
enough that it is depended upon by some		                        
of the world's forefront scientists and		Latest news:            
engineers.  If you need to manipulate		Scipy 2.0 released      
numbers on a computer and display the		                        
results, click into the demos and give		Quick Navigation:             
Scipy a try!					Download                
						Documentation           
[splufty graphic]				Community               
			       			                   
						[more]
						Search [box]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

The background is black, with the area under the paragraph containing
the graphic in bold color on black background.  Maybe if you click on
the graphic, you get another graphic.  Leave that as an Easter egg
for the enterprising to find.

Clicking any link on this page takes you to the appropriate page of
the traditional tabs-and-sidebars site inside.  The demos are
tailored to the audience.  Each of the demos listed here is a tab
under Demos, inside.  Likewise, clicking on "news" takes you to the
interior news area, Download, Documentation, Community likewise.
Not all interior tabs should be here, just the main ones.

All this should look clean and professional, without looking too
"produced".  Language should be English, readable by a 12-year-old
(both to accomodate 12-year-olds and to be nice to non-native-English
speakers).  Once we have translations, we can add them in a list
under the banner, in small type, maybe with flags.

Inside, the main page has a description that gives you the background
you need to know to use the site.  For example:

  Scipy is an extension to the popular [Python] language.  Its
  foundation is [scipy_core], which is a small package that gives
  Python its basic scientific functions and the ability to manipulate
  arrays of numbers.  Scipy_core can be used alone to do many tasks,
  or as part of full Scipy, which includes some popular application
  packages.  Scipy_core, full Scipy, and their support community are
  hosted here.  Many additional packages that use Scipy are listed,
  with descriptions and links, under the "Add-ons" heading.

  The "Introduction" heading has instructions for downloading and
  installing the right binary package for your computer.  Once you
  have installed Scipy, check out the "Getting Started" area.  If you
  have problems, please ask a question in our community's "Just
  Starting" forum.

Andrew's already onto the internal site structure.  I think we need
to make the point that scipy_core can be run separately from full
scipy, but I don't think it's beneficial to have two download pages,
two FAQs, two doc pages, and so on.  It will make for a lot of
rereading and clicking back and forth for new users.  For the
remaining tabs, why not combine Andrew's list and mine, and try to
subset a few into one tab.  For example What Is, Getting Started, and
Screenshots go under Introduction; Cookbook goes under Docs (maybe
call it "Help"?).  The listing of additional software (which
shouldn't be called "Topical" anymore) should be a top-level
navigation item.

I'm very interested to hear from our web design experts ... Janet?
Sara?  Others?

--jh--




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