[SciPy-dev] Scipy.org

Joe Harrington jh at oobleck.astro.cornell.edu
Sat Dec 17 09:42:39 CST 2005

While I agree with Travis on the state of the web site content (so
much out of date that it all bears going over before posting on the
new site), the random approach is how we got the mess we have now in
the first place.  It wasn't Plone that did it, it was us (or the lack
of us).

We are about (I hope, I dream, if I were religious I'd pray) to
blossom into a popular site, with the majority of visitors not being
developers and maybe not being more than budding scientists.  The
organization that developers or experienced users want will not meet
the needs of a high-schooler who is using scipy to do a homework
assignment for the first time on her school computer.  Organic design
works when everyone's goals are in line.  Site visitors' goals are
divergent, so letting the site "grow" in a pure-wiki way will make
finding your way around the site like navigating a rose bush: beauty
all around, but too painful to get to.  We have some web design
experts among us.  Let's design a site structure that has room to
grow, and slot content into it, rather than letting the site design
evolve organically.

It makes sense (to me) to have some "start here if you're a ..."
pages that present an introduction to the appropriate audience and
then index into the main site content.  How to present these without
slowing down the experienced user or developer is the question.  It's
not hard to think up successful strategies, but they may depend on a
particular underlying organization, so we should do a little thinking
before we start.

I suggest a two-pronged approach:

1. Set up a staging area for the content itself.  It should have a
   flat organization: items go in its top level for discussion and
   review before being moved into the main site.  Items shouldn't stay
   here long.  Doing this lets conversion start before we have a site

2. While (eager!) content authors are moving their stuff over to the
   Moin staging area and updating for the new scipy, we all have a
   discussion of site organization, including input from web experts.
   Then, set up the structure and move over the content.

Meanwhile, keep the current plone site up, with a note at the top
saying what's going on (new Scipy, numeric and numarray unified, new
site in development, discussion on how to organize it HERE, content
conversion HERE, nothing new on this site, thanks for your
indulgence).  Set up the Moin site as new.scipy.org, and hang the
staging area off it as new.scipy.org/staging.  Be open about our
process but don't stick it in newbies' faces until there's something
there to stick.  There will be a switchover time, likely before the
new site is polished up, but it's not now.

To begin with, I've made two lists.  The first is a list of potential
site user types.  The second lists categories of content.

Website Accessors

New, inexperienced user
New user experienced with similar software (IDL, Matlab)
Existing user looking for
	place to report problem/track problem reports
	talk with other users
		seek advice
		give suggestion
		help others
		search for past coverage of issue
	resources on a topic
		links elsewhere
		topical page
	all of the above
	talk with other developers
	active sources (SVN)
	web posting
Potential user
Potential customer/employer

Website Areas

"What is"
	summary page
	demos on web
	demos you can run
Getting Started
	intro docs
	intro demos
	community links
	mailing lists
	user area
	past events
	bug reports
Media kit
Advocacy kits


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