RFC: Proposed new web site design

Scott Ritchie scott at open-vote.org
Mon Nov 24 20:06:01 CST 2008

Jeremy White wrote:
> At Wineconf, we made the decision to change the entry page to the Wine
> web site.  The hope was to simplify and stream line it, and to put in
> place the infrastructure to start moving more content to the Wiki.
> Jeremy Newman and Jon Parshall have put a lot of time and energy into a
> proposed new design, following what we took away from the meetings at
> Wineconf.

I thought we took away that Dan Kegel would magically pull a design out
of his wizard's hat.  Regardless, thanks for doing the work.

> A mock up of that design is up now here:
>   http://wine.codeweavers.com/winehq_new/
> ...and the theming intended for all 'child' pages of the web site,
> starting with the Wiki:
>   http://wine.codeweavers.com/winehq_new/wiki.html

As Wine's unofficial usability evangelist, I present a quick and dirty
review of the new design below.  Keep one point in mind: it's much
better, and thank you for getting it done.

> Beyond the normal controversy that any new design sparks there is one
> major potential controversial change.
> That is, I am asking for prime placement on the download page on behalf
> of CodeWeavers instead of the (stale and ugly, sorry) banner ads we used
> in the past.  You can see our current concept around that positioning here:
>   http://wine.codeweavers.com/winehq_new/download.html

Anything is better than making our website look like it was from 1998.
Perhaps not coincidentally, that's how many people viewed the quality of
our software.

> I hope that the general community sees that as a reasonable exchange for
> all of the work we put into Wine and hosting the Wine server, and a vast
> improvement over the banner ads.
> At any rate, comments and feedback are welcome.

* Much friendlier, better looking, easier to focus on what I want.
Looks professional.
* The prominent donate link on the front page is very recognizable.  I
guarantee you'll have more donations as a result.
* All the old cruft links are gone.
* The new small icon reflects the main image on the site, and also no
longer has the tiny artifacts that the old one did.  Impressive.

Can be improved with minor tweaks:
* The news should be clickable, and take you to a separate news page
with slightly longer stories.
* Rather than getting smaller when you hover the mouse over the buttons,
it should be the other way around - highlight them and they get bigger
* The slogan "Windows software everywhere" doesn't make much sense.  I
would replace it with a very small boilerplate text that says what Wine
does, namely "Wine lets you run Windows applications in Linux and on the
Mac".  This summarizes everything for someone visiting the site who has
never heard of Wine before.
* The "Help!" button could be a bit friendlier, eg "Get Help" or
"Support".  At the least, drop the exclamation point.
* The text under Donate is obvious, so we can benefit from a bit of
explanation.  Something like "Help volunteer Wine developers improve
Wine" -- this also helps sell the donate button
* The text under "Download" could be more extensive too, eg "Get the
latest Wine packaged for your distribution" -- I don't think we lose
much by using a short sentence here since the text is already partially
transparent and optional to read.
* The download icon is weird.  A large down arrow would probably be
better than a CD, especially since we don't offer anything CD-like.
* Similarly, using the classic "wrench" icon for development would be a
bit more obvious.  As it is now I'm not sure what it means except for
the word development right next to it.

* The inlaid scrollbar under the news tab.  However, I think the proper
way to deal with this is to simply have shorter news stories rather than
change the scroll bar.  The current sample news (Wine 1.1.7 released),
for instance, could easily be just 2 sentences and a link to the larger
story.  Longer stories could be reserved for a separate news page.

> And in a vain attempt to prevent all the flames from scorching Jon and
> Jeremy, I'd like to officially state how much I appreciate their efforts.

It looks really good in general.  I'm excited.

Scott Ritchie

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