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Talk:Main Page/New new layout

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move from Talk:Main Page by Evan

OK, so, I gotta make some comments on the new new Main Page layout:

  1. It looks really good. Nice work, Dhum Dhum.
  2. Did Dhum Dhum update the page? It was done by an anonymous user, but it's nearly identical with User:Dhum Dhum/Main page. I find it hard to believe that he'd go through 10+ changes without noticing he was logged in. Doesn't really matter, but...
  3. I don't like dealing with heavily-tablized pages. I'm going to have to steel myself to edit this from now on.
  4. It's really spaced out, and there's a lot of screen real estate that's dead. Like all the space around List of countries... couldn't that be tightened up some?
  5. I think I mentioned Jakob Nielsen before... anyways, one of his principles is that people don't scroll. So, it's important to put important nav stuff up in the first half of a page, if it scrolls at all. I'd love to tighten up some of the dead space on this screen to make it not scroll.
  6. I think we could get away with moving the destinations section off to a directory-style page. That would free up a lot of real estate.
  7. It might be worthwhile to go over Nielsen's Home Page Design Guidelines.

OK, that's my deux sous. -- Evan 08:19, 22 Nov 2003 (PST)

What a surprise to see my draft version of the main page as the actual main page. Evan, here are my answers to your questions (my numbers correspond to yours).
  1. Well, thanks Evan...
  2. No, I didn't update the page. As you say, it was done by an anonymous user, so I started investigating. I looked at User:'s contributions and I found that he had written the last entry on Talk:Maramures and the Mountains Tour. Even if he was not logged in he signed with User:Ronline. So, discarding the possibility that some other user signs as Ronline, there's a high probability that it's him.
  3. We've had a short discussion about that on User talk:Dhum Dhum/Main page. I respected your point of view and I still do.
  4. I agree, but I think we should keep this important link on the main page. See point 6 for more.
  5. I agree again.
  6. One of the things I didn't like was exactly this. To me, the destinations section is just a list of countries. There's no particular reason to keep them on the main page.
  7. I haven't done so, but I'll surely will in the next few days.
  8. Something extra: as I said before, I was surprised to see my experiment surface as the actual main page. I was even more surprised that there had been no discussion about it. I do think that a radical change of such an important page needs to be discussed beforehand (and maybe now is the time...). As a side note I'd also like to mention that User talk:Dhum Dhum/Main page has also been changed (albeit slightly). I thought it was a tacit convention that user pages and their subpages are normally not changed by other users.

DhDh 14:58, 22 Nov 2003 (PST)

  • Yes - it was me who updated the page with the tables. I didn't log in due to the my automatic login being disabled (I'm changing that now ;-) I think the page with the tables is so much better, but it's really good that you guys are discussing potential improvements! -- Ronline, 23 Nov 2003
I do like this main page much more than the old one. It's simply more lucid. Btw, what should be bad with the tables? The main page isn't something that the "HTML-have-not"s need to edit. And even lynx can handle tables quite well. So, there shouldn't occure problems with poor browsers. -- Hansm 10:01, 2003 Nov 23 (PST)
I am an HTML have-not, and I need to edit the page. I find the table-based layout hard to edit and update. It doesn't use markup sections, so I can't edit one section of the page at a time. I have to navigate through lots of td's and tr's and br's just to find the section I need to add a link to. We're a Wiki site, we should use Wiki markup. Formatting shouldn't be my problem -- it should be the Wiki engine's problem. My problem should be content. Anyways, the whole thing incented me to add Wikitravel:Avoid HTML. -- Evan 11:28, 23 Nov 2003 (PST)
OK, than I understand the problem. At the end, it will remain the admin's decision. Anyway, I like the new look. -- Hansm 06:47, 2003 Nov 24 (PST)
Well, I have a bit of a "double" feeling towards the new main page.
On the one hand, I can't deny that this page looks better than the one before. The main page is often one of the first pages a Wikitravel visitor will see. So, apart from the content that should draw their attention, we might as well have something that looks nice too.
On the other hand I feel quite uncomfortable with the way this has happened: no discussion, no consencus, just one user who made the change. I'm still convinced that radically changing an important page like this one needs to be discussed properly beforehand.
The fact is that if we do want the main page to have a nice table format with colours, we just have to use HTML for now. At present, I see no other way. I don't know much about HTML either. Everything I've learned comes from tables in Wikipedia. That's also where I got the idea for creating User:Dhum Dhum/Main page.
So, why don't we build a bridge between those so-called HTML-haves and HTML-have nots. I made Main page/test, where we can test things out and try to make a page that both looks good and is not too difficult to edit. That should be possible, no? I started with copying what I have in my user space at this moment. Anyone who's interested? But keep in mind: it should be nice and simple at the same time. DhDh 11:51, 24 Nov 2003 (PST)

So, I just filed a RFE against MediaWiki in SourceForge asking for a table markup language. Turns out there already is an undocumented one, which will be in the next stable release. Looks like we'll have a Wikimarkup table-based Main Page sooner rather than later... --Evan 18:57, 28 Nov 2003 (PST)

Hey, so what happened to the above idea? I'm talking about wikitravel on bootsnall and I just got this comment:

My first impulse was to look up local info to see how everything was structured and what kind of entries were being made.

Problem was, other than the search feature (which I don't like using) I couldn't find a simple way there. I want to be able to click through to get to where I'm going.

ie: Index > N. America > Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver

Maybe I was missing the easy way to look that up?

And I actually didn't know what to say. How do we expect people to get to the content? I'm wondering if we need to think a bit more about readers and not just contributors (ie we head to the recent change or something and start from there).... comments? Majnoona

So can we add a link to List of countries from the front page? And maybe one to the content that was in the destinations page? I know that was too much stuff for the front page, but I didn't realize it was totally gone... Majnoona
You worked on it! B-) Anyways, although I originally proposed it, I agree that the loss of the destinations section might be a little much. After all, most people who are going to be coming to Wikitravel's main page will be looking for travel info, not looking to share. (Sad but true). What if we did this?
Welcome to Wikitravel! Blah blah blah!
|         Destinations             |
|                                  |
|                                  |
|                                  |
|                                  |
+--------------+ +-----------------+
|  Featured    | |    Community    |
+--------------+ +-----------------+
|              | |                 |
|              | |                 |
|              | |                 |
|              | |                 |
+--------------+ +-----------------+
|             Logbook              |
|                                  |
|                                  |
|                                  |
|                                  |

It'll scroll and stuff, but... Well, I don't know how to fit it all in, otherwise. --Evan 14:30, 1 Dec 2003 (PST)

So, I've been thinking about the main page, and looking over Nielsen's Home Page Design Guidelines. I'm not going to copy them here, so you should look at them; but here's my comments on each:

  1. Our tagline is more than one sentence, but I think we meet this.
  2. Our title tag -- weird, I never thought about this -- is actually "name of page - Wikitravel". I can't tell which is better or worse -- it might be nice to reverse that for the Main Page.
  3. We have an "About Us" page (actually, lots of them), and we group them together. This is good.
  4. This is where I think we fall down. I'll say below what I think our 1-4 tasks are.
  5. Got it.
  6. We have "featured" stuff, but not really any examples. More on this below.
  7. This one seems fine -- our article naming conventions almost demand it!
  8. We don't do this. Probably should, too.
  9. We hardly have any images -- probably fine!
  10. Again, fine -- just one image (the logo, and only on one skin).

I'm counting 6 out of 10. Not bad, but we can do better.

Now, about our viewers' goals. Here's the four goals I think people coming to the main page have:

  1. Find information about particular travel information. These people are casual browsers who think of us as a travel guide. That's great! Because that's what we are. We have to accommodate these people, because... well, that's our goal! Make a travel guide! Duh! B-)
  2. Find out what kind of information we have. These people have heard about Wikitravel, and want to look us over before they decide whether we're any good, and whether they're ever going to come back. It's good to accommodate these people, because they will either join our effort themselves, or give us good word of mouth.
  3. Find out what Wikitravel is about. These people have heard about Wikitravel, and want to know more about the project. Similarly, we want these people to get what they want, since they may join us or tell someone else who will.
  4. Start editing, discussing, policy-making, whatever. These are people who are Wikitravellers already, and they want to know what's going on, what's new, whose articles are featured, etc. Considering that this is us B-), of course we want these people to get what they need.

You can kinda divide these goals into a matrix of two variables: purposeful versus browsing, travel information versus Wikitravel information. There's a gradation from the first to the last: purposeful about travel info, browsing travel info, browsing project info, purposeful about project info.

Anyways, I'm thinking that maybe we can divide the main page into two big sections instead of three: travel info, and project info. I think doing it side-by-side would look weird, so maybe we can do it top-to-bottom. Another thing I'm thinking is that we can kinda borrow the same layout, for the travel info, that the Open Directory has (and lots of other directory sites -- I think Yahoo! did this first). Lastly, I'm thinking that the "featured" section would become our base, but more geographically oriented than not. So, we combine "featured" and "destinations".

Here's what I'm thinking:

Welcome to Wikitravel. Blah blah blah. We are so great.
|                      Wikitravel Guides                          |
|                                                                 |
| Asia                            Africa                          |
| Bangkok, India, Tokyo,          Cairo, Capetown, Zaire,         |
| Angkor Wat, more...             Timbuktu, Madagascar, more...   |
|                                                                 |
| Europe                          Australasia                     |
| Oradea, France, Flanders,       Hobart, Christchurch, Perth,    |
| Barcelona, more...              New Guinea, Sydney, more...     |
|                                                                 |
| North America                   South America                   |
| Santa Barbara, Boston,          Lima, Argentina, Rio de Janeiro,|
| Banff, Florida Keys, more...    Caracas, Surinam, more...       |
|                                                                 |
| Island nations                  Phrasebooks                     |
| Jamaica, Havana, Papeete,       French, Spanish, Romanian,      |
| Tahiti, Guam, Fiji, more...     Dutch, German, more...          |
|                                                                 |
| Itineraries                     Travel topics                   |
| Two weeks in Vietnam,           Driving in Australia, tips for  |
| Hiking in New Zealand, more...  flying, Common scams, more...   |
|                                                                 |
|                      Wikitravel Project                         |
| (pretty much what we have in "Community" right now)             |
|                                                                 |
| Logbook                                                         |

Some points about this: note that nothing's called "featured". Like DhDh said, if it's on the front page, it's featured! Duh! B-) Second, I figured it'd be better to put the project stuff after the travel stuff, since people looking for project info will probably feel more comfy about scrolling down to look for it than people looking for travel info.

That top table might actually fit three or even four across, rather than two across. That's OK! This looks a little more like DhDh's first pass at this, too.

Lastly, I wonder if we should maybe do some "pull quotes" -- one or two sentences from good articles, with links to the article. That'd be pretty fancy, and would show off our good stuff.

OK, that's my thoughts for now. --Evan 19:45, 1 Dec 2003 (PST)

After reading all this I must say I agree with most things said above (guidelines and 4 goals). When I took out the “Destinations” part I tore it out with roots and all –- and that was probably too much. So I like the idea of having two sections on the main page. I do have some remarks though:
  • I think we should make a difference between the purely geographical part of the “Guides” section and the rest (itineraries, phrasebooks, travel topics, etc.) The geographical part will most probably be quite stable over time, but the other part will not (new expeditions worth mentioning will be created, etc.) Within this section it could be separated by a horizontal line or made a separate column.
  • The same goes for the “Project” section: separate the “Community” and “Logbook” parts in the same way.
  • The geographical subdivision by continental regions is fine, but which articles are we going to put under them? It seems to me that this is done a bit randomly in the example.
  • About point 8 (top ten guidelines): we could include a “Main Page/Archive” page.
DhDh 08:56, 2 Dec 2003 (PST)
Good point about the continental sections, etc. What I was thinking was that the directory part, on top, would act both as an entry way into our geographical hierarchy, and as a "Featured" section. We could rotate in different articles from all levels of the hierarchy -- cities, regions, districts, countries, sections, etc. -- in that right-under-the-continent part. That way, we can highlight our best articles, and help people navigate the site. Anyways, that was the idea. --Evan 09:24, 2 Dec 2003 (PST)
OK, if the idea is to have a combination of the two, I'm all for it. I'll try to experiment a little with the test page. Luckily we didn't throw it away :-) DhDh 12:25, 2 Dec 2003 (PST)
I commented on my Main Page draft on Talk:Main Page/test DhDh 14:20, 2 Dec 2003 (PST)