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Re: website mockups, what is fedora?

On Fri, 2009-08-21 at 09:37 -0500, Rex Dieter wrote:
> Tom "spot" Callaway wrote:
> > On 08/21/2009 10:04 AM, Rex Dieter wrote:
> >> Then, look at the new website mockups.
> >>
> >> (perceived) Answer: Fedora is the fedora-desktop spin
> > 
> > Well, I think the point here is that for the new, uninformed user, we
> > need to present them with a single default choice.
> > 
> > Forcing them to choose between:
> > GNOME, KDE, Games, LXCE, EDU, Electronics, Security
> One can still offer options, but have a choice pre-selected by default, 
> akin to how some other distros are doing.

I think one of the main misunderstandings/miscommunications about this
redesign is why we are doing it. The goals of this redesign, from my
understanding, is:

1) To grow adoption of Fedora by new prospective users

2) To grow community involvement in Fedora by growing the base of users
from which we can recruit community members. 

Let me remind you of one more goal I think we *all* share (and as sad as
it may be, is certainly one of my main goals in life):

3) To grow the general acceptance and usage of free & open source

With these goals in mind, it appears that rather than only catering to
the current community base we have (which is inarguably extremely
important), we need to also consider the users and community members we
do not have in the design as we are basically trying to sell our
software and our community to them (whom you do not seem to be
considering.) So considering the 'newbie' case is more important with
the goals stated above than it ever has been for our website before.

Who do you know who dabbles in Linux or has always wanted to try it out?
Think of that person. Imagine they are on the phone with you, and are
asking you how they can get a copy of Fedora:

Do they know what KDE is? Do they know what GNOME is? How simply and
easily could you explain this to them, plus:

- explain what the different HW architectures mean (a necessary evil we
can't drop)
- how to find out what their architecture is
- what an ISO is and how to use it
- what bittorrent is, and how to use a torrent file (and how to download
and install a bittorrent client)
- if they don't want to use bittorrent
- what a download mirror is and how to use it
- what the difference is between live media and a DVD and why they would
want to download/use one or the other
- how to upgrade
- how to build a live USB stick instead

I understand to you, adding KDE is 'just one more choice', but I hope
the above illustrates it all is 'just one more' that adds up to just one
big confusing mess than sends new users running screaming from our
website to other distros (or giving up on Linux altogether!) 

Rather than making our download page a tome on desktop environments,
spins, what architectures are and how to figure out yours, bittorrents
vs mirrors vs direct, what an ISO is and how to use it, what live media
is vs dvd - the proposal here is to pick one default that should work
for everyone and eliminate the whole darn thing into just one
unavoidable complication - what is an ISO and what do I do with it?
(Windows, unlike OS X, does not handle burning ISOs by default and you
need to install third-party tools to make a Fedora disc using Windows.) 

Since Linux does not have the market share I think we'd all like to see
in an ideal world, btw, I don't think following what other distros are
doing is (1) innovative (2) going to get us to where we want to be.
Especially if those distros don't share our goals as a distro, and
especially if the success of those distros' designs are unknown or not
shared. If the goal is to increase free & open source software adoption
and if the goal is to do that by spreading Fedora far & wide, wouldn't
we be better off trying to be innovative of our own accord and maybe
looking to the big players (OS X, Windows) to see what they do?

> But let's not get muddled in details.
> Let me be brutally honest:  withholding choice and options here and/or 
> diminishing kde's visibility *will* disenfranchise a lot of people. 
> We'll lose out PR-wise big time, especially in light of opensuse's 
> recent work that is largely perceived as doing right by the community.

There is a clear trade-off here - either you "do wrong" by the
community, or you "do wrong" by users who want to try your distro but
run away screaming because you've confused and scared them. It seems
easier to reject the latter folks because they're not here yet, but
we'll fail if we don't continue to grow. 

If the current in-progress designs would disenfranchise current
community members, let's work on a way to address that *without* scaring
away new prospects a well.
> Is that a price the board is willing to pay?

I think the board has made a statement that they would like to see us
recruiting a wider user base rather than only catering to the people we
already have in our community. I think a fair way to keep both current
community members happy and to not scare away our potential users (and
hopefully potential new community members) is:

1) By default, make the very first 'download' landing page dead simple
for the newbies. Make it one-click and hard to screw up and

2) Have a very obvious 'If you know what you're doing, go over here'
link on the main download landing page that takes you to a screen
designed for the ideal 'already knows what their doing' user, giving
them a full set of choices.

For #1, this is (and it's absolutely a work-in-progress) the proposal on
the table:


It would be accompanied by a page listing out the desktop spin in other
architectures and with bittorrent links. this page (not mocked up as of
yet, I'll try to work on it today) would also have information about
obtaining physical media (free media program, directory of vendors)

For #2, this is the spins page design (again, absolutely a
work-in-progress) proposal:


What I've been thinking about for this design based on feedback is to
have two tabs that envelop the spin directory, one (the default) to be
'by popularity', and the other (second tab, non-default) to be 'in
alphabetical order.) With this design each spin would also have it's own
details page (I haven't updated the mock yet but here's a very very very
old one: http://fedorapeople.org/groups/designteam/Projects/Fedora%
20Spins/Wireframes/spindetailsmock4.png )

With these details page, I think it would be easier for you trying to
direct folks to download the KDE spin to tell them to go to
kde.spins.fedoraproject.org or spins.fedoraproject.org/kde or
get.fedoraproject.org/kde. Rather than navigating them thru get.fpo's
many choices. As a maintainer of the KDE spin you could customize that
page as well based on your userbase's needs.

When Paul was in Westford recently, we brainstormed on this a bit and
drew out a little site map diagram of what the structure of this would
look like. Paul, I think you took a photo of that diagram on your phone,
do you still have a copy?

I think that might also make some of this design a little more clear.
But if how I've explained it so far doesn't make sense and you've an
alternative proposal please let me know, I am absolutely very open to
suggestions and feedback.

Hope this helps. 


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