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Re: website mockups, what is fedora?

On 08/21/2009 08:29 AM, Máirín Duffy wrote:
> 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
> software.

Okay, so the first question is:  Fedora Board, are these the goals
you've handed off to the design team?  I don't see them listed on:

Goals seem pretty important.  More important than the target audience
even.  Those should be written down.

The second question is how this interacts with the target audience.  For
instance, do we want to "grow prospective users" even if they don't fall
into the target audience of the page?  Are those people of greater,
lesser, or the same value to us as the target audience?

If we decide that these are our goals, that allows us to start raising
questions based upon the goals -- for instance, if "growing the
community that we can recruit" from is a goal, maybe we want to be
promoting less popular spins on get-fedora so that we can increase the
developers of those spins.

> 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.
The use of "newbies" is difficult in this paragraph.  The design goals
expressed by the Board are definitely not for "newbies" in the sense of
esr's Aunt Tilly.  It's for "People who are somewhat computer savvy, but
may be new to Fedora and/or Linux and FOSS in general".  So these are
people who have some technical background but may not have experience
with FOSS.

Also, I still don't see much of a sales pitch for the community in these
mockups.  We need things like:

* credits the Fedora community/KDE SIG/Fedora Design Team created this
* More first person pronouns "We made this to you"
* Support: Troubleshooting?  Fedora community IRC/mailing list/forum link.
* Fedora Classroom!  Can we pull off a "Fedora's downloading, learn to
use it by joining a Fedora classroom session on IRC." [schedule of
classes] [Read transcripts for past classes] on page3.png?

> 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:
Heh, bad analogy.  If I'm on the phone with someone it's actually pretty
simple to figure out what would be a good fit and have them download the
right thing.  You expect to hold a conversation with someone on the
phone so you have the luxury of asking a lot of questions and talking
about a lot of details.  The web page has to address a much more
difficult problem -- leading someone to a decent decision without losing
their attention in the meantime.

> 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!) 

I buy into the too much choice argument but the current mockup doesn't
make clear that the user has any choice at all.  If that's intentional,
there's no room for compromise here.  If that's not intentional, then it
needs to be worked on as a priority as without that, none of the people
who are not on the get-fedora page will have anyreason to make the spins
page better.

> 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?
There's a few tangents in here:

1) Linux's market share is growing so getting antsy about changing how
we do things isn't necessarily what we want to do.

2) OS X comes preinstalled on proprietary hardware.  Is that what we
want to do?  Windows comes preinstalled on computers or in boxes at the
store.  Is that the model we want to adopt?  In both of these cases, the
"download now!" page is pretty difficult to find :-)

3) I think the goal of increasing market share is already taken by other
distros.  Ubuntu, SusE, RHEL, for instance.  The commercial distros.  If
we're going to be innovative, I'd rather we did it by concentrating on
the things we do well or want to do well (Infinity Freedom Voice,
Freedom Friends Features First, Upstream upstream upstream, Leading but
not bleeding, We know how to build a community, put your hand-wavey
slogan here).  Market share for the sake of market share is not
something I want Fedora to strive for.

>> 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 you disenfranchise the current community, you'll shrink.  This recent
blog post is relevant.  If you're as compulsively click happy as I am,
you've already read it::

the secret to growth is to retain your current users because if you can
do that, new ones will start coming by because they want to try
something new.

> 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.

I think this is the heart of the matter.  I definitely agree with it.
However, I think we're looking at the ramifications of this differently.
 There's two possibilities for why there's disagreement:

* Which is valued more, getting new members or keeping old members?  I
think that decreasing the morale of contributors is a more pressing
concern than gaining more users.  Gaining more users is important so
that we can gain more contributors but its the old adage about it not
making sense to lose what you have in order to get something of
uncertain worth.
* The level of problem that exists either with disenfranchising current
members with the new design or driving away potential new contributors
with the old design.  My perception is that we're gaining new users
despite the problems with the old design and that the new design is seen
as a huge demoralizing issue for the current contributors.  Your
perception is probably that we're losing a lot of potential new users
due to poor design and the current contributors will "get over it" once
the new design is deployed.  It's hard to guage this effect because one
is psychological and the other is a lack of something rather than the
addition of something.  We could have a poll of contributors to
determine how many of them dislike where the design is heading but that
could be seen by some as a vote (rather than a poll to see how people
are feeling) which could make people feel worse in the end.

>> 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
> easy-to-understand. 
> 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:
> http://duffy.fedorapeople.org/temp/woot/page2.png
> 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:
> http://duffy.fedorapeople.org/temp/woot/spins-directory.6.png
Actually, your number 2 says: "Have a very obvious 'If you know what
you're doing, go over here' link on the main download landing page".  I
think that's the main point of failure currently.  The current page2.png
mockup does not drive people who want to learn about or try different
options to the spins page.  Thought experiment:  Try starting with a
design for page2.png that has only two links but is absolutely horrible:

|   _What's a Spin?_
| Fedora has many differen
| you can find the Fedora
| perfect for you!

|                       |
|   All Fedora Spins!   |
|                       |
(Download Fedora)

Then make a few incrementals in between before arriving at what we have now:

| Download Fedora! |
(Other download options)

Think about which ones you love and which ones you hate.  Write down
what your reasons are.  Then show the people that hate the current
mockups and get their rankings and rationale.

I think a balance can be struck between mass of download options and not
enough information to proceed but it's going to require compromise on
both sides.  You can present more information and in not precisely the
best manner and not drive new users to go elsewhere.  And you can not
present all the options and still get interested people to click
further.  But it's hard to see where that compromise point might be when
there's not a clear understanding that the page is open for input and
what the impact is when viewing the changes.  Someone who says "Only
putting all the spins on one page is fair"  might be willing to say
"This two link page draws me to click through to the more information
page satisfactorily" once they see a mockup that attempts to make that

[snip spins page stuff]

The spins mockup page is a bit beside the point right now.  Nobody is
confident that anyone is going to view the spins page so how it looks is
not something anyone's going to get excited about.  Think of it like this:

|                  |
|  Install Windows |
|     For free!    |
|                  |
(other download options)

Maybe we can put the Linux distributions on the other downloads page
with two views -- one by popularity (the default) and the second in
alphabetical order.  You can even tell people to go to
fedora.microsoft.com to get it.  I think you can really promote Fedora
by doing a good job of making the description on that second page rock!



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