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Home page design suggestions RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Propose and discuss your design suggestions for the Wiki homeoage next version. use the "Vote as Helpful" buttons to indicate agreement with a suggestion so we can prioritize.

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010 1:15 AM

All replies

  • My main point here was just that we should have a TOC or list of basic categories like Wikipedia has. It would be nice to list out the top-level articles of products (that include all the major links to their subtopics) and a link to the Getting Started page: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/wiki-getting-started.aspx

    For example, Wikipedia has a list of categories at the top here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

    So I just suggest that we do a list like that with our products and "Getting Started."
    Wednesday, March 3, 2010 2:12 AM
    Owner
  • And then Gerard has a more detailed suggestion here:

    We seem to be putting all the “about” stuff on the main page, without any single place to navigate from.

     

    Perhaps the root page could be the navigation hub – the top of the tree structure – which branches off to some major content portals. It could also have links to about the wiki, getting started, help, policy/governance etc.

     

    For example (this is just content not layout of the page):

     

    Welcome to TechNet Wiki – the community-built hub for implementing Microsoft technologies

     

    Sections/Portals/Hubs: Deployment, Management & Configuration, Virtualisation, Development

    Or high-level list of technologies: Windows Server, Hyper-V, SCOM, SCCM, BizTalk, Sharepoint, Exchange

     

    Getting started (“How do I?” links): About TNWiki, Find information, Participate/Contribute, Organisation (structure/tags), Administration, Policy, Help

     

    This way, 90% of visitors can go directly through to the content that matters to them (and hit edit if they feel like it). The rest can find out more information if they have no idea  what this is, or find detailed information about governance if they are interested.

     

    Return visitors will want a simple URL to remember – generally the root directory – and they want to be able to get to everything from there, without an extra click just to get to the home page buried under several directory layers.

     

    To find some information, clicking on a tag would (hopefully) yield a lot of pages but being quite difficult to wade through. A “Virtualisation Portal” would make a lot more sense to people looking for information, and would include links off to other significant relevant sets of articles (ie “Compatibility”).

     

    Of course everyone would have different opinions of how these portals should be organised, but articles can be listed in multiple portals (since we’re not restricted to articles being in a single parent directory).

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010 2:13 AM
    Owner
  • I believe we should use this page to drive the behaviors we want to see. I don't believe that a TOC on this page will achieve the goal of helping new users find content better than helpful tips on wiki search and tag surfing, for example.
    I am assuming that most users will NOT visit this page often, except at the begginning of their relationship with the wiki.
    If that's true, we must decide what behavior we want new users to adopt, and use this space to help them do that.
    Is it to read? Or to contribute? Or to stay informed of "news"? IMO we must decide this first, then drive page design that gets us toward that goal.
    tony soper
    Wednesday, March 3, 2010 3:35 AM
  • I tend to agree with Ed and Gerard that we need some kind of navigation stuff on the landing page. I personally vote for a tag cloud. I believe it suits best for poorly-structured content (in cotrast with highly structured content like TN Library that could likely benefit from tree-view navigation).

    I also agree with Tony that landing page is the place to drive new users' behavior. I suppose that users should firstly browse for content and secondly contribute something themselves. If they want to keep track on news then Wiki is probably not the best place to do go. If they are looking for specific content (howto, troubleshooting, etc) they are supposed to use search instead of starting with Wiki landing page. I don't believe they would use Wiki search. They are not intersted in “Is there a page for X in the Wiki?”. What they really need is “What is X?” or “How do I X”? So they are likely to use either Internet search engine or Microsoft.com search.

    Having “Recent Activity” and “Top Contributors” lists on the landing page currently promotes Wiki as a social neworking site. Is it the way we think of it?
    Wednesday, March 3, 2010 7:41 AM
  • Tony,

    I agree that we should drive behavior. However, writing to this wiki is the second purpose of the wiki. The first and primary purpose is to read the wiki. And so we should give some attention to that.

    I think we should take one lesson from Wikipedia (who has been doing it a tiny bit longer than we have) and give a small list of direction to our readers. Those links would go to "portal" pages with a more exhaustive list of links on those topics. So I don't think we should turn the home page into a TOC by any means. However, I think we should stop ignoring the reader, our #1 audience.

    I see that since I brought this up, someone has built an article spotlight page. This is a good start, but it's hard to get to. At least we're not ignoring our #1 audience, but they are definitely still  the third-class citizen.



    Pronichkin,

    While I don't think a tag cloud could really take the place of purposefully driven topics, I think a link to the tag cloud would be an excellent addition to the links to the other portal pages. I'll add that in my mock-up. The problems with using a tag cloud instead of topic links is that tag clouds are diluted (we've already diluted ours with topics like "needswork," "tonyso," "help," "needs work," and the cloud will get far more diluted as time passes; I'm not complaining; the worse is yet to come). So I think we should promote the tag cloud a little more, but I don't think we should rely on it for navigation.

    Regarding the social aspects... Nobody's going to dethrone Tony as the #1 contributor. =^)

    I don't know. I like it. The social aspects make our wiki a little more fun than contributing to Wikipedia. It would be nice if there was a miniature tag cloud on the right, though, pushing down the top contributors a bit.



    Thanks!

    Ed
    Wednesday, March 3, 2010 6:10 PM
    Owner
  • My rough draft of what sort of TOC I think should be on the main/home page is here (although perhaps should be on staging).

    Each of those links should take the user to a portal, which is another TOC for that category, linking to the various articles and tags associated with that product/technology.

    This allows users to browse the wiki. The advantages of browsing include allowing users to find pages indirectly rather than arriving via a direct link; allowing users to see whether a topic exists (without having to spend 15mins searching); and enabling users to get a feel for the wiki (what is expected, what is on it, standard formatting and other conventions). It allows interested users to read around a range of topics, rather than have to look for something specific (to learn rather than fix a specific problem). It's also great for proofers/editors such as myself to discover content and help improve the wiki, rather than looking for specific pages.

    In addition to just content, portals are a good way to mobilise specific communities. Many people will only really be interested in (and be able to help with) articles about their technology, and would benefit from a "needswork" or stubs list for their specialist area. Also, a list of wanted articles, a featured article-of-the-month, and maybe even community incentives such as user-of-the-month and technology-specific taskforces. This allows people to stick to what they know, without restricting them to separate wikis, and gives each technology area a chance to thrive.
    Friday, March 5, 2010 4:18 PM
  • I totally agree with Gerard that Portals is a great thing. After all, it is the way Wikipedia does it — so it has provent its effecensy.

    But there's a little issue. In Wikipedia we see a relatively small number of articles related to a each of enormous number of topics. So each of these topics can have a portal that collects links to that small number of articles. And everything is fine.

    Ours situation is a bit different. We have a much narrower list of topics (after all, this is Wiki dedicated only to Microsoft products of technologies. And maybe some related stuff). But each of these topics can have a ton of related articles that would never find a place for them in Wikipedia (howtos, troubleshooting, references, etc). So we could end up with 1000 of portals each of which consists of 100.000 links. Not very useful.

    But I think we should try.
    Friday, March 5, 2010 4:51 PM
  • Put words that explain where the Wiki search bar is and what it does in the homepage. There is direct feedback that lot's of people think it is internet or TN search, not wiki search and don't try it.
    tony soper
    Monday, March 8, 2010 9:10 PM
  • When should the home page be replaced, or is that a loaded question?

    The purpose of the current landing page is more to explain the whys around the Wiki, not showcase the content itself.  The purpose obviously needs to change at some point -- but when?

    -eric b
    Monday, March 8, 2010 10:44 PM
  • The purpose of the current landing page is more to explain the whys around the Wiki, not showcase the content itself.  The purpose obviously needs to change at some point -- but when?
    Please note this thread: Two different homepages. In fact we could easily afford having two different landing pages in different places for different purposes :)
    Monday, March 8, 2010 11:01 PM
  • Untill the search box UI is changed, add text that tells the reader how to search.
    Tony Soper
    Tuesday, March 9, 2010 5:33 PM
  • There should be an API that allows trusted applets to extract information from the wiki.
    In particular there shoudl be an API function that lets us get tag cloud information for data mining purposes.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010 10:12 PM
  • When the list of articles is returned from a search it shows a 'by' line. Currently it shows the person who last revised the article.
    This should be changed from "By" to "Last revision by" or possibly return original author and last revision author.
    Tuesday, March 9, 2010 10:15 PM
  • Pronichkin: Ours situation is a bit different. We have a much narrower list of topics (after all, this is Wiki dedicated only to Microsoft products of technologies. And maybe some related stuff). But each of these topics can have a ton of related articles that would never find a place for them in Wikipedia (howtos, troubleshooting, references, etc). So we could end up with 1000 of portals each of which consists of 100.000 links. Not very useful.

    Which I think is okay. Let's just have some basic portals for the important and high level stuff. If people are searching for troubleshooting or specific issues... then they'll search. Portals are more for people who want to learn and see if there are things they don't know. They want to browse. So we should be fine if we use portals primarily for higher level or more desirable How Tos.
    Ed
    Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:26 PM
    Owner