Hi all,

  As you may or may not have seen, I have put in place an alternate
user interface for the php community on osoa.org (see the current
breaking news section) with the intention of making the site more
organised and accessible to users (especially newcomers). Being a
newcomer myself, I was given the task of evaluating the current setup
focusing mainly on layout and content from a new user perspective.

Here are some of the points I thought are worth highlighting:

- Firstly, the homepage is too long and cluttered. This made it
difficult to differentiate between the different sections provided
thus failing to entice me into further reading.

- The left hand side menu panel was very useful in providing shortcuts
to certain sections and should be maintained for frequent users.
However a search function would be useful for less frequent users who
may not know where a certain page is situated.

- A lot of the content was concise and to the point and with the use
of diagrams, helped me grasp a better understanding of the
technology.  However, some of the longer documents could do with a
contents section to provide speedy access to relevant parts whilst
providing an overview of what is to be covered.

- Although there are some technical FAQs for both SDO and SCA, there
weren't any general FAQs providing answers to broader questions about
the technology and the community.

- A glossary of terms would also be helpful for those people who view
the site for the first time because I ended up having to google plenty
of acronyms and other terms.

- Although I liked the concise information on the technologies, there
needs to be a balance on how much information to provide. For example
the SCA for PHP page contains a very small explanation about the SCA
technology whilst the SDO for PHP page contains a larger amount
information on SDO which was much more suitable and informative.


    The new alternative user interface I have provided on the wiki
takes some of these points into account, especially in terms of the
layout as I am no expert on the technology so I haven't been able to
provide changes to the content as such. Changes to content can be made
later after people's initial thoughts are heard about the new
interface.

    The actual user interface itself is inspired by www.projectzero.org
which provides a clean interface its users. Although we are limited by
the capabilities of the wiki, similar effects can be achieved
providing a suitable and usable interface for all users. I have
organised the content into 3 sections; Getting Started, Learn More and
Community. These are intended to entice people into further reading
and give the site a bit more structure. Obviously, frequent users may
not want to navigate through these sections everytime they want to
access a page so the left hand side menu remains present (although
some changes could be made to it) and a search function is provided.
Content boxes containing links to sections within a page have been
added to provide easier navigation requiring less scrolling of pages.

   Anyway, its up there on the site now and your thoughts are more
than welcome. The idea is on improving the site for all users so
constructive criticism is encouraged!


Tom


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