We need to revisit the first visit experience

I’m on a new computer, so my browser isn’t logged in to the site. I suspect what I am seeing is what any normal new person sees when they get here. I think we (Canonical Community / Design / Web people perhaps?) need to make some improvements here.

My observations, all related to the big blue box that users only see once, before they login.

  • “artwork by” - what artwork? There’s likely an image missing here
  • Artwork credit should not be the first thing I see
  • Content is too long for the box size - it should be shrunk (also raised here) - I refuse to accept that it’s okay because it’s scrollable. It’s a nested scrollable, which is even worse.
  • The first call to action is “introduce yourself” - this is clearly not being used - six people have done so in the last six months. - Introductions - Ubuntu Community Hub
  • The second call to action is asking for site feedback, which I don’t imagine someone who is a first visitor will use
  • The links to support avenues should be at the top, not the bottom, but in a more friendly way. I’m pretty sure I wrote that copy many years ago, but I think it needs to be revisited.

Perhaps the whole of that top box should be a link to a thread, which has a nice tl;dr; at the top, with links, pictures, and a more inviting tone. Rather than a wall of text and links which are off-screen.

I hope this feedback is taken with the love it’s intended. It’s not criticism aimed at an individual. We can do better.


Examples:

Here’s some examples of what other community discourse sites do, to welcome people.

Manjaro

They have a big box to encourage search rather than posting new threads. They also have nice big banners for categories, to filter people, rather than having topics at the top. An interesting concept.

Home assistant

They have a pinned “Welcome” post, rather than the box.

Surrey & Hampshire Makerspace

(my local maker community)

They have nothing to welcome new people. That’s certainly an option! :smiley:

GNOME Discourse

Also, no welcome banner.

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Hard to argue with that it is ugly and “broken” as it has been described.

Manjaro’s and GNOME’s approaches are nice examples and with such a layout, tech support and website feedback links can be placed onto the left panel. Still there to be seen yet tidy.

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I agree a simplistic site that is easy to navigate.
Similar to: MAAS Discourse

In another (non-technical, non-Discourse) volunteer venue that I participate in, the home-page/first-screen for non-members has a specific and limited purpose.

It answers three questions, and basically nothing else.

  • Is this search-engine result really what I’m looking for?
  • Is this group organized enough to be worth my effort?
  • Is this group welcoming enough to be worth my time?

It does this by keeping things simple…

  • What we do
  • How you can help
  • Orientation to the resources

…and much of that is visual instead of textual.

It’s moderately successful. There is always room for improvement.

5 Likes

I agree with a lot of @popey’s observations and it’s something that we’ve also identified and have been discussing how best to improve the overall Discourse experience. I would love to hear what others in the community feel about that first drive by experience and how they feel we can improve it! :slight_smile:

Beyond tidying up some of the new initial user prompts and guidance, we’re also looking at taking a holistic approach to the “home-page/first-screen” concept as @ian-weisser puts it. Discourse is full of great community information, but the platform itself can sometimes do a poor job aggregating it in a clean and intuitive manner. We envision a new Ubuntu Community Portal as a “one stop shop” that would pull important information like community events, LoCo activities, contribution opportunities and community news into one space. The Discourse would serve as the backend for the portal and provide the important interactive piece.

Here’s a proof of concept that I recently put together to help illustrate what we’re envisioning:

I hope to have more information to share about this in the new year! :slight_smile:

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As @popey replied: The not logged in initial site needs to be changed.
Which it really needs replaced.

That looks great as a separate community board. List it under Community category.
Excellent idea including the entire community on its own page.

Discourse is this and much more, communication between developers and users.
Ubuntu weekly news, with current and upcoming events.
New aspects being developed in Ubuntu.
Collaboration between developers striving for completion of a common ongoing project.

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To keep this conversation going, we could consider replacing the current dismissable banner. As Alan mentioned it is fairly limited and doesn’t look very appealing to a newcomer.

We could look at swapping it out with a more stylish, and streamlined banner like this one with a links to a few key important items.

  • A friendly and welcoming post detailing what the Ubuntu Discourse is and isn’t for.
  • Some general Discourse rules, best practices and where to submit feedback.
  • Link to community events and important happenings.

What do you folks think are the most important items that are presented at front and center?

4 Likes