hi there. I've been lurking for ages, but decided to comment when this
was considered the near-final design. I'm not going to be very
organized, but here goes:
when comparing the wwwredesign site to Aaron Shi's design
( http://www.aaronshi.com/gentoo/mainindex.html ), it's apparent that
someone didn't get the subtle color shifts and alignment. the reason the
advertisements are put on a light grey background is to separate them
from the actual content of the site, thus ensuring that the reader's
eyes are directed accordingly. without the background, the pages just
don't seem to flow correctly. I'm more apt to read the "We produce
Gentoo Linux" (which is an amazingly useless block of text, IMO) and go
straight to the "Colo that box under your desk" ad, and then read the
rest of the ads before even going back to "What's New".
another small tweak that'd dramatically increase the flow of the site
would be to use Aaron's color scheme for the date and updater on the
front page. the person updating is less important than the date of the
update... unless you're going to include planet.gentoo.org on the main
page. this is why the date is given a prominent color and position, and
the name is given a more subtle font, and softer color. in fact, the use
of the small grey gradient for the first entry immediately blocks off
the large whitespace on the left side of the page, and forces the reader
to start at "what's new", and move down the page correctly.
Might want to use the "light purple background for news topics" instead
of the horizontal line between updates. both work, but the separation of
updates with a highlighted topic is an immediate visual cue, and looks
the fonts on the "cubes of content" (for lack of a better term) just
below the logo on the page are too large. the cube with the "donate"
content should be aligned with the space for advertising (again, what
Aaron Shi did). if at all possible, add a tint of purple to the "make a
donation" button, just so it doesn't stand out so much.
Hmm. why are those aforementioned "cubes" on some pages, and not on
others? "About", "Get Gentoo", and "Docs" have them, but the rest do
not. very jarring when simply clicking through the links. are they
really needed on pages that aren't the index? should the be on every
main section, if just because they're supposed to be conveying vital
information to the reader?
there might actually be too much content (or just too large a default
font) on the front page. unless you don't really like the Documentation,
Resources, and Community sections at the bottom of the page. nobody will
scroll down that far, unless it catches their eye. the three sections
are centered, which is better than on Aaron Shi's site, but the fonts
are far too large. The gap between the section title (Documentation) and
the items within the section (Install Docs, etc) have a big gap between
them. seriously, most of these things are small oversights, but make
HUGE differences in aesthetics.
Another thing, that big useless block of text above "what's new" needs
to be removed. it's not a description of the distribution, it's a
mission statement. mission statements are stupid. you want to make cool
stuff. we get it. explain what gentoo is. take a cue from debian.org,
and explain. if not, move it to the "About" page, where it belongs.
Speaking of the About page, why is there a huge 40K image there that
could easily be put into text? it's not a poster, unless you're using a
very small screen resolution. it's a crappy image, using the old gentoo
logo (in the caption balloon), takes up way too much space on the page,
and just isn't cute enough to include for any reason outside nostalgia.
most of these things are really small problems, but they make a MAJOR
difference on the look of the site. if someone fixes the fonts, and adds
the subtle parts of Aaron's design back to the site, it'll look like the
site Gentoo deserves.
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