Forum OpenACS Q&A: - website UPDATE mockup is now live!

Hi everyone.

We have a proposal available for everyone to critique. We decided to put together a mockup of what we think the updated OACS website should look like.

Please bring your best and your worst out during this session. this is JUST proposal, we are happy to make changes and arrive at a design that the whole community can live with.


I'm not kidding. If you want to flame away please do so, flames are nothing more than truth in its raw form so if it strikes you, please let it out. You don't haveto tippy toe around me.


1. Post all comments in this thread and not on the forums package on the mock website. I will track everything said in here and adjust as required. The community is our client, thy bidding is our command.

2. DOCUMENTATION: all project documentation is here -

3. BIG PICTURE: read about why we did it here -

4. DESIGN RATIONALE: read about logic behind the design here -

5. SIGN IN: you can sign up for an account without approval to get a chance to look around if you like. Feel free to fake your e-mail, we don't want it and you don't need it as you can always sign up again.


I look forward to everyones commentary.

Posted by Brian Fenton on
Hi Robert,

seems to be down at the moment. Well done on this work by the way, I'm really looking forward to seeing this!


Posted by Ryan Gallimore on
It appears to be back up.

Here is the link to the homepage if you want to bypass the login:

I think it's a huge step forward, and I only have a few suggestions:

  1. Remove or alter the reflective text in the buttons - it makes them hard to read.
  2. Move the mashup of About, News etc at the bottom below the central image.
  3. Eliminate all but the most essential links from the bulleted list and put them into the mashup. I'd suggest that only CVS, Chatroom logs, and OCT links should be preserved.

Well, that's my two cents! The three central buttons are great!

Thanks again, Rob

Posted by Brian Fenton on
I've just realised that it's not you, it's me! They've recently introduced some very strict firewall policies in here, so I can't see sites that aren't on port 80. I keep forgetting though and tell people their sites are down. In fairness to me, I hadn't had any coffee when I posted that this morning. 😉

I'll check it from home this evening.

Posted by Robert Taylor on
coolness, the more feedback the better.
Posted by Dave Bauer on
I agree that the reflections and high constrast are very distracting.

Also the text font is serif and doesn't seem to fit into the overall design.

Thanks for this work!

Posted by Caroline Meeks on
I basically agree with Ryan.

Its a good step forward, simpler and more Web 2.

I think it can go even further in that direction.

My version of Ryan's 3 points.
1. Agreed Reflective text doesn't work.

Accomplish Ryans points 2 and 3 by eliminating all the bullet points and working them into the About column below.

We also need to highlight the OpenACS XOWiki content. Maybe work it into the top text, certainly make it a high level link in the About section.

I think we can further reduce clutter by thinking about things that do NOT need to be linked to from the front page because they are not really that current or useful to a newbie or do not need to be one click away.

Here are some suggestions

  • Blog - Remove the direct link, the last post was in March, we mostly use forums and news.
  • File Storage - REmove the direct link. Files are more likely to be accessed by follow a pointer into file storage from the forums or XOWiki then to find something by going there directly.
    IRC Chatroom - Make this one clean link then have that page direct people to the logs etc.
  • Replace CVS and browser options with a nice clean "View the Code" and a page that explains the options in details.
  • Move the link to the test servers to the Project status page and have the project status page point to the new XOWiki page referenced in the page it currently points to.
  • Combine the Technical decisions OCT bullet point with the team and credit in about
  • Combine the How to Contribute bullet point with the contributing to OpenACS under about.
Posted by Robert Taylor on
terrific, lots to work on.

keep it comming we will post an updated mockup shortly.

Hey Robert, excellent work!

Is really up to date design. I love this.

A "what you can do with OpenACS?" will be more helpful for new visitors, maybe instead of "why use the framework".

Also, "how to get started?" instead of "how to install / how to work with...".

Home / Community / Wiki will be nice to use as first tabs. We do not use too much file-storage or calendar, while bug-tracker can be inside community tab. I will use Wiki, which is more common rather XOWiki that might confuse someone (as it is used now).
Forums deserves its own tab (and news as well), while photos might go somewhere else (not too many new things there).

What goes in the first page needs more though, although at this point the most active areas are forums, wiki and then news.

Use OpenACS instead of OpenAcs or other combinations.

Posted by Torben Brosten on
Hi Robert,

I'm glad you've reached this milestone! I like this, and also where you started: A sprinkle of colors can really please the eyes! =) As a guiding principle, you might want to have the front page blend with the new forums css design, since the forums are the most heavily used on (and partly attempts to be a working/leading example of what one can expect from the latest stable release).


1.. use san serif fonts, and

2. consider testing to see how the layout looks in a 150 pixel wide view.. (for the cell phone users)... at least to make it useable form them.

3. Please take a moment to look at how the front page can help meet some of the goals of the documentation requirements: For example, add some of the links from the "For everyone" page ( ) and "For developers" ( ).

Use the links from the main OpenACS Handbook pages ( ) that meet the other's requests and replaces the existing links on the front page (some of which has already been done). For example, link to the "how to install OpenACS" button, and for the "Why use the framework?" button. and replace "Featured articles" with a link to (and move links from the articles there).

The idea is to push the nonstatic info off the front page as much as possible to allow the community to easily contribute and keep pages relevant and fresh with current events and projects etc.

Posted by Robert Taylor on
noted. updates in a couple of days.
Posted by Matthew Coupe on
This looks absolutely great! Much easier to read and a more professional look. I would comment on the size of the image, it's over 250KB which is not good countries with poor bandwidth, maybe try to reduce it using a different file extension. You should be able to get it down to about 50KB or something at the most.

Looking forward to this all happening!


Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
Looks great, look forward to the updates and keep it coming. This is awesome!