The Website

Charon charon at
Tue Mar 30 02:25:50 PST 2004

On Mon, Mar 29, 2004 at 10:30:15PM -0800, peter lageotakes wrote:
> Please describe corporate and or professional. 
	Hopefully a pedantic description of 'corporate' or 'professional'
	won't be used as a means of negating any argument.

	I assume we are trying to get more people to use FreeBSD for home,
	business, and other markets.

	A typical home user is going to be used to seeing things a certain
	way on the web.  They will be using commercial sites and particularly
	Microsoft whenever they have to think about their operating system
	(downloading a patch, fetching a new version of IE, and so on).  When
	home users look for hardware online they are likely to look first at
	branded sites like Compaq, Dell, HP, and so on.  In summary; they will
	look at branded commercial sites they recall before starting to look
	for alternatives.

	For business users the situation is not much different. In this case
	however other factors like time constraints and vendor relations
	start to apply.

	Both groups are going to commit the error of judging a book by its
	cover and correspondingly theres more members in the group who value
	substance _and_ style.

	Theres also the factor of belief reinforcement. For example, if I
	am looking for alternatives to my current OS I will expect the
	competition's website to look and behave in similar ways. What for
	example would happen if FreeBSD's website all of a sudden used
	a community bbs style (phpNuke say) with all the latest FreeBSD
	news listed on the centreline but no other material change to content?
	- a casual user would immediately identify the site as a news source
	not an OS vendor. That same user would feel uncomfortable using the
	site because it violates their expectations.

	What I am arguing for is a change to the site to make it more like
	the competition. In this case RedHat, MicroSoft, IBM, and so on. At
	the moment it looks like a three column url listing with no
	really strong visual cues to things important to capturing,
	converting, and supporting new users.

	ps: when I started hunting for a new OS around 1997/8 my selection of
	FreeBSD was based on the website being prettier than Net or OpenBSD's
	offerings. I figured at the time that if FreeBSDs web facing had a
	higher quality then the OS would be better. I still see a similar
	metric applied today by people who mistake KDE as a more advanced
	version of FreeBSD when compared with fvwm2 on the same OS.  Today if
	I was placed in a similar situation with the same knowledge I had then,
	I probably would have gone with RedHat. I think the current site is
	serving its purpose and the maintainers and contributors are doing a
	good job but I think there is room for a little more icing to capture
	a larger portion of first time visitors to the site.

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