About FreeBSD.org visitors

Julian H. Stacey jhs at berklix.com
Thu Oct 3 20:40:46 UTC 2013

Eitan Adler wrote:
> Here is an overview of the people that visit FreeBSD.org:
> http://people.freebsd.org/~eadler/files/Report-10.01.pdf
> Some takeaways:
> - More than half (60%) the people that come to our website leave
> without going to another page (called 'bouncing').  However these
> users spend more time than any other user per page.
> - Non-bouncing users had an average of just over 4 pages per session
> but spent about an average of 0.86/s per page.  They spend most of
> their time on the last page.
> >From these I think we can take away that most people come looking for
> something very specific.
> How can we fix this?

Thanks for raising the interest Eitan.

I've always considered the 'new' (2005) FreeBSD web front page bad,
obstructive, hiding better simpler pages beyond.  I've always assumed
the front page detered some newcomers, so much so I've often told
people to ignore the nasty front page as best they can. Pre 2005 was better
(Disclaimer: I had no hand in pre or post 2005 front page).

2005 was first knocked up by a summer student to then fashionable
corporate bland style. Probably he'd just been taught that's what
industry wanted, was polishing his resume, & showing he knew HTML
tricks, eg a squint eyed font size.  I recall some FreeBSD people
then were taking themselves too seriously, & finding a corporate
style web page projected a supposed serious [business style] image
they liked. Sigh.

PS Ref. squint eyed web page:
  One should Leave the default font size - default size ! not
  shrunken !  The reader should decide what size he/she wants to
  scale his browser, not have some fool young web page writer who
  knows nothing of readers eye condition force some readers to
  squint.  By all means add some href'd <small>A</small> A <big>A</big>
	(ref http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/ )
  But leave font default size Not shrunken by default.

Having "Site Map" in light grey font is dumb !
Harder to read. Not all eyes are young, though most web designers are.
"Site Map" should move next to Search box.

FreeBSD is not flogging products to suits, we're promoting a free
& fun OS & experience, with intellectual challenge/ opportunity.
Catch the interest of techies/ nerds/ geeks/ hackers browsing mid
evening now, & next year we catch their business bosses, who they
tell "Hey you could make/ save money leveraging on this"; But a
corporate format squint eyed front page is not going to attract
lots of casual browsers to read on, whether they're hackers or

  A spot more colour would be nicer (aka 2005) (though I do Not mean 
  eg Dark blue or red text on black background one occasionaly sees :-)

  Better use of colour : Remove all the excremental <font color=red>
  directives that precede <a href= Leave the human reader to decide
  what colour he/ she wants his browser to default to !  Just use
  red for a very few words like "Free"

  All that red is just another sign the page was first created by
  yet another all too frequent junior HTML writer, who tred things
  'cos he could, not 'cos they made sense.

> Better search maybe?

Certainly needed !
Search on FreeBSD.org has been half broken for many years, often
little or nothing useful & lot of irrlevance , I prefer an external
search engine & tell it to look on freebsd.org domain.  I imagine
there will be 2 camps: to keep our internal search, & for external
search, so I suggest put a 2nd search box parallel to the first, &
let people searching choose.

After I saw Net & Open had integrated a google box on their sites
years back (& it worked better than FreeBSD internal search), I
added external search on http://www.berklix.org - it was quick easy.
(I know monopolies eg google are bad, so if anyone knows alternative
search engines easy to embed, let's hear ? (I have a list of some
searchers here, maybe some have interfaces ? : http://berklix.com/search/

> Improved navigation bar?
> Its up to you to work on this.

Toss the front page, Start over in the style of 2005

> - New users spend a lot *less* time on the site than repeat visitors.

I'd expect that.

> Do we need better advocacy data?  Less text to confuse new users?  

Remove irrelevance like "new commiter" to a developers page or drop
down menu, it's Not of wide public interest.

Regular column "Upcoming Events" usually has too much wated white space.

In the first sentence we lose the public:
 "FreeBSD is an advanced operating system for modern server, desktop,
 and embedded computer platforms."

Platforms ? FreeBSD is good for trains ?

Study tabloid newspapers. Keep titles short !
Avoid Americanisms where often more verbose than English.

s/Upcoming Events/Events[ Coming]/	or /Future Events/ (8/6 ;-)
s/Latest News/News/			Or also offer "Boring Old News" ;-)
s/Get FreeBSD Now/Get FreeBSD/		Or also offer Get Next Month ;-)
s/In The Media/Press/
s/a large team of individuals/a large team/ 'individuals' is implicit.

"Based on BSD UNIX 'R'" Add 2 hrefs.  

> Is
> this trend specific to FreeBSD or is it true across the board?
> - Internet Explorer is 10% of our traffic.
> Many of ours users use Windows as there primary desktop platform.
> Probably more if we include not-IE on Windows.
> What other insights do you see?
> What other data might be helpful for us?
> -- 
> Eitan Adler

Julian Stacey, BSD Unix Linux C Sys Eng Consultant, Munich http://berklix.com
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