New site: Proposed theme & revised structure

Hi there @website-wg and others! Thanks again for everyone's feedback last week. We have made some efforts to consolidate things based on your responses, as well as found an alternative Jekyll theme that we think will be more flexible. (It also has Discourse commenting baked-in to the theme, as well as several other attractive features.)

Please take at this latest version of the site at:

It'd be great to hear any new/latest comments about the look and feel of the site, specifically:

  1. Are folks happy with the new site structure, based on last week's feedback? (Yes, there are a few pages, such as Ecosystem, that need some content.)
  2. Do people like the overall layout & design? The typography? What colors would you change, if any?
  3. Is a site-specific search useful for a relatively small site?
  4. Any big problems you see with mobile viewing and/or responsive design?
  5. What other concerns (if any) do you have with using a prototype like this as a launching point for evolving and maintaining the web presence?
1 Like

Thanks @downey.

I took a quick look at the site structure/content (will do a more in-depth look soon) and I noticed that we have a "press" and "deployments" section on the About page. While I personally don't care if we have them or not there was a "desire" to move those to the forum so people could just post about their deployments or news articles in showcase (as they have become quite stale on the website).

1 Like

This is looking great!

  1. The overall structure seems fine to me. My only concern is linking to docs for ODK 2 (I'll expand on this later in the post).
  2. I am happy with the layout and design. Very clean and easy to browse. The homepage and download page seem to be the only places with images. Long term it would be nice to sprinkle some more pictures or icons throughout.
  3. It seems useful to me, especially considering how many tools there are in the broader ODK ecosystem. In general I think its better to have more navigation options in case someone isn't as familiar with organizational conventions.
  4. Works well with my LG V30. The navigation bar was a bit slow to load (after the images) so it seemed broken but after a few seconds everything was fine.
  5. I like the idea of launching a prototype and building up from there. I would be happy to be submitting pull requests, particularly around the ODK 2 sections.

It is unfortunate that while we are in limbo with the ODK 2 docs we have no links to any docs and no list of tools. It is unclear how long it is going to take before they're publicly ready but there is a non-trivial amount of work involved (see @adammichaelwood's post).

While that happens, perhaps a compromise would be to point ODK 2 documentation links to the old site. When the official docs are up we could just adjust those link addresses. For example:

  • App Designer - a design environment for creating, customizing, and previewing your forms, data curation, and visualization applications.
  • Services - an application for handling database access, file access, and data synchronization services between all the ODK 2.0 applications. It allows you to synchronize data collected by the ODK 2.0 Android tools with a cloud endpoint.
  • Survey - a data collection application based upon HTML, CSS, JavaScript.
  • Tables - a data curation and visualization application running on your mobile device.
  • Cloud Endpoint - a cloud server to host data and application files, and to support bi-directional data synchronization across disconnected mobile devices.
  • Suitcase - a desktop tool for synchronizing data with a cloud endpoint.

And probably to the Getting Started as well.

I realize this is not ideal for anyone. The UX is inconsistent and the navigation is confusing. We might need to remove the ODK 1 portions from that site and strip it down to just ODK 2 docs for clarity? @W_Brunette how feasible is this? It just seems better to me to have some link to documentation for the ODK 2 tools rather than nothing.

Lastly, I still think Release Designations should be removed and replaced with the list of tools I described above. The full suite is released now, so I don't think these serve any purpose. I realize they are still there on the old site too, and if we end up linking to it I'd advocate that we take them down there as well.

I'd give a :+1: to encouraging folks to share deployments & news sources about ODK on the forums! That said, it might be a challenge for people to easily scan them if they're interested in getting a quick intro to ODK. In other words:

As a prospective adopter/implementer of ODK tools, I want to have a quick place to go to review where ODK is used and what people are saying about it.

This suggests a "curated list" of sorts might still be the way to go. One option of what we could do is add a call at the top of the page(s) that links people straight to a specific category of the forum to share stuff. Maybe reviewing & adding them to the list could be a task for the @website-wg team?

Just a thought, would be great to hear more ideas about this!

Agreed, more color & images would be great! There are a few out-of-the-box options in this Jekyll theme for standard pages. I've added some examples:

  1. Photo banner with optional cover tint, with page title/excerpt.
  2. Solid-color banner, also with page title/excerpt.

Both of the above examples was about 1 minute of work, just adding a few lines (and uploading any images). It's also super-easy to add color blocks to text, which can be seen in link #2 above. It's also possible to add buttons of various colors by just adding a tag inline with the text.

And of course, inline images (wrapped right or left) are easy to do as well. One of the important things about using photographs on the site, though, is maintaining a "stock" of them, ensuring that they are licensed correctly (e.g. CC-BY), and keeping track of the owners. Perhaps a role for a volunteer from @website-wg? These photos could be used by other folks in ODK-related presentations, too.

So this prototype site has in various forms all of the ODK 2 docs that were on the Drupal site. (The navigation has hidden some of this for the moment.) Some of them are in "cleaner" states than others, but it might not be too hard (as an interim step while the docs site strategy is underway) to tidy them up and re-organize them on the static site. This of course hinges on when we'd go live with the new site. So the "interim" phase could be:

  • static site (with ODK 2 docs) + docs site (with ODK 1 docs only for now)


1 Like

@W_Brunette and I went ahead and executed @adammichaelwood's plan to merge the ODK 2 documentation and update the pull request.

This should remove the need for the static site to include ODK 2 docs or links to the old ODK 2 docs.

1 Like

@Jeff_Beorse, this work is looking great! I was going to comment on the PR but figure it's best done here:

I know there still needs to be an official PR review on your changes. (I guess that is @adammichaelwood?) Let's report back here when there's a deployment ready to look at. We can then update the prototype site to link in to all the right places in the new docs structure and deprecate/remove the "internal" docs on the Jekyll site.

Really looking forward to seeing this "live"!

:+1: :trophy:

1 Like

I haven't read through all of the discussions, so this might have already been covered, but if not...

The menu options could be from left to right:

About Software Download Community.

The flow is more logical, in my humble opinion, because it's now

  1. Start at About to learn background
  2. Go to Software to learn about software packages
  3. Go to Download to download specific items
  4. Go to Community for participating