Weekly Breakdown: Nethserver


(Sarah Hawk) #1

Hi @ale_fattorini – here is what I found. (Thanks for having the courage to be first off the rank.)

Firstly, the experience was fairly intuitive because you are using core Discourse functionality with very little customisation, so it was very familiar to me. For that reason I’ve been extremely granular (ok, picky) in my feedback.

My first impression was a little bit underwhelming in that everything is all the same colour and nothing really stands out.

General UX

  • I’d consider differentiating between the nav links and body text (either colour, font or size)
  • The welcome banner is good but could do with an English edit
  • Increasing your base font size and (min 14 but ideally 16), changing from black on white to dark grey on light grey, and decreasing your line length (~60 characters) will greatly increase readability. At the moment it’s pretty dense.

  • I’d consider changing the log in/sign up buttons in the header to a different colour. At the moment everything (including your logo) is blue and white, so those CTAs don’t stand out at all, and are upstaged by the Latest/Categories/Top links.

Signing up

  • Do you need to know what country I’m from? That feels like a superflous field. And is that really the only compulsory field?

  • Your inline form validation is good

  • Once past the form, the process was pretty smooth. Is the extra ‘Click to Activate your account’ button necessary after I’ve clicked through from the email?

  • The welcome PM is the same as the main banner topic. I’d consider making the welcome PM very simple with one CTA (eg: post in a welcome thread) with a link to the FAQs or user guide

Logged in

Some of the messaging is a bit confusing. Eg:

The most popular recent topics, or the most popular of all time?

The most popular, or the latest?

And perhaps that bar could be removed once I’ve visited. That space would be better utilised in other ways.

The Onboarding process

First, I received this email:

which is a notification of this topic. I love the lighthearted humour that the cat pic injects.

It’s a bit text heavy (and I’m not from Australia :wink: ) and the CTA questions get a bit lost in the noise. I’d consider splitting the update stuff into a separate email, or formatting it slightly differently. I skimmed everything down to my name.

But it was the responses to that thread that really exceeded my expectations. A welcoming committee jumped in immediately and I felt like part of the community, so congratulations.

Someone even said:

which I appreciated. It made me feel guilty though, because I’m an imposter that knows nothing about Linux. :wink:

I also like your use of the Discourse education pop-up, which I think is appropriate for a tech community.

And that’s about it. If Nethserver was something that was relevant to me, I’d appreciate your community. The people are warm and helpful, and it has a good feeling about the place. Congratulations.

I’m happy to elaborate further on any of the above points.

We need to change our behaviour here at Experts
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(Richard Millington) #2

This is a really good community @ale_fattorini, congrats. Not going to go over what @hawk already covered, but a few things I noticed.

Do a quick check on your title tags / meta description. Make sure these are aligned with what the audience would most want and actually search for. Title tag is good for hitting the right terms, meta description should get people to click.

I loved the automatic completion of my user name as my actual name. I’d be keen to do that here.

After registering (via Facebook social sign in), I came to this message:

It’s asking me to signup after i’ve already signed up. I also felt there should be a stronger immediate next step here. What is the one thing you want me to do right now? Link to it, guide me to it.

It would also be good to get a confirmation/registration email here. Tell me the one thing I should do right now. Perhaps ask my toughest question about the topic or share what equipment i’m using etc, but we can drive more activity at this stage.

Be careful whether you want newcomers to see the most popular topics of all time or the latest discussions. It’s worth testing this and seeing which actually converts best here.

The wiki looks really empty:

I’d kill this for now and instead do a big launch of it when you can fill it with a lot of great content and recruit volunteers who will keep adding content from that shared in the community. What can the wiki do that the documentation doesn’t? It’s not very clear what the use case is for it at this point.

I’d also LOVE to see more integration between the main site and the community. Include frequent links to relevant discussion that will get more people to the community, call for questions, add discourse comments to the documentation material. Make it a living thing. This is really easy to do and a great win. Add a list of relevant discussions to the documentation too or relevant places in the community.

I’d love to see more integration with the blog too. Highlight some of the best stuff in the community as well (I could do a better job of this).

You might also want to do what Lithium and co do with the discussion and tag if the problem has been solved or not (and make sure if it was solved that the person reports back whether the proposed solution worked). This will instantly add a lot more valuable data to the new visitors.

Overall, this community looks great. Most of the discussions get a response, the tone is positive, the people seem great. My key recommendations would be:

  1. Check the SEO side of things. Most traffic will come from here I suspect.
  2. Check the email onboarding / messages when people sign up. Tell people to do something specific when they join.
  3. Integrate with other areas of the community (include links etc)
  4. Drop the wiki - it doesn’t add value at this point
  5. Consider tagging the discussion with solved or unsolved.

Overall, I’d probably give this an A-. Really good effort.

(Alessio Fattorini) #3

Wow, what can I say? I’m speechless. Please give me some time to go further on any issue and get back to you, thanks for all your compliments and for being so picky! I :heartbeat: “granularity”

(Richard Millington) #4

heh, had no idea you were going to post that in your community as well. I feel a little mean now.

This is also open to feedback from anyone else who wishes to participate.

(Sarah Hawk) #5

Heh, me too! I’m glad I said nice things about the people.

(Rob Bosch) #6

Well, I don’t think we are the kind of community that has long tows. Every comment that can improve the community presence or the way it is steered is VERY much appreciated. We gladly take advice from the experts… :slight_smile: (especially when its for free LOL)

Posting in the community IS what NethServer is all about: a transparent community that doesn’t leave anything regarding the community behind closed doors. The philosophy is that by letting the members chip in on everything, it makes it a community by the members, for the members. It creates a very high commitment.

Just an early comment on the wiki: we started this less than 6 months ago. It is a repository of information that is not in the official manual. There are a lot of articles and guides that describe custom additions for the base project.
The wiki is obviously a WIP and probably will never finish… :slight_smile:
Personally I don’t think it is a good idea to take it offline until there is more content. I think that if it is offline, it will not encourage anyone to write articles or guides for it. So there must be a presence to get more content.

(Sarah Hawk) #7

I love this, and it’s very much the feeling that I got at Nethserver, in the very brief time I spent there. Kudos to @ale_fattorini for creating that culture (and to you, for your part in it, of course!)

(Alessio Fattorini) #8

Robb ha summarized it very well, THIS is our culture but it’s not all me. I have to thank the Open Source culture which we’re surrounded by, it makes it a lot easier.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #9

These are good observations. Mind bringing them up on the Discourse UX board? :slight_smile: We could probably tweak the copy a bit.

(Joel Zaslofsky) #10

Wow. The community breakdown concept is fantastic! And, of course, your commentary is super insightful, @HAWK and @richard_millington.

I’ve learned a ton from this one and I’ll be adding my community to the breakdown queue.

(Bo McGuffee) #11

Stellar info! Thank you @ale_fattorini for your willingness to go first! :slight_smile:

(Suzi Nelson) #12

Wow, so cool to read feedback on a community. I can see ways to improve our own process. Thanks for this!