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Hi David, hi Ivan, hi website team!

Sorry for being a bit behind ... but the icons kept me busy and today I
really enjoyed some brunch with some close friends. But now, let's get
the website rock :-)

Ivan answered yesterday, but missed the "Reply all" button, so only I
got a message. Consequently, I'll attach the essential parts of his text
below - including my replies.

Am Samstag, den 15.01.2011, 09:54 +0800 schrieb David Nelson:
Hi Christoph, :-)

Well, this is a something I'll leave for Ivan to answer... By the way,
did someone tell Ivan he became part of the website management team?

I forwarded him the link to the SC decision.

The current functioning of the menu *seems* fairly rational to me... I
can't personally think of another manner in which it should operate,
and I can't think of how to implement another behavior...

Ivan explained me some of the basics of Silverstripe and also sent some
links to existing pages using Silverstripe - that helped me to
understand how Silverstripe works.

Our issue can be nailed down to either ...
      * the structure of our website will be mis-understood in certain
        (but unfortunately too many) cases, or ...
      * we miss to correctly use visuals to indicate the behavior
        (especially links) on the pages.

More below ...

But I think we could probably talk about some of these issues more
effectively during a confcall between the four of us (Ivan, Christian,
you and me). If we hold one of these once a week for the next 3 or 4
weeks, I think we will be able to iron out problems like this one more
effectively.... What do you think? Me, I'm willing to be available on
the time and date of your choice.

Can we maybe set this up to happen in the next few days?

Oh, that would be just great - although I have to admit that my day job
is pretty challenging (time wise) at the moment, thus I am unable to be
available at any time. But, let's give it a try ... but first, I'd like
to check my job schedule (tomorrow).

Okay, let's continue with the already started discussion with Ivan ...

Hi Ivan!

Sunday, nice Sunday ... also to you :-)

Am Sonntag, den 16.01.2011, 12:19 +1300 schrieb Ivan M.: 

[... description of the current site navigation and other websites ...]

I've come across such examples before, so I'm used to this style of

Well, it is a bit different if we look closer (since I hope to do the
right assumptions *g*).

It's not very common; most sites have drop-down menus that
don't show sub-menus when sub-pages are loaded

Correct, but I bet the mature ones do have a breadcrumb navigation or
something similar. So even if the user doesn't see the menu, they still
see the current "context". Funnily, the Silverstripe main page does this
(more or less) at the bottom of the pages:
See --> Partners --> "Any Company" and look at the page
bottom, left side.

so for this reason I
thought horizontal navigation would be preferable.

Yep, it's fine, but with one remaining issue that we should work on.

Still, the concept
of a hierarchical (tree) navigation is widely used online and the way
the navigation works now is the way Silverstripe (and
most other CMS) are designed to work by default - our design on the
other hand may not be optimal in this respect.

Well, if you look at the Silverstripe site (still the same example),
you'll notice that "Partners" is highlighted (top of the page). But at
the bottom, the breadcrumb shows only "Any Company" in bold letters.

Thus, this shows the user that he is currently browsing the "Any
Company" page. If the user just clicks on "Partners" (which is a bit
weird), but at least shows this "being active" by mouseover-effect), the
breadcrumb (bottom) disappears - the user is now on the Partners page

This is still a bit crazy, but the user might get the clue where he is
at the moment, and what will work.

     * Top-levels categories represent own pages (the issue we talk
       about for LibO). In that case, the highlighting is wrong (same
       issue for us).

It seems we may have a misunderstanding - in Silverstripe, what you
refer to as 'category' is created by linking sub-pages to a parent
page. There cannot be sub-pages without a parent page.

Ah, okay.

I did some Googling and found a possible solution: have the top-level
page redirect to a child page. Since our navigation is automatically
generated by Silverstripe's page hierarchy model, this would be a good

However, this would require moving content from the top level page
into a sub page and then setting up a redirect on the top level page -
it would create some work for NL website teams, but hopefully not
much. If it improves usability, then why not... however I'm not sure
about the SEO side of things (whether Google picks up the redirect
pages and shows them in search results as virtually blank pages).

Thanks for having a look at some possible solution, mmh, but we may
cause a lot of opportunity to cause issues for the international
teams ... 

[... another example ...]

Hmm, maybe something like this is better:

So clicking on 'Entertainment' leads to a two-tier navigation page
with 'Main' selected in the sub menu.

Mmh, now I get the picture (a bit). To me, it seems that the proposal
from yesterday (possibly without providing too much clues) is very
similar - each category will have a page which is loaded per default.

On the technorati page, clicking on the "Entertainment" link loads the
page "Main". If the name of page could be tweaked, then it should be
rather easy ... the first of each links presented in the sub-menu "is"
the parent page, but the link position is different.

Ivan, might that work?

If this doesn't work, then I do have another idea how to solve this with
a different visualization (but still - and hopefully - without a
breadcrumb). But let's go on ...

Am Samstag, den 15.01.2011, 22:22 +1300 schrieb Ivan M.:
Hi Christoph!

When you click on 'Features', you are at a top-level page, so no
sub-category (sub-page) is selected. In the website hierarchy, you are
still at the top level.
Structurally (within Silverstripe) it looks like this:

|- Writer
|- Calc
|- Impress
|- ... and so on

Which means, 'Features' is a page at the top level and it contains the
sub-pages 'Writer', 'Calc', 'Impress', etc. Home is a top level page,
but it has no sub-pages, so there is no sub-navigation on that page.


And if if they check with the mouse
(looking for a mouse-over) - there is none. Only clicking goes to the
"Features" page ...

Would it be better if there was a mouseover effect?

If the link really "does" something if it will be clicked, then yes, a
mouseover would be mandatory.

If the link does nothing but re-loading the current page, then we might
not need it - it's 50/50, I'd say.


Usually, the first page is used to provide a short summary - LibreOffice
may talk briefly about the different applications and provide links to
jump to the dedicated sub-pages. The thing here is, that people can
start to explore what is important to them - we provide information bits

In other words, the 'Main' Features sub page would be the equivalent
of the current 'Features' page, but there would be no top-level
Features page. By clicking on 'Features' in the top-level menu, you
would jump to a second-level page rather than a top-level page. Is
this right?

From the user's point-of-view: yes.

At the end, it doesn't matter to the user how Silverstripe internally
works, as long as there is some flexibility to shape the desired visual


And by the way, the current page design "hides" a lot of very helpful
linking to other pages in the text (e.g. Download, Features). I think
the page could greatly benefit from "Action Links" like smaller buttons
or so. What do you think?

You mean like Wikipedia, where there are plenty of links to other
pages within the text of any given page? So, on the LibreOffice
website, wherever the text says 'Download', there should be a link to
the download page right? I'm all for that.

Maybe this is a bit too much, but David mentioned that Michael asked him
for a "Features" sub-category (sorry for re-using this term, since it is
just what I see on the screen) that links from Download to a Features

Since this is not a category, but a direct link to another section, it
should rather be used within the page (I'll reply in David's mail) and
say "See the cool stuff before downloading" *g*. There, a link to
another category is okay ... because it is independent from what the
user sees (and thus, he expects how it should react).

I'll add my own 'by the way' :): what do you think about the behavior
of the 'Developers' tab? (links to a sub page within Get Involved).

Let's explain the behavior how it works "now" (since the website menu
seems to have dramatically changed): One can click on the Developers tab
as often as one wants, but it is impossible to make the Developers tab
active ... the interface just got stuck. Summary: "A no-go".

An example: If one starts to draw the current page behavior, then you
end up with a tree (user's mental model) that already includes some
redirects (some shortcuts that makes it even harder to learn how it
works). We should find different solutions for that ...

Ivan, I hope this discussion helped a bit. Thanks in advance for your
involvement! :-)


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