Together with a talented web designer I’ve created a concept to update OpenStreetMap’s front page which you can see live over here:
The basic theme should be familiar. There is view/edit tab to view and manipulate the map (which have dummy images in them) along with login and user info, a search box and so on. It’s cleaned up a little from the existing page. I will highlight the main innovations.
First, a “Help & More…” tab:
Although in rough mockup form, this tab shows a brief introductory paragraph to the project, links to common resources like the wiki and mailing lists and a prominent youtube video. This would be a video introduction to the project pointing out the basics and how to find more videos and resources. It would be short, perhaps 2-5 minutes long. It would look nicer than the current mostly blank white space.
Secondly the feedback tab on the right, when clicked, expands as shown:
Powered by uservoice, this is an incredibly simple system to add bugs and suggestions to the site, and allow people to vote on them. Please use it to add any feedback you have on the site design (you can see the ideas and votes etc over here on uservoice too).
There are two issues to highlight with the feedback system. One, it’s not trac, our existing system. No. If we’re going to scale the project to the people we need to, the people using it Haiti or my mum, then we need to make giving feedback as simple and easy as possible. UserVoice is almost there and trac is nowhere near. Yes, you need another login with uservoice but they allow you to log in using many existing systmes (like twitter).
What have we lost in this design? The donate link, the into paragraph shown to logged out users and the thanks to a few key supporters. The last one I propose could be a small piece of text somewhere that rotated amongst key supporters chosen by the OSMF. The rest could reasonably be dropped or added to the “Help & More” tab.
Lastly, with a prominent tab we can, if it makes sense, replace the default view from the map to the “More & Help…” tab. Perhaps once you have an account, you can change the default to be either the map view or the help tab. This would do a number of things like cut way down the number of tiles shipped by the tile servers by default, and present a really clean and informative “get started” page to new users. Again, it doesn’t have to be the case, but it might be nice to try.
So, what do you think? Please get involved on the feedback tab mentioned and remember that this is a concept and subject to change with your input. Think about what could be added or subtracted and very importantly how we can begin to pull in much more feedback from the users of the tools and the map so we can close bugs more quickly and add the features they really want.
Note: Do I want to nuke the existing design from orbit tomorrow? Absolutely not – this requires a lot more work, feedback and implementation before we actually update the existing design.