Glad to see the new design in place! That old gray theme really looked bad.
However, the whole top area of the site still looks SOOO busy and jumbled and cluttered.
First, I think the "icontem" logo could be moved to the footer of the page, since it's not very important for users to see that. I think most users (that haven't clicked on that logo) see it and think "What is this and why is it so big if it is not the name of the site?" Really, it is more bold and eye-catching than the PHPclasses logo itself! (But don't get me wrong, the new PHPclasses logo looks GREAT.)
If the "icontem" logo is moved somewhere else, the page title could be moved from under the logo to the white area on the right side of the logo. This would use that space more efficiently. Also, the page title text should probably be bigger.
Moving the page title would allow the blue link bar to move up as well, where it would be right under the logo.
Next, the ads should be more visually separated from the content. Without visually separating them, it looks cluttered and thrown together. Also, if we could trim down the number of ads, that would help too. Getting rid of the poorer-performing ad blocks shouldn't be a problem, I would think.
Giving more space to your content will make people feel more like they are a part of the site rather than just a user there to view ads. In my opinion, the constant clutter on every page is what may keep potential long-term users away from the site. The idea behind this site is great, but it is being held back by the site itself.
markku - 2010-03-31 11:12:19 - In reply to message 1 from Garrett W.
the lines above kind of summarise also my thoughts. And the evidence for the arguments can be also seen on this very page.
I just cannot understand the thinking behind all this. PHP community deserves a site like this to share information and to contribute. But why not to take something like Wordpress or something similar where a lot of the functionality is ready out of the box.
Yes sure, there may be some fancy features in the exisiting site that are not available in any existing open source solution, but they could be possibly integrated with one to give all the present functionality but with better usability and easier maintenance.
Manuel Lemos - 2010-03-31 11:18:52 - In reply to message 1 from Garrett W.
The Icontem logo is important to stay where it is because this it will lead to the site where there are listed all the sites of the company. Currently you just see PHP Classes site but soon you will see more.
As for the ads, their placement and format has been optimized over the years.
Anyway, if you do not like the ads interfering the content, you have the option of getting a premium subscription. That will get rid the ads for you and will not leave empty holes. It just costs USD $5 a month (or less if paid annualy) and get you plenty of more useful benefits. It think it should not hurt any PHP developer's budget. You may want to check all the benefits here:
Manuel Lemos - 2010-03-31 11:23:01 - In reply to message 2 from markku
Wordpress is fine as a blog system. But the PHPClasses site is way more than a blog system. Actually the PHPClasses site has a blog sub-system, that not only provide a blog for the site, but also a blog to each of the over 6000 packages submitted to the site.
The PHPClasses site was started in 1999. Even if Wordpress was available then, there would not much to reuse from Wordpress, even if Wordpress was written in an object oriented way, which it isn't.
Garrett W. - 2010-04-14 04:55:21 - In reply to message 3 from Manuel Lemos
About the Icontem logo -- which is more important to me as a visitor? the site I am looking at, or the other sites of the company? I dare say that if I made it to this site, I'm probably interested in its content more than I am in your other (future) sites.
It's fine to link to your other sites, but to make that a major focal point in the header is not really helping the visitors of this site in any way.
If they want to see what other things the company is involved in, they can scroll to the bottom and click on the company name to find out. I mean, that's what I would do, IF i wanted to find that information. But the truth is, it's not that important to me. What I'm interested in is THIS SITE. So don't put another site's logo in the header and make it bigger and more eye-catching than this site's own logo. It just doesn't make sense.
Garrett W. - 2010-04-14 04:55:18 - In reply to message 3 from Manuel Lemos
One other comment: at the top of this comment-thread page, the breadcrumbs are displayed as TABS. This does not convey the true hierarchy of pages, and to me as a visitor is not easily understandable. I see a tab bar and I think "ok, these are links to other pages on the same level as where I am right now." but then I read the tabs, and I think, "I see text, but this text tells me nothing about what each page is and what they represent in the total hierarchy of the site." I had to look at the link's URL to understand exactly what was being linked to.
So what I'm saying is that tabs are not the best way to present breadcrumbs. Visitors would understand their purpose much easier if they looked something like:
Home >> Blog >> Post Title >> All Comment Threads >> Thread Title
Manuel Lemos - 2010-04-14 06:11:22 - In reply to message 5 from Garrett W.
Oh, you are right, there are some > characters missing between tabs. They were used in other pages that have breadcrumbs, but for some reason those > characters were missed here. I will add them soon. Thank you for the notice.
Garrett W. - 2010-04-14 18:58:57 - In reply to message 7 from Manuel Lemos
I'm not sure what you're calling the "usual path" users follow. From what I've learned, the path that users follow is dependent on the design of the page. They see the most eye-catching thing first, followed by other eye-catching things, followed by the actual content they're looking for.
Think about it, if you put a huge, colorful image on the right, and a small, subdued logo for the site on the left, do you think the users would still see the logo on the left first? I know I wouldn't.
Making the icontem logo MORE PROMINENT than the PHPclasses logo is simply a poor design choice no matter how you look at it. And if you think putting it on the right side completely takes it out of the user's path of viewing, you are mistaken.
Another thing I do not understand is why the PHPclasses elephant is next to the icontem logo. I thought the elephant represented this site only; does it represent icontem too?? if so, then why is it not part of the icontem logo on the icontem site? It doesn't match up.
Users traverse the page from top to bottom, left to right, because the site content is in English and so that is the way the users browse the pages. The logo is on the right, so that is the last thing the users notice. So it cannot be disturbing as you imagine.
As for the elePHPant on the right, I agree with you. The original site design did not have the elePHPant outside the logo.
Anyway, this design was proposed by a designer and voted by the users. I told the designer that the elePHPant should be in the logo, but she did not like to remove it from the right side.
I do not discuss aesthetic options with designers. That is why the contest was opened for the designers to propose and the users to vote. It is a bit late to discuss now because the contest is over. Maybe next contest you should present your comments so people reflect about those issues.