Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Food and drink/Main page layout discussion

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This page has been created to try to focus the discussion concerning the WikiProject main page layout redesign. It is a very long page with lots of sections. To avoid edit conflicts, you should add your comments by editing a smaller section at a time, and save frequently. Be careful to add your comments in the appropriate area, since it can be a little difficult in some places to see what connects to which image.

To directly view and compare the sandbox pages, see Sandbox 2 and Sandbox 3.

Update: As of mid-September 2013, many of the proposed changes below have been implemented on the project's main page.

Contents

Archived discussions[edit]

I decided to be bold and close the (somewhat contentious) discussions from the main talk page, archive them here, and start a new (hopefully more productive) conversation here. The original discussions leading up to this point is archived below. Please do not make changes to the archived discussions. New discussions go farther down on this page. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 08:23, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Click show to view the comments within the discussions herein

Main page & Project pages[edit]

Several months ago there was a discussion on about the direction of the Project., and I raised some points that I felt needed to be addressed, I copied them here, below:

Okay, the question is threefold:

  1. How do we get this mobile feast a moving again?
  2. What can we do to bring in new blood?
  3. What can we do to generate interest?
Here are some ideas to get moving again
  1. First, lets start the newsletters up again. By getting the word out to the membership, we can keep them abreast of what the hell is going on here. The Military WikiProject has The Bugle to do this, and we can utilize the same system here. I can't do this as I am in school 3/4 time and working full time+. Volunteers?
  2. The Wine WikiProject has a monthly improvement drive designed to attack entire areas of deficiency. They use a template I created to keep track of what is being done by who. We should try that.
  3. Fire up the collaboration project here on WP:Food, that can serve as a focal point for working together.
Here are some ideas on getting new people in
  1. Monitor the new membership rolls, send a welcome and an invite to join.
  2. We need to rework the Project Page, the changes made in the last few months take away from it. It needs to be more welcoming. I'll go into that in more detail later.
What can we do to generate interest?
  1. We should give give recognition to those that do a lot to improve the project:
    1. Wikilove - We need to create a Wikilove template tailored to the project.
    2. The F&D Barnstar - It's there, I know I created it. Give it out people!
    3. Editor of the Week, Month, Fortnight, Millisecond.
  2. WikiAds!

Additionally, descriptions are terse and uninformative or altogether missing, and lack any form of warmth or welcome. The sub-pages are poorly laid out and lack simple, descriptive instructions and guidelines.

Since that time Northamerica1000 and I have been working on some of the points and have made some significant progress in updating them. Here are some stuff that has been done:

  • North created a new banner to invite new Wikipedia members to the project.
  • North also is working to get the newsletters active again.
  • North has been working on the Did You Know section and has been keeping it updated.
  • I have worked on all of the various pages of the project to standardize the format and layout of the pages.
  • I have restructured the layout of the pages using the Military History Project as a guideline. As this is one of the most popular projects here on WP, I think that is a good roll model to use.
  • I have also been restructuring the underlying site structure to a more logical layout that most wont notice but makes the structure more hierarchical in nature.
  • I have added some new features that North will be announcing in the September newsletter.

Now, in regards to the project main page, I raised the following issues:

The Project Page

When I redid the page a few years ago, it was set it up with the following structure:

  1. The Header - Self evident.
  2. The Announcement panel - This section is to place announcements and news right up front where it can be seen. It hasn't been really used, and I hold myself responsible. I never advertised it.
  3. The Welcome - This section was designed to give visitors to our little corner of WikiHeaven an idea of what we are, what we do and why we do it. The idea behind it was to lure the little flies into our web with a friendly word. This section has been pared down and is lacks informative content now.
    1. Here is the "Welcome" - Wikipedia:WikiProject Food and drink/Welcome
    2. Here is a modified version of the "About" section of the Welcome - Wikipedia:WikiProject Food and drink/About
  4. Membership - This was the next section, giving the contribs the chance to join our little party without burdening them with details and errata to distract from the invite. The location here was deliberate, we (the members involved in the redesign) wanted to avoid distracting the contribs with tons of data and statistics that would overwhelm them.
    1. Assessment Task Force - This essential task force was placed here as well, to try to get contribs to help do this major piece of grunt work.
  5. The Basics - Next up were the basic things that new members can do in the form of a to do list, a tasks list and a collaboration section. Again, the placement of the section was deliberate, designed with KISS-mentality. Not the band, keep it simple gently ease them into the issues that need addressing.
    1. To Do - These are single, one time editing tasks that need to be done and don't require anything beyond basic editing.
    2. Tasks - These are simple, repetitive tasks tasks that need to be done, house keeping.
    3. Current - This is the collaboration section, where we would list ongoing community projects.
  6. The Complexities - The more complex areas were listed here, XfD's, Prods etc. These more complex tasks and issues were placed towards the end so that people move into them after they became more comfortable with the project and editing.
  7. Overall design ideas - The overall design idea was to give contribs windows into the various areas where work was done and give them the chance to go there through simple text links. I have recently redesigned these windows and links to have more overt button style links with a brief description of their purpose. I have also slightly enlarged them to present more information without overwhelming the page with a massive wall of text.

The edits and redesigns that have been made over the past few months have robbed the page of its welcoming features and turned it into a wall of statistics. Boring statistics that contribs have to wade through before they come to the membership section, which has been placed at the end. So our membership is the last thing people see after wading through literal pages of statistics and complex ideas that can not help our cause. This is not a good way to welcome people into our project and encourage them to join.

In regards to this, I have been working for the past few months designing a completely new front page for the project. It takes into account the problems I identified with the project page and updates it to match new formatting of the rest of the pages. I plan to take it live on September 1st so that I can get comments regarding it, and see if the project likes the new design.

I am also looking to restructure the various task forces into a more coherent structure and make them more accessible to a wider audience. That will be happening during the autumn and winter months, school permitting.

Thanks for the input that many have given over the past few months and I hope you like the changes that have been made. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 08:13, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

It's live![edit]

Okay, I have put the new main page up. Please take a look at it and give me your opinions! I have seen a couple of areas that need to be added and I'll work on them tout suis! --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 08:33, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

I apparently wasn't clear when I deployed this, and I sorry if there was confusion as to what I am doing. Here is the reason for why I updated the page the way I did.

  1. The idea of this is to have a two-to-four week test run of the new format in the place it is intended to occupy. I need to know of any broken links to the page that were created, links that are not correct, etc.
  2. I need to get an input from members if regarding any layout issues that are awkward, formatting problems, information that is not quite right, etc.
  3. I need to know if I left anything out, need to expand stuff that is already there, or eliminate stuff I have put in.
  4. I want to know if the new arrangement of the sub-pages has any issues. Has the way I laid out things made navigation easier or harder? Have I forgotten to provide links to stuff that really needs to linked to?
  5. I honestly need other eyes on this to provide any copy editing, as I have been looking at this since March of this year, I sometimes overlook small things in favor of the big picture that I am hoping to achieve.

The reason I am doing this is because some problems cannot be identified in the sandbox. I need this to in the place it is designed to be to insure that it works the way it is supposed to. If you come across any issues that need to be addressed, please leave a message here and I will try to find a solution ASAP. Please note that I work nights and usually am unavailable between 5:00 pm and 1:00 am Eastern Standard Time in the US.

To compare the two pages, I have placed a copy of the main page as it was on August 31 in the main sandbox, here.

Thanks for you time and I appreciate any help and advice you can give! --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 07:20, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Issues[edit]
  • Northamerica2000 identified an issue regarding a link to a section that no longer exists.
    • Fixed I added an anchor point on the page to the new section that this information is covered on.
Suggestions[edit]
Comments[edit]
  • Northamerica2000 mentioned an issue regarding the membership section loosing prominence. I am going to work on that Monday and Tuesday September 2nd & 3rd. it should be live by Wednesday September 4th. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 08:15, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I haven't stated such, and I think the membership section is fine just where it is on the project's main page. Moving it upward just provides a list of names, instead of accessible articles and content. Also, my user name is Northamerica1000, not Northamerica2000. Please stop completely changing the project's main page without consensus, and use the sandbox instead, which functions the same as other project pages. Thank you. Northamerica1000(talk) 07:26, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
  • A "two-to-four week test run of the new format" on the project's main page is unacceptable, because it entirely eschews consensus in the previous discussion about the page's layout. Proposed changes can be performed at the sandbox page, which people can comment upon here. Northamerica1000(talk) 07:41, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Please stop with your claims of a consensus, as that discussion does not represent a proper consensus as the sample of commentators (4.5%, yes 4.5%, of the group's membership) was too small. Second, you need to realize that your behavior represents edit warring, your claimed consensus does not allow you to run rough shod over other people. I am done with your crap. I have been trying to work with you, give you suggestions on how to proceed, and encouraging the work you have done. Yet here we are again (I am not the only one your behavior has irritated before, look at the next paragraph)
Please refer to the other discussions such as this one where others seek input on how the project seeks to go. Ideas were floated and this Request for comment is in response to that proposal. I also would like to point out these discussions here and here that show your "consensus" is not a solid, absolute wall that gives you rights to revert any changes in favor of your personal preferences. Others disagree with you, and you cannot accept that. This behavior is why I have filed an edit warring complaint against you.
You making another possible page redesign is fine and dandy. At some point you are going to have to have to do the same thing as I have done here and request that people make comments about it. Maybe you will allow me to do the same. Wait you don't own this do you? I don't need your permission. your behavior in this matter is just over the top. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 11:11, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
As I mentioned on your talk page, working together and using compromise to improve the project for the long-term is in the best interests of everyone. This of course includes editors, and importantly, Wikipedia's readers too. Please calm down, and from there, we can work together to reach a functional consensus. Northamerica1000(talk) 13:17, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
So now you want a functional consensus? Really? We have had a consensus that some of your edits to the main page were inappropriate, one that you even agreed to (Its here to jog your memory) yet you have taken this little proposal and used it to undo them and restore your own personal preferences. Again. It seems that consensus is a thing you support when it goes your way and ignore when it doesn't suit you (That would be this one). Your behavior on this page in the past few months has been can be summed up as WP:I don't like it and WP:own, not really a consensus type of behavior. What really irks the me about this whole affair, is the moment I file an AN3 complaint against you and all of sudden want to work together to achieve a consensus. Just like you did when The Potato Hose threatened to bring your previous actions here to AN/I (This one again) How long do you intend for this new consensus to last until you feel you don't need to follow it? How long will you ignore other discussions in which consensus does not go in your favor?
I have been trying to work with you, per my posts on your talk page. I have been civil, I have encouraged your very good work on things like the newsletter and I have actually supported the things you have done like the DYI page. Then you pull this crap. Again. On top of that you tag me with an edit war warning on my talk page. Really? I mean, really? I have made a good faith effort to work on the main page, what have you done? Lets start with an apology for this little incident. Then we can discuss things like a consensus. I'm going to school now and will not be back for at least 8-9 hours so I cannot respond to any other posts you make for some time. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 18:13, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Another editor at your post at WP:ANEW has agreed with my reversions of your layout changes, stating (in part), "Jerem43 The layout doesn't need changing, If it did you'd first seek consensus!, Northamerica1000 was indeed correct to revert your actions." I posted a 3RR warning on your talk page because you were at 3RR; this is a simple routine notification, nothing more, and nothing to become upset about. I'm unsure at this time why you are so vehemently against using the sandbox pages to propose significant layout changes. This is quite customary, and considerate to other people that use the page. A hypothetical scenario: if your proposal was the page's actual layout, and another editor had entirely changed the layout and removed huge swaths of content, and stated that the changes needed to stay there for 2-4 weeks, would you automatically agree? Also, I'm well aware that nobody owns Wikipedia pages. I'm not going to argue with you; you feel that completely changing the main page and leaving it in place for weeks without first obtaining consensus is appropriate, and I disagree with this stance, and feel that abrupt changes that modify the page in entirety should be discussed first before being implemented. Northamerica1000(talk) 00:02, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • I've reverted for now per WP:BRD. The changes were quite drastic, and consensus in a previous discussion was for the page layout to be as it was. I'm not against changes, but let's discuss first, please. Also, the changes rendered the newsletter I composed and took the time to send to 97 members obsolete, before most even have a chance to read it. The newsletter was based upon the current page layout, rather than the entirely reformatted page that was recently posted. Northamerica1000(talk) 08:50, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Your consensus was four people. Out of 100. That isn't a consensus. That aside, you need to understand this is a test run to see if it works, get input on the changes etc. Your reverting it sorta prevents that from happening. The links you are talking about are exactly what I need to know about so I can fix them. See my note above. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jerem43 (talkcontribs) 07:02, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes there is, but that is not the place for this to be done. I need this to be a live test to see what needs to be done to insure everything works. Again, see my note above. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jerem43 (talkcontribs) 07:02, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Regarding content on the page, many people use Article alerts to find discussions that they may be interested in, which serves to promote discussion of various matters on Wikipedia and encourage participation in discussions. Also, I don't perceive lists on the page such in the Article to-do list, Project tasks and New articles sections as "boring statistics"; rather, they provide members and readers with instant options to contribute to the encyclopedia. Conversely, the membership sections are simply lists of user names, some of which have short descriptions of interests. I feel that a topic-based format, versus a person-based format, is more functional toward articles actually being improved, expanded, collaborated upon, etc., which is what this project is all about. Northamerica1000(talk) 00:36, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • The format is topic based, just not the way you like. Each of section provides an overview of a topic with an explanation what it is and provides links to the sections where the details are. I have formatted this just like the Wikipedia main page (as the Military Project has done. If you look at the main page, you will see that instead of all the specifics on the front page there are basic information about what stuff is along with links to the more detailed information. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jerem43 (talkcontribs) 07:02, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
You apparently have never given people an orientation to a something: The proper way to welcome someone into the fold is to provide them an explanation of what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. What I have done was to reinstate/provide the "Why" and "How" to the "What" that you have eliminated in reformatting the page. Please do not revert the page as I have fixed the 1 link that was broken in the newsletter when I updated the front page. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 07:01, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose changes for now. Per WP:BRD I've reverted your unilateral massive changes to the page. Consensus in the previous discussion (Proposed layout changes to this project's main page) was greater than your consensus of one for these drastic changes. Per WP:BRD, it's bold, revert and discuss. I reverted your bold edits, now it's time to discuss. Instead, you reverted my reversion to the page version that was based upon consensus among those that participated in the previous discussion, which is engaging in edit warring. I'm not against all of your changes, but again, please discuss first. Furthermore, again, is there a sandbox page where your proposed changes exist? Surely this would also be a "live" version from which testing can occur. Please keep in mind that consensus is determined by those that contribute to discussions, rather than a comparison of overall project participants relative to the numbers that contributed to the discussion. Most members don't contribute to the talk page discussions; that's just how it is. Also, your changes have hidden/orphaned the New articles, New articles archive, Nominations for Top Level Importance section and the DYK articles sections from the project's main page, among other aspects that were previously there. Another editor just recently significantly updated the DYK articles page, then you entirely removed its link from the page. This discourages project participation, rather than encouraging it. Northamerica1000(talk) 19:57, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • It appears that your proposed changes are existent at Wikipedia:WikiProject Food and drink/Sandbox 2. Please experiment using the sandbox page, rather than the project's main page. Thank you for your consideration. Northamerica1000(talk) 20:13, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Read the message please. I am past the development stage and need a live test on the main page. Please let the test run its course and stop this behavior, this is not a permanent placement. It will be reverted once I have gotten input and assistance from other editors. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 20:36, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Please use the sandbox page instead, which functions the same as the project's main page, because it's in Project namespace. This is what sandboxes are for. You're stating that you'll revert once you've received input from other editors, but this isn't an appropriate way to do it. Where are the participants thus far, will any ever come? Maybe, maybe not. But regardless, it is proper etiquette to use the sandbox page, rather than making unilateral changes against consensus, and right after a newsletter was sent to all 97 of the project's members based upon the current page's layout. Please seriously consider this matter. Thank you. Northamerica1000(talk) 20:45, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Here's a review and my comments about content at the project's Sandbox 2:
Likes:

  • Information about project history in the lead
  • Expanded "What topics do we cover?" section, which could be incorporated into the Scope section on the project's current page
  • Addition of Welcome squad information
  • Addition of the bar graphs in the Goals section
  • A sense of welcoming people to the project

Dislikes:

  • Re-addition of the quote at top. Consensus in the previous discussion regarding page layout (at Proposed layout changes to this project's main page) was for removal of the quote.
  • Repetitive duplication of content: WikiProjects, Task forces, and Child projects are all listed twice in entirety on the page, in both a left-hand box and in the body of the page. They only need to be listed once. A significant portion of the page's body is duplicated content.
  • Removal of Article alerts from the main page. Many people use Article alerts to find discussions to contribute to. Removal of article alerts serves to inhibit access to various discussions regarding Featured article candidates, Good article nominees, Good article reassessments, Requested moves, deletion discussions and other current discussions occurring on Wikipedia about food-related topics.
  • Removal of the Article to-do list and Project tasks lists from the main page
  • Removal of the New articles and New articles archive sections
  • Removal of the Nominations for Top Level Importance section
  • Removal of the DYK articles link from the main page
  • Undue weight given to the project Task forces, which receive very little input nowadays. For example, see the page revision histories for Beverages Task Force/to do (last edited in November 2011), Coffee and Tea task force/to do (has no listings, with the last edit performed in December 2009) and Cheeses task force/to do (has no listings, with the last edit performed in November 2011). It seems that having food-related topics in the centralized area of this WikiProject would be more functional at this time compared to spreading everything out to projects that receive no input.
  • A lack of Wikipedia articles/content and areas on the page where people can directly contribute (e.g. to-do lists). The direct provision of article links and areas on the project page where people can contribute is key in promoting participation and article improvements, in my opinion. Conversely, omission of these features creates unnecessary barriers to participation and article improvements.
  • Omission of topic category trees
  • Omission of Monthly Newsletters links
  • Changes that have rendered the new September 2013 newsletter that I composed and sent to 97 members obsolete before most have even had a chance to view the newsletter.
  • Redundancy in prose. The Related WikiProjects section states "This WikiProject covers" six times in a row, similar occurrences in the Task forces section "covers"/"covering".
Hopefully this serves to clarify my current oppose !vote above. Northamerica1000(talk) 23:53, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I have moved my earlier comment to this location on the talk page. Graphic at the top of the page is too cut and dried. How about using a photograph or two of appetizing looking food and beverages? I was actually quite surprised to find such an overly-simplistic graphic, given the sophisitcated level of Wikipedia. ChesPal (talk) 07:10, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Page Layout - alternate proposal 1 at Sandbox 3[edit]

  • In addition to the above Sandbox 2 proposal, please see the project's Sandbox 3 page I have devised, which incorporates the righteous ideas presented by User:Jerem43 regarding the addition of welcoming information to the project's main page, while also retaining vital article links and discussion links. Compromise is usually a good way to move forward. I remain hopeful that we can all work together to improve this project for the long-term. This page does not require testing on the project's main page; just view it and comment here about its layout, ideas to improve it, etc.
This proposed layout has plenty of space for all welcoming information to be presented in the lead of the page, per User:Jerem43's ideas above. Northamerica1000(talk) 10:45, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Discussion 2[edit]
  • Support this rough draft, as nominator. Northamerica1000(talk) 14:08, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
    • How many times have you been told you don't vote on your own proposals? Second lets not be premature and let me finish my idea which I haven't even proposed making the new front page contrary to you false claims. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 18:18, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
      • Actually, at some discussion pages, people routinely support their own proposals. See Talk:Vital_articles/Expanded for one example. Please calm down, stop scolding and comment on content. I've made no false claims; I have no reason to do so. You entirely changed the main page's layout and removed large portions of content without first obtaining consensus, stating it as a test run to occur for 2 to 4 weeks! Please use the sandboxes to perform tests and direct people to them to propose significant changes to the project's layout; it's disruptive to the project to abruptly change the page in this manner. Also, I've been entirely fair and objective in my review of your work at the Sandbox 2 page. Furthermore, I rather like the layout at Sandbox 3, and I'm allowed to propose it here. People can easily view both proposals. It's my hope to move forward in a friendly, civil manner in discussions here. Thank you for your consideration. Northamerica1000(talk) 22:43, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose too much clutter The Banner talk 23:58, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Hello User:The Banner: Is there a particular area of the page that could be cleaned up, or do you view the entire page as being too cluttered? Northamerica1000(talk) 00:09, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Roughly the part between "New food and drink articles" and "Tools" at the bottom. The Banner talk 00:14, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
User:The Banner: thanks for responding and for your input. If the boxes were all at page length (rather than divided), do you think this would serve to reduce a cluttered look? Also, what do you think about the notion of omission of the boxes in entirety, and just listing everything. This would make the page much longer, but could serve to de-clutter the layout to a significant degree. Northamerica1000(talk) 00:30, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
It would be better to leave all those boxes out. It disrupts the design and to my opinion it adds little relevant information. Perhaps on another subpage? The Banner talk 10:29, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
This could easily be accomplished. For now, I'll leave them in place awaiting further hopeful response from other editors, while keeping the notion of a separate page or pages in mind as a potential page change. Northamerica1000(talk) 20:05, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Tweak the Sandbox3 so that the elements don't crash into and/or overlap each other, and I think it might work pretty well. At the moment, I'm using my widescreen laptop to view the pages, and I'm having that problem. I hate to think what it might look like on my preferred vertical-format monitor (narrower rather than wider).
Sorry that it's been so long since I participated in this project. Thanks for sending me the notice. I've looked through all of the Sandbox suggestions. Of them, I think that Sandbox3 is the only one that's a significant improvement over the current page, and I'm not even sure how significant. I'm assuming that the layout issues will be fixed, of course. Here's what I like and dislike about SB3 compared to the current page:
  • SB3 really gets across the idea that this is a big, active, and comprehensive WikiProject. It feels like there is a ton of stuff going on, but it also does a good job of easing folks into it by being friendly and welcoming at the top. The current page does, too, but it seems a bit more sedate. I do get a funny feeling when I get down to the participants list, though. It seems that there should be a lot more people than that. Where did they all go? ;-)
  • The current page is less intimidating. I said "sedate" before. That jives more with the number of participants in the rosters. If there could be a bit more zing to the current page, or slightly tone down the SB3 version, I think we would hit a happy middle ground that would feel active enough to be interesting and calm enough to be usable in a no-pressure sort of way.
  • Someone called SB3 cluttered. I would say "busy" instead of cluttered. I felt like everything I needed was there, but it was kind of hard to find it (especially given the layout problems). On the other hand, the current page doesn't seem to have enough of the stuff from SB3, so it seems a little harder to use because I have to go somewhere else to find what's right there on SB3. If SB3 could be made a bit cleaner and less busy, I think that all the stuff it packs into that page is actually quite useful.
  • I like the crispness and minimal colors and CSS gimmicks in SB3. Some of the sandboxes take up so much screen space with rounded corners and fancy effects that it takes forever to scroll around to find the content. The current page is pretty good, too, but I like the cleaner, more down-to-business feel of SB3 over the current page. However, SB3 needs more whitespace. That probably will be cleared up anyway in the process of fixing the layout issues.
So there's my feedback on the designs. Let me just compliment everyone involved in the current design, SB3, and even the less than ideal other sandboxes. They all look better than the project pages the last time I was here. I think that a hybrid of SB3 and the current page would be best. But until the layout problems are fixed, the SB3 layout is a no-go for me. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 04:21, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
User:Willscrlt: Thanks so much for the great input. I'll work to improve the sandbox 3 page soon, and will ping/notify you when it has been performed. Thanks again for the detailed and thoughtful analysis, which is greatly appreciated. Northamerica1000(talk) 05:09, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
 No. We're being presented with a preference between the current edit vs. Sandbox 3 which are both Northamerica1000 edits. What if people think they both suck? It's like being handed out a rigged ballot. Seems like there is an ongoing edit war here, but it seems only fair to have Jeremy's version (previous edit) as an alternative. In fact I would prefer a page like this with a simple touch for the main page. All the clutter you can move to other tabs. --Kiyoweap (talk) 05:17, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
User:Kiyoweap: The proposal for the sandbox 2 page is being discussed above on this talk page, at Main page & Project pages. This is a separate proposal for changes at sandbox 3. To clarify matters, I've boldly moved this thread beneath the sandbox 2 proposal, so they're presented in the same area of the page. I've also notified the recent editors who contributed above about this matter on their talk pages, to notify them about the first proposal. Northamerica1000(talk) 05:28, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
User:The Banner and User:Willscrlt: I've reformatted the Sandbox 3 page per suggestions here. Any additional suggestions are welcome. Northamerica1000(talk) 07:54, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Comments by the designers[edit]

I am adding this section to give other contributors an idea of the reasons behind the design of the proposed Mina Page layout.

Jerem43[edit]

Based upon a discussion from May 2013 about the direction of this Project (located here), I have been working on complete redo of the whole set of project pages. I have done quite a bit of work, there is still a lot to do. My new design for the main page is under construction and is not ready for the limelight and won't be for a bit of time. Some of the the stuff Will brought up below I had an idea about already. The reason some of the stuff that is in North's design isn't in mine is because I have moved it to its own page, grouping related things together.

When putting this concept together, I tried to establish a set of goals for the design. They are:

  1. Declutter and simplify the main page;
  2. Make the page more welcoming and user friendly;
  3. Establish a common look and feel for the project pages;
  4. Establish a "What, where, how and why" for the pages - What we do, where we do it, how we go about doing it, and why we do it.

Here is how the site has been organized,

Note - The design is partially based on the structure of WP:Military History:

  • My new main page design uses transclusions for each of the sections you see. The reason for this is that the original page was a huge mass of Wiki-code and HTML that could be easily messed up by an errant edit. I had simplified a great deal of the code by creating several new templates (Template:Scrolling window) and utilizing others (Template:Clickable button) to simplify the code, but it was still very complex. Many of the sup-pages now also use the same transcluded design, including the Membership, Tools, Tasks, and Showcase pages.
  • Also, by utilizing transclusions I made it so the design of the pages can be quickly changed for a new layout or a new format - see Sandbox 1 for an example this. Second, I created a new set templates for the page header, section headers and page tabs. These new templates have variables that allow a complete palette swap of the colors of the Project pages with just a few, simple edits. Together, the underlying design structure and template format provide an incredibly flexible design that allows a myriad of options.
    Note - If you are interested, the Sandbox 1 design is based on the French version of the WikiProject and The Beer WikiProject That version is incomplete as I gave up on that design.
  • As part of creating the transclusion pages, I have reorganized the underlying structure of the various sub-pages in a more logical, hierarchical structure that puts related pages in a tree under the related subject page. For instance the Participants, Assessment Task Force, and Welcome Squad pages are all under the Members page. The same idea is utilized on almost all of the other pages I have mentioned. A few pages are not transcluded due to bot requirements.
  • All of the various tools, including the WikiProject tools, the project guidelines, article alerts, tools on sourcing, category trees and Wikimedia links are all on a page called Tools. This section is not in my new design as I am still working on a way to present them, either as a new section or as part of another. I am leaning towards a separate section.
  • The article to do list, the project tasks, collaboration center, stub expansion list, and list of articles needing citations are all included on a page called Open tasks. This section is included in the Contributing section.
  • The various member lists are all included on a page called Members. This page is linked in the Membership section.
  • There is a new Showcase of Featured Content which still isn't in the Page Tabs template or in my new main page design. The reason I haven't included in the design is I am still working on a way to present it. Additionally, to help keep up with the ever changing number of featured content, I have signed the project up with JL Bot. This bot polls the bowels of the Wikimedia servers for a complete list of featured materials, Did you knows and other such stuff and presents an ordered list every few weeks.
  • I have gone through all of the various project templates used on the site (eg Template:FD projects), standardized the layouts, variables, fixed errors in the code and made sure they all worked the way they were supposed to. There were problems in them that caused layout issues, spacing problems or other annoying (to me at least) problems.

My main page design will eventually have all of these things included, but is incomplete at this time. I am also contemplating making each of the various boxes used on my design into a template to allow quick reformatting of any page on the fly or allow there usage on multiple pages without duplicating code every where. They would be located on a sub-page of Wikipedia:WikiProject Food and drink/templates. I should also move the other templates I created there is well for consistency sake. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 20:17, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Northamerica1000[edit]

Update: I've made some significant changes to the Sandbox 3 page, incorporating some of User:Jerem43's ideas in Sandox 2 and User:Willscrlt's and User:Matticusmadness' ideas per commentary below while also utilizing some of mine. The layout has significantly changed, so please check it out and feel free to provide input. Importantly, please note that most of the comments below are in reference to a previous version of the page; here's the approximate diff page upon which they were based.

I like this layout a great deal, and I appreciate the work Jerem43 has done at Sandbox 2; some design elements there have been incorporated into Sandbox 3. Northamerica1000(talk) 10:08, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Direct comparisons[edit]

At the time this subpage was created, there were two similar layouts that were being considered for acceptance as the new main page for the WikiProject. I (User:Willscrlt) believe that they both have good points and flaws. It is very difficult to compare the pages in a productive manner, even with multiple windows open on multiple monitors. Therefore, I took screen captures of the both pages, chopping the pages into comparable chunks. I will refer to these layouts as Sandbox2 (or SB2 for short) and Sandbox3] (SB3), which refer to the name of the pages used to showcase the competing layouts.

For each layout, there will be a place that you can identify what you feel are "strengths" or "pros" (the good things) about the layout, and "weaknesses" or "cons" (the not-so-good stuff). Remember to provide constructive criticism of the layout (not the person who designed it or its supporters/detractors).

Also, if you see a problem, try to recommend one or more possible solutions that would fix the perceived problem. If you like something, then explain what you like about it, not just a vague "I like it" or "it's good".


Section #1 - Introduction[edit]

The introduction page identifies the WikiProject and welcomes visitors. Below is the top of the page in Sandbox 2.

Sandbox 2

Section #1 Sandbox 2 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • I like the "Hello and welcome" message. I also like the line and the small text (but not what it says). —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 06:35, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • What can I say, I like that it includes a quote. MM (Report findings) (Past espionage) 10:25, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
    I like the quote, too, both this particular one and the concept of a rotating quote. I'm not sure that this is the optimal place for it, since being practically the first thing people see gives it undue importance. Maybe in a sidebar somewhere farther down, especially if we need a space filler. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 04:16, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #1 Sandbox 2 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • I think that the duplication of the icon and the name in both boxes is redundant. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 06:35, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I think the quote should be omitted. It is quite subjective per the personal opinion of one person (Alton Brown) and doesn't state anything meaningful about food and foodstuffs. I don't believe that all journeys are "spiritual" myself, and this notion could confer to almost anything else besides food. For example, consider filling in the blank in the following sentence with other words, such as "hotels", "department stores", etc.: "If you search carefully, you will find good ________ all along the way." Any noun fits into this type of generic analogy regarding "journeys."
Regarding having two boxes stacked together with the same graphic in them, I also perceive this as redundant; it would be a neater layout to use one box with a space for announcements on the right. Northamerica1000(talk) 21:04, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I changed the picture.
About the comment, I intended it to be a rotating set that works with the portal boxes templates from the portal but I never got around to it. And the Alton Brown comment was used because it was from a well known food-related personality not specifically the content, which I do like. The content of the quote relates to food not just being something we eat but it being a part of our lives on a deeper level. If you don't like it, take a look over at Q:Food, Q:category:Chefs, or Q:category:Food and drink and find one or more you do like - I'll include them. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 07:40, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Below is the top of the page in Sandbox 3.

Sandbox 3

Section #1 Sandbox 3 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • A simple and understandable way of getting across the important pages. Approved as long as NA1000's idea below goes in. MM (Report findings) (Past espionage) 10:29, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #1 Sandbox 3 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • I miss the opportunity to offer friendly welcome right at the top of the page.
An improvement would be an announcement section integrated into this template, to place announcements in the right side of the box. Northamerica1000(talk) 21:31, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #1 General comments and suggestions[edit]

  • I would suggest merging the two boxes of SB2 into a single box. Run the text "WikiProject Food and Drink" in a single line of text (remove the line break). Add a horizontal line and then the welcome message. It would look like the second box in SB2, but make the upper text larger, like in the upper box. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 06:35, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I support the notion of merging the two boxes as suggested directly above, but with an option of any generalized message that would typically be there being allowed to be temporarily changed as a space to make project announcements from time-to-time.
I feel that having a quote makes the project's header too long and also provides undue weight to the opinions of individuals. As I delineated above in "Section #1 Sandbox 2 Weaknesses/Cons", I also don't like this particular quote itself. Ultimately, This could all be merged into one box atop the page, and information about the project could be moved into the "About the WikiProject" section below it. Northamerica1000(talk) 21:36, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #2 - About the WikiProject[edit]

Below is section #2 in Sandbox 2. This section introduces the WikiProject to people who are not very familiar with it. It should inform as well as inspire people to join the team.

Sandbox 2

Section #2 Sandbox 2 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • I like the blue heading boxes/bars with icons. They catch the eye and give a nice visual break. The bulleted lists are good for giving visual breaks, helping the eyes to actually read (well, skim) the information rather than skipping past the words. I really like the topical headings chosen here. They are engaging and appeal to both newbies visiting the page for the first time and to experienced Wikipedians. Being phrased as questions is a proven way of engaging the reader. They instinctively want to answer the question or read your answers in this case. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 06:52, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #2 Sandbox 2 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • Since this is primarily a section of text, it breaks the eye flow having the infobox on the left. My eye keeps "bumping into it" as I try to read the text on the page. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 06:52, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I also prefer the infoboxes to be on the right side of the page. Northamerica1000(talk) 21:15, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Below is Section #2 of Sandbox 3.

Sandbox 3

Section #2 Sandbox 3 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • I like the layout of the infobox and portals on the right of the text. The portals are especially nice, since they give a nice punch of color to an otherwise blah bunch of text. The bulleted lists are good here, too. The Goals section is visually appealing and it gives enough space for the portals to be included beside them. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 06:52, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Willscr|t| pretty much said everything I would have said here. MM (Report findings) (Past espionage) 10:32, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #2 Sandbox 3 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • Compared to SB2's dividing boxes/headers with icons, the text in this one looks challenging to read. There are few visual cues to help me parse the text at a glance. Most people will probably skip over all of the text since there's hardly any place for the eyeballs to pause as they scan the page. The topical headings are very standard for WikiProjects--standard and boring. They sound like something out of a SEC filing for a stock. That's not the designer's fault. They just aren't very engaging words, and yet they are in use in nearly every WikiProject. *sigh* I'm not sure who decided on the goals and how they were set. If it is a common thing among WikiProjects and/or there was significant consensus in setting the goals (that I missed), then they are a good thing. I'm not sure if the "About us" section is best place for that information, though. It's good for spacing the portals, but it's kind of off topic in this section. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 06:52, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #2 General comments and suggestions[edit]

  • I think that overall I like SB2 better, both in verbiage and in layout. I think that it would be better to have the infobox on the right like SB3 has it, but only if that doesn't cause weirdness with overlapping heading boxes and such. I'd keep the Goals somewhere else, and that probably means having the Portals go somewhere else, too (not enough room for them here without the goals). —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 06:52, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Note: The layout of this section in Sandbox 3 has been significantly changed as of this post; the image above is outdated at this time relative to current content on the page. Northamerica1000(talk) 10:13, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #3 - Membership[edit]

Below is the membership section in Sandbox 2. The two layouts diverge at this point. SB2 includes the Membership (or more correctly, the "participants" since there is no "membership" in WikiProjects) of the WikiProject next. SB3 makes this the second to last section.


Sandbox 2

Section #3 Sandbox 2 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • This section looks so very welcoming and friendly. It makes me want to become one of the participants in this WikiProject and hang out with the other "cool kids". :-) The chef's hat on the Wiki Laurels is great. The smiley faces are cute, too. Again, the heading boxes are very visually appealing. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:07, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • The chef hat whatchimacallit is a nice move I'll admit. It looks well put together really. I agree thought that listing the members may be an advantage to consider as one person being shown off could tempt others into joining. MM (Report findings) (Past espionage) 10:38, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #3 Sandbox 2 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • It seems a little weird not to actually see the list of names of the different people on the main project page, but it makes the place less cluttered, so I'd definitely call it a weakness, not a con. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:07, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • The smiley face in the section's header and user page box is rather (somewhat) off topic and generic, in my opinion. It's also very bright compared to other graphics on the page, which is distracting. Perhaps this graphic could be changed to one that is more food- or Wikipedia-related. Northamerica1000(talk) 23:38, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
    • Did you not notice that the icon is specifically for the "Welcome Squad" of the WP:F&D? A smiley face is very appropriate (IMO) for that particular Squad. I presume that people using the UBXs probably would put both a food/drink-related one AND the smiley face one on their page. Also, I like the bright spot of color there. The overall cheerfulness and warmth (including the "bright" colors) is what I liked most about SB2. I would not want to see it dulled down to the point that the page looks more like a report than a lively and fun place to hang out. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 04:33, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
      • After appreciating your perspective, leave the smiley in place 718smiley.svg. It is friendly in nature, and upon consideration, looks cool there. Also, the graphic of the Wikipedia globe with the chef's hat is sublime, and a must to use somewhere on the project's main page. The Wiki globe with the chef's hat should be on the project's main page just because it looks great. Northamerica1000(talk) 09:19, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Below is the membership section in Sandbox 3.

Sandbox 3

Section #3 Sandbox 3 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • You can see the names of the participants, which is something that I expect to see when I visit a WikiProject page. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:07, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

As I said further up, Having a list of people showing may make someone realise a user they value is in it and this join up. Pretty much what Will said (again) MM (Report findings) (Past espionage) 10:42, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #3 Sandbox 3 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • Compared to SB2, this looks about as exciting as a bank statement showing you are running low on money. Without the stylish and friendly features that SB2 has, these lists just look like a list of something I might not want to slug my way through. The thick black borders around the boxes make them seem important, but I can't figure out why. Also, what do those huge green check marks mean? There's no indication that I see. If the names were in two columns, I think they would be more readable, or, at least, more visually interesting. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:07, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #3 General comments and suggestions[edit]

  • I think that SB2 is all around the best way to go. In this case, I like having, essentially, an infobox on the left here. The text on the right all is short enough I'm not trying to read it like I did in Section #2, so being on the left is a nice visual change. SB3 gives me the detail I expected to see, but after seeing it, I find I don't really want to see it. It clutters the page with boring information. SB2 has all the info there, but puts it behind a button.
That does bring to mind one accessibility/usability issue. Buttons can be nightmares for users who don't use a mouse to browse and in browsers that are not graphically based (this includes screen readers for the blind and text-based browsers). Inline frames (like in SB3) also can be nightmares from a usability standpoint.
It would be far better to change those to links that say "[View the Particiants list] or [add your name]". Never say "click here" anywhere on the Web, since people without mice don't click (and it's annoying being told to do something you can't). Instead, try to word it as an action (verb with noun). The "View" link would just display the subpage. The "Add" link would take them to the edit screen for the subpage so that they can immediately add their name, and not have to look for the "Edit" button on the page. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:07, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Note: The layout of this section in Sandbox 3 has been significantly changed as of this post; the image above is outdated at this time relative to current content on the page. Northamerica1000(talk) 10:13, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #4 - Contribution[edit]

Below is the contribution section in Sandbox 2. Both layouts agree that contribution should be next. This is the part of the page that tells the participants how to get involved, and shows them how well we are meeting our goals.


Sandbox 2

Section #4 Sandbox 2 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • Again, the blue heading boxes and headings in question form really win me over. I like the looks of this. I also like how each section is a summary (a bit lengthy for a summary, but still a summary) with a link to the full details. I might not mind the text so much if the colorful assessment box wasn't too the left, pulling at my eyeballs each time I drop to the next line (of course, all those colors at the end of a line of text might not be good either if it was moved to the right side). —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:24, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #4 Sandbox 2 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • I'm not sure that Goals belong in Contributing any more than they did in About Us. In fact, they seem even slightly more off-topic here to me. Where they are now, I'd incorporate the to-do and task list of SB3. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:24, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • The length of prose here is long, and people may skim past this as walls of text. Copy editing to reduce length and word-redundancy would be an improvement. For example, in the Assessment subsection, use of the word "assessment" and related words could be significantly reduced while conveying the same message. Northamerica1000(talk) 23:48, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
    • I agree that it editing the copy a little bit tighter may be appropriate. After all, there is a "for more information go read this other page" type of link in each section. All we need to do is give enough material that people know what the linked page is all about. On the other hand, I think that many people will have their screens set a bit wider than what you see in the example, so the text will shrink vertically, and that will leave more whitespace beside the very lengthy Assessment table. If the table is moved to another section (like articles), than this point about whitespace becomes irrelevant, and a more succinct version of the copy would be a clear benefit. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 04:38, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Below is the contribution section in Sandbox 3.

Sandbox 3

Section #4 Sandbox 3 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • Again, this is highly functional and provides useful information. I like the To-Do List and the Tasks (though I'm not really sure what the difference is between the two--why not just one list?). I think that this is an acceptable place for the WikiProjects, but I will discuss that below in a later section. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:24, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #4 Sandbox 3 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • This is more functional than fun, and as-such, it is not very engaging or welcoming. SB2 captures the attention quite well, but this section is just more stuff to scroll past. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:24, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #4 General comments and suggestions[edit]

  • I would condense the two To-Do/Task lists into one (if possible and it makes sense), and then move that information into the layout of SB2. I'd also play around with the assessment box's location to see if readability can be enhanced by not having it directly compete with the text for attention. Maybe having the text be full-width and move the assessment box down beside the more raggedly spaced to-do/task list(s) would help? I really like all the info of SB2 and SB3, but combined. And move the WikiProjects to another section (as discussed below). —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:24, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Interesting ideas above from User:Willscrlt. Ultimately, I'm for retaining the to-do lists on the project's main page, because this 1) provides immediate links to articles that can be improved and lists project tasks that need to be performed, and 2) provides an area where people can directly contribute. Northamerica1000(talk) 23:11, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
    • But do we really need two separate lists that are so similar (at least to someone who isn't using them) in appearance and apparent purpose? Can we combine the two into one without causing anyone grief or horribly messing up their workflow? To turn it the other way around, if I wanted to add something to one of these lists, how would I know which one to use? —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 04:41, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
      • You know what, upon a review, these could all be merged into one to-do list without causing any confusion. The {{Tasks}} template has all of the options in place to list everything for articles, and project tasks that don't fit into any categories in the template could be placed in the "other" section of the template. Therefore, I support merging the two tasks lists into one master list. Northamerica1000(talk) 07:26, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Note: The layout of this section in Sandbox 3 has been significantly changed as of this post; the image above is outdated at this time relative to current content on the page. The 2 to-do lists have been consolidated into one master list, and additional layout changes have been performed. Northamerica1000(talk) 10:14, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #5 - Articles[edit]

SB2 barely touches on this section. It gives a general overview with regard to the quality of the articles in Section #4 "Contribution" (see above). SB3 goes into great depth on the topic, providing article alerts and several lists of pages. I had to break the section into two screen captures just to get it all in here.

Section #5 Sandbox 2 Strengths/Pros[edit]

This refers to Section #4 above, but specifically with regard to the topic of articles
  • The Article Assessment section is useful wherever it appears. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:39, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #5 Sandbox 2 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

This refers to Section #4 above, but specifically with regard to the topic of articles
  • I think that more than just the Article Assessment template should appear on the page. SB2 is lacking in information about our articles. (Whereas SB3 overdoses on that topic. We need a happy middle.) —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:39, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I perceive SB2 as severely lacking information about food and drink discussions (e.g. Article alerts), articles and content. In my opinion, this is a deficiency, because many people use Article alerts to find discussions that they may be interested in, such as Featured article candidates, Good article nominees, Good article reassessments, Requested moves, deletion discussions and other current discussions occurring on Wikipedia about food-related topics. The provision of article alerts serves to promote discussion and encourage participation in discussions. Also, the direct provision of New articles and DYK articles provides members and readers with instant options to contribute to and improve the encyclopedia. Conversely, omission of this content creates unnecessary barriers to accessing discussions and inhibits access to and the potential for new articles to be improved, expanded, etc.
That said, as I've stated below in "Section #5 General comments and suggestions", I'm not against the notion of omitting the New articles and DYK articles boxes on the project's main page, provided clear links to those pages are provided in place of the boxes. Northamerica1000(talk) 22:19, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • The reason my example is missing the provided links is that it is incomplete. I have been working on a presentation page (You can find it at Content). It is still incomplete as I am still working on ways to present the information. However, the Showcase page contains all this information and more! --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 04:41, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Below is the Articles section in Sandbox 3.

Sandbox 3 Sandbox 3

Section #5 Sandbox 3 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • I really like the Article Alerts, and I think they should be part of the main page. I think this also is an appropriate place (probably the best place) to put the Article Statistics and exactly as shown. The stats are quite distracting to the eye, but the format of the alerts makes that a non-issue since it's lot of little chunks of information. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:39, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree that Article alerts should be on the main page, and for their placement here. I don't perceive the article statistics to be distracting relative to other content on the page in this instance, and I perceive this as a logical place to place the statistics. Furthermore, I think that article statistics should be presented on the main page. Northamerica1000(talk) 23:56, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #5 Sandbox 3 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • I know that this section doubled in length due to formatting issues. It was originally two columns, and it looked a lot better then (ignoring the fact that the page was quite messed up and not very usable due to the layout problems). That being said, this is just WAAAAAY too long, too boring, and too overwhelming for new users--and even experienced editors.
See my comment below in "Section #5 General comments and suggestions". Perhaps removing the boxes and replacing them with page links would serve to better-organize the page. Northamerica1000(talk) 23:57, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #5 General comments and suggestions[edit]

  • I think that this section should be included. SB2 doesn't focus quite enough on articles, and some of this would be helpful. As I mentioned in the Pro's, I think that this is the best place for the Assessment Stats and the Article Alerts. I would further suggest moving the Goals below those two sections. The Goals are all directly related to articles, so this is a very on-topic place to stick that section. The generally horizontal layout of the Goals section also would provide nice visual contrast to the largely vertical rest of Section #5.
As for the rest of the SB3 Articles section, I think it needs to be moved off the main page. It's useful information, and it should be linked to somewhere on the page, but it does not need to suck up so much real estate. Also, since they are inline frames, you end up with the accessibility/usability issues I mentioned before. Instead, maybe do something like at the very bottom of the page for the Directory of WikiProjects, WikiProject Council, and WikiProject Guide. A three or four cell table with cute icons linking to those different reports would be far more user-friendly and accessible than the way SB3 implemented it. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:39, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm not against the notion of omitting New articles and DYK articles boxes on the project's main page to reduce the length of the page and reduce inline frames. It would be very important to include clear and easily-found links to the pages where this content is located, though. Northamerica1000(talk) 22:21, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Update: For starters, to shorten the page I've removed the scrolling window for the "Nominations for Top level importance" at the Sandbox 3 page, because the discussion page doesn't receive much input. I retained the click-box link to the discussion page so people are aware of this option. Northamerica1000(talk) 01:21, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Note: The layout of this section in Sandbox 3 has been significantly changed as of this post; the image above is outdated at this time relative to current content on the page. Northamerica1000(talk) 10:15, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #6 - Categories[edit]

SB2 has nothing corresponding to this section. SB3 displays an expandable list of related categories. Below is the Categories section in Sandbox 3.

Sandbox 3

Section #6 Sandbox 3 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • I like this a lot, because it helps you quickly navigate to some of our more obscure categories. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:41, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #6 Sandbox 3 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • It does suck up more real estate. I wonder how three columns would look? Is that even possible?
  • Further division into 3 columns was easily accomplished using a {{div col|colwidth=30em}} template, which in most browsers automatically divides the columns into 3, while also automatically adjusting the columns for shorter screens. The categories section in Sandbox 3 is now divided into 3 columns. Northamerica1000(talk) 20:51, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I looked at the revised SB3 to see how it looked with 3 cols. It still had only 2. Then I thought to slide my browser over to my landscape-oriented monitor, and it re-flowed into a nice, space-saving 4-column layout. Haha. Never did get 3-columns, but that's a flexible or flowing layout for you. I think that flexibility is sufficient to overcome my earlier concerns. It does point out that we must keep in mind that the page will look considerably different on different screens (wide, tall and skinny, 4:3, mobile, etc. During the month of September, let's not only look at the overall look and feel, but also the technical side of things by using multiple browsers, multiple screen sizes, and multiple platforms so that we can try to identify and eliminate problems or adapt the layout as necessary to make the page as accessible and usable as possible not matter how it is accessed. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:35, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #6 General comments and suggestions[edit]

  • Despite the space sucking, I think it's still a good thing to have. It makes sense to place it directly after the articles section. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:41, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • In my opinion, categories are vital content that should be provided on the project's main page, and the categories section in Sandbox 3 is now divided into 3 columns to reduce the length of the section (see above comment). I agree that having this section directly after the articles section is an appropriate and functional area for its placement. Northamerica1000(talk) 22:32, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Note: The layout of this section in Sandbox 3 has been changed as of this post; the image above is outdated at this time relative to current content on the page. Northamerica1000(talk) 10:16, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #7 - Related[edit]

SB3 barely touches on this section. It gives a list of related WikiProjects in Section #4 "Contribution" (see above). SB2 includes the same information and then goes into more depth on the topic. Below is the Related section in Sandbox 2.

Sandbox 2

Section #7 Sandbox 2 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • Just as SB3 excelled in the articles department, SB2 really excels in identifying the related WikiProjects, task forces, child projects, and portals. It's attractive, welcoming, and easy to read. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:54, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #7 Sandbox 2 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • As usual, I find the infoboxes on the left of large blocks of text to be distracting. I would prefer to see the infoboxes moved to the right side of the page.
I am also confused by the arrow icons. A child would seem to be a downward relationship, not a sideways one, yet the arrow points sideways. A Task Force, would seem to be a part of the main project, so a sideways arrow would make more sense. Swap the two arrows, and I think it would be much clearer. The back arrow on Related WikiProjects seems a little confusing. Maybe some other icons that shows an interconnection would be better. Then again, if you change it to a non-arrow, maybe it would be better to change all the icons to something more representational (a parent with a child, a construction symbol, and a relationship or network of some sort).
Finally, I'm not sure if we really need the Related WikiProjects infobox at all. It succinctly summarizes the info in the section, and probably more people will skim it than they will read the text, so duplication might not be a bad thing. But it still seems silly to do so to me. I guess I'd opt to keep it, anyway, but maybe y'all have some other ideas about how to make it less silly to do so? —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:54, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • WikiProjects, Task forces, and Child projects are all listed twice in entirety in this section in both a left-hand box and in the body of the section. They only need to be listed once. A significant portion of the section's body is duplicated content.
Some of the prose style here is unnecessarily redundant. For example, the Related WikiProjects section states "This WikiProject covers" six times in a row, similar occurrences in the Task forces section "covers"/"covering". I find the overall prose to be too wordy, and feel that it could be copy edited to convey the same points without being walls of text.
Undue weight is given to the project Task forces, which receive very little input nowadays. For example, see the page revision histories for Beverages Task Force/to do (last edited in November 2011), Coffee and Tea task force/to do (has no listings, with the last edit performed in December 2009) and Cheeses task force/to do (has no listings, with the last edit performed in November 2011). It seems that having food-related topics in the centralized area of this WikiProject would be more functional at this time compared to spreading everything out to projects that receive no input. At the very least, move the Task Forces subsection to the end of the list.
I would omit the arrow icons entirely, as they don't really do much to enhance this section's layout.
I also prefer the infoboxes to be on the right side of the page. In this case, I'd omit the Related Wikiprojects box and only have the Portals box on right. Northamerica1000(talk) 21:14, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Please look at the section, the links are in the box and the description of what the links represent is text. It isn't duplication it is part of the "What, Where, How and Why" concept I am using in the design. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 07:46, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I did not notice the body text was non-wikilinked. That actually makes me like it less, and here's why... If you are a visually disabled user (or a search engine) reading through the page, you would hear a list of links with no information about them (unless title attributes are included in the navbox, which would be helpful, but rarely are included). A little while later, you hear a long list of projects, but you no longer have a way to activate the links, so that list is rather useless to such a person. Additionally, links serve as anchors in screen readers, allowing users to skip past text they don't care about. That's why the lead-in text (the project/TF name) should be a wikilink.
It also makes sense from a usability standpoint for sighted users to have these be clickable links. After all, we just got someone excited about a particular project or TF. We want them to follow a link to that page, but there is no link. Sure, it's just a few inches above and to the left, but if they already scrolled past it, there's no link visible at all. Even if the link is still visible on the page, once the eye has moved past it, it's unlikely to return. By not linking the text, it makes the visitors have to work even harder to do one of the things we most want them to do. That's bad. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to find their niche and join up. Once they put their name on the line, they are more likely to get involved. If they receive some positive encouragement (like a personalized welcome or a thank you) after that, they will probably remain involved--at least long enough for all the regular thrill of editing to kick in and sustain them as members. We should never make it harder for them to get past those first few hurdles.
So, now that I've said to make the text duplicate the links in the navbox, is the navbox still necessary? On the one hand, I say yes. It gives them two places to find the links (and people tend to skip past body text and only look at tables, pictures, and other "easy" stuff to look at). It also is visually interesting to look at. But on the other hand, it duplicates quite a bit of information, and, especially for people using screen readers, this actually is a negative, since it means they have to listen to all the text twice. This is a HUGE page, and it's actually unlikely that a blind visitor would have the patience to get this far down, but if they do, we want to be as considerate as possible. One more reason I like it (and I know I'm waffling here) is that it is one of our standard templates, and I think it's good to have them on the main page. Other thoughts and opinions? —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 04:05, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Is there any way to redirect blind users to the sub pages? They are significantly smaller and more compact... --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 04:43, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Well, not really. If something is hidden on the screen (but displayable by clicking to "show" or "expand"), there's a 50/50 (and that's only a gross estimate) chance that a screen reader will or will not read everything (or nothing) of the hidden content. One thing that might work--probably the best thing, really--is to put a good navigational aid at the top of the page. It can be moved off-screen (absolutely positioned left to -999px) that contains the links to the subpages. If interested, search for Son of Suckerfish (or Grandson of Suckerfish) to see how that same technique is used to make an accessible drop-down menu. In our case, we probably would not want to make the navigation ever reappear for sighted users. The only issue I see that might be a problem is that the TAB key (which some users use who have mobility or fine motor control issues) would tab through the entire list of navigation links "invisibly" to the user while they tab through it. Maybe the best thing would be to move the nav back onto screen if activated by keyboard (like the suckerfishes do), but not by mouse. I don't know. It's not an easy thing to solve, because it requires meeting two diametrically opposite goals: make a page as simple to navigate and have read to a user, while also packing it full of useful information that's quick and easy to get to. They both require ease of use, but in two very different ways.
While I'm not saying that we should scrap all the hard work we've done (I really like it!), it does make me wonder if we are perhaps making the main page overly complex. I started thinking of that down with the tools section. I also thought of it with the inclusion of the pages of participants, etc. Trying to pack everything onto one page makes the page slow to load, difficult to quickly get to the part of the page we want to focus on, and makes it a real challenge for people with accessibility issues. On this page we have identified a few key areas in which we've groups related pieces of information. What if the main project page was just a collection of 5-9 large links/buttons/icons that took visitors to a more focused subpage? Something like "Welcome and About", "Get Involved / Goals / Tasks", "Showcase", "Articles and Other Content", "Participation and Awards", "Related Projects", "Miscellaneous", and "Tools". And that would pretty much be it for the main page. Maybe a little blurb to welcome people, an announcement area, and any required/recommended templates for a WikiProject. But keep the main page super-simple, super-fast loading, and super-accessible. Then, everything we've talked about on this page gets split into the various subpages? After all, when I come here, I'm usually looking to do one particular thing, or at least one related group of tasks. Those tasks would probably all be together on a subpage, and it would get me there very quickly. How is that for a radical idea? —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 10:24, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #7 Sandbox 3 Strengths/Pros[edit]

This refers to Section #4 above, but specifically with regard to the related WikiProjects infobox within it.

Section #7 Sandbox 3 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

This refers to Section #4 above, but specifically with regard to the related WikiProjects
  • I did not like how the infobox tended to get lost in the rest of the text in that section. It should at least have a border around it, as shown in the SB2 example above. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:54, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
A border has been added to the WikiProjects box on the Sandbox 3 page. Northamerica1000(talk) 10:16, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #7 General comments and suggestions[edit]

  • I would eliminate the Related WikiProjects from Section 4 and put this in instead. Would it be better to move it above the articles, or keep it down here under the articles and categories? I am not sure. It might come down to the question of whether we want to promote work on the articles more or getting people more involved with the related projects and task forces. Maybe they should move around every few months depending on which side of the project needs a boost? Your thoughts? —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:54, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I prefer Related projects (et al.) to be listed further down on the page, underneath article alerts, articles, categories etc. This is the format that many Wikiprojects use, and it makes sense to list food articles, discussions (e.g. Article alerts) and content that people can contribute to, collaborate upon, etc. prior to the Task forces (which receive very little input nowadays) and related projects content. Northamerica1000(talk) 21:57, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
    Respectfully, I disagree about moving them farther down. We have visitors coming here trying to find their niche, their home with us. We want to be friendly and welcoming. Established participants will happily move down the page to whatever they are looking for, but a new visitor is likely to be turned off by a bunch of stuff they haven't even identified as something in which they have interest. You are operating under an assumption that WP:FOOD is their preferred destination, but maybe it's Beer, Milk, Herbs and Spices, or McDonald's that turns them on. If they see a slew of articles that they aren't interested in, then "Adios amigos! Time for me to find a project that's a better fit." That's what we are trying to do here... help them find the fit within our project that is closest to their interests. You said somewhere that Task Forces are nearly dead. Well, that may be true, but could it be that people have a hard time finding them? We should make it easy. To that end, rotating banner ads in this section might even be helpful (and colorful). —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 04:10, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #8 - Tools[edit]

Below is the Tools section in Sandbox 3. SB2 has nothing corresponding to this section. SB3 displays links to additional resources that might be of interest to participants. Note that the "Key Wikipedia Policies and Guidelines" navbox is closed by default. I opened it for the screen capture so that we could see what links it contains.

Sandbox 3

Section #8 Sandbox 3 Strengths/Pros[edit]

  • I guess it's kind of nice to have these all in once place and easy to find. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:58, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #8 Sandbox 3 Weaknesses/Cons[edit]

  • I don't think that I would ever use them. I'm not sure that most participants would either. It's non-friendly, but it may be kind of useful for some people. If it is kept, it needs to have it's heading changed to the same kind of heading box as the rest of the headings use; otherwise it looks like its part of the previous section, and that's really confusing. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:58, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Section #8 General comments and suggestions[edit]

  • Being tucked way down here at the bottom of the page, it doesn't really bother me to leave it here on the off chance that someone finds it useful. If you find it useful, let us know. I could be superimposing my own prejudices onto someone others find very helpful. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 07:58, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I perceive the tools section as providing links to valuable editing tools for editors while taking up minimal page space. It's also at the end of the page, so it's not particularly obtrusive relative to other content on the page. Northamerica1000(talk) 22:00, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
    I just was thinking about the extra milliseconds it takes the server to render this page and the seconds it takes to send such a large one. While the amount of this one section is quite small, it's just one more thing that adds weight to the page. What if we just had a link to a tools page, and collected all the tools there? I don't think that the average WikiProject editor would find that particular selection (or any selection other than their own handpicked choices) to be helpful enough to suffer through extra page load times. Now a page of tools might be very helpful, since it won't bloat the main page, it's only a click away, and we can add in as many useful tools as we can find there. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 04:14, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Hey guys, that has been what I have been doing all along anyways. ("Its all part of the plan" - The Joker) As a matter of fact I just expanded the Tools page a bit more over the past few days. I am going to add a few more things as it stands now. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 04:25, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Update: Sandbox 3 no longer has the Tools section on it's main page. Northamerica1000(talk) 10:17, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Overall impressions and suggestions[edit]

Now that you have looked at these layouts piece-by-piece, please add your overall impressions or general feelings about how you would like the whole of the page to look, work, and function. Also, if you have any suggestions that were not already covered above, please include them here.

  • It's a rare opportunity to have two good options to pick and choose from. So often, it seems that we have to settle for the "least bad option" (like in politics). In this case, both of the Sandbox layouts are "good enough". If we combine the best parts of both, we are going to have a WikiProject main page that will be the envy of other WikiProjects and the model from which they will steal. ;-)
Speaking of stealing from others (or, more accurately, re-using content as allowed by the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license and Wikipedia's policies), it might be a good idea for everyone to look at main pages in other WikiProjects and see how they do things. Report back here (with links) anything that you find that's particularly nifty or would be very helpful. It could be layout ideas, text copy that's particularly well written, or some useful tools that we don't (currently) use.
If we take our time and do it right, this will turn out really well. Thanks to everyone involved, especially our Sandbox 2 and 3 developers, for this opportunity to make a big improvement from what this WikiProject looked like when I first started over seven years ago. Even in the last three years when I kind of took a break from Wikipedia (life off-wiki has thrown me many curves). As long as we keep the project at the forefront and our egos at the back, this will be a worthwhile effort for all. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 08:07, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Next steps[edit]

Let's give this one month (I know that feels like an eternity in Wiki-time), that is until the end of September 2013, for WikiProject participants to provide feedback. Sometime after September 15th, perhaps interested participants could work together to start Sandbox #4 that begins to implement the suggestions proposed here. Then, after the discussions close at the end of September, we can take 10 days or so to critique SB4 and make any final tweaks in a new Sandbox 5. Assuming that everything goes smoothly and people work nicely together, we can !vote on adoption of SB5 for a week, and then implement it in mid-October. Again, this may seem like a lengthy process, but I think that slowing the pace down and focusing on getting as much feedback as possible will help to remove egos from the equation and turn out something that we all can be proud of. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 05:23, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

  • The above works for me; thanks for your work in organizing this discussion page. Northamerica1000(talk) 23:17, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
    • You're welcome. I hope that we get more feedback from a variety of folks. Perhaps you could highlight this discussion in the next newsletter. I imagine one will come out before the discussions close and we implement. Otherwise, maybe we should adjust the end date(s) or roll out a special edition of the newsletter. I was involved in the logo design discussion for WikiBooks, and it was very easy for people to get off track into all sorts of tangential discussions (what does the color "blue" really symbolize?) and also to get a little heated when a favorite idea was shot down. While the design I liked best was not selected as the final design, the logo was one of the ones that I expressed support for, and I even did some modification to it along the way. When we all collaborate together, work to make every part of everyone's proposals better (even the parts you don't particularly like), and let the consensus process work, the final result will be very good, and most people will agree--even if it was not their first choice. That's how I see this process ultimately working out. I hope so anyway. —Willscrlt “Talk” ) 04:51, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Article alerts[edit]

Could we please have the article alerts returned to a normal text size? It's less legible and the column breaks are disruptive. (I'm not sure where to put this comment, because this discussion is gargantuan and not something I care to troll through in full, so feel free to move this to wherever you need it to be.) Ibadibam (talk) 22:41, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

That is designed to be a window into the Alerts, you can see the page at the tools page or the full version at the Alerts page. --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 00:46, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I get that. I'm just saying it was more legible before the switch to the columns template, which apparently happened here, and I don't find any justification for the change in the cavernous discussion on this page (I'm admittedly not looking that hard, and if there's been some discussion on the subject, I'd love to read it). I'd revert the change myself but I know that the project layout has been a contentious subject and I don't want to ruffle any feathers. The changes on the whole are positive—you guys have really spruced up the place—I just don't love this particular thing and am requesting it be changed back unless there's consensus otherwise. Ibadibam (talk) 00:45, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
I made some changes to the template that I applied to the page. How does this look to you now? --Jeremy (blah blahI did it!) 22:54, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree with using a normal font size for article alerts, and also having the alerts as one column. I've boldly made some changes to the Article alerts page to make it easier to read and navigate. Since it's a scrolling box on the project's main page, it doesn't take up any more space there, but the text and layout is now easier to read, both on the project's main page and on the separate article alerts page. Northamerica1000(talk) 15:43, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm on board with how it looks now: one column and normal size. I'm on the fence as to whether we need to keep using Template:Article alerts columns, since using it with one column is just taking the long road to get the same effect as raw transclusion, which has been the standard approach in the past. I do like the line the template adds at the bottom about AAlertBot, which seems informative. Ibadibam (talk) 17:39, 2 October 2013 (UTC)