I mentioned last October that W3C is redesigning key pages of its site, including the home page. Love in the air, Karl Dubost waxed the other day. I am managing this project and have enlisted Airbag Industries to design the templates. A number of Web designers (including some people on staff) are reviewing design ideas and draft information architecture. We have a ways to go, but I am confident that the effort will result in a much improved site.
Here’s where we stand:
- Airbag Industries has delivered templates. On 24 June in Boston, Ethan Marcotte will give a talk at An Event Apart. I believe he will share some of the novel ideas that emerged from this project. He may give a sneak preview of what some pages will look like.
- The information architecture is stabilizing. We are still working out relationships among pages related to technical reports. Today, the technical reports home page is an unsightly list. The new site will feature higher-level explanations of technology and will make it easier to find related information (tutorials, translations, business cases, and more). It will be easier to understand which specifications to use or not use, and how they relate. The additional information should help more people understand the big picture, but quick links will give frequent users direct access to resources such as specifications or group home pages. To answer Anne’s question: we are also planning to simplify the technical reports themselves, by moving some of the front matter one link away, so you can plunge right into the spec. I do want to point out that this project does not include a redesign of Working Group home pages; we’ve saved that for later.
- We have just started the implementation phase and are evaluating content management options that fit with our current publishing practices (including software and social expectations).
I would like to have a beta version available in September. We will need content for the new “technology home pages.” Although we have not finalized the template for these pages, I expect they will resemble the Guías Breves (“Quick Guides”) (see, for example, the guide on accessibility) created by the W3C Spain Office. Please contact me if you are interested in writing introductory material about any W3C technologies. Or, if you have written material already, we can link to it from the new site; send me the URI.
I will invite feedback more broadly when we announce the beta site. I also expect to blog about some of the choices we have faced in this process (for example, on how the templates behave on text resize or browser window changes). I should also write up notes about the tool that I wrote to experiment with information architecture. It uses Semantic Web technology (n3 with rules) and XSLT 2 to generate a demo site from a set of page and menu descriptions.