New website for BABELS

EN Questions on Babels / ES Preguntas sobre Babels /
FR Questions sur Babels
yan
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New website for BABELS

Postby yan » Mon Mar 08, 2004 7:50 pm

From Germán:

We would like to redesign the current Babels website:

1-to simplify the way the website is structured;

2-to better integrate the forum to the rest of the website;

3-to allow users to post documents online easily, so that everyone can have continuous access to up-to-date information. This includes lexicons, calls for volunteers, pictures and documents on the past social forums, etc.
The current structure, using HTML, does not allow this kind of interaction
between users.

There are currently three people wishing to undertake this reorganization, two in Paris, one in Germany (Laurent and Yan, Germán).

As Babels coordinators, we would like your input on this matter and/or your active participation to this workgroup:

1-do you agree with the idea of reorganizing the Babels website?

2-do you wish us to take care of the reorganization?

3-do you have any better/other ideas concerning the website?

If you know of other people who would be interested in this, please note that we will most probably use SPIP to redesign the website.
If any of you wants to contribute as a website designer, in particular, do not hesitate to contact us.

Note: we are only talking about the general website, and NOT the Babels database with the information on individual Babels volunteers, etc. This will be dealt with separately, at some other time.
Last edited by yan on Thu Aug 18, 2005 11:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

yan
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First reply: Ledabeck

Postby yan » Mon Mar 08, 2004 7:54 pm

From Ledabeck:

> 1-do you agree with the idea of reorganizing the Babels website?

Absolutely!

> 2-do you wish us to take care of the reorganization?

Yes, I do, but I©ˆd love to participate in the conception of the new website, and to help in every way I can. (I may actually try to convince my husband, who is knowledgeable in website design, to help you technically.)
 
> 3-do you have any better/other ideas concerning the website?

I have A BUNCH of suggestions:

1. We should take the opportunity to rethink the logo, which is really outdated in terms of design.
2. Also, the colors (mainly orange and brown, from what I recall) should be replaced by something lighter.
3. I aggree the website needs lots of improvement in order to include all the information one needs when connected to Babels. Here are some ideas:

           a. It should have specific areas for registered interpreters, with specific information for them;
           b. a specific button for those who are not yet registered (a button! not 4 or 5 big boxes in different  languages! And, by the way, as Babels was born from the WSF, which was born from a Brazilian  initiative, it surprises me that Portuguese is NOT one of the languages at the front page of Babels!);
           c. another specific button called ©¯About Us©˜ - which is standard
in any website, and where a simple description of Babels should be, like the ones in the current boxes, but better, longer, and with more details;
           d. maybe a ©¯History©˜ button (to tell a brief but more complete
history of the organization and its participation in different events; or maybe that©ˆs redundant with the previous button...).

Other suggestions are:
1. For those who register, and have a password to log in, the site should
offer connections to the lexicons, to the forums, to the mailing lists (all
of them), and to specific pages for specific projects (e.g. Transtrad,
Nomad, Memory, and the emergent training project Agnès and Gérard have been working on).
2. I would also love to see a ©¯BabelsWho©˜ that would allow any member to locate any other member (see, for instance, the button ©¯people©˜ under the button ©¯search©˜ on the Stanford website: http://www.stanford.edu; you may find anyone in Stanford through that button).
3. By the way, a search button would be great too!

Other ideas may come up. If you want to hear more, please let me know. And don©ˆt hesitate to give me tasks related to the website redesign. I©ˆd love to help!

Best,
Leda

yan
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2nd reply from JosieDethiers

Postby yan » Mon Mar 08, 2004 7:56 pm

Hello Germán

I am Josie Dethiers. I got your message from Stéphanie Marseille and I am interested to help with redesigning Babels website.

Here's my answers to your questions:

> 1-do you agree with the idea of reorganizing the Babels website?

Yes, good idea. Navigation could be improved I think and user interaction is a very exciting project.

> 2-do you wish us to take care of the reorganization?

Whatever is best  ;)

> 3-do you have any better/other ideas concerning the website?

Not really but I would be glad to contribute as website designer if it can help.

I'm good at coding in html, css, javascript (not xml yet) and in my job I do intranet development but... with m$ asp.

In Babels, I'm working on the lexicons (information/internet in particular) and since I will be the spip trainer for the group of lexicon writers, I am trying my hands on it. I am also curious about php.

I am living in Paris and I have read on the babels forum that Yan and Laurent will be working on the website from there, so you can transfer this
mail to them if you wish.

See what you can do with my modest contribution.
I hope to hear from one of you.
Josie

yan
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Preliminary project

Postby yan » Mon Mar 08, 2004 8:02 pm

Hi, here's a preliminary document:

Outline for the website:

What should be on the website:
-what is Babels; it’s link with the ‘association Babels’
-links to Babels projects: lexicon, transtrad, nomad, WSF and ESF reports
-information newsletter with current events
-call for volunteer interpreters/translators for future events
-link to forum

What we should be able to do at all times:
-change language (which ones? We can start with EN, FR, ES, IT, DE, PT, ie. the intial 5 languages of the ESF2, and continue adding languages as time goes by?)
-register or check registration information; (un)subscribe to mailing lists
-log in/out
-search website

Major problems which we have to address:
-who has access to each project sub-section? eg. i. privileged access for pre-selected members; ii. read-only access for all; or iii. full access for all?
-should we reserve sub-sections for local babels coordinations? eg. babels-IT, -DE, -BR, -ES, -RU, etc.?

Minor problems which we have to address:
-overall design: must be simple and legible. No logo, but perhaps a few pictures?
-must we include an option to search for the names of registered members?


Outline tree structure:

-Homepage: language option, about babels, links to projects/forum, registration button
???

NOTE: please feel free to discuss this preliminary project by clicking on 'post reply'.

Germán
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Postby Germán » Mon Mar 08, 2004 9:38 pm

Here is my idea of the website:

*Actual content, in several languages:

--ABOUT. This should explain what (and who) we are, what we do, and briefly tell the history of Babels. This is a special section in that it will probably only be visited once, but is nevertheless essential to reach out to new people.

--CHARTER. Just that, the charter.

--PROJECTS. A page where each project we are involved in is described briefly. On-going projects can go here. Time-dependent projects (Social Forums, basically) can go here when they are still in the future. I'm in doubt as to what to do with past projects (Florence, Paris, Mumbai). Should they go here? Should they have a dedicated section (perhaps called "memory")?

--REGISTER. Instructions for registering, plus the link to do it and to see/modify your info.

--WHAT ELSE?

*Navigation:

I suggest that a certain number of things be accessible, in the same way, from every page on the site. There are two groups of links here, as I see it. One group is the projects, another the languages. At any time one must be able to change language without changing section (ie, going from the English "about" to the Portuguese "about", for example). Also at any time one must be able to go to the page or website of each of the projects (by which I mean lexicons, forum, etc).

I would divide these two groups of links visibly. For instance having one group lined along the top (languages?) and another down the side, or along the bottom. Those are details for later.

*Other Stuff:

I don't know about searching for names. What info do we give out to who? I'm not very happy with the idea that anyone (or even anyone of the thousands registered with Babels) can just go to babels.org and see my email address...

The website as I describe it here, you'll notice, is quite static. I don't see the need to make sections with limited access for certain people etc. Once up, the content I see is pretty stable. "About" and "Charter", once written and translated, almost never need updating. "Projects" only very rarely. Maintaining the links is easy once everything works. The actual projects are the ones which require constant access (transtrad, lexicons) but they are in the hands of dedicated groups - any of us can form part of those groups, but that work is independent of the site.

The only bit which actually "does" something would be the "register" button, and the possibility to update your info once you've registered.

What do you think of this concept of the website? Am I completely missing the point? What should be included that I haven't seen?

yan
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Postby yan » Mon Mar 08, 2004 9:49 pm

I agree with most of what you say, but maybe we should try to avoid making the website too 'static', because that's what the website is like now, why bother working on it to reproduce the current problems?  We could try to find a way to encourage contributions and make it easy to post documents, information, updates, etc. for everyone, and to make sure that people can actually join the groups working on the different projects (lexicon, transtrad, nomad, fse, wsf, etc.)  In other words, how can we integrate these projects without actually interfering with them? (In that sense, I agree with you: they should be left alone.)
A few additional remarks:
The navigation model you suggest is fine by me (viz. change of language & direct access to the 'projects' at all times + registration changes).
I also agree that we shouldn't put a search feature for people's names. Anyways, it's legally impossible to use the current Babels database to do this. People would have to willfully sign up for this, and that's too much trouble to organize. (Plus, people can get in touch through the forum if need be.)

ljesover
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Postby ljesover » Tue Mar 09, 2004 8:06 am

My main question regarding the website is about why do we need one ? Do we even need one ?

Yes: basic needs

- register volunteers

Actualy you might think me crazy but that's about it... We need to have a place where people receiving calls for volunteers can go and put their information. Once they are in the circuit it is up to the different coordinations to give them information and so on... for instance where is the Forum ? Well people registered in info-xx should receive information from their babels-xx: The forum is their. No need of a website. And so on.

So why do we need a website ?

Question of identity ? We are a network and we have many identities linked with many projects. All of them are slightly different... That is an identity in fact :-) We need probably to say so.

Having a place for basic information in order to not have to repeat them all the time. To help give some sense.

Well yes but once again it is expecting
a) for people to read it
b) for people to come back to the site once they have registered

In order to be helpfull more than a ID card, the website should be a workplace. That is why I am agreeing with suggestions I heard but not all. Or at least not necessarily in that order:

For instance in Transtrad we are working on our charter and we would like to use the website to publish all the documents we are translating, all of them (a lot in fact...). Our needs are quite different I am sure than the one of the ESF2004 coordination. They imply even a completly different way of dealing with information.

My question is therefore the following now: ok for a website for registration. Basic information, why not, but some difficulty will happen as it'll be difficult to be sure that people will come back if updates are made, but let say it is helpful for first comers. How can we cope with it ?

ljesover
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Postby ljesover » Tue Mar 09, 2004 8:18 am

I would like to give an example.

Transtrad have issued a discussion topic proposal on its future and send it to all translators registered in transtrad to come to the Forum to discuss it.

At the same time transtrad coordinators have sent this proposal to all the project coordinators, localized babels-xx and others and asked them to inform the people registered in their info-xx databases in order for them to be aware on what is going on.

Nothing happened.

What the website will change to this ? How it can be helpfull ? ie having place to put information will it answer the fact that information is more than printing it on a webpage and going away... it is a practice allowing more people to participate to it even further.

I understand you'll see "projects" all the time and that all "projects" will be free to put their information. Will they ? And if not what will happen ? and if they will is that finishing up the information process on their side ? You see what I mean... It is not to be nergative for once, but why will we work hours to find the suposedly best way to do this... forgetting in fact that the answer is not the websoite, even for transparency purposes.

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Postby Sarah » Tue Mar 09, 2004 9:58 am

It's all very well saying that people will receive information from their local Babels network, but the fact is they don't (or at least in France and the UK they don't). And even if they do, it will only relate to their national network. As for the Forum, although it is good and interesting, it is not clearly structured.

A general website is necessary to display information clearly for both members and non-members. There is a difference between discussion (the forum) and explanation (which should be the task of the website). A website with pages for the different projects would also allow more information to be put up, of the sort that would not necessarily fit into the forum framework. I think Yan's proposals for the structure, together with Germán's suggestions, are good and that we should stick with them.

Germán
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Postby Germán » Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:27 pm

yan wrote:maybe we should try to avoid making the website too 'static', because that's what the website is like now, why bother working on it to reproduce the current problems?


Well, the current problems as I see them are unclear structure, unclear navigation, and lack of connexion to the on-going work of different groups of Babelistas (such as Transtrad, for example). I think solving these problems is necessary, and doesn't imply turning the site into a great interactive place, just a better designed one.


yan wrote:We could try to find a way to encourage contributions and make it easy to post documents, information, updates, etc. for everyone, and to make sure that people can actually join the groups working on the different projects (lexicon, transtrad, nomad, fse, wsf, etc.) In other words, how can we integrate these projects without actually interfering with them? (In that sense, I agree with you: they should be left alone.)


I think the way to make sense of this is to distinguish clearly between functions. Imagine a Babels project that needs web-space, and needs to have it updated by different people, posting documents, correcting old documents, whatever. This can be done with SPIP which, unless I'm mistaken, is already installed. In this case a separate branch of the directory tree is created for this project, and the only thing that changes on the "babels.org" main pages is a new link, and a new paragraph in the "projects" page.

So you see, my idea is that the function of the website is that of a portal, leading to all places, but not being any one of them. Registration yes, because that is a very general thing, and the first that a new member needs to do. All the other stuff, even if they are in fact pages hosted at the same server and with URLs like http://www.babels.org/whatever , should be considered an independent task that has to be solved with whatever particular needs it has. Transtrad doesn't have the same needs as the lexicons, for instance. I don't think that we should enter into that when discussing the website. I'm personally willing and indeed hoping to work on the technical details of those things as well, but once the site, much simpler, is finished.

ljesover wrote:For instance in Transtrad we are working on our charter and we would like to use the website to publish all the documents we are translating, all of them (a lot in fact...). Our needs are quite different I am sure than the one of the ESF2004 coordination. They imply even a completly different way of dealing with information.


Exactly, which is why I suggest that we get the reformed website up, and get to work on making a Transtrad site that will fulfil all your needs, the same way that there is already a "site" for the forum, a site for the lexicons, and a site for Nomad. The "Transtrad" section on the Babels website would then just be a presentation of the project (as detailed as you consider it necessary) and a link (on every page, as I said).

As for general announcements and calls for volunteers, they could indeed go in the front page. That shouldn't be too much work. But as you say, the website might not be visited daily by everybody, so perhaps these announcements could also be emailed through the different coordination lists. Whether people respond or not is another matter.

ljesover
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Postby ljesover » Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:56 pm

SPIP is not really installed on the server. There is one SPIP comewhere. But whatever SPIP installation is not a problem. What is more is to find SPIP infographist to make the layout.

As far as our project goes it is not a big SPIP site, the only issue is languages. Please see http://www.fse-esf.org to see one idea to manage them. Believe me for having done quite a lot of work on multilingual sites, this is one of the main issue. Version 1.7 of SPIP is managing translation in a more or less satsifactory way... but still.

SPIP allows collaborative work by granting access (with several access possibility from redactor to administator) to section of the website (or the whole if necessary).

I agree with you German the difficulty might not lay totaly in the special needs of the diverse "projects", but still it is a question since what we will do will be the tool for all and that to be pragmatic no one will take the time to develop separately: We have waited one year to find some people willing to take some time to think a bit about the website...

For working on website structure I am a bit more visual, can someone make a tree of a proposed structure ? For the moment I am more in the vague...

ljesover
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Postby ljesover » Tue Mar 09, 2004 4:05 pm

Sorry I misread German post earlier

My proposal

I--ABOUT. This should explain what (and who) we are, what we do, and briefly tell the history of Babels. This is a special section in that it will probably only be visited once, but is nevertheless essential to reach out to new people.
1) CHARTER. Just that, the charter.

II--PROJECTS. A page where each project we are involved in is described briefly. On-going projects can go here. Time-dependent projects (Social Forums, basically) can go here when they are still in the future. I'm in doubt as to what to do with past projects (Florence, Paris, Mumbai). Should they go here? Should they have a dedicated section (perhaps called "memory")?
1) localized
a) fr
b) it and so on
2) event related
a) esf
i) next one
ii) ESF2
iii) ESF3
3) non event related
i) transtrad
ii) lexicon


III--REGISTER. Instructions for registering, plus the link to do it and to see/modify your info.

Each of the section can contain

Type of document
doc
announcement
photos
???

Keywords
???

Languages
???

There are question about index pages and document pages (whatever the type) since different layout can be organized for these

Please see http://www.altermundo.info you can vizualize an example.

ljesover
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Postby ljesover » Tue Mar 09, 2004 4:08 pm

Sorry for this other post. One question related to organisations...

For the moment the site is communicating to volunteers, would be or already volunteers. What about organizations that want to contact us ? Projects that want to be proposed to us ?

Germán
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Postby Germán » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:22 pm

OK, a picture seems to be emerging. This is what I understand so far: There is no consensus on how interactive the website needs to be (I am of the opinion that not very much at all, but I may be alone in this, in which case I would like to know what people expect to be posting, so that we can think of a sensible structure). Apart from that there seems to be agreement on certain parts of the website, and I'll try to summarise them to see if we do agree, and change what we don't agree on.

About:
    Who, what
    History
    Charter
Projects:
    Localized
    Event-related
    On-going
Register:
    Instructions
    Lists (descriptions, possibility of joining)

Contact: (a blurb here for possible contact by other orgs)

ljesover wrote:Each of the section can contain

Type of document
doc
announcement
photos
???

Keywords
???

Languages
???

There are question about index pages and document pages (whatever the type) since different layout can be organized for these


I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "type of document" and "doc". In fact I don't really understand your structure, here. Could you explain it some more? My idea of the structure of each section is that it should be as simple as possible, to minimise the number of clicks necessary to get all the content from the site. In this sense, for instance, "About" would just be one page, with three sections. Only if the page became too long (say more than three screenfuls) would I separate the charter and put it "behind" a link.

I think on the question of navigation we all agree - language choice and links always visible. The example of http://www.fse-esf.org is more or less what I was thinking about (but not so ugly! ;-)


To summarise: please reply to this post with corrections to the above structure, and with reasons (and proposals) to make the site more interactive - I'm not against it, I just don't see the need.

ljesover
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Postby ljesover » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:47 pm

I'll try to make more sense. I am sorry but it seemed difficult to grasp it at first for me.

There are three levels (corresponding to the SPIP skeleton ie the automated formated pages that need to be worked on)

From Basic to more General

I- Information.

1) Characterized by several types
a) document
b) announcement
c) photo
d) maybe something else

2) Characterized by several languages
a) the orginal language
b) several others (not limited) translations

3) Characterized by keywords
Maybe to be discussed

4) Characterized by an author

5) Characterized by a place within the website tree ie somewhere in some sections.


II- Section index

Question what type of information should be there ?
- Static: a presentation of the section (short)
- Dynamic: automated publishing of the announcements for instance sorted by date and no older than six month (if they are not withdrawn of course)

III- General index, opening page.

The same question as above.

----

Objects of the pages

I- should have at all time trace of the characterization to be able to naviagte according to each one of them

II- should have the section tree visible in order to navigate from on part ot another easily

1) Question of classification (i do not put them in any order)

a) About (seem to be no problem) can have some sub-sections or many documents related to different type of users

b) Register (seem to be no problem)

c) The big question is the rest because we have to take in account
i) a variety of existing items
ii) the possibility to add items easily just by creating a new section

Do we classify all in two main areas

*Localized Projects
*International Projects

Do we not classify

Do we classify all in two other areas

* Event linked projects
* Non event linked projects

Do we classify other way ?

----

Unresolve question for me.
Not all will be translated in all the languages of course.

Let say you are in the index in Spanish but there is an announcement that is not existing in Spanish but that can be interesting for whatever reason, how do express a rule of the dymanic publishing ?

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ljesover
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Postby ljesover » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:58 pm

German and I probably were working at the same time

German question for me there are three behaviors

Static information
Dynamic information (automation of updating)
Interactive information (possibility to interact ie post and so on)

For the Dynamic information
I am seeing mainly "announcement" as a type of dynamic information ie automated post and renewal in some pages.
Maybe there can be another one "news". For instance a piece of information is not an announcement "looking for volunteers" or "call for meeting" or ... but a piece of news "the EPA in London last week-end launched the ESF2004 process"


For interactivity.
A link to the Forum (general intrance) at all time visible
Each section can have a Forum link to special section of the Forum (this means to reorganize the Forum according to the website sections for instance)

-----

For the proposal of the tree

I am not sure of "on going" because well most of the things are ongoing. I agree FSE2003 is over but babels-fr is always ongoing or lexicon also.

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Germán
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Postby Germán » Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:44 am

Laurent, I have been looking at the SPIP documentation and now think I understand better the type of structure you are talking about. So here is what I think:

The "About" section doesn't need to be updatable like a webzine (which I understand is the basic functionality of SPIP). I think plain old HTML is good enough for this, but I also notice that a static page can be integrated in a SPIP site easily, so that's OK.

The "Register" section is also basically info and a link to the registration form, there doesn't seem to be a need to post news in this section.

The "Projects" section is the one where things might be different. You might want to use it to update with news on each project, but perhaps this could be done with SPIP's "syndication" system, whereby when another site done with SPIP is updated, that can be reflected on your own site. This way we could have syndication with the lexicons and Nomad (already running on SPIP) and with Transtrad as soon as it's up, as long as we do it on SPIP too.

Actually posting news about the different projects on the page could mean double work for the coordinators of each project, because every time they had something to say they would have to update two sites, not one. I still believe that the best thing is for the Babels main site to contain information on each project (what it is, its objectives, where to find it, how to join) and a link to the relevant site. The syndication system could be a plus. But of course I'm not against including independent updatable pages for each project if the relevant coordinators consider it necessary.

The main page of the babels site, on the other hand, could be a full-functionality SPIP page, updatable by a large number of people. This gives room for creative use of our web-space by those who have things to say. The forum is one tool, but it needn't be the only one.

And now a concrete proposal. I believe we are more or less agreed on what is needed. I also think that SPIP is an appropriate tool to build this site. I propose that we start writing it already, sharing the URL among the team and whoever asks to be let see it, and when we're all satisfied with it we can make it public and bring the old site down.

One person should do the first draft of the site. Afterwards that draft can be modified as much as we want, sharing our feedback perhaps through email (it seems silly to clutter the forum with discussions on whether the titles should be blue or orange), but a first draft to work with is the only useful way forward I can think of. I propose myself to do this, but I will happily defer to anyone else who considers themself capable and is willing.

What say you? Anyone for coding a draft website in SPIP?

yan
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Postby yan » Mon Mar 15, 2004 7:00 pm

Germán, as far as I'm concerned, why don't you make a 1st draft version?
You might start by using one of the following skeletons:
http://www.uzine.net/spip_contrib/rubri ... rubrique=5
Then, we can all try to see what we should add/modify.

josie dethiers
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Postby josie dethiers » Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:02 pm

I will be glad to join you, Germàn, Yan and who else?... but I'm new to spip and php and will be without internet connection up to the end of the month. However in the meantime, I have downloaded a web local copy of spip and the whole documentation that I will study offline and I hope to be able to bring you some kind of technical support and feedback on your draft(s) on my return

Bon courage German with your skeleton ;)

Josie

yan
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Postby yan » Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:21 pm

Has anyone begun working on a skeleton and/or a visual template for the new website so that we can start working on it?  (Germán had generously proposed to do it, but I don't know if he's had time to do it or whether he was waiting for more reactions.)

Otherwise, one of the forum users (brandelune from Japan) suggested that we take a look at:
http://www.issho.org/index.php
it's a multilingual forum.  I don't know whether we could use some of it to create the new website but it looks useful in many ways because the issue of language is a central component.

I spoke with Laurent this morning on the phone, and I thought that we should try to imagine more clearly what kind of 'dynamic' information should appear on the general index page as well as on the separate project-index pages.  Germán also spoke of this issue in another email. Apparently, we basically agree on the general information that should be on the website, but we should still try to determine what secondary information should also appear there to entice viewers to check out the several pages of the website (and, especially, the individual project-pages which we are not going to redesign -- at least in the short term -- such as lexicons, transtrad, nomad, etc).
The 'dynamic' information could be stuff like:
-last 'post' of a document by a user (for eg.: 'vocab. on water')
-last collective email sent (eg. for the meeting in turkey)
-latest information regarding individual projects (eg. last doc. for transtrad, last doc. for nomad, etc.)
etc.
The question is: what kind of information could we want to see on each page? and how much of it? (the title, or the title + subtitle, etc.) We could have one dynamic section with 'last general information posted' (collective information), and a separate dynamic section with 'last information posted in individual projects', both on the right column.  This is just a quick suggestion, and certainly not the best, but I'd like to have your opinion on this.


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