[mythtv] Official Thread: Mythtv.org Redesign

Stephen Boddy stephen.boddy at btinternet.com
Tue May 15 10:25:37 UTC 2007

On Mon, 2007-05-14 at 10:37 -0700, Jean-Philippe Steinmetz wrote:
> <big fat snip>

First of all, a big thumbs up for Jean-Philippe's design.

A few thoughts on organisation, which you are perfectly free to
ignore :-)

Passage of text that briefly describes _what_ MythTV is and _why_
someone might find it useful without descending into feature lists.
MythTV is just too complex to sell every feature on the first page.

2 or 3 of the latest news items, with a small link to older stuff.

Links (top bar) to
- Features
- Support
- Bugs/Development
- Download

Is there really a need for anything else?

The sort of language I'm thinking of would go something like:

"MythTV started life as a DVR which is like a VCR which can hold
hundreds of hours of TV without the bookshelf tape collection, or the
slow rewinds. Since then it has grown into a full Media Center system
with many powerful features unlikely to be found in any other single
Media Center system. You can play your DVD's(*) and video files, view
your digital photograph album, listen to your music collection, browse
the world wide web, and even make a video call, all from your couch.

You can also keep up to date with your favourite news sites, check the
weather forecast, and when you need to unwind, play some classic games.

More advanced users with large libraries will appreciate the ability to
move their whole library into one system, making the collection
instantly accessible through the on screen menus. All of us who spend
too much time away from home will constantly use the web interface to
schedule recordings, and even view these remotely(**).

And all of this wrapped up in an interface that you can change to your

For more information click here (-> Features)

(*) For most commercial DVD's this requires software that is, or may be,
considered illegal in some countries, and is not possible without
additional actions by the end-user.

(**) Due to the amount of data involved in viewing video remotely, these
will be at a significantly lower quality in comparison to your
experience at home."

This would have a paragraph per functional area along with a screenshot.
Again, keep it a general without listing every feature. You could
possibly have a link to a wiki page where every feature ever added could
be listed, but a visitor doesn't need to know every detail at this
point. The visitor doesn't want to be bogged down reading about a
million TV features, get bored and leave, not even realising there's a
music/picture library, web access, and so on.
Bullet points are OK, as long as they're in English, and not over used.
Bad  > Commercial Detection.
Good > Marks commercials so you can skip over them.

Personally I _almost_ like Ubuntu's support page as an ideal, but it has
so many links with all those additional language forums, that I tend to
"lose" the English one which is uniquely embedded in a passage of text.
So, a clearly separated list of resources:
* "Official" resources
 - Wiki
 - Mailing lists (with links to gossamer for searches)
 - IRC
* Well regarded third party sites, i.e.
 - The Fedora guide
When I say "well regarded" I mean good quality, up-to-date information,
with a particular focus, and longevity. I think everyone would agree
that Jarod Wilson's guide would fit this description.

Do _not_ go directly to Trac. Have a page with a friendly warning that
if they ignore instructions on this page they are very likely to be
ignored by the developers. Have a check box and a button at the bottom
of the page to slow down the click through reflex. This will not be an
irritant for someone who doesn't know the procedures, as it will save
them some mild embarrassment from their first "bug report" that is
actually a feature request. It shouldn't bother a serious
reporter/contributor who will likely have a direct link to Trac anyway.

Outline what constitutes an acceptable/useful bug report, and state that
feature requests are not permitted in the Trac, and will be closed.

Again, a clearly separated list of options:
- A section with a link to a source package of stable, with text telling
them that this is the "hard way", and that all distro packages are based
off of this.
- A section for dedicated distros being theoretically the "easy
way" (MythDora, KnoppMyth etc.)
- A section covering each of the major distro's the "third way" (*buntu,
Fedora, SUSE, Debian.) This wouldn't give full instructions, just links
off to the relevant package repositories, and a link to a wiki page for
further info.
- A section for SVN, and a description of how it's "bleeding edge".
Someone unfamiliar with MythTV is least likely to take this route on the
first attempt, hence it's relegation to the end of the page.

My concluding thoughts are: keep it simple, logical, clean, and
uncluttered, but make the design kick butt.

Wow! That turned out a bit longer and more detailed than I first


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