Documenting the Initial Iteration

Before testing the design and content additions to support newcomers, I wanted to document the rationale behind the initial suggestions after several “in-house” design iterations.

Outlining the reasoning of design decisions is a process that can be helpful in producing stronger designs. It forces you to thoroughly think through your design and limits personal opinions when collaborating with others or discussing changes with stakeholders.

Join the Team Section

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Join the Team Heading

Assumption: The “Join the Team” heading is vague and is a missed opportunity to briefly explain the mission.

Experiment: Change the heading to “Help Us Improve the Web” to make the page more scannable.

Ways to Contribute

Assumption: Linking to the report form and open issues disorients new visitors who want to learn more about contributing.

Experiment: Add additional context by explaining the process and allowing the current links to serve as calls to action.

Learn More 

Assumption: The “Learn More” anchor text under the “Join the Team” section is vague and unexpectedly directs to the about page.
Experiment: Link to the contributor page, and make the anchor text easy to scan and understandable out of context by changing the sentence to “Learn more about how to contribute.”

 

Navigation

Contributor Link

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Assumption: Newcomers overlook the contributor page link that’s in the footer.

Experiment: Link to the contributor page in the top navigation to help newcomers quickly find what they need.

Contributor Page Content

“Newcomers often face unfamiliar and rugged landscapes when starting to contribute to an OSS project. Consequently, they need proper orientation to find their way into the project and to contribute correctly.“ – Steinmacher, Igor et al

Contributor Roles

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Assumption: Newcomers have a difficult time matching their skills and interests with project opportunities.
Experiment: Include specific roles on the contributor page to make all volunteer opportunities clear.

Success Stories

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“ …acknowledge and celebrate contributions, so that people who do contribute feel appreciated and motivated to continue;”Chawner, Brenda
Assumption: Celebrating contributions provides social proof and shows the project appreciates contributors.
Experiment:  Highlight success stories to add social proof, and leverage 3rd parties to build credibility.

Social Media Icons

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“Distinct outlines shows the unique shape of each icon without any visual noise. This means users can see the icons immediately without getting interrupted by background borders.”-UX Movement
Assumption: The link to Twitter in the footer isn’t easily recognizable.

Experiment: Use easily scannable icons that have a distinct outline.

Team Photos

team-test.jpg
Assumption: Adding contributor photos makes it easier to see who’s behind the website and is more personable.
Experiment: Include images of team members on the about page to provide social proof, acknowledge contributors, and emphasize the networking opportunity.

Contact Page

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Assumption: The current contact page could be more approachable and less distracting.
Experiment: Add clickable links to several communication channels and style the page to match the rest of the website. Like the contributor roles, the text is left-aligned to match the current style.

 

Sources
Chawner, Brenda. “Community Matters Most: Factors That Affect Participant Satisfaction With Free/Libre And Open Source Software Projects”. iConference ’12: Proceedings of the 2012 iConference (2012): 231-239. Print.

 

Steinmacher, Igor et al. “Social Barriers Faced By Newcomers Placing Their First Contribution In Open Source Software Projects”. Collaborative Software Development (2015): n. pag. Print.
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