Gunder, the designer, is scared. He’s wearing a life vest!
New domain, new looks, new features
Phew, we did it. The last weeks have been busy and we’re excited to finally join the ranks of the Qt Project. It has been our vision all along to have one single place on the internet for all the information we provide together with you. It has been bumpy from time to time but we stuck to the the big idea.
Oh, and since some people asked: there are redirects in place for all content that has now changed URLs.
Naturally, some things have now changed; we’re passionate fiddlers after all. Some of the new features are very visible, others not so much. Let me start with the most obvious:
A new homepage design
First, we changed some things in the main navigation. “Resources” has tested pretty poorly with you, so we took it away and replaced it with a download page. All the content on the old page has found a new and better home; like the videos on the front page for example which have been sorely neglected before.
We also introduced a short and sweet introductory text. We cannot assume that visitors know what Qt is when they first arrive on the site, and with the marketing grid from before disappearing we now needed something else. It’s not perfect but it’s a start.
When I ran the user tests at DevDays last fall, quite some people complained about the wasted space on the top and the big promo area. We heard a lot of praise for the 1 - 2 - 3 element though. Guess what? We changed it around. Now it’s very prominently placed and hopefully guides visitors new to Qt and the Project easily to where they need to go. And did you notice the big “Getting Started?” button before you log in? That is another element to support newcomers.
A fresh Getting Started page
Speaking of newcomers and providing some guidance to them: we also completely redid the old “Getting Started” page. After I did a lot of user research, including some personal experiments, I think I have a much better idea of what would be of potential help, and I have high hopes that I have made some improvements. I’m curious to hear what you think about them, let me know in the comments, will you?
An RSS widget for the front page
I am a big fan of blog aggregations on community sites, also because I never manage to keep my bookmarks tidy. This new “Planet Qt” widget in the sidebar is the first step to a more extensive blog aggregator.
In best open governance manner, we want to show great blogs regardless of where they come from. Right now we display a small hand-picked selection of feeds in the sidebar that I intend to grow over time. Since front page space is extremely valuable, these feeds need to fulfill certain criteria: they need to be relevant to a large group of visitors, they need to be reliably on-topic, and they have to have enough value to grant them such a high-profile spot. Thiago’s blog is a good example that checks all these boxes.
At some point, we’d like to have a real aggregation page, in one form or another. We have been toying with some ideas here but there is nothing solid to share at this point. And yes, we are aware of planetqt.org
Brand new News module
Of course, “News” is an important element on a front page. There was no way to take it away completely. How could I have told you that we were done with switching servers? So we built something new. Now we collect all news items on a lovely overview page and only display the latest one on the front page. It looks a bit sad at the moment because it’s so empty but it will fill up by itself pretty quickly, I’m confident.
Now we’re no longer running on Nokia owned and hosted hardware. Which means that we got shiny new virtual machines! We’re running on 16GB RAM, 8 CPUs, and 36 GB hard disk. Just think of all the blinking lights and fans and cables! I wish I had been there for the unwrapping. Oh, wait…
In other news…
Then there are some other things worth mentioning that do not have anything to do with us changing servers directly.
We have had two wikis for some time now, and that was not exactly ideal. The Qt Project wiki has grown during the last months, and now we have important information in two places again. We plan to unify those two wikis again, we just have to figure out how exactly, since we do want to comply with the license.
Now that I mentioned the two wikis, there is another site with a lot of useful Qt content: Nokia Developer. We have mentioned before that we’re looking into options to share content between the two sites but we want to do it in a way that makes sense and gives others a similar opportunity. This needs more investigation, and we don’t know yet how we can make this a reality.
And as before, we will iron out quirks, polish some CSS, and keep working on the site as usual. Big thanks to the Trollweb crew in Stavanger, the magic Gunder, and amazing Pål from the sunny coast for their work.
And now, it’s time for pastries!