[ubuntu-web] Introduction & a question

Matthew Nuzum newz at bearfruit.org
Tue Jan 20 15:19:31 GMT 2009

On Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 11:16 AM, Andrew <rugby471 at googlemail.com> wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
> Thanks for that Matthew, I read the IRC logs and hopefully, my idea doesn't clash too much with
> everyone's thinking :-)

> From when I started using Firefox, I always liked the default homepage for it (to see what
> I am talking about go to google.com/firefox). It was very simple, looked great and focused you on
> the things that the user wanted the most (search). It also had links along the top that pointed you
> to popular points of interest.
> Now while I do like the current start page for Intrepid, I think we could learn some things from
> the Firefox homepage mentioned above:
> * Having the links separated from the search form is best

> * I feel also that the Firefox page feels more like a whole document, with content at the start and
> the finish

> * The Firefox page's top bar is light and the gradient on it is not too contrasting, so not
> distracting from what the user should be focused on, the search form form the rest of the page.

> * The text on the bar of the Firefox page is white, so nice and visible, but also has a shadow under
> it, so you can clearly see the word.

> * The SVG capabilities you described in the previous message cannot be achived with some of the
>  graphics used on the current start page (ie. the photo)
> Right! So I tried to correct all the things I mentioned above and so I created a start page (it is
> real, not a mockup) based on the Firefox start page and it is situated on the Wiki
> http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Website/JauntyStartPage

Excellent feedback Andrew, and great looking mockup.

Here's an idea. Can someone help me out by making changes to the start
page's HTML so that the difference between the current start page and
this start page Andrew proposed can be controlled entirely by CSS?

If someone wanted to do that then we could amend the start page with
some javascript that chooses the stylesheet and therefore the layout
allowing us to do some A/B testing.

Here's why I'm suggesting this: The start page is generating revenue
now as hoped[1]. And beyond our hopes the revenue is actually going up
(I'm sorry, I don't know numbers). We all expected that the start
page's use would dwindle shortly after release as people switched
their homepage but apparently people are keeping it.

Because of this I'm hesitant to risk deploying changes blindly that
would impact users' desire to keep it as their homepage. I fully
expect that the changes Andrew is suggesting would enhance this, not
diminish it, but the ability to A/B test would be great.

Of course this also causes another little problem. We don't use Google
Analytics on this page currently out of respect for people's privacy.
Therefore we don't exactly have a way currently to track the impact of
changes. Any suggestions would be appreciated. :-)

[1] Canonical invest all of the money it earns (and far more than that
thanks to Mark) into Ubuntu so this benefits the entire Ubuntu
community. (just to head off any complaints about Canonical making

Matthew Nuzum
newz2000 on freenode, skype, linkedin, identi.ca and twitter

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