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RE: [Axiom-developer] Front page esthetic

From: Bill Page
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Front page esthetic
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 23:22:35 -0400


I am glad to receive your comments about the Axiom Wike site.
Please forgive me if some of my replies sound overly defensive.
I admit I have a biased view - but that is what makes it even
more important that other people comment about this stuff...

On July 31, 2006 9:33 PM you wrote:
>   I find the front page of Axiom quite "visually heavy" -- and
> many times I miss there the information I'm looking for.

Could you give an example of information that you were looking
for but did not find? That sort of observation would be a big

>   So, I took a look at few free software or open source 
> computer algebra systems, to see what other people are up to.
> All of them appears to me to be quite simple -- and I like that
> simplicity.  Especially that of Maxima.  It takes very little
> time to display -- compared to Axiom's.

When I look at

My first reaction is: Hmmm, that doesn't look so different than the
Axiom Wiki FrontPage... The time to display seems quite similar over
a high speed connection and a reasonably fast system (AMD 3500+).

Differences I noticed:

1) Maxima uses just a left side-bar but Axiom Wiki currently uses
   both left and right side-bars, but just a left side-bar
   navigation bar on all other pages.

2) The Axiom Wiki FrontPage has more graphics including an example
   Axiom output graphic.

3) The Maxima web site is not a wiki.

4) The Maxima web site has no search function.

I don't find anything that makes the Maxima page seem simpler or
that gives me the impression that information is more readily
accessible. What am I missing?

When I looked at:

I thought:

1) Yacas FrontPage doesn't say much and has only a minimal set
   of links (no side-bars).

2) Yacas uses a fixed left side-bar on other pages.

3) Not a wiki.

4) No search.

When I look at:

my reaction is:

1) Looks a lot like Axiom Wiki.

2) Has search.

3) Has both left and right side-bars.

4) Not a wiki.

Looking at:

The first things I see are:

1) Looks sort of like Axiom Wiki but uses only a left side-bar.

2) Hard to find search.

3) Left side-bar provides site navigation like on Axiom Wiki.

4) Not a wiki.


I am not sure what to conclude by the above. If you have time,
could you repeat this exercise and give your first impressions
for each?

> Important to me is that the front-page must send the message that
> this is related to research.  Yes, we have links to workshops and
> all that.  But, most importantly, links to research papers related
> to Axiom must be clearly and unambiguously linked from there --

Are you aware of the Axiom bibliography on the Axiom Portal?

Maybe this deserves a link on the Axiom Wiki FrontPage?

> I sent a message to axiom-mail to that effect but for some reasons
> it never shows up :-(

I did not see any posting to axiom-mail. In fact I haven't seen
any real postings to axiom-mail for some time - only spam (about
10 to 20 spam message per day). I wonder if this list is working
properly? Most people seem to prefer the axiom-devel list. Maybe
we have too many lists?

> My suggestion would be to simplify the "visual load" of the
> front-page.  I know that sounds a bit unhelpful but it is a
> start of suggestion :-)

I am not clear on what you mean by "visual load". Are you
referring to the layout? The color scheme?

> People should be able to find the exciting/appealing things
> about Axiom from its front-page.  We should not require them
> to "dig through".

I agree.

Can you give an example of something that is exciting and/or
appealing about Axiom that is not found on the FrontPage?

What constituents "dig through" to you? Do you mean just
that they don't find the information on the FrontPage?
How many clicks to finding the right information do you
think is reasonable?

> To my mind the description of Axiom should mention
> application to engineering, computer science -- not just
> Physics or Mathematics.

I agree. I really would like to be able to list examples
of all of these. Did you see any mention of physics on the
FrontPage? I would claim that computer science is clearly
implied by the contents of the FrontPage even if not
explicitly named.

Bill Page.

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