New nixos.org design

If you have been following the work of the Marketing team, you will know we have been busy with redesigning the https://nixos.org. We have learned from our past mistakes and we now know we need to break our work down in steps. And that is exactly what we did with the redesign.

You have probably notices that https://nixos.org now has some new design. But it is important to know that this is only first part. Only landing page was designed as planned the rest of the website is merely updated to be functional.

The ground work was already done with the landing page so expect the rest of the pages starting to get their shape with each day. For each finalized page we will announce it in a comment here.

The order in which we will work is:

  • Download
  • Learn
  • Community
  • Governance
  • Donate
  • Features

I share the order with everybody because we also want everybody to report bugs. But only report bugs on pages that are already done. At the time of writing this only landing page is done.

Please report bugs in the issue tracker - and not here in the comments - one bug at the time, otherwise we will have hard time knowing what we fixed and what we didn’t. Also include as much as information about the browser and/or device as you can.

While redesign is not done yet but I nevertheless like to thank the whole Marketing team for all the effort that each put in. I’m aware that not everybody can contribute equally but I have also seen that everybody contributed their best.

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Nice work! Thanks @garbas and the others! I have one question: I couldn’t find the PayPal donation information, is it obsolete?

@azazel75 the donations are mostly coming via https://opencollective.com/nixos#support, which needs some time to load in the donate page, but that was always the case. I think opencollective also supports paypal.

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@garbas @samueldr Great work! It looks amazing

I’m probably forgetting others, but I was getting commit spammed on my notifications from these two a lot for the last two months (I had nixos-homepage still on watch all activity)

Also, perfect timing for the 20.09 release. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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Sorry to sound so negative but did the re-design actually involve anyone knowledgeable about visual design, typography and how to present that across different web-browsers?

yes. the design was done by a professional designer

do you have specific criticism?

Sure, elements sitting off the baseline is but just one.

Can you please create issues in the appropriate place as explained in the first post?

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Here is a bit of feedback that I can’t hold back any more.

Style wise I like everything but the new landing page. That one looks like Toys R Us. Way too many colors and animateable things. It has too many of those asciinema things while someone might just be interested in the actual Nix code that is required for the examples. On the other pages I like the refresh of style and font. It looks pleasing and a bit fresher.

I went to nixos.wiki earlier today and was really happy with how clean that page looks in comparison. There you can easily access all the stuff that should be accessible on the nixos.org website. It even mentions the Nix & Nixpkgs manuals!

I fear this is really going to far into marketing Nix & Nixpkgs as a product to some commercial entities and is really loosing the spirit of an open source project. I would much rather like to see individual landing pages that target audiences than the current nixos.org. I question who the personas are that you are trying to target. Is it a CTO, a random engineer, an investor, …?

Unfortunately the entire redesign (since the first changes) has left a fairly negative impression with me. The Learn category looks like a bunch of random links to stuff that is in the manuals. It looks to be targeted more towards SEO than actual users.
Very often, in the early days of the restructure, I tried to access the good old manual but the website doesn’t even mention it anymore. You have to check the pages source code and realize the “more” link is not just expanding that list of arbitrary topics. Nobody that I asked in recent months was able to find the manual on the page. Everyone just went by their browsers history and auto completion.

I also dislike how the search function on the website gradually moved away from being fairly neutral on NixOS vs Nixpkgs but nowadays it is only nixpkgs. The option search used to be the only other reason to visit the website besides the manuals. Not sure if I’m alone with that use case. I am aware of the footnote and option search on (the legacy-IP-only) search.nixos.org.

You should probably try to strike more of a balance between actual Nix users and those that you still want to win over. Right now you are loosing me as a convinced Nix user.

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Style wise I like everything but the new landing page. That one looks like Toys R Us. Way too many colors and animateable things. It has too many of those asciinema things while someone might just be interested in the actual Nix code that is required for the examples. On the other pages I like the refresh of style and font. It looks pleasing and a bit fresher.

It would be great if when clicking on the asciinema-samples, you can also expand a prose-version of these small tutorials. For accessibility-sake asciinema is not great; and people with assistive technologies might like reading short prose instead. (Also nice that you can then ‘follow along’ the samples by copy/pasting).

I’ll see if I can make some more nuanced thoughts around this and make some suggestions regarding this.

I personaly do like that the homepage focuses on small bite-sized demonstrations of what Nix can do for you. I just don’t think ‘video’ is the format that will be the most accessible and reach the most conversion rates

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Style wise I like everything but the new landing page…

I think we will never agree on the style and how things should look like. Too many people with too many opinions. I hope others will restrain from this kind of comments.

I went to nixos.wiki … mentions the Nix & Nixpkgs manuals!

For feedback on changes we did in Learn page we actually received was actually quite good. Everybody understood that changes are not permanent, but a quick fix that addressed many problems beginners have navigating.

I fear this is really going to far into marketing Nix & Nixpkgs as a product to some commercial entities and is really loosing the spirit of an open source project. I would much rather like to see individual landing pages that target audiences than the current nixos.org. I question who the personas are that you are trying to target. Is it a CTO, a random engineer, an investor, …?

We had this discussions quite a few times, from multiple angles and we always challenge if our assumptions about main use cases and audience. As you are looking for reasoning I would do a disservice by trying to shorten it, instead I invite you to go over the meeting and notes we produces.

Unfortunately the entire redesign…

I tend to disagree with this section, since we received good feedback. We don’t move in big steps, but doing many smaller steps. It happened to many times that the energy was lost because we tried to do too many things at the same time. This was said many times and is said even in this post. Judging it now is fairly premature, since the plan what is coming to nixos.org is pretty long.

I also dislike how the search function on the website gradually moved away from being fairly neutral on NixOS vs Nixpkgs but nowadays it is only nixpkgs. The option search used to be the only other reason to visit the website besides the manuals. Not sure if I’m alone with that use case. I am aware of the footnote and option search on (the legacy-IP-only) search.nixos.org.

As with the website there is also the long plan with the search.nixos.org. We only did the first step, issue tracker should tell you more about the roadmap. I don’t think discoverability of the search is worse then before, but I agree going forward this needs to be improved (there are few tickets in issue tracker addressing this).

You should probably try to strike more of a balance between actual Nix users and those that you still want to win over. Right now you are loosing me as a convinced Nix user.

While I disagree in many points I appreciate the honest feedback. Every change is hard and it is impossible to cater to everybody’s preference. What was done so far is not finalized and that makes some criticism pointless. I’d wait nixos.org and search.nixos.org to reach their final state to give it another go and hopefully we’ll convince you back.

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It would be great if when clicking on the asciinema-samples, you can also expand a prose-version of these small tutorials. For accessibility-sake asciinema is not great; and people with assistive technologies might like reading short prose instead. (Also nice that you can then ‘follow along’ the samples by copy/pasting).

This is also the direction in which we are thinking, we just didn’t implement it yet :slight_smile:

I’ll see if I can make some more nuanced thoughts around this and make some suggestions regarding this.

Please feel free to start discussions in the issue tracker. It is much easier to have them there, rather then here, since we can focuse on a specific item we want to improve. Plus points if you provide new examples :slight_smile:

I personaly do like that the homepage focuses on small bite-sized demonstrations of what Nix can do for you. I just don’t think ‘video’ is the format that will be the most accessible and reach the most conversion rates

I’m glad you like it. I think different people like different ways how to “read” and learn about. Some prefer videos some like to try things out. There is a huge potential to improve things, starting with adding the prose of the examples and even creating a detailed tutorial if they want to dig deeper in the topic. I really hope we reach that point soon.

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I really like the quick videos. I think the landing page should be optimizied for non-nix users that we want to win over. They don’t have nix installed yet, so the barrier of entry of just listing the code is too high. Videos give the “wow” effect without any per-requisites.

I don’t see much use in a landing page for an existing user. Maybe some quick links, which you seem to be missing. But the bulk of the content should be targeted at new users in my opinion.

Also for the options search, I personally much prefer man configuration.nix. Its offline and always in sync with the version of nixpkgs you actually use right now.

Thanks @garbas & team for the work you have put into this :slight_smile:

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Despite being a long-time nix user, let me chime in with a contrary opinion:

This is GREAT! I would happily point someone semi-interested in nix/nixos at this page and have confidence that they’d leave with a favorable impression and renewed interest. This has been one of the hardest parts of loving nix in the past. Glad to see it being seriously addressed. To grow the nix-using community, we have to optimize the on-ramp. That doesn’t mean neuter the project. It does mean make the onboarding as painless as possible, starting with “why should i care” and “show me what problems I have that it solves” and “cool, now give me a glimpse into the real power”. This achieves that goal.
Well done.

Definitely include non-video versions of these for all the reasons others have mentioned (but i see that’s upcoming).

Keep it up!

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It’s quite surprising to see people unhappy with the redesign. There’s been 12 or so marketing meetings with minutes for everyone, and the entire process was open to critique. I don’t get how anyone missed out on the entire design process and didn’t contribute or have any input, and then suddenly shows up to tear down the finished product?

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I concur, thie default landing page is a vast improvement over it’s predecessor
in terms of communication and information.

A fantastic introduction for the Nix/NixOS newcomer.

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I think we should focus on the actionable parts of people’s responses, rather than focus on their emotional responses. It’s ok to be unhappy with the new design! It’s a work-in-progress, and more feedback is valuable. So I suggest focusing on the concrete feedback people have, and letting the rest slide.

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I don’t get how anyone missed out on the entire design process and didn’t contribute or have any input,

I remember some statements that at many points only the implementation-assuming-specific-goals was discussed… one would need to follow pretty closely to find out at what point one could actually comment on what would end up being the landing page.

and then suddenly shows up to tear down the finished product?

It is still claimed upthread that there is a ton of planned changes even to the landing page, so, not really finished.

And a lot of comments is checking the basic accessibility stuff — animations as the only way of presenting some text are not good, it is not obvious that «More…» means «read the full manual», stuff like that.

And of course for the case of value mismatch when the marketing team is clearly representing a specific part of the community, you cannot really expect that the most visible event will not also spark the completely sincere comments that this is a turn in the wrong direction.

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@garbas and others: thank you for doing this difficult work! It’s nice to see so much progress.

I have one quite specific concern: sometimes I need to point a colleague to Nix, the package manager. There is no chance that they will ever run NixOS, but they may want to install/use Nix to run a package that I made a derivation for, rebuild a Docker image image, etc. Before the website was restructured, I would point them to:

Which solely focused on the features of Nix and had links to other Nix-related material. Now I am not sure what to point them at. Both https://nixos.org/ and https://nixos.org/features.html are quite overwhelming for that audience. There is a visual distinction between Nix and NixOS on those pages, but there is a lot of information to take in and the NixOS material is distracting if they are just interested in Nix.

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Just joining the “thank you guys” team to make it easier to start the nix/nixos experience.

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