How you could improve the Beonex website
I've heard some praise and many complaints about the Beonex website.

Known problems

Some problems I know: (some of that is documented in the users mailinglist archive)

Content

The site is kind of spotty, because many of the pages still have to written and thus there are somewhat missing links (in the general sense, not the clickable link sense) between several areas. Somebody would have to write these pages. Look the sitemap or browse the links on the bottom of the webpages to see what I mean.

Structure

I also wonder, if the strict separation into makes sense. Esp. the latter 2: it helps to put out a Stable version and a slightly less stable, but newer Preview version at the same time, but it adds a lot to the complexity of the site.

A few people have suggested to have several static links on every page to the main pages of interest, e.g. Support, Download etc.. I am not convinced that is a good idea, because it bloats every page and there are a lot of pages which are potentially of high interest. I also want people to read certain things before they end up e.g. at the download or mailing list pages, e.g. installation instructions, references to FAQs etc.. But I might be convinced otherwise.

Requirements

Some things I personally consider requirements for the website (requirements which any future version of the website should meet):

Layout

Lean, attractive, sticking to the original intentions of the web standards, working with all browsers. Most importantly, we should not abuse HTML to add formatting/layout (use CSS instead). In no case use <table>s for layout, because they completely mess up the layout in other browsers and new browsers with a slim/tall window (width <= 600 pixels).

The real content of the page should be more than 50% of the page. Seems obvious, nevertheless most commercial sites violate that by excessively adding links to other parts of the site on every page, usually in the top, left, right and bottom.

Structure

I consider a hierarchy to be the natural structure of a website and would like to keep that. A change of the hierarchy might make sense, though (see e.g. above for a concrete possibility), I don't know.

Content

Yes. We need more of that. :-P

Description for new visitors (before download)

I already wrote some parts before the 0.8 release, but we're still missing the parts that describe the browser in general, for people who are not familar with Mozilla or Netscape 6/7. I so far assumed that everybody is. We need to find a good balance or structure for both types of visitors (if you know Netscape 6 already, it is boring to read about the overlapping features again). A possible solution is to have a "death match" section where we compare the browser with other browsers plus a general description. The problem is that comparing advertizing is not allowed in Germany, where I am located. Any suggestions welcome. We miss a description of the new features between the versions of Beonex Communicator.

Introduction for new users (after download)

You probably noted that there are nice links ala "Introduction [to Beonex Communicator]" and "Explore the Web" on the welcome page of the browser about:welcome, but the pages they link to have no content. The first link was intended to have a tutorial for people new to the web and Mozilla / Beonex in particular. How a browser works, how to find information on that intentionally chaotic web etc., all with concrete instructions for Beonex Communicator. The Explore link was intended to list some "hub" sites, which open the visitor whole interesting sections of the web or supply otherwise vey useful tools. Examples are dmoz.org/groups.google.com, the Gutenberg project, web.archive.org, central academia and open-source resources, a good way to find good online shops, online communities etc..

FAQ

We need a way bigger FAQ. Much of the above is low-hanging fruit, because some of that, for Mozilla, can be found at various places on www.mozilla.org and third-party pages.

Help needed

The problem is: I am a techy and don't know what general users are missing here or what confuses them. Of course, I created it how it made sense to me, but I obviously failed to a large extend. My limited time might only be a part of the problem. So, suggestions are welcome, and volunteers are even much more so. If anybody wants to take over the command for the website, I would be very glad, because that would remove a large work burden from my shoulders. People who write certain missing pages, or even pages not yet thought of, are very welcome, too. Just write them in Beonex Composer (be easy with formatting) and send them in as HTML file.

You know, this is intended as mainly Open-Source project (ignoring the commercial support and stuff), so volunteers helping with different tasks are not only welcome, but were planned / hoped for from the beginning. So, if helping with the Beonex website could be fun to you, more power to you! :-)

Tools

As for the technical side, the site is currently kept as plain HTML files in a versioning system (CVS). Over that I run a generator which I wrote in C++ and which adds the links to the subsections (in the bottom) and the parent pages (in the top) and adds the title (the black bar). The generator creates a set of static HTML pages, which I manually upload to the server (but in one batch :-) ). This is not sat in stone, other solutions are possible.

Quote

To close, a quote from a reporter of the website of a big, respected U.S. newspaper:
Could be... this program really remains a mystery to me (partially because it didn't hit "0.8-stable," whatever that means, until after I'd done a lot of the work to review Mozilla itself. It doesn't help that the Beonex site is composed of some of the least informative pages I've ever seen about an end-user product.
I am not sure what in particular he refers to, but it shows that Beonex has a problem that needs to be solved.