I’d like to give an update on upcoming plans for Ubuntu.com and to respond to recent concerns about the positioning of the community within the website.
Earlier in the year we worked on an evolution of Ubuntu.com to reflect the expanded scope of the project in the main site structure. Our re-structuring conversations went beyond the existing website to cover the broader Ubuntu web ecosystem. We wanted to review how users gained access to key websites that were not linked to directly from Ubuntu.com. For example: developer.ubuntu.com, design.ubuntu.com, askubuntu.com…
Our target users for these journeys were mainly community members or those new to Ubuntu who might be interested in getting involved or finding out more about how the community and Canonical work together to create Ubuntu.
Our proposed solution consisted of a global navigation menu that was to go across all key sites so that – no matter which site users arrived at – they would be able to reach the main destinations in our ecosystem. This was to include a new community site that has been under discussion for some time by Canonical employees and members of the community. One key factor for this community site is the ability for community members to have direct input so that the site reflects current community topics and areas of focus. By adding it to the global navigation we hoped to increase traffic and make it more accessible across the Ubuntu web ecosystem.
We created some prototypes to test our proposals in terms of interaction, design, site positioning, labeling etc. Laura Czajkowski helped us reach UK-based community members who came into the office to meet with an independent researcher to test the prototypes. Based on the feedback, we have made amendments and planned to implement the work in two phases:
Phase one of the restructure consisted of updating Ubuntu.com to reflect the expanded scope of the project.
Phase two is in progress and consists of adding the global navigation to all the key sites and making sure they work together across domains etc.
I’m sure you can understand that there is a large amount of coordination that needs to go into a restructure of this scale, across a number of sites, on different domains, that are managed and maintained by different teams across Canonical and beyond.
The limited scope of phase one meant the community link was temporarily dropped from the primary navigation menu. We appreciate why this might cause concern in the community, specially in the absence of an understanding of the broader context of our global navigation project. The global navigation project will restore the balance and provide access to various key community sites that need to be surfaced and will benefit from the increased traffic this new positioning will drive.
All of this work is in progress and we are aiming to go live with the changes by the end of this month.
I hope this will address some of the concerns in the community about this topic and that our roadmap shows how we will improve Ubuntu.com for all our audiences.