Discussion:
Improving the TUG website - very basic user tasks
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j***@gmail.com
2017-01-15 11:04:26 UTC
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I've started today a project to improve the TUG website. A week ago I asked the TUG Board for advice and suggestions on this. They've not replied yet, so I'm going with my original suggestion to them, which is to perform some very basic usability studies.

I'm doing this project on github. If you want to see, or even better contribute, here's a good place to start:
https://github.com/jfine2358/texpages/issues/1

This issue is the first step: prepare a list of very basic user tasks. Please do contribute, either here on c.t.t, or on github.
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Jonathan
j***@gmail.com
2017-01-15 12:08:38 UTC
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Well, I've closed this issue. Only took me an hour. That surprised me. I thought it would be harder. My conclusion (the evidence is also important) is that the very basic TUG website user tasks are:

1. What is it?
2. Is it for me?
3. I want (to install) it.
4. I want to read the manual.
5. I want help with my problem.

So next, according to my understanding of Steve Krug, is:

* Expand these tasks into scenarios.
* Observe test participant perform the tasks.
* Learn from what you saw
* Do as little as possible to fix the problems you saw.

Watch this space for news.
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Jonathan
j***@gmail.com
2017-01-15 17:02:13 UTC
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Was: Improving the TUG website - very basic user tasks

I'm done for today. I'm particularly pleased with
https://jfine2358.github.io/texpages/mytug/math/

I think it helps the first-time visitor learn what TeX is. I haven't found any similar pages on the TUG website.

I'll be back again next weekend.

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Jonathan
Norbert Preining
2017-01-16 00:48:00 UTC
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Very impressive, the hordes that will storm the TUG after this page is uploaded will be hard to handle.

BTW, you could convert the short intro to LaTeX to HTML and spare yourself time in rewriting things.

Enjoy.
Dominik Wujastyk
2017-01-16 02:16:35 UTC
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Post by Norbert Preining
Very impressive, the hordes that will storm the TUG after this page is uploaded will be hard to handle.
BTW, you could convert the short intro to LaTeX to HTML and spare yourself time in rewriting things.
Enjoy.
Norbert, Jonathan is trying to be constructive. If you, as a member of the TUG Board, would prefer him to work differently, or not at all, then a direct, simple approach without sarcasm would be more appropriate. To publicly snipe at an Jonathan helps neither TUG nor Jonathan.

Best,
Dominik
Norbert Preining
2017-02-03 10:31:42 UTC
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JF and being constructive? This is a new combination of words in my world.

And as we have seen, his eagerness obviously has ebbed off, and all his rework is this great snippet.

Please, be serious.

There are so many people out there contributing greatly to the TeX knowledge, wiki's, how-to's, tutorial sites. Compare their content with this epic rework he is contributing is making fun of those who actually contribute.

Sorry, sarcasm is the only thing that can reasonably employed in a situation like this.

Enjoy

Norbert
Peter Flynn
2017-01-16 21:01:01 UTC
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Post by j***@gmail.com
Was: Improving the TUG website - very basic user tasks
I'm done for today. I'm particularly pleased with
https://jfine2358.github.io/texpages/mytug/math/
I think it helps the first-time visitor learn what TeX is.
It certainly helps. I think the idea of presenting the information as
very short snippets is useful, partly because it's just a development of
the concept of modularisation, which we're all familiar with, but also
because (done carefully) it gives us discrete URIs which we can point
people at when they ask a specific question.

I think one of the problems is that we are going to need a LOT of these.
We would also need to define beforehand just how deep we need to go. The
page you wrote explains succinctly TeX's approach to math — is that
enough for beginners? Should it be a little more? Or a lot more?
Post by j***@gmail.com
I haven't found any similar pages on the TUG website.
I think that's because TUG has not developed the kind of comprehensive
tutorial resource that this would need to be part of. I don't know if
it's really TUG's business to do this; there are many authors who have
done so in print and on the web, but their work isn't at tug.org, it's
on their own sites.

This is a huge task, something well-suited to technologies such as
wikis, where hundreds of people can contribute; and we already have
several of these. But I think there is plenty of scope for (as you
rightly put it) "very basic user tasks". It's just a matter of defining
what these are.

///Peter
Dominik Wujastyk
2017-01-17 00:25:35 UTC
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All good points.

I think that a distributed, collaborative approach as you describe, Peter, may be the way forward. In a way, it has to be. Jonathan does math - I never do. I do Sanskrit - Jonathan never does.

Maybe, in revamping http://tug.org, we should approach the task not by writing fresh material ourselves, but by curating a series of commented links to existing resources. As you say, there's already a *lot* out there, much of it excellent.

Best,
Dominik
Uwe Siart
2017-01-20 14:44:22 UTC
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Post by Dominik Wujastyk
I think that a distributed, collaborative approach as you describe,
Peter, may be the way forward. [...] As you say, there's already a
*lot* out there, much of it excellent.
Indeed. Here is a collaborative project that aims at helping new users
to get started:

<https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX>

I'm quite certain it's not the only one around. So establishing yet
another one is perhaps a waste of resources.
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Uwe
Peter Wilson
2017-02-13 19:08:29 UTC
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Post by Uwe Siart
Post by Dominik Wujastyk
I think that a distributed, collaborative approach as you describe,
Peter, may be the way forward. [...] As you say, there's already a
*lot* out there, much of it excellent.
Indeed. Here is a collaborative project that aims at helping new users
<https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX>
I'm quite certain it's not the only one around. So establishing yet
another one is perhaps a waste of resources.
Having just now taken a look I think that it is very good as far as it
goes (but do you want a 1000 page book?). I was trying to see a way of
making a comment but failed and my grandchildren are not local.

I really do not like the use of the word TEMPLATE. Being an old
fuddy-duddy Latex has classes and packages and anything else is
somebody's individual coding attempt which could be good, bad or
indifferent. I looked up TEMPLATE in the index but it was not there.
Would it be possible in the body of the book to change wording such as
`Can I use a friend's template' to `Can I use a friend's code'? (The
answer in the book was that it was not a good idea.)

Peter W. GOP (Grumpy Old Man)

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