[Grok-dev] Re: Grok site: changing "Learn" to "Documentation" in the main navigation

Tres Seaver tseaver at palladion.com
Thu Jan 3 07:40:30 EST 2008

Hash: SHA1

Sebastian Ware wrote:
> 3 jan 2008 kl. 08.51 skrev Jan Ulrich Hasecke:
>> Am 03.01.2008 um 00:06 schrieb Kevin Teague:
>>> Documentation is likely to be more easily understood I think be  
>>> people
>>> looking for ... documentation. Although I do like the symmetry of  
>>> having
>>> verbs for the four main site sections. If we changed all of the main
>>> sections in the navigator to nouns we would have:
>>> * Evaluate -> About
>>> * Learn -> Documentation
>>> * Develop -> Project (?)
>>> * Participate -> Community
>> Ok, the site is in English and maybe it sounds cool to have verbs,  
>> if you are a native speaker. To all other it simply does not matter  
>> and if you would translate these verbs into German it would sound  
>> very much like baby speak to German ears.
> There is ALLWAYS a language problem if you translate directly from  
> English to German... :)
> "The Brits often assume that Germans have no sense of humour. In  
> truth, writes comedian Stewart Lee, it's a language problem."
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/germany/article/0,,1781004,00.html
>> If you use verbs you might address readers more directly. But  
>> doesn't it sound like an imperative? Evaluate! Learn! Develop! In  
>> German it would be something between plain infinitive (to evaluate)  
>> and imperative and is very suitable for menus in programmes. But if  
>> I click on "send as mail" the programme sends as mail and not me. In  
>> our case we want people to read a lot of stuff, so it might sound  
>> like an imperative. And If I read "Evaluate" I expect a lot of work  
>> to – evaluate. If I read "About" I expect a one-pager to get it all  
>> in a concise manner.
> The verbs answer the question "What do you want to do at the Grok  
> website?". Probably 99% of the visitors can answer that question  
> without hesitation.
>> So I would plead for the most understandable version. If you look at  
>> a webpage there are only fractions of a second to get what it is all  
>> about. I would have no problems with nouns in menus and verbs in the  
>> buttons, because the buttons shall really address the reader.
> The nouns require you to know what you are looking for in order to do  
> what you want to do. I believe that the verbs are infinitely more  
> usable, because it requires us to do the thinking, whereas nouns  
> leaves the thinking to the visitor (who has little or no idea of how  
> we structured the website).
> Nouns are good for experts (on the grok website). Verbs good for the  
> "newbie visitor". However, a good search is even better for experts if  
> the content grows to be more than what is really easily browseable.

Can we assume that other successful open-source / free software project
sites might provide clues to what "works"?  A quick survey:

 - http://python.org/ uses nouns for navigation.

 - http://djangoproject.com/ uses nouns as the "structure" (the
   navigation links at the top of each page), but has "Meet Django"
   as its lead item on the homepage.

 - http://rubyonrails.org/ uses nouns for navigation, but has verbs
   ("Get Excited", "Get Started", "Get Better", "Get Involved") on
   the homepage.

 - http://turbogears.org/ uses nouns for navigatino, *except* for
   the "Install" section.

 - http://extjs.com/ (Ext JS framework) uses nouns for naviation,
   *except" for the "Learn" section.

 - http://drupal.org/ (PHP CMS) uses nouns for navigation, *except*
   for "Download".

- --
Tres Seaver          +1 540-429-0999          tseaver at palladion.com
Palladion Software   "Excellence by Design"    http://palladion.com
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org


More information about the Grok-dev mailing list