FAQs, Wikis, and usability.

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harvey
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Post by harvey » July 19th, 2006, 7:40 am

The Audacity FAQ on the documentation wiki
( http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/Audacity ) describes how to get,
install, and configure LAME (I reworked the sections that cover this
in the effort to make them clearer and easier to find).

That people are having trouble getting Audacity to work with LAME
is likely due mainly to inexperience with the whole process of
installing and configuring software. Another possible complication is
Windows versus Mac; is this problem only with Windows users or with
both systems?

Another contributing factor: Are the users who are having trouble with
LAME not reading the Audacity FAQ? Perhaps not since it's pretty much
hidden from anyone looking for help on the main LibriVox Web site (ie,
everything outside the wiki and forums) or in the forums. For example,
the forum-based FAQs (the ones about LibriVox, not the ones about how
to use the forum software) do not mention the documentation wiki. So
how does a newbie know to look at the wiki for help?

If you-all think it would assist the inexperienced to get Audacity
working with LAME, I'd be willing to add screen shots (from Windows)
to the Audacity FAQ to illustrate the process. But not until there is
better integration of the wiki into the main Web site and the forum FAQs.

a.r.dobbs
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Post by a.r.dobbs » July 19th, 2006, 8:23 am

Thanks for that offer, Harvey!
My to-do list is very long, but making links in the right spots seems a task worth slipping toward the top of the heap.
--Anita
Anita

kri
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Post by kri » July 19th, 2006, 8:31 am

Harvey, I don't know when is the last time you looked at the main page, but there is a link to the wiki. It's even worded in a way to clue in people who are unfamiliar with the word wiki...

LibriVox Wiki Help Pages

In fact, it's the first link on the sidebar. If volunteers are not seeing the link to the wiki on the main page, that's fine. They are asking questions here, which is certainly OK because that's what this forum is for.

a.r.dobbs
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Post by a.r.dobbs » July 19th, 2006, 9:02 am

The text of our first page for volunteering gives many, many links to the Forum and none to the wiki -- in the text itself. I think adding to the text one short paragraph about the wiki is a good idea, linking to the main wiki index page.

When folks arrive at the Forum, there could be a handy link up at the top right part of the page ... where it now says

discussions on reading, recording and more: LibriVox [linking to the Website]
the next line could say
evolving help pages written by volunteers for volunteers: LibriVox Wiki [linking to that great wiki index page]

We should reword the first line, too, because discussions are in the Forum, not the Website. Maybe it could instead say something like...
news, feeds, and catalogued recordings: LibriVox
(or something -- my writer's streak isn't in gear today)

--Anita

P.S.: I make a good test case for our guides for newbies, in that if it's possible to get lost, I will.
Call it a special aptitude. I look four times through the Volunteer Page text before I look at the side links. The side links are wonderful. But the text is the starting point, I think.
Anita

kri
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Post by kri » July 19th, 2006, 9:25 am

The text of our first page for volunteering gives many, many links to the Forum and none to the wiki -- in the text itself. I think adding to the text one short paragraph about the wiki is a good idea, linking to the main wiki index page.
Anita, this confuses me. What do you call our first page for volunteering? If you're saying what I"m thinking, it does link to the wiki. What text are you saying we should add to? You're not being very clear.

harvey
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Post by harvey » July 19th, 2006, 9:27 am

Kri, sorry for being unclear. Let me know if this still needs more
clarity.

Here's the problem as I see it: There are two sets of user guides:
(1) the original set on the main site and (2) the new set in the wiki.

By "original" set (ie, set 1), I mean all those user guides / help
pages which are located on the main site (ie, not in the wiki), plus
the FAQs in the forum. Examples of set 1 are:
http://librivox.org/volunteer-for-librivox/
http://librivox.org/about-listening-to-librivox/
http://librivox.org/about-librivox/
http://librivox.org/podcast-page

On the home page, I count 9 links in 5 different places to set 1, but
only 1 link to set 2. The same holds true for each page within set 1.
It's my view that all these many links to set 1 are hidding the user
help in the wiki (set 2). As Anita points out from her own experience,
the single link to the wiki in the right-hand navigation column is
inadequate; I think it likely that quite a large portion of other
new volunteers overlook that link, too.

Within the LibriVox FAQs in the forum the situation is worse, for there's
no mention in them at all of the documentation wiki (most of the FAQs
haven't been changed since January 10). The help in the wiki is
completely hidden here.

It's my opinion that it's now time to eliminate the non-FAQ portion of
set 1 in favor of set 2 in the wiki. And to start phasing out the redundant
portions of the FAQs, perhaps even moving all the content of the FAQs
out of the forum and into the wiki.

I second Anita's suggestion of a link at the top of every page in the
forums to the user guides in the wiki.
Last edited by harvey on July 19th, 2006, 11:13 am, edited 5 times in total.

kri
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Post by kri » July 19th, 2006, 9:32 am

harvey wrote:Anita scooped my new post before I finished it, covering most of what
I had to say.

I add only this:

The problem as I see it is there are two sets of user guides:
(1) the original set on the main site and
(2) the new set in the wiki.

Why are there two sets? Why not eliminate set 1?
1. Both sets are are on the main site. Could you be specific when you say "original set"? Are you referring to the FAQ that is linked on the main page sidebar, or are you speaking of the How to Volunteer link that is under the big "Read"?

There are two sets because the wiki was made only recently (several months ago). We didn't make the wiki very prominent at first, because we wanted to populate it first. We wanted to make sure it had enough information for people to look for before making it really easy to find. At least, that's what I thought.

I think in several instances in this discussion it is not being made clear exactly what pages are being referred to.

a.r.dobbs
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Post by a.r.dobbs » July 19th, 2006, 9:35 am

Oops, sorry, kri -- I'll go fetch the links and clarify. :D
Anita

a.r.dobbs
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Post by a.r.dobbs » July 19th, 2006, 9:54 am

From the first page of the website http://librivox.org/
I click on the Volunteer link and reach this page
Volunteering for LibriVox http://librivox.org/volunteer-for-librivox/
That's what I meant by the main Volunteer page.

As a complete pre-newbie, that's the route I would take.
And it tells me:
"(go straight to the LibriVox Forum)

LibriVox volunteers read and record chapters of books in the public domain (meaning out of copyright..."
etc.
and then this great paragraph:
"Most of what you need to know about LibriVox can be found on the LibriVox Forums and the FAQ. LibriVox volunteers are helpful and friendly, and if you post a question anywhere on the forum you are likely to get an answer from someone, somewhere whithin an hour or so. So don’t be shy! Many of our volunteers have never recorded anything before LibriVox."
And a succinct description of the whole LV recording process -- really well done!

Then I'd want (as a pre-newbie) to go look at the Forum, and there I'd be pretty darn amazed and probably a tad overwhelmed and swept up in the posts and so on.
Probably the next day I'd say, Okay then, how do I record? So I'd start at the main website page again, click the volunteer link again, reach the Volunteering for LibriVox page again, and this time, I'm looking for a link to all the basic stuff I need to know.

Our latest and greatest guide to the basic stuff you need to know is the wiki. The FAQ is ... a FAQ. The wiki guides are the primo stuff. So I'd just suggest that this page, Volunteering for LibriVox, have a little paragraph by the same great writer who made everything else so succinct on this page, explaining that the most lively, thorough, and up-to-date info is on the wiki, and what's a wiki? And link to the great wiki index there.

--(really sleep-deprived, sorry for stumbly language) Anita
Last edited by a.r.dobbs on July 19th, 2006, 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Anita

harvey
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Post by harvey » July 19th, 2006, 10:15 am

kri wrote:Could you be specific when you say "original set"?

I think in several instances in this discussion it is not being
made clear exactly what pages are being referred to.
Kri, I revised my post above (post 2 on page 2 of this thread).

a.r.dobbs
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Post by a.r.dobbs » July 19th, 2006, 10:52 am

Harvey and I agree on a lot of things about helping newbies.
But we differ on the website pages.

I think the three links Harvey gives as set 1 are vital, well written, exactly where they need to be -- folks hit the website first.
http://librivox.org/volunteer-for-librivox/
http://librivox.org/about-listening-to-librivox/
http://librivox.org/about-librivox/

I just think that those website pages need to explain (very succinctly) what the wiki is and link to it.

Anita
Anita

kri
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Post by kri » July 19th, 2006, 3:12 pm

OK, I think perhaps it is time to remove the FAQ at the top of the forum, because the original intent of the wiki was to migrate all that information to the wiki, if I remember correctly.[ I'll see what I can work out with the others in charge elsewhere to make things more clear, since no one but we three seem to be paying attention to this thread :)] - EDIT: Strike that, I'll split this thread so it's more noticeable for what it is, so we can get a few more heads in on this issue..

raynr
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Post by raynr » July 19th, 2006, 4:06 pm

Could we transform the FAQ from a thread to a link to the wiki? We could them have more connections between the forum and the wiki.
"Everything in the world exists in order to end in a book." (Stéphane Mallarmé)

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