Why is the website so fugly?

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dxciBel
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Why is the website so fugly?

Post by dxciBel »

Hey all,

been using Mint for about one and a half years on my laptop and have been quite pleased with its performance so far. Everything just about works minus a few kinks here and there and the customizability and user comfort compared to Windows is insane. I'm building a new gaming computer soon though to finally be able to play some of the more graphically taxing titles that I've been missing out on. Installing a version of Linux was pretty much a given, seeing how far Proton support has come in the past few years, but I thought this would be the time to look at some other distros than Mint for a change.

During my distro-shopping I couldn't help but notice that the LM website looks positively ancient compared to other Distros such as Manjaro, Solus, Elementary OS or even Ubuntu itself. The social media banners on the homepage are several years outdated and have the same glossy look that was common around the iPhone 3G, the sponsor banners look like one of those terrible Flash sites from the early 00s, the links on the Download page are so small that it's almost a chore to get your hands on an ISO (comparatively to other distros where the Download button is the first thing you see), the site is not at all optimized for mobile devices and is generally super text-heavy compared to other distros, let alone software in general. And, to be quite frank, I haven't seriously used a phpBB board since about 2012 so even though this community is pretty alive, it sure doesn't look the part.

This might just be my early 20s zoomer brain speaking, but if I had to make my choice of distro based on website appearance, Mint would easily be dead last amongst the more common names. For a distro that prides itself on being simple and elegant, why doesn't the website look the part?

Disclaimer before serious crap gets thrown at me: I realize the resources of the Mint team aren't infinite and the looks of the website probably aren't the most pressing issue. I would much rather they work on improving the OS itself than on mere optics. Truth is though, with the ocean of distros grabbing at your attention optics do matter and the website looking like it's from 2006 really doesn't do Mint any favors in that department.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by Pjotr »

You do have a point....

If you have any website builder skills, perhaps you can offer the devs to help?
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by antikythera »

Yes in 2020 it may be ugly compared to some but at least it's not bogged down with scripts and animations which don't render too well if you have an older machine. You can however polish it with new style sheets and graphics representative of Mint 20 rather than Mint 9.

While I like the Manjaro site too, that is quite resource heavy and has had exactly the opposite posted questioning why it cannot be more traditional.

The forum again is old school but it works perfectly. Using discourse which looks nice but is high maintenance because it breaks pretty much every month in some way or other when updates to it are pushed is not a brilliant idea. If you can suggest something between the stability of this bulletin board and discourse then great. Linux Mint could leverage Discord instead of IRC too for that matter but you'd then get folk moaning about that too.

You can't please all folks all of the time ;)
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dxciBel
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by dxciBel »

Pjotr wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:22 am
You do have a point....

If you have any website builder skills, perhaps you can offer the devs to help?
I have none whatsoever, otherwise I'd gladly offer to help! But as it stands, there is nothing useful I could offer towards this goal other than to start a discussion and maybe get the attention of someone who actually knows what they're doing to get involved in improving Mint. :)
antikythera wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:41 am
[...]

You can't please all folks all of the time ;)
I agree with you on the Manjaro page, it definitely puts style over substance and I don't think it would sit well with the Mint community, considering the whole philosophy of the distribution is to tread carefully when it comes to innovation. However I don't think that what amounts to a glorified LiveJournal page does one of the most popular Linux distributions justice.

As for the forum part, Discord would definitely not be my preferred platform either and it would look quite weird for an open source-centric community to be based around a proprietary platform. Mozilla switched from IRC to Matrix not too far back, which as I see it offers a similar user experience to Discord and IRC but I haven't ever participated there so I couldn't tell you about its functionality or issues. And the Solus forums do look quite modern, however I could see issues with scaling considering Mint is looking at a much bigger community. In the end I can't say that there's any particular issue with this forum or the IRC channels. It's just that, even as someone who was basically raised on the internet, it is not something I am used to seeing outside the Linux community anymore. That doesn't mean that it's bad at all, just that it might be a bit off-putting to newcomers.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by antikythera »

Discord (chat channels), Discuss (solus forum engine) and Discourse (manjaro forum engine) are three separate things.

There's no way Discord should replace a user forum but either Discuss or Discourse potentially could. I mentioned Discord as a potential replacement for IRC which is basically what Discord is an evolution of.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by Mick-Cork »

The LM website build is an area of interest to me too. I agree it's dated, and I think the OS would benefit from a cleaner online representation of itself.

As an exercise I did actually do a mock-up build earlier this year. It was more a personal little project just to see what was possible, and to explore how it could be freshened up whilst trying to maintain the LM identity. It's actually a working model built on WP but locked from the outside world.

Here's an early screenshot (I did develop it a bit further afterwards before moth-balling) : https://imgur.com/a/DI9TSTJ

Clem tried progressing a new build last year and published images of a prototype. There was a lot of not so encouraging feedback though so it seems to have gone back to the 'to-do' list. My own thoughts are that (selected) members of the forum community could get involved in building a new site. They could contribute to a test build with content and design suggestions, whilst Clem and his team retain overall control and decision making. It would potentially take longer, but it might be more likely to get overall user buy-in to the change.

Anyway, just to let you know you are not alone in your thinking :)
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by deepakdeshp »

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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by cliffcoggin »

For my part I don't much care what the web site looks like as long as it works. After all I rarely look at it for than once or twice per year.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by Mick-Cork »

cliffcoggin wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:32 am
For my part I don't much care what the web site looks like as long as it works. After all I rarely look at it for than once or twice per year.
That's coz it's not the Mona Lisa! :)

Seriously though, you sort have to look at it as if you were not a LM user. Maybe not even a Linux user. Then ask would it hook you?

Additionally, the blog should be part of the same website. Users who follow the news would go there at least once a month. The site could also have a service announcement section so users could find out about, e.g, server upgrades (and potential downtime) etc. I could go on, but...

How many potential new users have you directed to the site, where they could get a clear impression what LM is, how good it is, and how it might benefit them. Me? I haven't directed any there. It would possibly be counter-productive.

Does LM need new users? Yes. More users = more donations = more development resources = continuing improvements = happy users.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by cliffcoggin »

Mick-Cork wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:18 am
Seriously though, you sort have to look at it as if you were not a LM user. Maybe not even a Linux user. Then ask would it hook you?
I was that non Linux user until three years ago when I adopted Mint. It wasn't the appearance of the OS that attracted me, nor was it the number of bells and whistles on the web site. In fact it was the very lack of such ephemeral nonsense, and the ease of installation & use of the OS that decided me. None of that had anything to do with cosmetic appearance.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by Flemur »

I prefer the Mint website over the others.

Manjaro - horrible and gimmicky, stupid menu (or whatever it is) that comes and goes when you scroll up/down. The wiggling and jumping give me an impression of flimsiness (which matches my last experience with Manjaro: removed some fonts and the menu system was broken).

Solus and Elementary look pretty nice, but I still prefer Mint's: more info on the main page.

Ubuntu - I get rather different views from a tablet ("Charmed OpenStack" - "Reduce TCO"?) than from FF on Mint ("Ubuntu Security: Security and compliance for the full stack" - what is a "Stack" anyway? "Charmed" ??? I didn't even know that I had a TCO to reduce!), and its navigation is pretty bad: I use Ubuntu 18.04 lxde "minimal" and need to do an internet search to find the iso to download (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Insta ... /MinimalCD) - see if you can navigate to it from the ubuntu main site.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by kelevra »

Just to throw in my two cents...

IMHO this site may be so 2006 but it does exactly what is is designed to do. Provide Mint users with relevant information for the use and maintenance of their chosen OS. There is even some comedy mixed in for good measure.

I like the simplicity of this site, I can load it on any device I happen to be using. It is clear and concise and is not loaded with all the frivolous "eye candy" that people seem to think all websites should contain, although some websites do benefit from all the fluff. That is just my old world opinion.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by antikythera »

Check this badboy out, the 1st April 2018 Manjaro homepage. It may take a while to load but it is a thing of absolute beauty fit for any distribution in 2020 ;)

https://web.archive.org/web/20180401115 ... njaro.org/

People thought they'd been hacked when they did this.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by Hoser Rob »

I don't mind the looks, I'd rather someone update the search function. You have to do a site specific search on a search engine to find much of anything.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by antikythera »

Hoser Rob wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 10:48 am
I don't mind the looks, I'd rather someone update the search function. You have to do a site specific search on a search engine to find much of anything.
Good shout. That rings true of most forums though unfortunately.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by Swampthing »

cliffcoggin wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:05 am
I was that non Linux user until three years ago when I adopted Mint. It wasn't the appearance of the OS that attracted me, nor was it the number of bells and whistles on the web site. In fact it was the very lack of such ephemeral nonsense, and the ease of installation & use of the OS that decided me. None of that had anything to do with cosmetic appearance.
+1!!
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by antikythera »

I'm all for function before form first too. If it looks pretty as well then it's just a bonus ;)
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by Mick-Cork »

cliffcoggin wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:05 am
Mick-Cork wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:18 am
Seriously though, you sort have to look at it as if you were not a LM user. Maybe not even a Linux user. Then ask would it hook you?
I was that non Linux user until three years ago when I adopted Mint. It wasn't the appearance of the OS that attracted me, nor was it the number of bells and whistles on the web site. In fact it was the very lack of such ephemeral nonsense, and the ease of installation & use of the OS that decided me. None of that had anything to do with cosmetic appearance.
Cosmetic appearance isn't my point. I believe in simplicity and conciseness as well, and the ability to easily find info when needed.

I'll make a few small points anyway:
- Where on the home page does it tell a visitor that LM is actually an operating system,
- Unless you've got 20/20 vision you need a magnifying glass when viewing on a mobile (especially in portrait),
- The flashing sponsor ads were once considered bells and whistles, now they're a distraction,

I didn't use the website either when deciding to switch to Linux or when choosing LM, but relied more on user opinion etc. However I also come from an IT background so it wasn't a leap of faith as such. I still think any passing visitor who visits the site homepage should at least have some idea of what they just looked at.

Also, whilst the news is important it doesn't need to be one of the first things you see. One of the main purposes should be to attract new users, and right now the first two news excerpts refer to problems.

Anyway I'll get off the soap-box. Clem already knows the site needs a refresh and it'll hopefully happen in the not too distant.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by RollyShed »

dxciBel wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:50 am
During my distro-shopping I couldn't help but notice that the LM website looks positively ancient compared to other Distros
Do you mean this one? https://linuxmint.com/

It is clean, easy to read, friendly. Centralised text, minimum of distractions. Not that black and unwelcoming style as some are such as Manjaro use.
Last edited by RollyShed on Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why is the website so fugly?

Post by MartyMint »

Blinky lights and whirring animations are the last thing I want to shovel through when I'm looking for help/looking to help out on a community tech message board...
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