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Initial thoughts on User Guide

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Continuing the discussion from New User Guide website in the making:

Hi Glyn, Looks really good and I’m glad this is being done. The documentation on GitHub is a maze often with conflicting advice where bits have not been updated. Will this replace/integrate with all that? Can you bring in the md files directly? Lots of that is good of course :slight_smile:

Some initial thoughts;

The route into the guide is not immediately clear - The ‘Get Started’ is insignificant and you are immediately inclined to be drawn to the Google Play icon which is actually inappropriate here I feel. I think the home page needs a full menu/clickable structure to the guts of the information. I have always got on really well with this for another system I use http://pywws.readthedocs.io/en/latest/guides/index.html I think too much of your guide’s home page is like the main site page.

It may be somewhere else, but I’d like to see more of an an introduction page that explains initially the basic structure i.e. HW (nodes, sensors), SW (EmonCMS either self hosted or emoncms.org) and the App. I think it currently jumps in too deep too quickly for a new user and is offputting to less technically minded folk. In its simplest form, you need an EmonPi, CT sensor, a power socket, wifi, an account at emoncms.org and an Android phone. I’m a KISS man (Keep It Simple Stupid).

What is the ratio of units being sold? Mostly emonPi? If so I’d suggest that they should be the focus of the Guide to get them started as simply as possible (if not the statement above is way off the mark).

A real bugbear of mine - there is no route back to the root site openenergymonitor.org I always think the top left icon should be back to root site with an additional way of getting to the subsite root. If not, it should be clear what it is. As you unify the look and feel of the various sites, it becomes difficult for a user to know where they are. I’d like to see the top images include the words, Guide or Community with a small text link back to ‘openenergymonitor.org’ (and not just ‘Home’ as which home (root)?).

Not being served as https. Is this deliberate?

Really coming together though :smiley:

Hi Brian,

A real bugbear of mine - there is no route back to the root site openenergymonitor.org I always think the top left icon should be back to root site with an additional way of getting to the subsite root.

I feel the same way, I think it would make the site more navigable and makes it easier to introduce new sections. The content on the guide’s landing page does need revising.

It would be interesting to gather more thoughts about the organization of the project as a whole.

Maybe the intended audience is our focus rather than the volume of units. An emonPi is aimed more at the general user than the more involved emonTx/emonBase option.

The guide has two functions: a buyer’s guide with a list of applications as well as a setup guide (for those crammed into an utility cupboard with only a phone for guidance).

Also there is no link to this forum from the “guide” site.

Hi Eric,

There is a link to the forum from the ‘Help’ section.

true but I’m not to sure people will find it there … I didn’t have the reaction to look in there.
If the idea is to set forum as first place to look for help … it might earn some more visible spot ?

The forum will be visible on the Oem homepage, hopefully new visitors will be aware of it before reaching the user guide.

Thanks for your feedback @borpin. I will look at making the ‘get stated’ button bigger and move the google play button.

I did look at using ‘read the docs’ platform. However, I thought using a jekyll based site hosted from github would give us more flexibility. Time will tell if this was the best option. Every page has an ‘edit on github’ option which takes you to the corresponding markdown page on github. The user guide is designed as user documentation, while the github readme’s are more often developer documentation. The idea behind the guide website is it should be the only site that non-developer users need to visit to setup and configure an openenergymonitor system.

I’m not convinced about it the top left logo click taking your back to the the OpenEnergyMonitor home page. I think most users would expect a click of the logo to take them back to the root of the site they are currently browsing. I think it would be confusing if clicking the logo transported users to a different site. Anyone else any any thoughts on this?

Site should now be fully served via https

Definitely agree there. One of the first things taught in Marketing is know your audience.
Support, or the lack thereof can be a big factor in whether or not a potential customer purchases an item.

Confusion factor for sure unless explained to the user. I honestly can’t remember any site I’ve ever visited having the logo linked to anything other than their home page. That’s the way it’s done it at the three websites I manage.

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Actually my suggestion is to change the icon to a community/guide/blog specific icon and the associated link taking you to that subdomain home page. I’d include a link back to the main site but not by just using the word ‘home’ as that is more confusing (if the icon takes you to the subdomain home).

I’d suggest in this case the 2 are closely related. The emonPi is targeted at the ready to go market more than the emonTX or Pi shield. Also, it is the basis for the other units in that you expand the instruction set from the emonPi point.

Totally agree which is why I asked if that was the target. As it stands I don’t feel the guide satisfies the above assertion.

The route into the guide is not immediately clear - The ‘Get Started’ is insignificant and you are immediately inclined to be drawn to the Google Play icon which is actually inappropriate here I feel. I think the home page needs a full menu/clickable structure to the guts of the information.

Thanks for feedback. The Google Play icon has been removed and the Get Started button has been made more prominent. We’ve also added a site map to help navigation.

5 posts were split to a new topic: New and old forum links

Excellent, that is much more obvious. I’d personally try and reorganise the page so the site map appears as a side bar (YMMMV). :smile: