So many problems with the new website...

Issue #275 resolved
Anonymous created an issue

I'm sorry if this is kind of all over the place, but in general, I find the new "hi-fi" website to be completely unworkable. I'm sorry if that offends those of you who have been working on it, but this is the blunt truth: I have never seen such a badly designed website in my life.

For starters, it depends on JavaScript to work. All of the links at the top are links to sections, not links to pages, and some JavaScript cruft makes a single, gigantic page sort of behave like multiple pages. I hate this sort of design, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. These are supposed to be pages, so make them pages. There is no legitimate reason I should be required to use a specialized JavaScript client for one website just to do exactly the same thing that the standard interface is designed to do. Any JavaScript use should be purely cosmetic, and if it isn't, there had better be a good reason for it.

So now, to access a website that should just be presenting information, I have to enable JavaScript. We're already off to a bad start. But then, when I do enable JavaScript, I am presented with a messy cluster of all kinds of crap that I don't care about, organized in a way that wastes massive amount of space and with a rather ugly style.

First, there's the "show" page. Why does a widget showing tweets and a widget showing Reddit links take up so much space? Actually, scratch that; why are these widgets here at all? What is the purpose? If I want to see tweets about Pygame, I can go to Twitter myself. If I want to see links on Reddit, I can go to Reddit.

When I go to pygame.org, I want to see a few things: news about Pygame, new games released there, the Pygame documentation, and of course links to download Pygame. Well, I'm seeing the news and latest games, so that part is good. Documentation? No hint at all where I should be looking. Downloads? Again, no hint at all where I should be looking. Instead, I'm seeing what looks like a gigantic advertisement.

Which is, in and of itself, a really weird thing. Why does Pygame need to be advertised? Pygame is a library which is pretty much only used because of tradition. This is not a library that needs to attract new users. New users, who have never touched Pygame before, are better off learning something like Pyglet or PySDL2, or maybe even one of the higher-level libraries that exist, such as Cocos2D. And people who already use Pygame, probably because they are familiar with it, don't need a bunch of propaganda shoved in their faces whenever they want to find information or downloads.

Anyway, the next page is called "learn". So, looking for documentation, you try that page. But there is nothing directing you straight to the documentation from there. The first big headers you see are "about" and "tutorials", and then you see a bunch of other stuff clearly targeted at novices. Why is the only link to "Documentation" a small link underneath "tutorials"?

And what is this? There are two whole sections hidden off-screen! What's more, one of these sections is rather important: the section telling you about the IRC channel and mailing list. I never even guessed that these extra sections existed on the page; it was only on a whim that I bothered to click on those arrows to see what they did. So what happens if someone needs to find help? They won't find it on the "learn" page, so they try every other page, until finally, they conclude that there is nothing. All because the "learn" page is designed to advertise to new people, a completely worthless job given the current state of Pygame, and not to assist people who are already users.

What about when I want to download Pygame? Here's the problem: this entire website is designed based on the assumption that anyone who could possibly want to download Pygame is a developer. This is not necessarily the case! If I were to distribute a game and say "you need Pygame to play this game, get it at pygame.org", that user would see a gigantic advertisement targeted toward developers and aspiring developers. Depending on the user, they might give up on the idea of installing Pygame, look around in the wrong places, or complain to me for not making it easier to get my game to work. Why would a non-programmer even consider looking for a download link for something under a page called "create"? They're not trying to "create", they're just trying to download a dependency!

The new website's problems, as I perceive them, can be summarized thusly:

  • There is an over-dependence on JavaScript cruft.
  • It focuses on propaganda rather than helpfulness.
  • The layout wastes a huge amount of space and in general does a terrible job at presenting information.
  • It doesn't even look nice.

To be perfectly honest, I think this new design is so fundamentally bad that it should be completely scrapped, and any redesign of the website should be restarted from the ground up. But if not, these problems need to be addressed.

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