A reflection on CodePlex use patterns

Jul 24, 2007 at 4:42 AM
I'm posting this to a discussion to hopefully stimulate a bit more dialog on it, since the forums have better support for exchange than the workitems, where this was started as workitem Reduce noise on CodePlex Website forum.

Reposting the salient points of that workitem for this discussion:

Perhaps the veteran CodePlex user doesn't want "Browse Projects" as the central use case, and so perhaps a "dashboard" type layout for all projects would be better.

I guess that what I'm getting around to is that there seems to be 2 major roles to consider for this - contributor and adopter. In my experience, these roles are orthogonal. If you are contributing to a project - you know where to go to do it, and all the stuff on the CodePlex home page is pretty useless. A project dashboard would be much better. If you are just adopting a project, you need to get context of where you are and where the project lives, and a UI geared to guiding this exploration and transition to the desired project should be very clear and fairly straightforward.

Here is a mockup of an interface geared more towards a project adopter, with perhaps the "Your Projects" being populated with recently visited projects or perhaps instead message posts or issues entered. Something that allows an adopter to be focused on the projects being investigated and ultimately adopted.

Once a person becomes a contributor, by which I mean contributing substantially to the evolution of the project, they will know their way around CodePlex and can browse by the means which we currently browse - search, tags, browsing the entire projects list. At that point, being focused on the progress of the projects being contributed to becomes the main focus.