W3C Website Redesign Feedback

The W3C recently announced a new website redesign and opened up the beta version for anyone to give feedback on. As you’d expect, there were a lot of public comments but what was the overall sentiment? This seemed like a perfect task for AI.

AI for Feedback Analysis

I used the comments people had posted to Hacker News, Twitter, Mastodon and the W3C blog. When combined it went over the ChatGPT input limit, so I split it into five batches before asking for analysis.

> Based on the feedback comments in the five batches, please summarise which aspects of the W3C website redesign people liked most.
Based on the feedback comments in the five batches, people liked the following aspects of the W3C website redesign the most:

Positive Feedback:

Modern and fresh design
Improved usability and accessibility
Clear and concise content organization
Updated and simplified navigation
Cleaner and more consistent visual design
Improved search functionality
Use of responsive design to make the website mobile-friendly
Better use of whitespace and typography

Neutral Feedback:

Mixed opinions on the color scheme

Negative Feedback:

Some users experienced technical issues or bugs
Some users had difficulty finding specific content or information
Some users found the website too cluttered or overwhelming
Some users preferred the old website design

Well that was easy! I only asked for positive feedback first, but it read my mind and gave me the negative points too. I’d already gone through the comments myself and this summary was pretty accurate. If you were looking for a quick overview before diving in for more detail, this is certainly a time-saver.

My Personal Feedback

I have to say, I agree with the majority of comments so far. The proposed redesign is easy-on-the-eye, fast, responsive, and logically laid out. I found it mostly quick to navigate to specific specs and groups, which I think is what most people will use it for. For example…

Example 1: Finding a Specific Group

Task: I want to find out what my old Interest Group (Media and Entertainment) is up to.
Main homepage -> Groups -> Interest Groups -> Media and Entertainment Interest Group
No problem. From there I can go to that Interest Group’s homepage or its mailing list archive.

Example 2: Finding a Specification

Task: I want to read the latest Pointer Events draft spec.
Main homepage -> Standards -> W3C Standards and Drafts
Over 1,000 standards are listed so thankfully the search feature is fast and returns Pointer Events specs as the top results.

Example 3: Finding a Group Discussion

Task: I want to see if there’s a group that deals with browser extensions.
Main homepage -> Groups
This is where I felt things could be improved. I have to click into each group type before I can search, which is time consuming. Using the global search in the header is faster and works, but it’d be nice to have a unified Groups search similar to the Standards search, as most people outside the W3C probably don’t know which group type is relevant for them.

Other Minor Feedback

  • The Standards search button says “Show reports” which seems strange. I want to see specs, not reports – am I in the wrong place? I think it should be consistent with the Groups search and say “Show results”. Perhaps it’s a typo. (Now fixed)
  • There’s a lot of text (understandably for a standards organisation) which could be overwhelming for non-native English speakers in particular. It might help to have little illustrative icons alongside menu items, if that can be done in an accessible way. For example an “i” in a circle next to the “About” link, a group of people next to the “Groups” link, etc.
  • The search feature in the top menu bar is actually just a button, not a search box. It takes you to an external DuckDuckGo search page which is OK, but ideally save me the click and let me search within the W3C site via the menu bar, even if the results are on an external site. This is the behaviour currently and it works fine.
  • Finally a super picky point – in the menu text I’d replace “and” with ampersand (&) to save space and make it easier to skim.

The official place to file suggestions like this is on GitHub, so feel free to try out the redesign and leave your own feedback too.

2 thoughts on “W3C Website Redesign Feedback

  1. I was so NOT expecting you to outsource to ChatGPT a digest based on aggregation of all the HN-Twitter-Mastodon comments! Very clever!

    Thanks for the other aspects you commented on (and for filing issues in gh) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, I like to surprise you! It was pretty good once I’d broken the comment list into manageable chunks, although when I asked it for more detail it started saying that people were complaining about broken links (it totally made that up), so it’s good for the first step only I think.

    Anyway, it was a fun task. There’s a lot of hype and a lot of naysayers around AI which feels similar to the start of the web itself. Once we get past this stage, I think it’ll be a useful tool on a daily basis, just like the web.


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