FOSS4G 2009 Website Feedback

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Back to FOSS4G 2009...

Feedback to Tourhost

This page is meant to brainstorm ideas and provide feedback on the current version of the FOSS4G Sydney website

Current Version


Home Page Changes

Harley 22/4/2009 - Draft

In preparation for the opening of registration and to spruce up the appeal for the conference, the Invitation on the home page needs re-working. We need to emphasise that there is broad appeal and that the conference is just for techies. We want to attarct managers and decision makes, those that are interested in what Open Source means from a busines advantage point of view, and those that are keen to use the conference to learn more about this aspect of Open Source. Here is a start:


We are delighted to welcome you to Sydney, Australia, for the FOSS4G 2009 Conference, which will take place from Tuesday 20 - Friday 23 October, 2009.

FOSS4G is heralded as the international "gathering of tribes" of open source geospatial communities, where developers and users show off their latest software and projects. The theme for 2009 is "User Driven", highlighting the power of Open Source to solve business problems.

If your are a geospatial open source convert, a GIS or ICT manager interested in examaining the business advantages that open source may offer you, or a developer looking to get into geospatial develeopment, we invite you to attend this years conference to expand your knowledge, network with your peers and chat with some of the key local and internation proponents of FOSS4G.

What to expect in 2009!

Carrying on the FOSS4G conference tradition, 2009 will present a comprehensive agenda, combining content from across the geospatial spectrum.

In line with the 2009 theme, "User Driven", the conference will have renewed focus on the business imperatives for adopting open source solutions. The program will contain a broad range of presentations and case studies that address the topics of interest to managers and decision makers as well as those that may be more technically orientated.

There is a supurb range of workshops and tuitorials that will appeal to those new to geospatial and looking to get started, and to those that are keen to expand their skills and take their exsiting implementations and projects to the next level.

FOSS4G 2009 also boasts a excellent range of keynote speakers...more...

FOSS4G is a unique event which collects together a global community into a single location for an intensive week of activity. Year on year, FOSS4G provides a great opportunity to take part in a very special event, where ideas mix together with language to create a network of collaboration and creativity.

Site Layout & Design

  • Generally +ve response on the layout of the site
  • OSGeo logo should be there We have added it to the side bar
  • Tour host logo is unnecessary and detracts from OSGeo all Tour Hosts websites have our logo as it is one of the small ways we promote ourselves.
  • Tourhosts contact info OK, but no graphic identity.
  • I wonder if it's a bit too tall (taking more vertical space than really needed) We can make it smaller, but I think then we would lose some of the photo. What do others think?
  • If it couldn't convey more information(e.g. the 2007 page banner, in addition to 'some images' and the logo includes a 'message', the full name of the conference, and the conference dates: Done
  • Any "items" in the banner, such as images or text, should be links back to the Home page Do you mean you want to link the banner to go the home page?
Side Bar (Left)
  • Generally OK, however, how will it look when categories need 'subcategories'? For example, what if "Program" needs "Workshops", "Labs", "Presentations", etc? Should the order of the existing menu items be changed? (e.g. Committee doesn't need to be 'at the top')We can add subcategories, so that when someone clicks on a item such as 'Program' the subcategories come down
  • Contact Us Block on Left Side: I don't think this belongs here at all. There should be a separate "Contact Us" page(but maybe "Contacts" is better? That's what 2007 used), with a corresponding link in the Menu. We have moved this information to the footer and have added a contact us page.
Main Content (Center)
  • No general comments.
Side Bar (Right)
  • Will all pages have a 'right column', or perhaps only some pages? For example, for 2007, most pages did not have a right column, but the Home and Sponsorship pages did, where it was used to display the sponsor logos. As for the current "Expression of Interest" right column, get rid of it - it doesn't belong there, even at this stage (more about this below). We have moved the SOGeo Logo here, I like having a side bar on each page, What do others think?
  • This div is too tall for the information it contains. Get rid of the copyright notice. Use the footer for some 'contact info', like what was done for 2007. Use a personal email address, not "Webmaster". Get rid of the "Website validate XHTML and CSS" text (not because the pages don't validate, but because it is unnecessary to advertise this). We have taken off the above information and added the contact information to the footer.
Page Titles
  • The page's Title element should change from page to page (not always be the same as the Home page) in order to aid visitors who may bookmark specific pages
404 Error
  • The default "404 Not Found" behavior for typical 'root page names' such as "index.htm" and "index.html" should be a redirect to "default.asp", if that is the name of the website's home page.
  • Some good practices for handling 404s
Standard Validations
  • All pages should validate to the required standards. The current Home page has 27 errors for the XHTML, and the CSS has 1 error and 23 warnings. I didn't do any accessibility checks, or check other pages.
  • If this website content is "incomplete", which we know it will be for the next while, do not include 'essentially empty' placeholder pages (e.g. Program, Social, Sponsorship, Accommodation, Registration). Only add such pages when there is 'real content'. The Home page can convey the "watch this space" message to site visitors (but don't use vague terms like 'coming soon'). Done
Committee page
  • Remove the word "Local". Done
  • How about a map showing where the committee members are located? We are happy to add this, does someone want to put it together?
  • It's a webpage, so include links where possible (e.g. see the 2007 About page: We can do this, however we would require more information about what link to add
  • I think it would look better if each person had:
- name
- job title (i.e. not 'committee title')
- company name
- city/region/country
- possibly committee title 
(Chair is fine, but do we also want to add things like Workshop Coordinator, etc?)
  • I tidied up the OSGeo section of the governance wiki page, and updated my info as an example: We are happy to do this, can everyone update their details on the wiki and we will update it on the website

Contacts page
  • Add a 'Contacts' (or 'Contact Us') page, including a form that people can fill out. Mandatory parts of the form would be email address, subject, and 'comments', but other fields, if they exist, such as Title, Organization, etc. would be optional. Don't default "Title" to "Mr". Done
Add a "Stay Informed" page
  • There may be a better name than 'Stay Informed', and it's likely that this page should be mentioned/linked from some text on the Home page (and maybe the "Contacts" page?). This page would cover any means that people can use to stay informed about FOSS4G2009. For now, the minimum would be to have a paragraph about this mailing list (and perhaps also the Wiki?). As they are developed, other things can be added. Some possibilities are: We are doing this through the Expression of interest form. This information that people entre into each field is captured and we send e-blasts to them telling them about what is happening with the Conference
- mention of any other mailing lists, such as a FOSS4G2009 Announcements mailing list
- info about a 'FOSS4G2009 blog'
- an RSS feed of 'website updates' (i.e. when new pages/content are added to existing pages)
- an RSS feed similar to 2007 for Presentations, if there is to be a community review

Also see Social Networking Elements

Expression of Interest
  • Do away with this functionality. The "Stay Informed" page will direct people to 'pull' methods of receiving information about FOSS4G2009, and the "Contacts" page provides better functionality, as it's form would allow people to ask questions. See above
Sponsorship page
  • Do not include a checkbox for "Potential Sponsor" on the "Contacts" page, but on that page (and perhaps other pages) direct potential sponsors to the Sponsorship page. On this page provide some relevant information now, so that this page exists right from the start of the website. Provide both an email address to contact as well as a form to use for making contact. (do not use "click here" for email addresses)We have taken this page off

Site URL & Domain Name

  • Standardize on
  • Issue of using .asp . This is an Open Source techie conference and many techies will be disappointed to see a proprietary Microsoft driven site.

Social Networking Elements

For a general understanding of the importance of social networking element of the site please see the stay connected sidebar @Web2.0 Expo

Standard Procedures for Website Additions/Updates

What process and policies will guide FOSS4G2009 website updates/additions?


Regardless of who is working on the update/addition, what "process" will be used? Some thoughts:

  • while there may be an upside in terms of exposure, one downside of having 'the first cut' announced on this public list is that the list is archived and publicly available, therefore search engines may 'grab content' that we decide shouldn't be made public
  • if the Organizing Committee doesn't review the content first, before it is available publicly, there may be the risk of wrong or mixed messages
  • is a 'two step review' (Organizing Committee, then this public list) too much 'management'
  • is the process any different for an update to the content of an existing page vs a new page


What policies/guidelines will apply to updates/addition to the FOSS4G2009 website? Some thoughts:

  • all pages must be valid (but what standard do we use to validate against? XHTML 1.0 Transitional?)
  • the CSS used must be valid (but what standard do we use to validate against? CSS level 2?)
  • what if any other standards must be met? (e.g. accessibility guidelines)
  • which versions of which web browsers on which platforms must be used for testing, and are there specific types of tests that must be done?
  • do 'interactive pages', such as pages with forms, need additional testing(i.e. to ensure that the form submission has been fully tested by multiple people, including 'the public', and that the submitted data is what is expected)
  • is there a standard 'layout' that will be applied to all pages (e.g. top banner with 3-column layout below, + footer?)

Website todo list

This section is intended to record ongoing tasks for the website:

  • Integrate OCS for managing the presentation/paper submissions (including skinnig OCS inline with current css)
  • Add ICal feed for Conference Programme
  • Add CrowdVine link for codesprint
  • Correct spelling of surname for Harley Prowse on committee page (made live 28/10/2008)
  • Remove "GeoBiz" from details for Harley prowse on committee page (made live 28/10/2008)
  • Look into options for presenting the conference schedule effectively online
  • Add Privacy Policy Page
  • remove target="blank" references (made live 28/10/2008)
  • FOSS4G Wiki Site link on contacts page is incorrect (made live 28/10/2008)
  • Stay connected - wiki link needs to be (made live 28/10/2008)
  • On , link "Cameron Shorter" to and "LISAsoft" to (made live 28/10/2008)
  • Once we have finalised details of the code sprint, update index.html to say "... will take place from Tuesday 20 - Friday 23 October, 2009 plus an extra XX days for software developers coming to the Code Sprint" (or similar).
  • Header image to say "20-23 October + code sprint" or similar
  • Add Jody Garnett to committee list (made live 28/10/2008)
  • Fix typo in - Planning your travel: The suggested arrival date is 15 November 2009. Should be October. (made live 24/11/2008)
  • Change "The 2008 conference will be held in Cape Town, South Africa and is shaping up to be a fantastic event." to "The 2008 conference was held in Cape Town, South Africa and proved to be a fantastic event." (made live 11/11/2008)