SourceForge prettifying

A few days ago, Sourceforge got a makeover:

The Engineering team has completed the implementation of a new look-and-feel for the site. This is the first major change to the appearance of the site in more than three years. This work is part of a planned incremental revamp to the site. Initial focus has been placed on revamp of page header, footer, layout; and specific improvements to the front page, project summary page, login page, file release page, and download page. Launched 2005-11-14.

Very nice, and long overdue. It’s clearly an incremental update – you can see how content boxes from the old layout have been shuffled into the new one without much internal change in some cases – but it is a huge improvement. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at one of the new-style project pages this week was the CodeZoo-style big green “Download” button. Nice touch. I suspect that many novice users have come and gone from SF pages without ever figuring out how to download what they came for.

I’ve had my worries about Sourceforge. A post has been percolating in my head for a few months now where I look over the Sourcefore alternatives/competitors (there are many) and see where Sourceforge stands in relation to them. Maybe I’ll put that off for a while longer.

There’s lots more for them to do, of course – it’s a very complex site. The page layout is still pretty chaotic and the URLs are still crufty. But I give a lot of credit to the team that’s undertaking these updates, and look forward to seeing the next steps.

Joseph commented on Tue Nov 22 06:50:22 2005:

From a usability perspective, it’s a nightmare. There are so many gradients that your eye just rattles over the bumps of the first six rows in the grid, and keeps hitting new ones down the page. Things flicker and pop about as your mouse moves over the screen. No text wants to say “read me first”. I must say I don’t share your enthusiasm at all — the old design had its faults, but not such glaring defects as these.