Our New Website Header (& Other Tweaks)

Last week, the Oracle Technology Network Website went fixed-width. There are several reasons for this, most relating to providing a consistent user experience, easier management of Website content, etc. Furthermore, it's fairly standard for developer portals these days - java.sun.com, MSDN, and IBM DeveloperWorks are also all fixed-width sites. (My apologies to everyone who is unhappy about this change, but it really is an overall positive one.)

Today, we have rolled out a brand-new header, the first step in what we call the "Mosaic" project - which is an effort to make the user experience across all Oracle Websites more consistent. To summarize the impact:


  • The "pull-down" menus on the OTN site disappear; most of them move into a "flyout" button in the header. ([Added 4/3] Important note: You must have javascript enabled in your browser to see this!)

  • You can access the OTN flyout from any page on Oracle.com or the OTN site. Great for our page views. :) You also have direct access to the Downloads index from anywhere on Oracle.com.

  • The "I am a...." menu takes you directly to resources specifically for DBAs/Database App Devs, Java Developers, Architects, etc.

  • If you so desire, you can directly access product overviews, Oracle University and Support info, Oracle Store, etc etc from the OTN site now.

header.png

Due to limited space in the flyout we cannot accommodate *all* the pull-down items, but they are all no more than 1 or 2 clicks away.

This approach has been validated in extensive user testing over the last few months; I welcome your feedback now in comments. There are many other changes in train, with the next one being: A major homepage redesign, the first in 4 or 5 years. (Update on 4/12/2010: the aforementioned homepage redesign has now deployed.)

Comments:

How come whenever Oracle does a "redesign" they end messing everything up? Take Metalink. The flash based My Oracle Support site is nothing but a clunker. Apart from being slow, it does not work with Firefox, one of the most popular browsers. Now the OTN website is being "redesigned" and the link to Documentation is missing. I had a tough time finding it. Redesign should make the website easier to use and easier to find information. Oracle is going in other direction.

Posted by Arun Gupta on April 02, 2010 at 02:35 AM PDT #

Refresh your browser cache - sounds like you are not seeing the "flyout" on the right side of the header (refer to the image above).

Posted by Justin Kestelyn on April 02, 2010 at 02:48 AM PDT #

Right now I'm lost as to navigation, but everything takes time so I'll leave my final judgement until I get more usage to see how the redesign compares. Right now though, I definitely would like to know where the demos and tutorials have gone... so thus far thumbs down.

Posted by Stuart Wong on April 02, 2010 at 03:29 AM PDT #

Are you seeing the "Oracle Technology Network" flyout? It has a "Tutorials" link in it. We've never had a "Demos" link before.

Posted by Justin Kestelyn on April 02, 2010 at 03:33 AM PDT #

It looks nice, at least consistent. Note, the link under OTN item to download database does not work. Nicolas.

Posted by Nicolas Gasparotto on April 02, 2010 at 04:23 AM PDT #

This web site no longer works with Firefox. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! I don't work for Microsoft. If I did I would be using SQL Server.

Posted by Keith Williams on April 02, 2010 at 04:33 AM PDT #

Keith, can you be more specific? I'm on FF, on a Mac no less, and have no issues.

Posted by Justin Kestelyn on April 02, 2010 at 04:38 AM PDT #

The flyout didn't work for me the first time, just refresh (reload) the page, then every thing looks right, everything is there, documents, downloads, etc. The page looks cleaner and nicer.

Posted by Paul Qu on April 02, 2010 at 05:04 AM PDT #

The flyout for OTN should have been located closer to the other menu items. As it is one has to scroll far right to reach the flyout..

Posted by Gene on April 02, 2010 at 03:13 PM PDT #

Documentation is difficult to find. Also, your banner does not appear at all in Google Chrome. Thanks

Posted by Steve Pretti on April 02, 2010 at 11:22 PM PDT #

We have tested on Safari (and thus Chrome) and have found no problems. Confirm that javascript is enabled in your browser!

Posted by Justin Kestelyn on April 03, 2010 at 12:44 AM PDT #

Hi, fixed width is something you can live with. But what about the right side alignement of say the DBAs overview page??? (Go to "I am a ...", then "Database DBA/Developer") Please restore the documentation menu item, for instance next to "download" with more or less the same content as "download". Documentation is perhaps the most important thing you look for in a site called "Oracle Technology Network"! Folks need that for their every day work!

Posted by Xenofon Grigoriadis on April 03, 2010 at 04:18 PM PDT #

I'd like to provide my congrats on the new flyout and the proposed consistency. Here is hoping that Education, Support, the regions and especially Forums adopt the style change. And my thanks for making the effort to warn us and explain about the changes. Internet access is about minimum thinking and getting things done very quickly. Change is disruptive to that, and so the warning and this blog may help alleviate some of the irritation. Now that I know the OTN 'button' is a flyout (as indicated in my forum response - 'twas non-obvious) I'm quite looking forward to the consistency. If you are looking for ideas, one thing I'd love to see is the 'Products and Services' flyout become 'Context Sensitive'. In that mode, the flyout menu itself would not change visually, but the links would change according to the page being displayed. For example: "Products & Services : Products : Database" For WWW -> http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/index.html For OTN -> http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/index.html For Education: select Database courses For Forums: http://forums.oracle.com/forums/category.jspa?categoryID=18 and so on (store (products to buy), certification (exam track), . (And MOS has so messed up their taxonomy that it'll be a while before they could adapt, but that's another story.) Yes, I know that would be a stretch, as well as a lot of hard work. But it would pe a perfect implementation of my mis-interpretation of Web 2.0 Again, my thanks and congrats.

Posted by Hans Forbrich on April 03, 2010 at 11:21 PM PDT #

Just noticed a copy/paste error in my example: For OTN -> http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/index.html should have been For OTN -> http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/database/oracle11g/index.html

Posted by Hans Forbrich on April 04, 2010 at 01:27 AM PDT #

I like the new banner. It makes navigation easier. What I would liket to se changed is the fixed screen width. I have wide screen notebook, using a 4:3 ration screen is somewhat odd to me, when you can hardly find any new HW that uses this size of monitor.

Posted by Tamás Szécsy on April 04, 2010 at 06:15 AM PDT #

Justin, I assume that Chrome is not a priority, but I do have "allow all sites to run JavaScript" selected and the navigation does not appear.

Posted by Steve Pretti on April 04, 2010 at 09:21 PM PDT #

I like the new look but I cannot locate documentation link like many folks. I have tried removing cache etc Prakash

Posted by Prakash on April 05, 2010 at 05:11 AM PDT #

No objections to fixed width but the flyouts don't display properly in an Opera-browser.

Posted by Rene Boonen on April 05, 2010 at 03:12 PM PDT #

I like it, it looks nice, I'm on FF and I'm able to see all the flyout without any problem, didn't have to clear cache or change any settings. Some of the links that I think are most important, like "Documentation" are a little bit hard to find the first time. One thing I dislike is that the flyouts block the banner. Tony.

Posted by Tony Garabedian on April 05, 2010 at 08:19 PM PDT #

For those having trouble with Chrome, just do as suggested above and refresh the page and the problem goes away - at least it did for me!

Posted by Larry on April 06, 2010 at 01:07 AM PDT #

Where did you put documentation?

Posted by Ellen Evans on April 06, 2010 at 03:30 AM PDT #

The fly-out menus work in Chrome for me after clearing browsing data.

Posted by Steve Pretti on April 06, 2010 at 08:54 PM PDT #

Ellen, and all I've noticed that the functionality of the original pull down menu is still there *inside the OTN flyout*. Hover of the flyout and you will see 2 columns. The first (left) column has all the headings of the original OTN pull down menu, and the second column is very similar to the main OTN vertical Nav bar (left side). So all te functionality is there.

Posted by Hans Forbrich on April 06, 2010 at 09:48 PM PDT #

Hi, Where is documentation link?

Posted by Filipe on April 08, 2010 at 02:24 AM PDT #

Hi Filipe - mouse over the Oracle Technology Network in the horizontal bar and you get the Oracle Technology Network flyout (menu). In there you there is the Documentation category with a couple of shortcut links to Database, Middleware, etc. Alternatively you can enter the documentation index page from under Support -> Documentation or from the top menu I want to.. -> Other tasks -> Browse Oracle Documentation. Please let me know if you have further questions or trouble locating it. Cheers, Michal

Posted by Michal Kopec on April 09, 2010 at 01:47 PM PDT #

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