Designing the download section

In this writeup, I will explain the the mockup for the download page and the ideas that went into making the design.

First, be sure to check out the mockup.

Remember, this is a work in progress, and everything is open for discussion... and also subject to change.

As for this particular mockup, while the text is somewhat accurate, it mainly exists to convey concepts for this page.


Goal: To make it easy for anyone visiting to download and use oVirt.

By "use", I mean both trying oVirt on existing hardware as well as installing it to a hard drive.

To accomplish this, we need to:

Reasons to focus on an all-in-one "appliance" model

Having one favored, easy-to-use download allows us to:

Possible downsides of focusing on this all-in-one approach:

It doesn't run on x, y, x distribution

Answer: oVirt + a very basic version of Fedora is a virtualization platform that is just enough to run hosts inside of. Sitting on top of a distro (even a very stripped-down one) and the fact that it's running on top of the Linux kernel are both basically implementation details. Any operating system, including all the different flavors of Linux, can easily run inside — oVirt plays nicely with whatever anyone wants to run.

Furthermore, it doesn't make sense to run a mail server, web server, or any other service parallel to oVirt. Those services should be running inside of hosts running on top of oVirt.

As a result, it doesn't matter what distribution oVirt runs on top of.

The all-in-one image isn't development-focused (but that's okay)

Answer: We need a user-focused website, especially for the download page. It should be as easy as possible to download and set up oVirt. Right now, we're assuming that people have some sort of system knowledge of maintaining a Linux server. The download page, for this reason, should not include how to build from source. (That belongs on the website, sure, but in whatever we call the "develop" section... not in "download")

It will still obviously be possible to develop for and run oVirt on any distribution of choice. It shouldn't be the default (for reasons outlined above), but it should be possible.

Design of the page

At the very top, you see a summary, and a big button which makes it obvious that oVirt can be downloaded. Clicking the button will immediately download the ISO. There's a size listed, so people know how long it will take (roughly), and a hash (either MD5 or SHA1, but not both) so that users can verify the download was successful.

Next, the page is split into two columns. As "what should I do with this file?" is so very important, it has a prominent position on the page. At the end, there's a paragraph about consulting documentation for more information, as well as some quick links to a few commonly used documents (in this case, I think it would be neat to see how people are using oVirt, for the common use cases).

Hardware requirements / suggestions are very important, so they're at the top too.

Regardless of having an easy-to-install image, many people will want to install oVirt on their distribution of choice. We do want to make things as easy as possible, but we should provide a path for advanced users to install oVirt on Debian, Fedora (existing installation), openSUSE, Ubuntu, and other distributions. Therefore, I made an "Alternate installation methods" section on the page.

Provided we get permission for using the logos in this way (and I'm pretty sure we can), it provides a simple, clear approach for others who want to download oVirt for their existing machines.

In closing

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I'm looking forward to what you have to say about the ideas expressed in the mockup.