Background: I've got no real formal training with UX, although I've done a lot self-learning and understand most of the concepts and terminology. We've got a major upgrade coming under the radar and I'm looking at potentially better ways to handle the home screen (it's a desktop app).

I realize that a question as vague and open-ended as "What should I put on a home screen?" is, frankly, crap, and if at all possible would like to ask a better question (or perhaps a few separate questions) that actually give experts the chance to share practical knowledge and experiences. So I'm coming to the meta community for help here.

How should I go about fleshing out this question so that it's (a) answerable, (b) interesting, and (c) of some use to future readers?

Can I break it down into concepts? Is there any "homework" I can do to populate the question with useful contextual information? Perhaps there is a pre-existing tag that might have good questions I can use as templates, or at least starting points?

Bottom line is, I have a genuine desire to to create a better user experience or at least gather some ideas about how to approach that goal. But I honestly don't know how to ask the question. By no means do I want to add more pollution in the form of an opinion poll.

Any suggestions or advice on how I could climb down the abstraction ladder from this mile-high view to something that represents a useful semi-objective question?

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1 Answer

Kudos for caring so much about the quality of the question! :)

Generally speaking, all your ideas are correct. This question provided a number of alternative solutions up front, which proved to be a success (very high question rating), so that might be a good idea.

In terms of context - this will be an excellent question for the main site. What kind of questions to ask before beginning work on a homepage / collecting preliminary info for project kickoff. Also, there're probably many ready-made questionnaires to be found online. I began writing the question but then figured it should be yours, so go ahead.

Interesting point; I'll give it a try with the "how to approach" question, see where that goes. I'm guessing that won't practically answer it for me but hopefully it inspires some follow-up activity. –  Aaronaught May 14 '11 at 16:22
@Aaronaught If you like, I'll be more than glad to do it myself :) –  Vitaly Mijiritsky May 14 '11 at 16:38
Already done. Hopefully I didn't butcher it too much. :) Feel free to edit it if you think it can be improved. –  Aaronaught May 14 '11 at 17:03
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