Stan web site redesign: brainstorm about visitor types

Time to redesign the web site

Our current web site is a mess. Not only does it look old fashioned, the home page wastes a huge amount of vertical and horizontal space with a giant logo and then the content right at the top is a retrospective of StanCon2023. First, someone should remove that StanCon link. Ideally that will be whoever put it there in the first place so nobody offends that person by doing it unilaterally.

We just discussed this at the Stan meeting today and we liked the home pages for

These have nice clean modern design elements (I haven’t dug into organization and navigability).

Contrast these with sites that use modern site-building tools but do not have the polished finish of the two pages above, such as the following.

Redesign Effort

@mitzimorris is leading a web site redesign effort.

Potential Use Cases

I suggested first collecting use cases for people coming to the web site so that we can design something that makes it easy (or at least possible!) for them to all find what they want. This feels independent of the design, but we might be constrained by the design (e.g., if we follow PyTorch, we’re locked into a top-level choice of 3 options to pop into top-level focus).

  • potential first time user poking around (e.g., because someone mentioned Stan in a talk)

  • committed first time user looking for a specific interface (e.g., for a class)

  • existing user looking to upgrade software (e.g., get latest version of CmdStanPy)

  • existing or potential user looking for langauge doc (e.g., how do I write a regression?)

  • existing user looking for interface doc (e.g., where can I figure out how to run Pathfinder through CmdStanR?)

  • potential devs or others looking for the source code just to check it out

  • potential devs looking for onboarding material about how to contribute (this could be in any language)

  • people looking to see who’s involved in the project

  • people who heard you could buy a Stan t-shirt

  • people who would like to donate some couch money

  • people looking for the next StanCon

  • people looking to report a bug (e.g., C++ code errors during compilation)

  • people looking for forums to ask a question (e.g., they can’t get their code to compile)

  • people who want to approach the SGB about licensing (e.g., someone building a graphical interface)

  • people who want to approach the SGB with a code of conduct violation (they might want to find the CoC first)

  • instructors looking for teaching material (e.g., they want slides, video lectures, and exercises)

  • people looking for models in a specific domain (e.g., what can Stan do in education?)

  • looking for information on how to cite Stan in a paper

Current Organization


  1. Header

    • NavBar (top of every page, no pulldowns, just links)
      a. Installation->
      b. Documentation->
      c. Community->
      d. About us->
      e. Your support->
      f. Search->
    • Logo->[home page]
  2. Home Page

    • StanCon 2023->
    • Installation->
    • Documetantion->
    • How to Cite Stan->
    • Support->
    • NumFocus->
    • Mastodon!-> (I really don’t like that the first thing you see after clicking this in the top left is something saying @mcmc_stan is part of, because the tagline is “Cult of Bayes”
  3. Installation

    • Stan Interfaces
      a. RStan->
      b. PyStan->
      c. CmdStan->
      d. CmdStanR->
      e. CmdStanPy->
      f. MatlabStan->
      g. Stan.jl->
      h. StataStan->
      i. MathematicaStan-> (
      j. ScalaStan->
    • Higher level interfaces
      a. RStanArm->
      b. brms->
    • Lower level interfaces
      a. Stan Math->
      b. Stan->
    • Useful Tools
      a. ShinyStan->
      b. bayesplot->
      c. rstantools->
      d. loo
    • Stan Language Syntax Editors
      a. RStudio 1.2->
      b. Emacs mode->
      c. stan-vim->
      d. stan.vim->
      e. VSCode->
      f. Atom->
      g. SublimeText->
      h. Kate->
      i. Prism->
      j. Highlight.js->
      k. lstbayes->
      i. Pygments->
  4. Documentation

    • Stan User’s Guide (pdf, html)->
    • Stan Language Reference Manual (pdf, html)->
    • Stan Language Functions Reference (pdf, html)->
    • Development Lifecycle->
    • CmdStan (pdf, html)->
    • CmdStanR->
    • CmdStanPy->
    • RStan->
    • PyStan->
    • Case Studies->
    • StanCon Materials->
    • Tutorials->
    • Stan for Education->
    • Stan for Ecology->
    • Stan for Epidemiology->
    • Stan for Cognitive Science->
    • Stan Forums
    • Stan GitHub Dev Wiki->
    • Prior Choice Recommendations->
    • External References->
  5. Community

    • Stan Forums →
    • Slack->
    • Submitting Issue (bug, feature, request, etc.)->
    • Events->
    • Developers->
  6. About Us

    • Development Team->
    • Stan Logo->
    • Funding->
    • NumFOCUS->
    • SGB
      a. Governance on forums
      b. email board->
      c. 2021 updates->
      d. 2020 updates->
      e. old minutes and motions->
  7. Support

    • NumFOCUS->
    • Contribute to Stan (NumFOCUS)->
    • Sponsor Stan (GitHub)->
    • Stan Forums->
    • Stan Shop->
  8. Search

    • search box

This is just the top level org. Many of those links are further pages on our web site or point to external web sites that we maintain, like the CmdStanPy doc.

done - removed it from the home page and moved it to the events page, which is well-hidden on the “community” page. and yes, I put it there, so no toes were stepped on (I hope).