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Subject: This is not a welcoming site/sight. rss

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Dave Lartigue
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Not long ago there was a survey posted about Usability. I hope that whatever results were received are being acted upon soon, because right now the front page is something of a mess.

Here is what it looks like to a brand new user (click to Fantasy-Flight-Size it):



There is no way you can reasonably expect someone to see that and not instantly close the page and go elsewhere. That's not inviting.

(Since I know someone is going to respond saying that obviously the site still does get new users, it's not a problem. What I'm saying is, good on the new users for biting the bullet and diving in, but I think that most people would not look at that as anything but horrific.)

I recently asked on my blog (and on Facebook) if this design was inviting or accessible and got several responses, most of which were negative:

"One work: yuck."

"I am *not* a boardgamer so don’t know if my humble opinion counts -- but that’s a lousy-looking page. I would not want to have to use it."

"I love BGG, but their design is horrendous."

"I’ve browsed BGG a couple of times. While I appreciate the volume of data available, it’s pretty much impenetrable to the outsider. Even the addition of a 'quick start' page to help new users would be a step in the right direction."

"I’m a semi-serious boardgamer and a regular BGG user, and I HATE their interface."

"Whenever you send me a link to BGG it always takes me a while to figure out what the hell I'm looking at."

(For the record, "I love BGG, but their design is horrendous." is also how I feel.)

The addition of subdomains, those buttons at the top, and even the "Geekdo" branding thing have, I think, only added to the noise and clutter. While it's still certainly possible for someone to come here and figure it out, it's a lot more effort than it probably should be to do so.

I'm not saying this as someone who is all "OMG IT IS IMPORTANT THAT BOARDGAMES BE SO POPULAR THAT ESPN TELEVISES DIE FEUERWEHR MÜNCHEN TOURNAMENTS IN PRIME TIME" but as someone who values the amount of information available here. There is little point in creating the best repository of boardgame information in the world if it's hidden behind increasingly dense layers of clutter.

I think the crew here have done a very good job of collecting this information, but I think it's well past time to get someone on the team who has knowledge about how best to make it accessible and welcoming. If nothing else, I think the unlogged-in front page should have a LOT of the clutter removed.

I'm not trying to be a nattering nabob of negativism here, just trying to help.
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Chapel
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » BoardGameGeek Related » BGG General
Re: This is not a welcoming site/sight.
+1 vote for no more changes.
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Tom McThorn
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Years ago I took website classes...and this site is a bit cluttered/unfriendly. It's better than a lot of site's I've seen and I'm use to navigating it but to a new person I can see how they'd have issues.
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Rik Van Horn
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The interface is less offputting than some of the users here.
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Stephan Rothschuh
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Legomancer wrote:
"I love BGG, but their design is horrendous.

The addition of subdomains, those buttons at the top, and even the "Geekdo" branding thing have, I think, only added to the noise and clutter. While it's still certainly possible for someone to come here and figure it out, it's a lot more effort than it probably should be to do so.

If nothing else, I think the unlogged-in front page should have a LOT of the clutter removed.


Hear, hear. Although I believe they have recently got onto working on layout improvements. There was some sort of call for participation if I remember correctly.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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There was also an announcement that due to layoffs, many projects were put on hold. We'll have to see how the situation develops.

That said, I'm not really sure what people are expecting. This site hosts a massive database of over 70.000 game-related items (RPGs and boardgames) with hundreds of thousands of user contributions in hundreds of different forms: player aids, reviews, session reports, ... . I'm not really sure how such a vast mountain of data can be simplified to the point where the casual user is comfortable with the UI. I tend to think that such a UI would be practically useless: a glorified 'looking for a good game' list, perhaps several depending on mood, number of players, and their expertise, and that's more or less it.
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Bill Corey Jr.
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I agree completely. As a regular BGG user, I've managed to set subscriptions and shortcuts to all the things I check regularly, so I'm not all that bothered by the design. However, according to non-users I've sent here, the front page has a "glaze the eyes over" quality to it that makes most folks just navigate away.

Rokkr wrote:
The interface is less offputting than some of the users here.
This, unfortunately, is also true. There is a LOT of unnecessary negativity and snarkyness in many of the discussions here that can definitely be offputting to new users and make them not want to join the community... but that's a different topic altogether, isn't it?
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Drew
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There are people who design functional, intuitive, and clean user interfaces; and there are code monkeys. The entire history of personal computing can be summed up as an ongoing war between the two groups.
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Zé Mário
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Agreed. I pretty much gave up on recomending this website because I realize it looks awful and its interface isn't remotely user-friendly. Most people give up, and it's pretty obvious why.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Dourgrim wrote:
This, unfortunately, is also true. There is a LOT of unnecessary negativity and snarkyness in many of the discussions here that can definitely be offputting to new users and make them not want to join the community... but that's a different topic altogether, isn't it?

I regret to say I fail to see where that snarkiness resides, much less that it is so openly visible that I, a six year veteran of this site, have to search very hard to point at a few rough spots; but that to someone who is barely able to comprehend the multitude of the links on the normal front page, it is as obvious as night and day. This is an internet forum, and an extremely polite one at that; if you take the occasional growl of discontent with some admin policy or silliness of GeekMod to be the equivalent of 'a LOT of unnecessary negativity and snarkyness' then you may want to consider never visiting another website where people are allowed to express their opinion on whatever holds their interest. I would not like to see normal discourse be gagged until only the artificial and nigh revolting sweetness of something like Bella Sara remains.

I apologise for being 'snarky', but such unsubstantiated claims tend to get my back up somewhat.
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Kelley E.
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The wall of text when you hit the home page is definitely off-putting. I'm a geek and a code monkey myself but I've ignored everything but the news, pictures, and comic since day one. For starters I'd say there are way too many modules turned on by default. Geeklists, Sessions, and Subdomain forums all seem like things we could do without unless you are a returning member who wants them on. You could easily make arguments for several of the others.

IMO there should be *ONE* forum module on the front page by default. The Marketplace module needs thumbnails of the games. We have them in the DB so they should be used. The Hotness is about 3 times too long. Make it a top 10(again, with thumbnails) and allow it to be increased in preferences. These would be good for a start and most could be done quickly by just setting a few default preferences.
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Joerg Schaefer
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We need the comic on the front page again! That's the only thing my girlfriend is looking for when she sees me surfing on BGG.
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Steven
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Legomancer, what's an example of a well-designed website that serves a similar function? I can only think of video game sites, but a lot of those are eyesores as well.

I think the problem here is that the BGG front page is really useful as a personal page for users (like a customized iGoogle). But there is no generic start page for non-users (like the general Google search page). Rather than replacing what we currently have, perhaps the admins could code up a user-friendly landing page that would appear whenever somebody non-registered enters the site?
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Werner Bär
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Legomancer wrote:
Here is what it looks like to a brand new user (click to Fantasy-Flight-Size it):

You think that is bad? At least once you scroll down, you see that the site contains some information. The front page i get to see first is this:

I see some ads (although i wouldn't recognize them as boardgame related), inlcuding the "hotness" list that seems to be part of the tanga ad. I see some menus and a number of big buttons. I see BGG news, a large ebay section, and a number of images of various peple. On the bottom, i can barely read "videos" (which i'm not interested in), and at the bottom right corner a line "forum" with a press release announcement.

Where are the games? Where is the discussion?
I doubt i would scroll down to find them with the current first view (and i recall that it was even worse before).

There need to be images about games on the front page - a board, some components, a game in play maybe.
And there need to be some game related forum displayed at the top of the page, instead of the ebay module.
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kSwingrÜber
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Legomancer wrote:
Not long ago there was a survey posted about Usability. I hope that whatever results were received are being acted upon soon, because right now the front page is something of a mess...

Let's see a mock-up of your idea for a re-design...
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Chapel
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I'd like to see a poll where the majority of respondents thought the interface was great...on any website out there.
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Dave Lartigue
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I'm not a designer. Nor am I an aerospace engineer, but if the plane I was about to get on didn't have wings, I'd still feel qualified to say something.
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James Ludlow
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kswingruber wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
Not long ago there was a survey posted about Usability. I hope that whatever results were received are being acted upon soon, because right now the front page is something of a mess...

Let's see a mock-up of your idea for a re-design...


Are you offering to pay his invoice as well? I never assume that someone will design for free, much like I won't code for a commercial operation for free.

Since I pay for adblock, and have customized the pages to my liking, I'm not bothered as much by the design. I do, however, cringe at the thought of what people are going to think when I send them URLs to particular games. I know that those pages with ads enabled are God awful.

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James Ludlow
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MWChapel wrote:
I'd like to see a poll where the majority of respondents thought the interface was great...on any website out there.


UI is Grrrrreat

[x] http://www.google.com
[x] http://www.stackoverflow.com
[ ] http://www.yahoo.com
[ ] http://www.boardgamegeek.com


UI makes eyes fall out of head

[x] http://talk.consimworld.com

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kSwingrÜber
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Legomancer wrote:
I'm not a designer. Nor am I an aerospace engineer, but if the plane I was about to get on didn't have wings, I'd still feel qualified to say something.



jdludlow wrote:
kswingruber wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
... the front page is something of a mess ...
Let's see a mock-up of your idea for a re-design...
Are you offering to pay his invoice as well?
Noooooo... I just meant a mock up... a few lines and boxes. But I think we all know I said that mostly in jest. After reading his post, I was trying to figure out in my own mind what might be better, or more "friendly", and came up with zilch... just so much info in this site, probably no good or "right" way to arrange it...

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Dave Lartigue
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kswingruber wrote:
just so much info in this site, probably no good or "right" way to arrange it...


I think a good first step is not assuming that every item of info be at arm's reach immediately and constantly.
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Chapel
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jdludlow wrote:


Informationless "google.com" or content full "igoogle.com"?....cause igoogle looks like bgg in many ways.
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James Ludlow
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MWChapel wrote:
jdludlow wrote:


Informationless "google.com" or content full "igoogle.com"?....cause igoogle looks like bgg in many ways.



The one true google.com. I don't know what the hell they're thinking with their Yahoo! knock-off.

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James Ludlow
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kswingruber wrote:
jdludlow wrote:
kswingruber wrote:
Legomancer wrote:
... the front page is something of a mess ...
Let's see a mock-up of your idea for a re-design...
Are you offering to pay his invoice as well?
Noooooo... I just meant a mock up... a few lines and boxes. But I think we all know I said that mostly in jest. After reading his post, I was trying to figure out in my own mind what might be better, or more "friendly", and came up with zilch... just so much info in this site, probably no good or "right" way to arrange it...


It's a monumental task. I don't envy anyone who has to tackle the problem of organizing the data contained on this site, and I'm sure that it would be a very expensive process.

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Legomancer wrote:
kswingruber wrote:
just so much info in this site, probably no good or "right" way to arrange it...


I think a good first step is not assuming that every item of info be at arm's reach immediately and constantly.


This.
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