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

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Chapel
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jdludlow wrote:



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



Well here you go. BGG as google. Not very useful huh?

 
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celiborn wrote:
Legomancer, what's an example of a well-designed website that serves a similar function?


www.shelfari.com

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MWChapel wrote:
jdludlow wrote:



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



Well here you go. BGG as google. Not very useful huh?

 


Put a decent search engine on it and yes it would be.
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Drew1365 wrote:
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.


I'm not really convinced the BGG folks are in either group.
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Bob Wilson
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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.

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.


Dave you weren't being negative. You conducted your own user acceptance testing, with non-regulars as the user base to test it on. And the site failed, miserably. I tried emphasizing to Aldie eons ago that usability testing is needed, and needed badly. And you know, the link you sent in email to this this thread, sent me to GeekDo... and MY FR*&%KIN cookie from Boardgamegeek.com doesn't satisfy the GeekDo domain... that drives me nuts.
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Bob Wilson
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NateStraight wrote:
celiborn wrote:
Legomancer, what's an example of a well-designed website that serves a similar function?


www.shelfari.com



Nate, an instant "ahhh" of relief came over me when I visited that link... Shelfari is a much better model of what a non-logged-in, non-baptised-into-Geekdom user should be seeing that what BGG has today.
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James Ludlow
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MWChapel wrote:
jdludlow wrote:

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



Well here you go. BGG as google. Not very useful huh?

 


Depends on the search algorithm backing that design. With the current search, no. There's a reason that this works for Google, which indexes several orders of magnitude more data than BGG.

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A Derk appears from the mists...
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jdludlow wrote:
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.


Very expensive process is exactly the point. It's not like we like the interface ourselves, but right now BoardGameGeek is so badly undermonetized that undertaking a project of this magnitude represents a massive risk for us... Every single change we make is met with howls of derision, and everyone's got a different opinion about how to make things better, but no one's willing to help bring it to fruition. Give me concrete steps to fix it, and I guarantee we'll seriously consider it...
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derk wrote:
...Give me concrete steps to fix it, and I guarantee we'll seriously consider it...

If someone here gave you 'concrete steps to fix it' you'd be paying them & thus even further in hock.

But seriously, I kinda think most people that use BGG regularly are fully aware the interface is aged & not particularly user-friendly. But since gamers are often an analytical bunch, I think a perverse part of the appeal is how buried everything is. There really is a sh*t-ton of content and functionality, it's just not readily available unless you search, and even then you have to kinda play around. I've been here for 6+ years and I still don't know how to do half of the cool stuff.





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Ryan Powers
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Asur wrote:

Put a decent search engine on it and yes it would be.



Anyone who cna't grasp the difference between different types of sites (ie a search engine and BGG) needing different types of interface is, quite frankly, the last person I'd listen to when it comes to interface design.

Yes, that would make a great interface to a search engine. Or in BGG's case an improved search system. But as a front page to this site, it's at least as bad as what we have (for different reasons of course), even with a solid search capacity behind it.

That said, the BGG one is moderately bad to terrible depending on if you're logged in (and have it setup how you want it) or not. But they know it, and have known it, and have chosen not to fix it. This is not the knock that it somewhat sounds like, there are more than likely several very good reasons behind said choice, Derk hit one one already.
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Ryan Powers
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jdludlow wrote:

Depends on the search algorithm backing that design. With the current search, no. There's a reason that this works for Google, which indexes several orders of magnitude more data than BGG.


Yes. And that reason is it's an entirely different *type* of site.

By your apparent logic,just about every website out there would be well served by a front page that looks like that. After all if google can do one with that much data behind it, why can't site X? shake

EDIT: Fixed quoting
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Opened shelfari and immediately closed it. It says "you must join to do anything". Turnoff for me.

Comparing BGG to Google.com is a non-starter. Google.com does 1 thing. It does it very well, but it only needs one point of input. BGG has forums, images, user-generated and moderated content, a marketplace, files, and games (T&E et al) that you can play on the site.

Asking random people who are not gamers and have no interest in the site to look at it is a completely useless bit of information. People *always* hate UI they haven't seen before. Witness every Facebook UI change ever (and then go back and look at the older UIs and seriously try to make a case that the changes haven't been, at least in general, positive).

You want to do a semi-serious test, ask someone to go to the site and, say, find out some information about a game they've never heard of and then ask them how easy/intuitive it was to do that.
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MWChapel wrote:
jdludlow wrote:



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



Well here you go. BGG as google. Not very useful huh?


Not at all - and I think you are missing the point of Google, in that it is serving its content in as thin a wrapping as possible.

This would be a better case of "BGG as google":



...importantly, keeping ads off the "landing page", but feel free to use as appropriate on any/all pages users click through to.

And, MOST important:
Presenting, in as clear a method as possible, the key content on BGG - games!
Using as few modules as possible. The images are here because they are cool and 'hook' users on a potentially cool new idea, the 'hotness' is here because it leads to game pages - what BGG is made of - reviews, session reports, game details, etc.

The point is to, in one place, show what makes BGG COOL. What makes BGG a community (the current focus of the default page) is great and all, but it isn't going to 'hook' new users until they think it's COOL, first!

(Keeping in mind this is just a quick slap-dash...point is, what initial users to BGG should see on first arrival, before logging in - what is needed to capture their attention - should look a LOT more like this!)
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Lacombe
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derk wrote:
Give me concrete steps to fix it, and I guarantee we'll seriously consider it...


One small step that would cover a multitude of sins would be to move away from the list of lists [of lists, if you include the Geeklists] "module" style of homepage to a tab-based navigation.

You don't really need anything from the current upper navigation bar [honestly, it's more of a site-map kind of nav-bar, which is better suited for a footer rather than header]

What the top nav-bar should look like is this:

"Hottest games || Best games ever || Recent reviews / What folks are saying || Session reports / What folks are playing || Buy or trade games || Find a game group or local gamer || etc"

Pick whatever the most used categories of content are, and give them tabs. Find a way to hide all of the other content within individual game pages [like Amazon does with their "Geeklists"].

Under each tab, list out what's now in each module.

Except, instead of just listing text titles [and then useless information like number of comments and number of thumbs], give a picture of the game [or allow people to tag a representative image for their content!], the title [in large header font], and a paragraph or two of introductory text to give people an idea of what's inside [could come from the Geeklist header, from a certain amount of characters/words of the first review paragraph, etc].

Under each tab, include a search box that searches only that category by default, as well as a few useful filters [like hot vs. recent, or the subdomains, etc]. Then, for each section's tab, add in a section of useful stats [under "sessions", include all the play data; under "reviews", include "Recommendation" forum threads and system-based game recommendations; under "Hottest games", give links to external news, publisher, etc information].

Then, do the same tab thing with the game page structure.
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » BoardGameGeek Related » BGG General
Re: This is not a welcoming site/sight.
keethrax wrote:
Anyone who cna't grasp the difference between different types of sites (ie a search engine and BGG) needing different types of interface is, quite frankly, the last person I'd listen to when it comes to interface design.

Sure I do. Search engine is an information retrieval system. It can be used on several kinds of databases/networks. That's what I'm saying that should be improved.
What you're thinking of, is a web search engine.
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Lacombe
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cferejohn wrote:
Opened shelfari and immediately closed it. It says "you must join to do anything". Turnoff for me.


No, it just asked you to join and told you why you should.

You can do as much on there as you can on here as an unreg.

http://www.shelfari.com/books/60088/Twilight

http://www.shelfari.com/books/60088/Twilight/readers-reviews

http://www.shelfari.com/books/60088/Twilight/groups

http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a305058/Stephenie-Meyer/summ...

http://www.shelfari.com/series/The-Twilight-Saga


http://www.shelfari.com/books

http://www.shelfari.com/books/subjects/Children%27s+Books/Ag...
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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I see BGG as a place for hobbyists, not a place for the general public. And I know of lots of people who have come here specifically looking for hobby games and not having an issue. I would agree that Mr. or Ms. General Public will hate the look, but that may not be an issue. Derk and Aldie have to decide who they are catering to and the direction they want the site to go in. If they do want the site to be more appealing to the general public then they very well may have to give up stuff on the front page that really appeals to the people who have come here for years. I honestly think I would not go in that direction because it's unclear how many users they would be adding vs how many users would never come back. Personally I have no problem with how it looks. My biggest issue is that the back function on browsers doesn't work from the forum modules, making reading on an Ipad a real pain and a moderate annoyance using a regular computer.
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Lacombe
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cferejohn wrote:
You want to do a semi-serious test, ask someone to go to the site and, say, find out some information about a game they've never heard of and then ask them how easy/intuitive it was to do that.


A better test would be to have them play something like Settlers of Catan, and if they enjoy it tell them to come on the site and figure out how to find another game they're likely to enjoy.

People don't come here looking for games they've never heard of before. People come here looking for more games that are similar to or better than the few games they already know / enjoy.

How long would it take you to find a similar game to Settlers Of Catan from a cold-start on this site? How long would it take to find a similar book to Twilight from a cold-start over at Shelfari?

A good way to improve a community-driven site is to look at the kinds of questions asked in the community section of the site and make the answers part of the user interface of the new, improved site.

For instance, how many threads do we get asking for games "like xyz"? Or for "games to take on a trip"? Or for "best games for my kids, ages # and ###"? Or for "help me pick a game my non-gaming wife will like!"?

A grandmother looking for a present for her grandson who she knows likes some weird game called "Axis & Allies" isn't going to get anywhere without registering and posting [if she can find it] a recommendation thread.

No one is posting questions asking "Who played Princes Of Florence this past week, and what was it like?", "What does it look like if my girlfriend holds this game box?", "How do I make a FIMO Sheep?", etc.

But... those are the questions the user interface is answering.
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I love the layout. I can see the most recently active topics at a glance and not have to forum dive.

+1 for no changes.
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NateStraight wrote:


How long would it take you to find a similar game to Settlers Of Catan from a cold-start on this site? How long would it take to find a similar book to Twilight from a cold-start over at Shelfari?


Well with most sites, I go directly to the search bar, and search. I would have searched Settlers of Catan and chose what looked like the most relevant "base" choice which is usually the first. I would have seen the "recommends" section way down the page, and saw "Carcasonne, Ticket to Ride and Puerto Rico" Not a bad start.

I did the same for Shelfari, which I hadn't used before. Searched "The moon is a harsh mistress". Clicked on the first most relevant base(which also was the first link) scrolled way down and found the link for "more books like this"...then it told me to join, and didn't give me any recommendations.

Hmmm.. Which is better, indeed?
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Asur wrote:
keethrax wrote:
Anyone who cna't grasp the difference between different types of sites (ie a search engine and BGG) needing different types of interface is, quite frankly, the last person I'd listen to when it comes to interface design.

Sure I do. Search engine is an information retrieval system. It can be used on several kinds of databases/networks. That's what I'm saying that should be improved.
What you're thinking of, is a web search engine.


When you figure out how what you just wrote is relevant to interfaces, please clue me in. Particularly with regard to how it relates to either BGG's current interface or the "BGG as google" image.

Because I can't see the connection, and this thread is about the interface. It's about not some irrelevant semantic word-game of what search-engine means.

I'm in agreement with your definition of search engine, by the way, not with the one you assume for me. But I can't seem to figure out how it would be relevant to whether the pictured interface is appropriate even if I didn't agree. And therefore I can't seem to figure out what the purpose of your post is.
 
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MWChapel wrote:
NateStraight wrote:


How long would it take you to find a similar game to Settlers Of Catan from a cold-start on this site? How long would it take to find a similar book to Twilight from a cold-start over at Shelfari?


Well with most sites, I go directly to the search bar, and search. I would have searched Settlers of Catan and chose what looked like the most relevant "base" choice which is usually the first. I would have seen the "recommends" section way down the page, and saw "Carcasonne, Ticket to Ride and Puerto Rico" Not a bad start.

I did the same for Shelfari, which I hadn't used before. Searched "The moon is a harsh mistress". Clicked on the first most relevant base(which also was the first link) scrolled way down and found the link for "more books like this"...then it told me to join, and didn't give me any recommendations.

Hmmm.. Which is better, indeed?


I guess you happened to pick a book on Shelfari [I've also never used it; I just know of it] that doesn't have any "More books like this" information added.

Pick a more popular title [let's do "1984" for a similarly political book from a similar era], and it seems to work really well. I think the cover images, as silly as it sounds, are important.

Images on a page draw people's attention. There are users on here who have said "I didn't even know a game page had a recommendation section; I never saw it". For a book that has recommendations, you can't miss them.

I'm not holding out Shelfari as a perfect example. I've never used it. I'm holding it out as a more user-friendly UI [in its use of white-space, tabbed navigation, image / button-driven page layout, etc] than BGG.
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NateStraight wrote:



And none of this was clear from the landing page, which was kind of my point...
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J C Lawrence
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BGG primary product is raw text. I visit BGG in order to consume that text. I want BGG pages to be optimised for presenting text, lots of text, in the most information-dense manner possible while maintaining basic usability.

Text. Text is where it is at.
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clearclaw wrote:
BGG primary product is raw text. I visit BGG in order to consume that text. I want BGG pages to be optimised for presenting text, lots of text, in the most information-dense manner possible while maintaining basic usability.

Text. Text is where it is at.


In that case, BGG must be web-nirvana for you.
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