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

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Jonathan Kinney
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derk wrote:
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...


I completely understand Derk. But what about something that doesn't have tons of verbiage. What if there were pictograms that were the "default" for new users.

So the top portion would stay the same, but instead of "Geeklists" and then rows of geeklists, and then "Reviews" and then tons of reviews, there were just pictograms for each thing. And then when that was clicked on the most recent/hot/etc entries would then show up. It would be simple AND more importantly it would fit on one page. As well, there could be a little question mark beside each one so people could understand what a geeklist, review, session report, etc is.

I'm not sure how much work this would be, but I do know that something like this would be less likely to turn some people off.

As well, there should be a default box that describes what BGG is, what people can find, etc. This is something that most people would then turn off, but I think it would be most helpful.

Just my two bits.
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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cymric wrote:
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.


A few things come to mind:

(1)
A section right at the top, easy to see, with the top ten games. One possible table layout:

Game Title (linking to page) || No. Players || Genre (Strategy/Abstract/Thematic/War) || Time || Weight

This would give brand new users something useful to go exploring.

(1a) A "Best of BGG section: things that come to mind include the annual "Best of" lists like Top 100 Reviews of 2009 , the Golden Geek Awards, the annual gift-giving guide, etc. I had to go to Google to find the list of Golden Geek winners, and it took a lot of searching to find the most recent Gift Guide. That's sad.

Maybe these two modules should be on, and on top, for unregistered users and hidden or pushed to the bottom by default for registered users.


(2) A way to search for a specific game without knowing the name. "My friend showed me a tile-collecting game about Egypt with rivers and floods and Pharaohs" -- how does a new user get from this to Ra? Even just the ability to search by theme or mechanic would go a long way.

A tiny thing that might go a long way: the default search for "Board Game" could say "Board Game Title" -- that tells the example user above that putting Egypt into the box won't find all games that are set in Egypt.

(3) Right now 4 of the 9 images on the front page show women displaying cleavage, with a minor game element in the photo. I understand that these photos are popular with BGG's core demographic, but maybe for new users the photo section should default to images of, oh, I dunno, the *games*.

(4) There is no good reason for a third of the space "above the fold" to be taken up with a random list of eBay auctions. Why not have the top of the page be things more likely to be useful to new users, like reviews and session reports? Even the forums sections are often full of things that aren't about the games, and that can be daunting to new users.

These aren't changing the basic UI, just bringing the quick-start data to the front.
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Sean Croteau
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Quote:

Nate Straight

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.


This would help imensely. I've never been able to find that kind of info with out checking a geek list which aren't easy to find. Most of the time I use BGG it's to find out about new games for a specific category, whether it's game type, number of players, or how similar it is to another game. I'd also like to see a level of difficulty search, how much easier would it be to find games of the same category sorted by weight and complexity? I know that is the information I scour the forums for. I know BGG isn't perfect, and it's unappealing to most, I've got people in my gaming groups that cringe at the thought of using it, but it works for most. I just would like that extra functionality. Up front, in my face, and accessable right away, rather than hunting for an hour just to get what I want and have to finish my lunch break without answering my questions.
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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Two more modules that might be useful to new users, in place of some of the other things on the front page:

(1) Regional forums
(2) The Recommendations forum, as a module all by itself.

(Or even just prominent links to these tho places.)

Again, this isn't what I'd suggest if I were redesigning the site from scratch, just small incremental changes that might help without costing a lot of development work.
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Bill Corey Jr.
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cymric wrote:
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?
=well-made points snipped for space=

I apologise for being 'snarky', but such unsubstantiated claims tend to get my back up somewhat.
I am going off of the comments that were made by people I personally sent to this site, not necessarily my own experience. More than a few people I've sent here have seen something they considered overly negative, misleading, or unnecessarily sarcastic (their words, not mine) listed on the front page of the site and immediately clicked away. I would hardly call that "unsubstantiated."

Regardless, your points on politeness and the internet are well-taken. Perhaps I just wish the internet as a culture was different than it is. *shrug*
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This OP is spot on.

I tried to get a friend who is new to bg's to check it out -- she has been going to a slew of Settlers meet ups and even has a Catan T-shirt -- and below is the relevant quote from her response email (apparently I told her to check it out a long time ago, but forgot that i had).

"I think that site might be a little much for me. Just looking at it confuses me. But I'll give it a second chance and get back to you."


While I love this site and enjoy the information overload on the homepage, it definitely spurns all but the rabid newbs -- just like we were once

While exclusivity is fun, it doesn't help bring new people into the fold.

Ross
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Walt
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Aldie wrote:
Thanks for the comments everyone, I look forward to the process of revamping the interface so that it makes *everyone* happy.

I'm not sure that's viable in a single interface. The basic problem is the number of items on the site. Just for discussion, let's say BGG has a million items on the site--ridiculously low. Just on a theoretical level, if you choose ten ways on each page, you're going to have menus six deep (10^6=1,000,000); if you have one hundred choices on each page, you're only three deep (100*3=1,000,000) but your pages have just gotten ten times more complex. That's the fundamental problem, and that experienced users (existing users) are going to want the fast interface.

While Google has astronomically more items, it's an entirely different proposition. Google is a typing interface and it's function isn't to provide information on a particular topic, just to point towards sites like BGG that do provide in-depth information.

On the other hand, especially with subscriptions, BGG navigation is largely a clicking interface, and I don't think most of us would want to see that go away.

Still, I think the front page could be dramatically reduced by taking out things not relevant to new users--and some long-time users, too. If most modules started collapsed but could be locked "open" and adjusted for size on the front page itself, the front page would get much simpler. Let me just go through the front page modules when you're not logged in:

Left Column:

BGG News: Irrelevant for new users: at most you want one line for some really important announcement, which should be in the face of every user--if it's not that important, don't announce it.

ebay: Irrelevant. The new user is probably not into shopping yet, or he would have gone to ebay or Amazon; and the ebay module usually has garbage anyway. (BUG: The non-logged in display has no game names.) (Script blocked.)

Videos: Finally, three modules down, something useful to a new user.

Geeklists: Largely irrelevant. I know these are the signature item of the site and some are incredibly useful; but many are trivial or not-about-games geeklists, while others are too much for a new user. They are not the first thing we want new users to see, (I would provide examples, but examples are always in the module, and calling out particular lists seems like picking on the lists that happen to be at the top just now.)

Reviews: 100% relevant.

Sessions: Relevant.

BGG Marketplace: Irrelevant--see ebay, above. The new user needs to find out about a game before he wants to buy it. It's a great module for the trader-geek, but not relevant to new users. And I'll add, all the offered games were outside the US when I looked, despite most BGG users being US.


Right column:

Images: I'll give it relevant because it's visually attractive.

Forums: A real mixed bag. Probably too mixed to feature to new users.

Subdomain Forumes: Irrelevant--new users won't know what a subdomain is and for now it's almost all wargames. If we suddenly got a good spread of gaming, these might become relevant. But now, irrelevant to new users.

Game Forums+: (What's with the plus?) With reviews and session reports elsewhere, what's left isn't especially relevant to a new user. They don't need to see rule arguments, variants, or even news until they get interested in particular games. Then, the most relevant information is on the game page.

BGG Related: Irrelevant--a new user doesn't need to get into the mechanics of running the site.

Buying and Selling: Irrelevant. A new user needs to get to a game first, and then he'll have more specific info on the game page.


So we're left with a much simpler front page:

Videos, reviews, sessions; images.

The one thing I might add is a Hotness-compact set of listings of best rated games, especially gateways--family and children's games. The Hotness is good, but is a bit quirky and volatile: the BP Offshore Oil Strike game is at the top now--unavailable, and probably not the game we want to present first to new users. Perhaps this should be attached to the big subdomain buttons.

These items should be at the top of the page. The prominence of the ebay module is silly considering the crap usually on it. The other modules should be at the bottom, collapsed. However, editing the front page format should happen on the front page, through locking modules open or closed, and moving them (ideally drag and drop, but up/down/switch sides would work).

One more opinion....
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Richard Pakpreo
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I've also had friends look at the site, sign up, then get confused for the interface on a lot of things and then never return again. I still have trouble with some of the interfaces and learn new things everyday.
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kSwingrÜber
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There's a saying that goes something like...

Make something so simple an idiot can use, and only idiots will use it.


Just thought I'd toss a little accelerant on the flames!
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kswingruber wrote:
There's a saying that goes something like...

Make something so simple an idiot can use, and only idiots will use it.


Like the Internet?

ninja
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Rik Van Horn
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NateStraight wrote:
kswingruber wrote:
There's a saying that goes something like...

Make something so simple an idiot can use, and only idiots will use it.


Like the Internet?

ninja

Nope, cell phones.
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Andreas Krüger
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Quote:
I agree with pretty much all that you've said except labeling the interface as "bad." I think difficult or complicated would be a better descriptor.


OK, attribute it to the fact that English is not my first language. It is complicated :-).
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Gabe Alvaro
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » BoardGameGeek Related » BGG General
Re: This is not a welcoming site/sight.
Tall_Walt wrote:


[Snipped out tons of useful observation.]

These items should be at the top of the page. The prominence of the ebay module is silly considering the crap usually on it. The other modules should be at the bottom, collapsed. However, editing the front page format should happen on the front page, through locking modules open or closed, and moving them (ideally drag and drop, but up/down/switch sides would work).

One more opinion....

If I could have been arsed to break it down, that's how I would have done it. Good job.
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Rick Roppolo
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kswingruber wrote:


There's a saying that goes something like...

Make something so simple an idiot can use, and only idiots will use it.


Books are simple. Why don't more idiots read books?
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Rick Roppolo
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NateStraight wrote:
kswingruber wrote:
There's a saying that goes something like...

Make something so simple an idiot can use, and only idiots will use it.


Like the Internet? da Internets?

ninja


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Ian McCarthy
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cubetap wrote:
kswingruber wrote:


There's a saying that goes something like...

Make something so simple an idiot can use, and only idiots will use it.


Books are simple. Why don't more idiots read books? :p


Because movies are simpler.
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Jonathan Morton
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Rokkr wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
kswingruber wrote:
There's a saying that goes something like...

Make something so simple an idiot can use, and only idiots will use it.


Like the Internet?

ninja

Nope, cell phones.


What if I use the internet from my cell phone?
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kSwingrÜber
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KenToad wrote:
cubetap wrote:
kswingruber wrote:
Make something so simple an idiot can use, and only idiots will use it.
Books are simple. Why don't more idiots read books?
Because movies are simpler.
And then there's TV!
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Rik Van Horn
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cubetap wrote:
kswingruber wrote:


There's a saying that goes something like...

Make something so simple an idiot can use, and only idiots will use it.


Books are simple. Why don't more idiots read books?

The key word is use, not read.
And they use them as simply as possible.
Door stops, paper weights, hammers etc.
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Ian McCarthy
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LordHellfury wrote:
KenToad wrote:
I took a look at Shelfari and, yes, the interface is spectacular, but I could see very quickly that the ratings were full of chaff.


Not so different than the ratings here then!


Maybe, but I'd wager that the top 100 here reflects the tastes of the majority of active users very well.
 
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Chris Schenck
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Legomancer wrote:
I think a good first step is not assuming that every item of info be at arm's reach immediately and constantly.

In understand what you're getting at here, but it seems to be at odds with your complaint in your OP where you say that BGG has too many layers. Simplifying the clutter means creating more layers, so I have to click many more times before I finally drill down to my information of interest.

In general, I'd rather have fewer layers of greater density than more layers of less density. I'll agree that BGG is pretty far out on the "information density" scale. That suits me just fine though.
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Kelley E.
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cbs42 wrote:
Simplifying the clutter means creating more layers, so I have to click many more times before I finally drill down to my information of interest.


I don't see why that's the case at all. Yes, you can hold the hand of new users with a new layer every step of the way to make things easier on them but there's no reason you can't have advanced functionality for those who know what they're looking for. Also, there's no reason why you can't allow people to create a cluttered home page if that's what works for them...it just shouldn't be the default.

I just can't get my head around why people cling to clutter. My brother's computer is set to a high resolution and every available slot on his desktop has an icon. It's dizzying to look at. But whatever, that's fine because it's his personal computer. OTOH, it's not right to expect everyone who visits BGG to face a cluttered interface because that's what works for _you_.
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Jason Clague
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nvarela wrote:
LordBobbio wrote:
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.


Really... how difficult is it to solve this issue? It drives me nuts as well.


Not that difficult at all actually - simply log in to GeekDo.
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Robert Ell
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I love the site layout and there are very few minor things I would like changed. It isn't pretty but it is very, very functional.
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Jack Smith
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Some designers still haven't grasped why Google were so successful and that was no bloat. The BBG site would be a good example of how not to design a UI.

These days people do not put up with information overload, they simply move on, as my friend did when I pointed him to this site.
 
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