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

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NateStraight wrote:
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.

That's pretty much what I did last year.

Took me six months to bother getting past the interface and then another month to find my way around and do some real research.

I'm very much in favor of simplifying the interface and at least making some serious tweaks to the search opportunities.
 
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Aaron Potter
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Concrete suggestions (i.e., suggestions for things which should be buried in concrete), from top to bottom of page:
*Note: all of these are things which could be *eliminated* from the front page, so unless programming has changed mightily since I last got paid for coding, implementation should be a snap:

GENERAL RULE: anything which makes this site look less like flight-control for the space shuttle is GOOD.

1.) Eliminate the 'quickbar' addition options. Anyone who would make use of such a feature knows how to subscribe to a thread or quickly navigate to a target section of the site. All that thing does is alienate the non-techies, Grandmas searching for board-game recommendations, etc.

2.) Advertising: at present, the opening screen has ads in 4 different places. That's 3 too many. Yes, I know y'all want more money...you won't get it if traffic dries up because the site is a visual diaster.

3.) Eliminate the eBay and Videos boxes entirely. The former is a sub-section of the marketplace, at best. More importantly, people on the internet already know eBay exists. They don't need BGG to provide a window to it as though it were an alien world nobody has ever heard of. The videos currently available are generally actually reviews or game sessions, and should be categorized as such. Neither is front-page material.

4.) Eliminate Reviews and Sessions windows. Again, these appeal only to people already following a particular game, and thus properly belong to the sub-page of that game, not on the front page. As it is, it's like Amazon.com deciding to put every single book review on their front page.

5.) One, and ONLY one forum box. It should have a large, brightly colored button on top of it which links to the forums hierarchy page.

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potterama wrote:
Concrete suggestions (i.e., suggestions for things which should be buried in concrete), from top to bottom of page:
*Note: all of these are things which could be *eliminated* from the front page, so unless programming has changed mightily since I last got paid for coding, implementation should be a snap:

GENERAL RULE: anything which makes this site look less like flight-control for the space shuttle is GOOD.

1.) Eliminate the 'quickbar' addition options. Anyone who would make use of such a feature knows how to subscribe to a thread or quickly navigate to a target section of the site. All that thing does is alienate the non-techies, Grandmas searching for board-game recommendations, etc.

2.) Advertising: at present, the opening screen has ads in 4 different places. That's 3 too many. Yes, I know y'all want more money...you won't get it if traffic dries up because the site is a visual diaster.

3.) Eliminate the eBay and Videos boxes entirely. The former is a sub-section of the marketplace, at best. More importantly, people on the internet already know eBay exists. They don't need BGG to provide a window to it as though it were an alien world nobody has ever heard of. The videos currently available are generally actually reviews or game sessions, and should be categorized as such. Neither is front-page material.

4.) Eliminate Reviews and Sessions windows. Again, these appeal only to people already following a particular game, and thus properly belong to the sub-page of that game, not on the front page. As it is, it's like Amazon.com deciding to put every single book review on their front page.

5.) One, and ONLY one forum box. It should have a large, brightly colored button on top of it which links to the forums hierarchy page.



I can't find anything in this post that I agree with
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Aaron Potter
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mugs wrote:

I can't find anything in this post that I agree with


Since it's not really directed at you, that's not a problem. You're already here, a user with at least two years experience on-site by your paton badges, so you use BGG as a database already. The purpose of a database is depth, retention, completeness, precise recall. BGG does all those things with flying colors.

The purpose of a FRONT PAGE, however, is to suck in drive-by traffic -- those who AREN'T already BGG patron users -- and, secondarily, to provide easy access to deeper layers of the site. BGG fails there, miserably, by putting ALL the depth, and even some offsite resource links, on the very top layer. It's a train wreck.

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I know I'm late to this discussion so I apologize if someone has already stated this: We're GEEKS on Boardgamegeek. By definition, navigating this site should be a piece of cake. When I first joined a few years ago, I had no trouble finding anything. I still don't. There's so much info available that it's a blast surfing and checking it out, thumbing, tipping and commenting! Think you can do better? Go for it and name "Better than Boardgamegeek" if you want.

FYI, I introduced a friend's then 8th grade son to this site and he had no problem navigating it. He liked what he saw.cool
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potterama wrote:
1.) Eliminate the 'quickbar' addition options.

You must not have been around for the shitstorm that went down when the quickbar was removed.
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LurkingMeeple wrote:
potterama wrote:
1.) Eliminate the 'quickbar' addition options.

You must not have been around for the shitstorm that went down when the quickbar was removed.

Excuse me, but you're conflating (confusing by association) what an experienced BGG Geek sees and what a new user sees. A new user sees a senseless array of Nothing--because the QuickBar hasn't been set, yet. Is it really useful? I'd have to say, "No," even though as an experienced Geek I hated its ad hoc removal, bacause I didm't get time to migrate my bookmarks--similar to the recent, insolent truncation of the Recently Visited list to "one month" (which is false).

Let's take a look from a "clean sheet" of design paper: The Quick Bar is in sets of ten, requires you to switch manually, and requires you to label each entry. A browser folder is as many as fits on your screen (whatever your screen size is!), scrolls as your browser usually does in bookmark lists, and labels the entries with the page name--not perfect but better than nothing.

(Currently 4:3 conventional displays are contending with 16:9 HDTV displays. The conventional 4:3 terminal/NTSC displays show more lines--at lower resolution--but they confuse programmers with what can and cannot be seen. And then there are vertical iPhones and iPads which are (small number) : (larger number), whatever they are.)

The problem with removing the QuickBar was not doing so, it was: How it was done! If everyone had had been warned, and maybe had their quickbars copied to a confidential part of their profile (from which they could copy them to browser or OS bookmarks), the change would have happened smoothly, I think. QB links are nothing special.

The problem to be extremely blunt (blunter than is reasonable, in some ways), is that BGG Admin don't give a $#!+ about users unless they complain enough to interrupt their code-development-fugues. Sorry, but you only pay attention when enough users get pissed. I suppose that's one way of measuring user dissatisfaction, but I struggle to believe it is ideal!

If I may wax philosophical (and I've been designing software before Aldie and probable Derk were born--not an a priori qualification to be sure, and I personally loathed such statements when I wasn't "experienced" (read: too hidebound-to-change--that Western enough for you, Derk, you pisser-into-the-Gulf-of-Mexico which-goes-into-the-Atlantic? LOL ((Totally not serious!)) ), but I have done and mis-done interface changes enough to know what the common problems are.

Anyway, I hope you can manage future changes with less pain than past changesl And I hope I can, too!
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ldsdbomber wrote:
Why does this have to be such a big job, someone could just redo the front page to make it clean and uncluttered and eye catching and then have the other stuff come after a login. That would be a start, at least in terms of making it more appealing to new users. No need for huge lists of forum posts, geeklists, reviews, instead just have a large icon for each of those things with some undertext saying what you will find there. "Old" users can just bookmark the current page, new users could bookmark the other page. When they click the big forum icon it can still go to the list of forums. This could be solved easily with a handful of simple html pages IN ADDITION to how it is. No need to argue and fight about "changes" which seems to freak people out. Just add a few simplified pages with links to the main sections and more "info/how to/this is what its all about" page links. I think it is pretty confusing when you start trying to use the search functions at times (annoying when you KNOW what you are looking for and normal search words dont easily find it), and the geekstuff pages are... messy, to be honest.
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potterama wrote:

1.) Eliminate the 'quickbar' addition options. Anyone who would make use of such a feature knows how to subscribe to a thread or quickly navigate to a target section of the site. All that thing does is alienate the non-techies, Grandmas searching for board-game recommendations, etc.


Once I read a subscription it disappears. Sometimes I like to go back and reread threads.

Now find me the My Recommendations button.

I'll give you a hint: I added it to my quickbar since it was taken away from other places.

potterama wrote:

4.) Eliminate Reviews and Sessions windows. Again, these appeal only to people already following a particular game,


Absolute rubbish. Do you have any idea what a review is for?

I read loads of reviews for games I've never heard of before. Once I find I like a game and so I am "already following a particular game" reviews become unimportant.
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Aaron Potter
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Chris C wrote:

Once I read a subscription it disappears. Sometimes I like to go back and reread threads.


So bookmark them. Your browser already has that functionality. Why reproduce it on the web-page?

Chris C wrote:

Absolute rubbish. Do you have any idea what a review is for?

I read loads of reviews for games I've never heard of before.


So you read reviews of games you've never heard of SIMPLY BECAUSE you see them in the "reviews" window? Or because you were already researching that game, and opened the 'reviews' tab on that game's page? Again, a review is a function of a game - to speak databasese, the game id is the key field of a relational database, where the review is a child-table tied to that key field. In no case does putting it on the front page for every single entry in the database make sense. You might as well replace the entire database with a single flat-file Excel spreadsheet and post the whole thing as one gigantic page.

Quote:
Once I find I like a game and so I am "already following a particular game" reviews become unimportant.


And yet, under the current architecture, you're forced to wade through all that "unimportant" content on the front page, rather than just those you want to read. Thank you for proving my point.
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I don't think reviews (or session reports or videos) are clearly not important to a new user. Because of the effort needed to produce a review, the review list becomes a list of games BGG users feel are important enough to review. So, it's something of a hot list with a high bar to entry.

If a new user has a specific game in mind, the search bar is right at the top; but that kind of new user is more likely, I think, to enter the site via Google and go directly to the game page.

If the new user doesn't have a game in mind, then a review is a good place to start looking at games.

And, yes, I read reviews or session reports linked from the front page quite often.
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Tall_Walt wrote:
...the review list becomes a list of games BGG users feel are important enough to review. So, it's something of a hot list with a high bar to entry.


So it duplicates the Hot List function, and, being redundant, should be removed. Again, thanks for the confirmation.

Quote:

If a new user has a specific game in mind, the search bar is right at the top; but that kind of new user is more likely, I think, to enter the site via Google and go directly to the game page.


Arguably true. I'm not sure the search bar should be the first option - but it does have a place on the front page as it relates to continuing users' access to deeper database functions.

Quote:
If the new user doesn't have a game in mind, then a review is a good place to start looking at games.


I don't think so. Little old Granny is looking for a boardgame for her 10 year old grandkid, who likes Risk and such. She finds this site. In one future, she finds a 'family games' button near the top and clicks on it to get a top-twenty list, or sees the 'hot games' list and pursues options.
In the other future, she accidentally hits a session report which gives a blow-by-blow of every move in a six-hour Die Macher marathon. Eighteen paragraphs in, she says 'hell with this,' and goes to K-mart.

 
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potterama wrote:
Chris C wrote:

Once I read a subscription it disappears. Sometimes I like to go back and reread threads.


So bookmark them. Your browser already has that functionality. Why reproduce it on the web-page?


Quick bar links come with me regardless of what computer I'm using. It's a feature I use a lot. I see no reason to get rid of it.

potterama wrote:

So you read reviews of games you've never heard of SIMPLY BECAUSE you see them in the "reviews" window? Or because you were already researching that game, and opened the 'reviews' tab on that game's page? Again, a review is a function of a game - to speak databasese, the game id is the key field of a relational database, where the review is a child-table tied to that key field. In no case does putting it on the front page for every single entry in the database make sense. You might as well replace the entire database with a single flat-file Excel spreadsheet and post the whole thing as one gigantic page.


Why is it hard to imagine why someone would want to see all new reviews regardless of game? Or all new videos or what have you. The boxes on the front page are a way to see new content. Looking at every single game's page is a terribly inefficient way to find all of the new content on the site. You know, databases allow you to query on non-key fields. That's essentially what those boxes are on the front page. You apparently don't find them useful, but many people do.


potterama wrote:
Tall_Walt wrote:
...the review list becomes a list of games BGG users feel are important enough to review. So, it's something of a hot list with a high bar to entry.


So it duplicates the Hot List function, and, being redundant, should be removed. Again, thanks for the confirmation.


No, it doesn't duplicate the Hot List feature and it is not redundant. You took two words from the text you quoted and mangled the meaning of what he said.
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mugs wrote:

Why is it hard to imagine why someone would want to see all new reviews regardless of game?


I can imagine SOMEONE might want to...but forcing everyone to do so by default is contrary to a front-page's purpose. Otherwise, you might as well put all the content on one page and not bother with a hierarchical site organization at all.

mugs wrote:
Looking at every single game's page is a terribly inefficient way to find all of the new content on the site. You know, databases allow you to query on non-key fields. That's essentially what those boxes are on the front page.


No, they aren't, because they're not a 'query' at all. They're a change log. Placing a query box which allowed users to view new content is a fine function (though not for a front page). Putting your change log on the front page is ridiculous.

mugs wrote:

No, it doesn't duplicate the Hot List feature and it is not redundant. You took two words from the text you quoted and mangled the meaning of what he said.


Feel free to clarify how. He claimed the point of reviews was to highlight what games people are interacting with. The Hot List does that already. Redundancy is bad.
 
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potterama wrote:
Feel free to clarify how. He claimed the point of reviews was to highlight what games people are interacting with. The Hot List does that already. Redundancy is bad.

I think a recent example can illustrate the difference between The Hotness and "The Reviewness": (BP) Offshore Oil Strike hit the top of The Hotness, but it never appeared on the review list. The Hotness shows which games users are looking at, however briefly; while reviews show which games users care about.
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kswingruber wrote:
Let's see a mock-up of your idea for a re-design...


Okay. I do this for a living. So, 20 minutes in Paint later;

 


And that's crap. I could still kick this up an order of magnitue by actually redesigning this with Visual Studio instead of Paint rearranging the pieces.

Basic things needed on front page;

* Recommend a game for me
* Shop for a game
* Rate a game

This site, as much as I love it, needs a ton of work. A ton. There's so much low hanging fruit I could feed a metropolis of monkeys for a month.
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Tall_Walt wrote:
The Hotness shows which games users are looking at, however briefly; while reviews show which games users care about.


No, it shows which games *reviewers* (i.e., established longtime Geek insiders) "care" to be reviewing. Not the same thing at all, and in many ways indicative of the point I'm making, that unless you want the user base to remain the small, static pool of deep-Germanophiles it has been, the front page must change its emphasis.

Eric's redesign is a good start.
 
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » BoardGameGeek Related » BGG General
Re: This is not a welcoming site/sight.
What a tempest in a tea cup. Seriously I can't believe people are not saying the obvious.

Making the site attractive and sexy to everyone costs money...serious money. A few days ago there was a suggestion by management to have supported preferred content and look at the revolution that ensued. Very few things in life are free, truly free without some kind of cost (and volunteering time is a cost). People will spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a computer, fifty bucks a month for Internet access, but will be upset if they pay $20 bucks a year for a website they use everyday. Now I like free content and I don't expect most people would want to pay for this site, but I also don't expect the site to be presented in as slick of a fashion as paid sites. Most of the slick pay sites in the past few years have gone out of business, have strange profit strategies (craiglist and the money they make on call girl ads), or have been bought out by people like Rupert Murdoch (myspace) and suffered tremendously. Hell, Amazon started with a huge amount of capital and operated at an overall loss ever year until recently. In 2005 for example Amazon reported a loss of $185 million dollars.

I find it weird that people think this site has a difficult interface...try going on BBs's from the 80s or using unix command lines to surf the web, or just look at web sites from the 90s. Seriously, how hard is it to learn something new and not demand that it be spoon fed to you. Nothing personal to the OP but six or seven people you know would be called anecdotal evidence and would be considered non relevant evidence to any marketing firm. For example, about 2/3rds of the people I know that are serious about boardgames uses BGG primarily as a resource and secondarily as a social site. They spend probably a total of ten minutes a week and the site works great for them. Does this mean that most boardgame users don't care about the social aspects of BGG? Maybe, but my buddy list is not solid enough evidence to support an investment of capital. If the owners of this site really want to find out how to make their site better it would require a serious amount of money to have a marketing team do some valid research. It is one thing to "guess" what people want based on theories, personal experience, or even based on another company model. However, it is another thing to invest thousands, if not potentially millions down the road on non tested "ideas". Currently, enough people like this site to keep it running. I hate the old adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it" because I think it is tired, but I wouldn't suggest revolutionizing the interface without being sure it could work because any serious change would cost money and the owners could loose their shirts. Hell, the cost of the new servers and database software probably would shock the hell out of most of the people here.

Could BGG be improved...probably. Will they improve the site...sure. This would assume that those who run the site are experts in website design and coding, marketing, management, promotion, and sales. It also assumes that BGG has not steadily improved already since its inception. I suspect BGG was at first a fansite that developed to a point where it became a job, but it still is a labor of love more than a "phat" money maker.


If people expect a sexy site they should then expect that those that run the site need money. If people want a new site and are debating on whether they should continue to use the site anymore because they can't stand the interface then perhaps they should put their money where their mouth is and start a collection plate, or start a rival site.

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johnnyspys wrote:
Making the site attractive and sexy to everyone costs money...serious money.


Meh. I'd do it cheap. It'd be an honor to work on it.
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johnnyspys wrote:
Making the site attractive and sexy to everyone costs money...serious money.

You miss the point a great number of people have been making in this thread and Admin seems to still miss: The site can be greatly improved solely by reconfiguring the default front page.
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I don't agree that lots of stuff on a page automatically makes a site unusable. It depends on your audience - geeks/hobbyists probably want a lot of info.

However, I think BGG sorely needs a Basic and an Advance mode. The Basic mode should be default for new users, but easily switched to Advance mode which would be the "info overload" mode we all currently see and love.

(By the way, the default home page I see now before I log in is pretty useless to me and doesn't seem that interesting for new users.)

I'm talking about adding a Basic mode for the whole site - show more images, less stats, make the few most important stats jump out more (the rating, playing time, number of players). Make most other things collapsed (forum, etc.). Show simplified results of searches. Stuff like that.

The audience for Basic mode is casual, unregistered users. Grandma looking for a good birthday gift for her 10 year old grandson. Someone who has just played Ticket to Ride and wants to find "more games like that." In other words, 99.9% of the rest of the world. For these people, less is more.

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ldsdbomber wrote:
johnnyspys wrote:

Making the site attractive and sexy to everyone costs money...serious money.


No it wouldn't. It would take the efforts of one web artist to come up with a few large icons or graphic items, and anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of modern day html coding to make an appealing front page for non members, it could be a few pages in addition to whats already here, with no change to the current pages needed, and it would take the creative output of a handful of people who wanted to write a few sections guiding new visitors into the world of boardgames. I'd be happy to help out, and it could be done with a handful of current members easily, for no money at all, just a bit of time willingly given by a few volunteers.

First of all I doubt that most of these sexy sites are using basic html, and I suspect plenty of my favorite pro sites are using microsoft.net or at least some other sophisticated scripting language. I suspect this because plenty of pro sites that use microsoft don't completely work with safari. While I confess I am no expert in today's website creation and maintenance, I am certainly no rookie. In 1995 I was writing code for companies like IBM creating websites for them, but today's code is far more complicated and has passed me by. And as you suggested you would also need a graphic designer. And again read my posts this either costs money or someone has to step up and do it for free. As I suspect you would agree, an Iweb site although attractive would not work for BGG.

I am quite confident that there are talented people on these boards. However, I think it is extremely short sided to say all that one needs to do is change the home page, when it fact cries for changing everything would surely follow. In all reality a home page make over would eventually require a website make over because for the site to be slick you would need to re-think the design and the organization philosophy. I actually think the best thing they could do is to incorporate a better search engine (I frequently use google to find stuff on BGG and get better results than the BGG search engine). No doubt you could put up a very basic page, but then my question is who are you trying to appeal to and why? The masses? Is there any evidence that they care? Anecdotal, but one of the ugliest websites out there is the Drudge Report and it is widely popular. No I am not a fan of that site myself :-)

And to all of you who say you will donate your time, my question is this: will you continuously donate your free time throughout the years? Will you be reliable? Donations of time do cost money. If they are going to rely on you then you are going to have to spend time that could otherwise be used to make yourself money. There is still an issue of capital exchange involved even if they don't themselves need to spend it. Are you going to make the creation and updates your number one priority?

Artists working for free to create new logos and graphics, that is a nice idea but will they be available every time there is an update? Perhaps, maybe. Sure it can happen, but can it be sustainable? I will give you this, to some extent this site is already sort of a co-op because of the mod features. People do volunteer their time to review items in order to get geek gold. And how many complaints about modders do we have everyday? It is so easy to say "it will be cheap" that takes little effort to make the statement. However, to donate your time is still going to take you away from other activities (I will just take it for a fact that you will donate your time and that you are considered an expert in website creation). I am skeptical that the owners of this site can rely on volunteers for free assistance on everything that has to do with site updates but perhaps this thread will help them accumulate the right people. I would love to be wrong.

If people are going to put their money where there mouth is (like you and some others are suggesting) that is fine and I welcome them helping. However, there are dozens of people I can think of that were major contributors to this website that are no longer contributing. People move on and discover new things and eventually stop visiting their favorite websites. The only way you can insure that stuff will be accomplished on a timely fashion is usually (but not always) with money.

By the way, you have not addressed whether there is any real evidence that such a site change will bring mass traffic. Nor have you supported the very real possibility that people will complain about the new changes. Anecdotal evidence like "I think it would" is based on your opinion and not hard facts, unless of course you are an expert in pushing new traffic to new websites, then I take it back.

We don't even know based on this very limited discussion whether the majority of people here would welcome a change. I am for anything that makes the site more viable, although I don't dream of bringing boardgames to the mainstream because I don't care whether boardgames appeal to the big box store loving, trendy, johnny come latelys of the world.

I have a real and viable suggestion. Create some website templates and put them up on a server so that people can vote on your ideas. I am sure if you asked Aldie he wouldn't mind as long as they were functioning. Hell it could be a contest.
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Tall_Walt wrote:
johnnyspys wrote:
Making the site attractive and sexy to everyone costs money...serious money.

You miss the point a great number of people have been making in this thread and Admin seems to still miss: The site can be greatly improved solely by reconfiguring the default front page.


I didn't miss the point. That is your opinion and others have also disagreed with that opinion in this thread. And do you really think a simple home page is going to drive traffic and simplify the handling of data on this site? Hell, how many people know and use guilds? Well the reality is you or I couldn't possible know because I am sure for every user there are a tone of lurkers. (Aldie might know of coure). Again I am curious how a google like home page is going to make surfing this site and finding data any easier? Once people get beyond the home page, bam the same problem of dense data is going to occur. I would even argue that data would be harder to find that it is now because if you were a casual user how would you know how what to look for if you don't know what exists?
Please give me an example of a data dense site that is run on the cheap by all volunteers that does a good job of this? I would be curious to know of that sites existence. People keep pointing to other websites as examples that I am willing to bet are professionally done.

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Tom
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Maybe the wrong questions are being asked. Maybe we should ask how many hours a week are spent on server and website maintenance, and how many hours are free to be spent on developing a new website face lift. If Aldie is working 50-60 hours a week on making sure the bills are paid, and maintaining the site then maybe there is part of the answer.

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King of the Dead
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johnnyspys wrote:
I find it weird that people think this site has a difficult interface...try going on BBs's from the 80s or using unix command lines to surf the web, or just look at web sites from the 90s. Seriously, how hard is it to learn something new and not demand that it be spoon fed to you.


What the hell are you talking about?

Why should we look at websites from twenty or more years ago at all in this discussion?

HELLO??! The year is 2010 and it's already half over. Technology and the aesthetics of page design has evolved light years beyond what it was from the era you are talking about.

We're talking about attracting NEW USERS to the place, not keeping old, entrenched internet gaming nerds.

FRONT PAGE FOR NEW USERS. That's IT.

Keep your old text only shit if that's what you want. You can customize all you like once you're here. Once you decide you want to be here. But when a new user first sees the place it's off putting to the extreme. To argue against this is either being intellectually dishonest or deliberately obtuse about the very subject of the discussion.

Jesus christ... Seriously..? "BBs's from the 80s or using unix command lines to surf the web, or just look at web sites from the 90s."???
How can anyone seriously think this is a valid point to argue for not changing the front page for new users?

Madness...
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