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

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Walt
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johnnyspys wrote:
Tall_Walt wrote:
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? ...

First, you and I have both been on BGG long enough to know one thing is very common: sudden, dramatic change to the UI causing a firestorm of protest.

That means change users see has to be gradual.

That leaves revising the front page for non-users: that's where we can make a big change now, but it's senseless to invest a lot of money in non-users. So, the obvious thing to do first is a low-cost revision of the front page.

Is it a perfect solution? No, but there are no perfect solutions because each user has a different level of computer expertise and wants something different from the site.

Is it a final solution? No: websites always need to evolve and change.

Is it something that can be done now? Yes, and that is the point.

Voltaire wrote, "The better is the enemy of the good." We can spend enormous amounts of time and money conceptualizing better things than a simple revision of the non-user front page. But that's no reason to not revise the front page now. And given the need to gradually change the site, grandiose plans may be doomed anyway.
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Ed Sherman
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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.


This.

Everyone that says BGG is so easy and intuitive: log out of BGG and look at the default page. Really look at it. Pretend you're a new user that got here because maybe they've played Settlers a few times. It's not welcoming to newcomers at all. It's a mess and wouldn't take "serious money" to redesign.

johnnyspys wrote:
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?


You know that BGG isn't all volunteer and actually has several full-time employees, right? (Actually six people, accoding to this post.)
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David Reynolds
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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.
This. Lots of fansites out there look SHARP, clean, and efficient, because their coders (who are all volunteers) take pride in their work. It's easily possible to do without scads of money. Look at OS/S, for Linus's sake.
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Aaron Potter
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johnnyspys wrote:

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.


And right THERE is the heart of the debate: not the technology; the attitude. As long as some people want to keep board gaming a private preserve, as if they alone were its worthy inhabitants, it will remain so.

And you wonder why people drift away from the site and discover new hobbies?
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CHAPEL
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potterama wrote:


And you wonder why people drift away from the site and discover new hobbies?


I don't wonder it, I hope for it.
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zoe rose
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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.


Just my two cents for what is worth. I expect that the first time most people stumble upon BGG, they don't enter via the front page. The enter via a specific game's page. The specific game pages contain a lot of information, but are laid out quite well. They are not unlike the layout for a specific movie on imdb, or a specific item on Amazon.

I expect that most new users just move from specific game page, to specific game page for a while, before they decide to dig in, and tackle the front page, if they even ever decided to jump in that far.

So the argument that the front page needs to be changed to be easier to navigate and less confusing to new users in kind of a red herring. The argument that reconfiguring the the default front page will improve the site for people who use the site on a regular basis doesn't really hold water either, because if you are familiar enough with BGG to be entering on the front page, then you should know that you can reconfigure the front page to suit yourself.

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Walt
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In think zoerose has a point that it is likely that many people enter through game pages. Look up a board game on Google, and it's almost guaranteed BGG will be near the top, if not at the top. But, making the game pages friendlier is a much bigger job. I think the cheapest thing would be to put a icon on every section, link them to the wiki, and write many pages into the wiki. As an example, many people miss that you can click any of the blue numbers in the Statistics section.

I think that would be a great second step.

Alternatively, where does a new user get dropped after registration? I suspect it's the front page, so maybe status ought to display a link to the New User Questions forum.
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Ed Sherman
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Tall_Walt wrote:
In think zoerose has a point that it is likely that many people enter through game pages. Look up a board game on Google, and it's almost guaranteed BGG will be near the top, if not at the top. But, making the game pages friendlier is a much bigger job.


Would it be that much of a job? Don't they all use one template?
 
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Brandon M
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ldsdbomber wrote:
It may be true that users come in via a game page, but then what? they are still going to click the header to get to the front page and see a huge swathe of text based blocks. I just think there could be more, and not just for beginners. I'd like to see more articles, news and input from others and something that just feels and looks a bit nicer. This is not a blasphemous rebellion against the powers that be, just an honest observation, whether or not there are enough people with the requisite skills, time and knowledge to make it happen is entirely another question.


I came here through a game page. Then I wanted to find other games, so I think I clicked "Games" in the header bar. Now it says "Browse" which is much less clear than Games. I almost never used the main page initially, but I'm glad it's there now that I recognize its usefulness. It wouldn't hurt to remove some of the boxes for people who aren't logged in.
 
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Heather Jones
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » BoardGameGeek Related » BGG General
Re: This is not a welcoming site/sight.
I must say that I am new to board gaming and new to BGG. The BGG site is horrific to new users (well, me at any rate)! It is very overwhelming.

I wasn't sure where to go, what to do, or if I even wanted to continue. But I pushed through and think I am getting the hang of it.

They really should rethink the entire site, making it more user friendly.

Love BGG though.

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Daniel Cassar
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There are a couple of sollutions for sites like this one.

Have a specific front screen for new users and a 'customisable' front screen for users with accounts.

New User Screen
90% of whats on the front screen can be removed!!!!
All you need is the search bar, a main menu which has "Games, Forums, Marketplace, Help"
Next to this a logon button so users can join or logon.
Below the menu, you might have a list of BGG's top 10 rated games and a nice little blurb about what the website contains and how it is imperative for everyone who enjoys playing board games.

Thats it! They are more than likely going to head straight for the search button anyway. Having all that other information just makes it look too difficult.

Existing Member Screen
You can pretty much copy everything that is on the existing front screen and use it for current members.

However I would add another menu in the user options where by users can turn on, off or prioritise blocks of data on the main screen. This way users only recieve relevant information. As for programming it is a simple database check to see whether a section is displayed or not and in what order it is displayed.


---

There is simply too much info to have 1 point of entry.

The other option would be to visually spilt the sites content into 3 main areas, Forums, Games, & Marketplace. This way things such as the hotness list won't appear as your browsing the forums or bidding in auctions. Come to think of it, do you really need to see it on every page each time you log on???

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Daniel Cassar
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To extend what I said previously, the use of borders and colours on this website has also been poorly done from a GUI perspective.

Yes they have kept with a simple colour palette and a specific style guide which is good, but it has been implemented badly!!

With everything being the same colours and the same font and all the borders being exactly the same, it is hard to distinguish what menus and information is relevant.

A user who does a search for "Pandemic boardgame" in google could be sent to the pandemic boardgame page, but instead of getting a nice image of the game and a description about it, they are greeted with 3 menus the only relevant one really is almost hidden under the search bar.

The picture/icon of the game has 5 adds competeing with it, infact you would mistake it for another banner add if you didn't already know what it looked like.

It's only after scrolling down to the next page that there is a description, but a description of what. The title "Pandemic" is in a blue box at the top of the screen in it's own little box seperate from everything else. None of these boxes are really "linked" together to say hey I'm a subsection of that pandemic game. They are all just individual boxes just like the front page, not very obvious.

Then amongst all this is a lot of member only information.

If you are not logged on, why show the member relevant links?
 
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Brandon M
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djcassar wrote:

However I would add another menu in the user options where by users can turn on, off or prioritise blocks of data on the main screen. This way users only recieve relevant information. As for programming it is a simple database check to see whether a section is displayed or not and in what order it is displayed.



You can do that here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/geekcentral/edit

There's a link to do it at the top of the BGG News section on the main page.
 
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Daniel Corban
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I remember my first few trips to BGG back in 2005/2006 and it was indeed a bad experience. I'm pretty sure some of my first few posts on the forums here were related to how clunky and patchwork-like the website felt.
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Chris
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potterama wrote:
So bookmark them. Your browser already has that functionality. Why reproduce it on the web-page?


Why clutter up my bookmarks folder with links that I will have to navigate to along a longer path? Either it's lots of folders to keep them organised or its a long scroll list. Having them on BGG makes them much easier and faster to find. Also, I have multiple computers and browsers and Internet capable devices in various locations. I already have an account on BGG and I don't feel like having to use another service to store my bookmarks remotely, especially as that may involve accessing through an unsecure terminal. It means that my FLGS can let me use one of their computers if I don't have something handy to use myself which is about the only occasion on which I wish to access BGG when away from a regular computer. Someone may crack my BGG account but that's no big deal really and I doubt most people who have access to my FLGS's computers would see much point in doing it.

potterama wrote:

So you read reviews of games you've never heard of SIMPLY BECAUSE you see them in the "reviews" window?


Yes.

potterama wrote:

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.


What? Quite aside from the irrelevancy of your non sequitir description of keys, how did you get to putting everything on the front page? Reviews appear in a little box on the front page for a short time and then disappear as they are displaced by new reviews which is not comparable to "putting it on the front page for every single entry in the database" as you conveniently ignore the temporal aspect of the arrangement. If you're going to make such ridiculous statements as gigantic pages why not just suggest the whole of the publicly available Internet appear as a single page? Your absurd suggestion doesn't actually add anything useful to your argument.

potterama wrote:

Chris C wrote:
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.


I'd say you're welcome but you thanked me quite prematurely.

That stuff on the front page is not unimportant because everyone doesn't follow every game. Wade through it? How are you wading through it? It's a small box on a page whose appearance can be modified by the user.

To the contrary, you're proving my point: by 'wading through them' they're not unimportant as I don't know about everything I want to read before I see it since I don't know which threads exist before I see them.
 
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this site is super welcoming!

sincerely,
craigslist

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Anshuman Sinha
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I agree with you. The main site is too cluttered and has too much information. There must be some way to layer the information, to reduce what one first sees .

I'd prefer the interface to be clean, with little info, lots of pictures, white background, blue color for headlines and black color for texts and links to the details.

Some of the websites I like look wise are
http://www.whitehouse.gov/
http://www.nytimes.com/
http://www.grantland.com/
www.facebook.com

NYT is a bit cluttered but it's manageable. I especially like how clean the whitehouse, grantland and facebook sites are. I don't know if the mountain of information here at BGG can be presented the way facebook does but it would be nice. It would be much nicer to look a front page displaying the awesome photos many BGG users have taken rather than this tsunami of text in the current format.
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Scott Alden
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Yay necrothread! We are working on a redesign that will address many of the complaints we've had over the years about "information overload"
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Robert Mills
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ohgeetee wrote:
Large scale changes can definitely be a risk, but in BGG's case, that risk is small.


I disagree...just ask Facebook whistle

UI design really annoys people- if its to different people may walk if they find the site no longer useable, of course the debate is one of is the current ui unusable and is therefore stopping BGG growing.

I despair that people want super sexy at the expense of information. I want a quick to load and information dense website. BGG has some minor issues but its one of the best websites Ive ever used. I guess that makes me a nerd- oh wait I play games I think the front page needs a redesign but the rest of the UI is fine IMO

ps
I only necrod cos others did it first
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The stated goal of the redesign is to make a site that is welcoming and useful to new users and which can be customized to the level of information density desired for older users.
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Amanda L
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Werbaer wrote:
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.




TOTALLY agree. I was told about the site by a friend who explained how it was often useful for looking up information on games. I started using it for that purpose too, then learned about new and different ways to use the site data to do things like look for examples of a certain type of game (co-ops, p-np's, etc), search by tags, etc. I ended up signing up for an account so that I would be able to add some games to the database that were missing, which bothered me because they were good games! I also liked the ability to create a wishlist, with rankings, and comments (which I usually used to paste in the url of the store that offered the game for the best price) that I could share with friends and family at x-mas time simply by emailing them the url of the page. Over time I got more and more into the capabilities of the site and the participatory aspects and the community.

BUT:
- If I had randomly come across this site on my own I would have closed the tab without a second thought.
- I never would have become a BGG member (let alone patron) on my own - I had to have it strongly recommended to me in order to put up with the "ugly/unintuitive" factor.


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Amanda L
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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.


But a picture's worth a thousand words!
 
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CHAPEL
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unicoherent wrote:


BUT:
- If I had randomly come across this site on my own I would have closed the tab without a second thought.
- I never would have become a BGG member (let alone patron) on my own - I had to have it strongly recommended to me in order to put up with the "ugly/unintuitive" factor.




But have you read last years analytics:

52,032,398 Visits (+31%)
429,700,315 Pageviews (+29%)
8.26 Pages/Visit (-1%)
00:08:42 Avg. Time on Site (-33%)
34.81% % New Visits (-6%)
17,201,123 Absolute Unique Visitors (+21.55%)
36.37% Bounce Rate (+2%)
75,602 New Users Registered - 436059 Total Users

In just last year alone it's membership has increased by 17%. Not bad for a site that has had the "practically" same interface since 2000.

So is the question now, are the most vocal the minority? One person stating that if they came across this site they would never have even registered VS. 75000 people who did.

Some people ALWAYS complain about the interface. ALWAYS. No matter how it looks. I mean, have you heard the bitching people do about FaceBook's interface? I hear it every day. And when they make a change, even more complaints. YET they still pull in a half a billion users.

I take interface complaints with a grain of salt, when overall the membership reflects differently. At some point, site owners just really need to ignore the flack, and watch the #'s not the complaints.
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Eric Jome
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It doesn't need much.

1) A cleaner front page for new users. Inspiration = Wikipedia.
2) Better focus on searching for the right game. Inspiration = Netflix.
3) Better focus on finding people to play with. Inspiration = Facebook.

These are all fairly easy to accomplish just by shuffling things around.

Face it. This was originally a quick web front end to a database. It needs to mature into a portal.
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*puts hands over ears* "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA"..Bitch, bitch, bitch. Here's my take on it.....The admins have a pretty darned good idea of what they would like to/need to do with the interface and other features of the site. This is NOT an easy job as some have pointed out. They also can't please everyone, that's obvious. I think they do a pretty friggin great job with what they've done, I mean, despite their enormous paychecks they're getting for doing it. There's NO OTHER SITE LIKE THIS ONE ON THE ENTIRE WEB.

"Oh my gosh! I just went to Board Game Geek and saw a bunch of eBay listings. Why don't they just have a giant picture of a Monopoly game?"

*sheesh*....just click on a link and get out of there...

Thanks for all the hard work BGG.
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