At 4 hours ago, TomFulp wrote:
The NG buglist is LONG and the gang has been working their way through it. We are also cranking out mockups for improvements and other tweaks around the site.
There are a few things I'm curious about:
1) Do you find yourself ignoring the big content showcase box here on the front page? I've been told it doesn't make enough of a "call to action" and while looking pretty, people aren't being as enticed to click it as they should be.
2) Have you explored the content genre browsing? I feel like this is a really powerful system that a lot of people are overlooking; some have even complained that we removed genres. Go to the games page and scan the categories in the left column. Click around and start exploring. The categories get really in-depth and you can sort by all sorts of criteria. Right now we default to sort by date, which was an attempt to put the spotlight on new submissions but may have been a mistake. Instead we should probably default to sorting by score but maybe set the range to "Year" instead of "All" so there's more movement in the space.
This also makes me wonder if the games front page should be different. Right now we showcase the latest games, popular games from this week, highest scoring games of the month, highest scoring of the year and highest scoring of all time. Popular games tend to just mirror the front page. Best games of all time feels pretty static (instead maybe it could have a random selection from the top 200). But instead of all of that, I'm wondering if we should return to something like the old site, where we have a per-genre showcase. For example, the first box under "Brand Spankin' New Games" could be "Best New Action Games" and list the latest four action games with scores greater than 3.3 (number is based on some personal observations but not set in stone). The showcase would continue with "Best New Adventure Games", etc. I'm thinking it would better highlight the genre categories and might give people more direct access to stuff they like.
3) Have you been making use of the feed button (the star next to logout) in the header? It lists new submissions by artists you have favorited, something that was only available via email in the past. We intend to merge all favorites into one list of people you follow, so that you can easily add them from their user page and not have to add them in the context of a piece of content. Our current system (where you favorite artists based on content categories) is really old and has some charm but it feels like overkill nowadays.
4) Have you found yourself doing anything more or less as a result of the new layout?
Thanks in advance for any feedback!
Later today we'll see the arrival of the latest Cuboy adventure.
Check back tomorrow for the launch of a mesmerizing new featured game from SpikeVallentine!
For Number One, I still use the "Under Judgment" system, either the classic format or the new (which is nice since it displays everything new and under judgment clearly and distinct without having to squint at one spot on the screen). I only flip through a Front Page submission if I missed it when it was Under Judgment.
For two, I have explored Content Genre Browsing via the Audio Portal and have done so to review the latest heavy metal tracks even before the redesign debut. I can see how this could be useful for both Flash content and Artwork, so it's nice to have everything in a uniform package.
For Games, however, it doesn't matter whether it is new or old. Actually, it might, but only to some people. I prefer the genre-based approach, not some score-based assessment of a game's popularity. Popularity does not equal quality; I have banged my head through walls and windows with some of the games with scores of 4 and above, while others I have simply adored even though they are less than 3.3. Consider making a gridlike system where the genres are listed across and the date of release is from latest to earliest, color-coding each icon beneath according to relative score and even hype (i.e. traffic to page, views, and amount (but not average ratings) of feedback via reviews. Last comment: I don't give a damn about the flashy game promo on the front page. I have better regard for the regular listings beneath Front Page movies, rather than seeing an alleged must-play game flashing on the top. Most of the games I've played were ones I found through the typical search engines, not front-page wonders.
For the third point, I don't make use of the Feed button because I show up often enough that I stay apprised of new content regularly. I do check author pages if I haven't heard from them or are awaiting another edition to a series or write a well-thought-out query letter expressing interest in more stuff from them while praising their earlier works. It's a bit of schmoozing that any artist could appreciate. The "Favorite Author" tab is nowhere near the seal of approval people think it is, because if you think they're good, you'd look them up every so often automatically.
For the fourth and final query, I find myself showing up and smiling at what a polished site this place looks like. It rivals some of the other entertainment sites, and it's user-generated to boot! If there was a complaint I would have to make, it would be that I am unsure about if my Blam and Protection points are adjusting my voter score anymore, or even if I'm making automatic deposits of experience while rifling through new content as I used to. It would be nice if that bug gets cleared ASAP, or if there's a workaround, I'd like to hear one.