[thelist] Gamegrene.com > UI Improvements?

Morbus Iff morbus at disobey.com
Tue May 7 17:27:01 CDT 2002

Good day, all.

I'm looking for comments on improving the UI of Gamegrene.com,
specifically pages that look like this (the predominant template):


The problem I'm facing now is bloat. There are more things I want to add to
the site, but I'm running out of places to put them on these sorts of pages
- I worry that they'll make the page too confusing and bogged down.

Here's what I feel like I'm doing right:

 - pollination. letting people know of all the other things that
   they could be interested on the site. this is accomplished
   with navtrails, "what's related", "active discussions",
   and "last five articles" at the bottom of each article.

 - navigation. i'm feeling like there are lots of different
   ways to get to everywhere else, and that people aren't going
   to be staring at a screen and saying "where do I go next?"

Here's stuff that currently bugs me about the site:

 - the "Recent Articles" sidebar. I don't feel its accomplishing
   what I want it to, but my CMS (Movable Type) doesn't seem to
   have an easy way to break things down by months (most of the
   stuff I've seen is based around Date Archives, and I only use
   Category and Individual).

 - the "Search Gamegrene" box. I feel it's too prominent. It's only
   being used about 100 times a week, which I'm not really sure if
   its because of placement or user desire. I know that I don't
   want to stress it's existence - I'd rather people navigate via
   the other means available. I worry that removing it will upset
   those people who *did* rely on it, even though various UI
   newsletters (notably Spool's UIETips) suggest that searching
   on a site hurts as oppose to helps.

Here's what I need/want to add:

 - Gamegrene is breaking into offering MORE than just articles.
   I want to add a "Services" box, much like the "Regular Sections"
   box that, at the moment, would include two links. I'm not sure
   I can describe the links in small enough words to match the
   dual column approach that the "Regular Sections" box is. I
   also worry that doing so is going to push the "Contribute",
   "Search" and "Recent Articles" information down past the fold.

 - "Mail this entry to a friend". Something somewhere that would
   let people mail the current entry off to a friend. Would include
   three boxes (your email, their email, optional comments). Has
   anyone else used these? Do they work well? Where could I place this
   sort of thing on that page?

 - Majordomo weekly subscription. Another "pollination" increaser.
   My original intent was to add it before the navtrail on each
   page, in a single line like:

    get gamegrene.com weekly headlines: [ your email ]  (subscribe)

   Is there a better place to put this?

Your thoughts are appreciated. I'm really looking for *any* comments or
thoughts on improving the UI, no matter how small, but I'll be especially
appreciative if you attack any of the thoughts specifically mentioned in
this email.

Morbus Iff ( accept no prostitutes )
Culture: http://www.disobey.com/ and http://www.gamegrene.com/
Tech: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/au/779 - articles and weblog
icq: 2927491 / aim: akaMorbus / yahoo: morbus_iff / jabber.org: morbus

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