[thelist] Gamegrene.com > UI Improvements?

Jonathan_A_McPherson at rl.gov Jonathan_A_McPherson at rl.gov
Tue May 7 18:09:01 CDT 2002


Random comments... don't take 'em personally.

* I'm R-G color blind and I must admit that your use of off-green blends and
textures (etc) is easily readable, but simultaneously very unattractive.

* The font for the comments is tiny, and I can't resize it with my browser
(IE 6.0, Win2K). Luckily, I have young eyes (as do a large proportion of
your audience, I'll wager) and it's no problem for me to read, but it could
be for others.

* The "Contribute Information" box is too confusing; it's unclear what
exactly would go in there. If there's a topic I want written about and I put
that in the box, I'm not really contributing information. I'm asking YOU to
contribute information. You might want to rename the box to something like
"Publication Ideas" that communicates its purpose better. I would personally
eliminate the form from the page altogether unless it's being used a lot --
does it really deserve real estate on every page? Stick it on its own page
and give users a link to it. Then you can make it bigger and less cramped,
and explain it better.

* "Mail this to a friend" and "Subscribe to majordomo" -- again, is there a
specific reason you need to clutter up every page with form fields for a
feature that will probably not be used frequently? How often will users
subscribe? Probably once (if that), and every time beforehand and thereafter
they have that box sitting there taking up space and adding visual clutter.

One of the best ways to fight page bloat is to offload infrequently used
functionality. Give users the tools they are most likely to use up front,
and give them easy-to-spot ways of using the rest.


-----Original Message-----
From: Morbus Iff [mailto:morbus at disobey.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2002 3:27 PM
To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: [thelist] Gamegrene.com > UI Improvements?

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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