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Forums - Website Topics - Website improvements - more community input


Put a limit on how big/long tags are.

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ioi said:
Also, on the game search page, I don't really like the games being listed how they are, I'd rather do half-sized boxart and list it as a list like on the rankings page with sales and other info in a summary table. Anyone object?

No objections here, I agree the current listing is cumbersome.

I also like most of Sqrl's suggestions, especially "go to your last post" or "go to first unread post".  Probably just the latter would suffice, and it could be done for any thread even if you haven't posted in it, if it knows when you last visited.  That would be a lot of timestamps to maintain, though, and "go to your last post" would be almost as good and easier to implement.

Someone had an idea to change the date range on the charts.  I think the ability to change all the extents (that is, the max and min on both axes) would be most excellent.  It's rather difficult to, for example, compare early PS2 sales with early Wii sales because the graph extents are so big.  It would be awesome to be able to "zoom in" on a section of the graph.  Also, bringing back the raw numbers below the graphs would also be awesome!



Entroper said:
ioi said:
Also, on the game search page, I don't really like the games being listed how they are, I'd rather do half-sized boxart and list it as a list like on the rankings page with sales and other info in a summary table. Anyone object?

No objections here, I agree the current listing is cumbersome.

I also like most of Sqrl's suggestions, especially "go to your last post" or "go to first unread post". Probably just the latter would suffice, and it could be done for any thread even if you haven't posted in it, if it knows when you last visited. That would be a lot of timestamps to maintain, though, and "go to your last post" would be almost as good and easier to implement.

Someone had an idea to change the date range on the charts. I think the ability to change all the extents (that is, the max and min on both axes) would be most excellent. It's rather difficult to, for example, compare early PS2 sales with early Wii sales because the graph extents are so big. It would be awesome to be able to "zoom in" on a section of the graph. Also, bringing back the raw numbers below the graphs would also be awesome!


Few things, timestamps aren't really necessary for tracking last post and it can be a pain to do date comparisons etc...just the post # would suffice (iirc in SQL a timestamp is 4 bytes and smallint is 2 bytes), especially since the post # is the unique identifier for a post. Then you can optimize further by having the database remove this data for any thread that has no new posts in a week/month/etc.... And if you really want you can add some coding for revived threads so that by default a thread being "revived" (ie posted in past whatever period you set) will automatically take you to the revival post and set your new "last viewed post" to the most recent post on the thread.

Also I would add that idea #1 and #2 can be combined, make an icon that denotes "new posts in this thread" and have clicking on that icon take you to the first undread post.

BTW - I noticed I misspoke on #2 but Entroper and Just_Ben both got the idea on their own from that anyways. My intention was "first unread" but my brain produced something else, so thanks for clarifying that as I would have likely missed it.

@ioi, I have a flare for user interface design and I can take blunt critisism well. So, please feel free to ask for some ideas while you develope this stuff as I thoroughly enjoy designing UIs and am glad to assist where I can. Plus I have php experience so I have a decent idea of the design challenges you are working with.



To Each Man, Responsibility

Hey guys. Some neat suggestions here, especially for ease of forum use. Where exactly are you suggesting having these markers - one the "boards" pages (so Website Discussion, Sales Discussion etc) where it lists all the threads in that board?

From a coding point of view, the forum isn't as optimised as it should be at the moment and I am going to rework some of the aspects of it anyway. Basically from what I understand you want a marker that for each user will flag if there have been more posts added in that thread since you last posted and if so take you to your last post in that thread? Should be a pretty easy query to implement, I'll see how quickly it runs.

The "predict this" stuff basically sounds like the prediction league at the moment. I agree this needs to be overhauled and integrated more with profile and this is something I will be working on.

Edit thread titles will be available soon

I think the current ban system works ok, if someone is doing a particular thing wrong a mod can pm them and tell them about it - dunno if we really need different levels of banning.

Email updates are being worked on

There is a review section already. I aim to expand it significantly. At present it is hidden away on the game pages and you can't really see it. I am going to add some structure to it - so scores for different aspects like gameplay, lifespan, graphics, sound etc and a final score. We can then have a proper reviews section and links to it on the homepage. Would many people write reviews for their favourite games? Of course they would show up on your profiles and stuff.

I also think this could work well for the game scores. We could have the score for a particular game made up from the following:

1/3 made up of general user votes (as we do at present)
1/3 made up from averaging the review scores we give (if more than 10 reviews)
1/3 made up from a gamerankings-style section where we add scores and reviews from major game magazines.

In order for this to work, it would require a huge amount of community input but if there is enough interest I will implement it (if anyone wants to help me then be my guest).

This actually brings up a general point. Some areas of the site are a little bland in terms of graphical design, if anyone has some neat little ideas and touches (replacing text buttons with icons maybe, improving the game pages and profile pages) then mock something up and send it over - admin@vgchartz.com

Cheers as always

ioi



My suggestions:

1. The VG Chartz logo needs to be redone, the chart is well... ugly and so is the font used.  Maybe you could have a contest to design a new one.

2. The VG Chartz logo is too big on the page and should occupy about half the size it is now, also the wasted space after the logo could be put to better use by having menu options up there (check the way 1up does it with theirs).

3. The layout of the rest of the page seems to be messy.  You don't need the "User Control Panel" where it is for example and the forum link in that panel is redundant.  Some of the boxes could also be shortened considerably, "The Most Popular Games" box for example should be one third the size it is now, "Hot Topics" should be one quarter, some boxes should be eliminated completely from the front page like "VG Charts Community" (a list of the currently online users should be on a seperate forum front page), also just to mention it shouldn't it be "VG Chartz Community"?

4. Part of the problem with a site dedicated to tracking sales is that once you post the weekly sales how do you keep people coming back for the rest of the week (I mean the ones that aren't forum posters)?  Basically instead of having lots of hits at one time you want to have lots of hits all the time.  In order to do that you need unique daily content to complement the charts.  For example you could put a greater emphasis on unique news on your main page and have some of the articles have a sales slant (A VG Chartz interview with Michael Pachter (or another analyst) for example).

Well that's it for now, I have a lot of ideas but these are just a few off the top of my head.

 



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Ok a bit more details on these then...

 1) "NEW!" - Some way of marking a thread so that it is readily apparent that it has a new post since the last time you have checked the thread.

& 

2) "Goto Post" - A link on the forum level listing next to each thread that you have posted in that opens the page and takes you to your most recent post in that thread.

I think possibly the best thing to do for these two is to take your existing orange icon next to each thread and overlay an arrow on it (sort of like an arrow that is put over an icon for a desktop shortcut etc...) this way it indicates its going to be a shortcut and the orange still denotes new activity.

I don't think having the database manage these is going to be extremely crucial to be honest.  Currently each letter someone types in a post is taking up 1 byte so 2 bytes here and there aren't going to make a huge difference.  But I do think that some level culling the old entries is a good idea to prevent it from becoming extremely cumbersome, particularly with a growing user base. 


3) Charts "View"-Window - The ability to set a time frame for hardware charts would be simply amazing...really no other way to say it. Just to be clear this would be specified as a date range for non-aligned graphs and a week range for aligned graphs.

If my concept of how the compare console graph works is correct then this should be fairly easy.  The basic idea is to allow users to "zoom" in/out on an area and get more useful information.  By allowing them to set a date range to look at for non-aligned graphs they can control the view window, and by allowing them to set a week range (ie week 6 to 40, week 1 to 15, etc...) for aligned graphs they can again control the view window.  

This should allow the graphs to produce a lot more useful info than it already does by allowing people to look more closely at interesting trend periods more accurately. 

4) Ignore List - I think this could help cut down on a lot of problems on these forums. I know there are some folks I would put on ignore and it would be nice =)

I'm not sure how you feel about this one, but there are a number of ways to implement it if you decide to go this route.  You could either completely hide the post, or just not show any text in the box so the person would know that something was said but not necessarily what was said. 


6) 5 second post delay to cut down on double posts

This one is pretty straightforward as far as design goes. 


11) User specified posts per page - Allowing the user to set how many posts per page in their profile would be nice for some of the folks who maybe have more or less bandwidth/memory than normal. PS - I would still love a scaling width layout for the site...but I realize I am in the minority with my monitor of Doom =)

I think this one is general pretty easy to implement, were you for or against this one ioi?

14) Donating Member - For folks who donate cash to the site you should give them either a special title denoting their contribution or perhaps an avatar? Something to point out and highlight the folks who are helping out.

I think having one of our members who is gifted at the graphical banner making type stuff could make up something for this purpose. 

15) Image Extraction - This one might be a bit harder but the basic idea is that you would allow people who are looking at a graph to download an image of that graph (or have it saved to the site itself) so they can link that graph in a thread rather than having 100 people come and look at the same graph over and over again.

I think this is one that should probably get shelved for a while since its a bit more of an extra than something new.   



To Each Man, Responsibility

The site has a long way to go before it can get any form of daily hits (good amounts). It's still kind of labeled in the fansite category and much of its community are nothing but poorly spoken fanboys. The most important thing obviously is for vgcharts to become the most accurate sales tracking site out there to shake its unreliable name from some peoples minds. Being able to track 'other' data such as game sales would also make it a lot more popular as no one else seems to do that.

Eventually the site would need to find ways to get content up that is respectable and unique in order to draw in more intelligent people, as it is now, you can't have one pro microsoft thread without say, leo or someone jumping in spewing nonsensical fanboy drivel everywhere. It makes analyzing and discussion less.. enticing. I imagine a lot of people spend more time looking than taking part in the community.

A lot of the stuff the site has is pretty fansite fodder, such as how amazing games get 0s because fanboys like to hate. The site will need to make a lot of ties with more professional sites (maybe getting gamerankings reviews on top of the terrible user votes) and the like.

But I see a lot of potential in this site if ioi keeps it up, he seems to have his heart in the right place and the shit he took at sites like neogaf is pretty unreasonable. I would help out with the site in the form of uploading pictures and adding to the database but I don't have the ability. I also have written reviews I could help out with on top of other people, but again, it needs to be well done.

Still the site has grown a lot since when I first starting tracking it, long as everyone keeps doing their best it could be a very big site one day, assuming that is the goal. If i had to list one grating complaint, it would be those damn 'congratulations you won an ipod thing' vocal ads.



Note: Some games in my collection are no longer owned, but have owned.

You know ioi, I have talked to a couple people (besides forum members) who uses VGchartz for stock tips. Like when to snag up or sell a stock. Of course its usually just speculation depending on press releases etc. But since you have an ongoing sales counter as well as good information from the sources. You could look into putting an investing area, don't know how that would turn out, but since we get a lot of "firsts" on this site, it may bring in traffic for younger people who are interested in investing in the video game industry. Just a crazy thought.



It would improve the website by leaps and bounds if "Off Topic" forum posts did not appear in the "Hot Topics" on the front page. Seriously, seeing "Shaved or Smooth" sitting at the top of the Hot Topics does not help the image of the forum at all, in fact, the opposite.

It would be nice if mods (or Stof) could move topics from one forum to another if they are started in the wrong forum.


It would awesome if the thread title, like this one:

Forum > Website Discussion > Website improvements - more community input

appeared in the top bar of my browser so I could glance up and see which forum a post was in instead of having to scroll to the top of the page. It would be a helpful reminder of what the thread topic was and also what forum it was in. It's a fact that there are a lot of people just hitting topics from the front page Hot Topics with no idea what forum the topic was posted in.



Being able to select a timezone for the boards would be nice. I hate that it's 5 hours ahead of me.