Campaign Landing Page thoughts

Micah
Micah
edited May 2013 in General Archive
Drew has posted some of the initial designs for the campaign dashboard, which is intended to be the first place where you go as the GM or player in a campaign. This will show the summary of what is going on in the campaign and allow you to quickly jump to any deeper info that you need.

However, this is meant to be a private-facing page, just for you and your players. On the flip side is the public-facing campaign landing page. This is where a visitor to your campaign will end up. Essentially, the current home tab on the campaigns is what we have now, like "the homepage for my Kensing campaign":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/kensing In the current system, this page does double-duty, serving as both the public landing and the private one as well. The plan is to split that up somewhat.

I've been working with Drew and writing up notes about what I think needs to be on that page, but I'd like feedback to see if there's anything I've missed, or if anyone has strong feelings. *Remember!* It's important to understand the distinction between the public facing landing page and the private facing dashboard. What we're talking about here is the public side.

h3. Needs

* Campaign name
* Campaign banner (optional, need to look good without one too)
** If banner is shown, we probably want to hide any text for the name, since the banner is assumed to name the campaign...
* “description” which is basically just a special wiki page (the Home page)
* Navigation to subsections
* Identification of GM
* Players and party

h3. Nice to haves

* Game system (preferably with logo treatment, not just text)
* Where we game map
* Indication of staleness (last update?)
* Indication of popularity (number of fans, something like that)
* Indication of featured (featured campaigns could get a badge showing the date they were featured or something)

h3. Overall Thoughts

* Power users are going to want fewer default modules and/or content items. They will want to lovingly place what they need and hide the rest.
* New users will want something that just looks nice out of the box
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Comments

  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,957
    I actually would put all of your nice to haves as must haves.
    Search button for campaign- I know people look for things this way, both visitors and players.
    Is there any way we can add a pbp/video conference addition to the map? Or even an option of game system as online?
    You nailed this really well- especially the overall thoughts.

    Just trying to help out.

  • JayJay
    JayJay
    Posts: 10
    I'd like the "if banner is shown, we probably want to hide any text from the name" as optional, while the Banners I use do name the campaign, I also try to put 'punny' subtitles in, which is a shame to not see them just because I have but a tiny amount of effort on a banner to make the campaign pages look less generic.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    "Is there any way we can add a pbp/video conference addition to the map?"

    Whoa! Let's keep focus on the campaign landing page here! That's like me asking if you like the paint color of a bicycle and you saying, "Yeah, but can we have a Lamborghini instead?" Create another thread if you'd like, but please try to keep discussion on-topic for these feedback threads. It makes it very hard for me to gather feedback on a specific feature or page when people jump in with random feature requests.

    As to search, please remember that the campaign quick search bar is going to be there at the top of every page. Watch the quick search video I posted and I talk about it there.

    JayJay - It's natural to ask for everything to be optional and configurable, but that often creates a horrible mess. In this particular case, 99.9% of people who upload banners are going to want all the text hidden so they can have maximum control over what the banner area looks like. If you want to add the subtitle, just add it to the banner image and update it as you go along.
  • crimsonknave
    crimsonknave
    Posts: 28
    I must be missing something, I don't seem to be able to find where the designs are posted.

    But, from your notes, it might also be useful to indicate the status of the campaign, similar to staleness, but specifying if it's in development, being played, on hiatus or concluded.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    No designs are posted yet. I have some wireframe mockups, but I've decided not to post them. People will get too nit-picky about the details and not focus on the higher concepts.
  • Langy
    Langy
    Posts: 364
    The 'Where We Game' map should really be optional; some games, for example, are gamed online (via Skype, a virtual tabletop, the forums, whatever); as such, a map appearing on the page saying 'this is where we game' is not only not helpful, it can confuse the reader. I'm pretty sure that's what KillerVP was talking about, by the way - he wasn't asking you to develop a PBP/Video Conferencing app to put on the map, just a way to indicate 'we are located in the magical world of THE INTERNET', possibly with the regular session schedule (every wednesday at 8PM to 12 PM, first sunday of the month, whatever).
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    Ah, thank God. That makes much more sense. I'll definitely keep that in mind with the redesign, as I hadn't considered the Internet games.

    Thanks for clearing it up!
  • Coan
    Coan
    Posts: 2
    I agree, the where we game map isn't essential by any means. I think the game system is important as I often like to search for campaigns by system to get ideas as systems 'tend' to cover particular types of games -sci fi, fantasy, etc.

    Last update is a good indication of staleness. Just thinking as an idea, another measure could be 'number of pages' on the campaign site, as often people start a campaign but don't add much other than the starting page. It also gives some recognition to those play groups that put a lot of effort into their 'site' with detail/extra information.

    As a GM, I like fans and the idea of seeing who is following my campaign. But I think the mobility of fans is pretty clumped together (I imagine data shows fans cluster around very few campaigns and by system while most campaigns get very few). With this said, I'm not sure if it's important to display fans prominently -but it's still nice to see. So I agree with it being a 'nice to have'.

    I imagine its out of scope, but the ability to pick 'boxes' of what you want to put up on the front page (like a pin board) would be cool. But maybe that's something for a distant future.
  • Rinzlerz
    Rinzlerz
    Posts: 5 edited June 2013
    Another feature that would be nice to have updated is the dice utility. The existing utility could use a little TLC, such as an auto scroll so the latest die that is rolled is visible in the window. An auto-tally or the option to roll multiple dice would be handy. Also having the utility share die results instantly with other players would be awesome but perhaps out of reach.
    Post edited by Rinzlerz on
  • ReverseG
    ReverseG
    Posts: 17
    I've pored over that list since it was first posted, and I'm satisfied with the priorities. I'd rather see a well-designed and streamlined landing page than a clutter-fest of widgets.

    I would still like to have a contracted 'Latest Updates' stream box up on the public landing page; I think I'd want visitors to know what the most recently-updated page was on our campaign site; it'd be a nice way for them to dive in. (But that's just me)
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,957
    Langy- The ‘Where We Game’ map should really be optional; some games, for example, are gamed online (via Skype, a virtual tabletop, the forums, whatever); as such, a map appearing on the page saying ‘this is where we game’ is not only not helpful, it can confuse the reader. I’m pretty sure that’s what KillerVP was talking about, by the way – he wasn’t asking you to develop a PBP/Video Conferencing app to put on the map, just a way to indicate ‘we are located in the magical world of THE INTERNET’, possibly with the regular session schedule (every wednesday at 8PM to 12 PM, first sunday of the month, whatever).

    Micah- Ah, thank God. That makes much more sense. I’ll definitely keep that in mind with the redesign, as I hadn’t considered the Internet games.
    Thanks for clearing it up!

    Yes, Langy is dead on! I was not in any way suggesting a new app at all, just a printed addition to the map where it would say Video Conference, PbP, or Pbemail. The statement was not clear, so I apologize.

    Just trying to help out.

  • Matrissa_The_Enchant
    Matrissa_The_Enchant
    Posts: 18 edited June 2013
    Micha, I'm completely with @JayJay in the case of the following point: "If banner is shown, we probably want to hide any text for the name, since the banner is assumed to name the campaign…".

    I don't currently have a banner, but that's just because I haven't gotten around to creating the one I want, and the one I want doesn't include the campaign name - it's just a thematic image. Additionally, not making the name available as text makes the site both less accessible and less searchable by 3rd party search application (e.g. Google or Bing).

    In my personal opinion, I do think that allowing the user to choose between showing or hiding the campaign title when a banner exists offers the best experience for both GM's, players and visitors. And, even with that, if the user chooses to "hide" the campaign name, the system should be using the name as the "alt" attribute for the banner image.

    _Note that I completely agree that making *everything* optional is not the way to go. However, that doesn't preclude making *some* things optional if there is a solid reason to do so. Otherwise you're allowing yourself to be hoodwinked by the "slippery slope" logical fallacy - that is, assuming that just because you decide to do one thing one way (e.g., make showing the title optional) means you are automatically required to do_ everything _that way (e.g., make everything else optional too)._
    Post edited by Matrissa_The_Enchant on
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    ReverseG - Good point about the recent updates showing what is going on in the game. I'll make a note of that.

    KillerVP - Also making a note of marking games as remote or "the internet". Not sure what form that would show up as, but it's a good thing to keep in mind.

    Matrissa - If you look at the source of "my Kensing campaign":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/kensing, especially near the title (look for the campaign-metadata class), you'll see that the title text, subtitle, and metadata is still there, just hidden. We do this mainly for SEO, but hopefully it also helps with accessibility. In addition, the main reason we would hide everything is because most people uploading banners will want full control. They won't want to display some things and not others, and if they do want to display the subtitle, they will want maximum control over where and how it is displayed (font, color, size, position, even angular orientation and skewing). Since all of that can be done in Photoshop, my assumption is that someone who wants a banner and a subtitle will take the extra 2 minutes to add a subtitle to their banner image. In other words, the vast majority of these people would choose the option(s) of _hide the title, hide the subtitle_.

    So, in short, I'm breaking the world into 2 groups: Those who make banners and want total control, and those who don't and just want things to look nice by default. There probably is a 3rd (or more) group too, but I think the top 2 cover the vast majority. Therefore, since I can support them without adding new options, that's how I plan to go.
  • Matrissa_The_Enchant
    Matrissa_The_Enchant
    Posts: 18
    Okay, that makes me feel better - as long as the information is _available_ I'll be happy. :-)

    That said, you should know that you need to be careful using "display: none" as some search crawlers and assistive technology (like screen readers) will ignore content with this CSS style. A more accessible way of making something with meaningful content disappear visually is to set the visibility to "hidden" and the width and height to 0px (some people will also give the item an extreme negative margin, like -9999px, so that it's effectively "pushed off the monitor"). Thus the content is still technically on the page and won't be skipped by screen readers and crawlers but is actually invisible to someone looking at the visual display.
  • FrankSirmarco
    FrankSirmarco
    Posts: 250
    I believe most GMs (myself included) like to know that their hard work has paid off. Showing the number of fans and some recognition of being CotM and/or Featured Campaign is the badge of honor that GMs strive for (look at the CotM pages - most, if not all, of them have made some sort of badge designating their CotM status). Making that available on the public landing page would constitute a "Need" for me.

    I've never thought that the _Where We Game_ map was a useful part of the public page. It serves no real purpose other than to satisfy curiosity. You can't join a game from the _Where We Game_ map, and since pvp/video chat/online gaming is all the rage, it's really rendered geography immaterial. I would get rid of it all together.

    Other than that, I think the Reforge team has their priorities straight.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    Matrissa - Thanks for the tips on "display:none;" I've heard a few snippets about it here and there, but using height and width 0 is a good fix. I'll see if I can't put some classes in there to allow us to do that without too much trouble.
  • Langy
    Langy
    Posts: 364
    Second the idea of a Featured Campaign/CotM banner; creating the CotM banner for "Edgerunners":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/edgerunners was one of the first things I did once we were officially announced as the winners, and I doubt many people would complain about that being added automatically.

    I disagree with Frank about the 'Where We Game' map being useful or not; it *can* be useful for figuring out whether it is close enough to join. Geography isn't always immaterial, because there are plenty of games that are still played face-to-face (and I doubt that will ever change, really). With one of those, knowing whether you physically can play in it is pretty important (if you're considering whether to play in it at all).
  • Rinzlerz
    Rinzlerz
    Posts: 5
    Isn't there a way to make the dashboard customizable for the user? For instance the GM would have a dashboard organized completely different than a player would. Perhaps a options table would allow the customization and organization of the users dashboard similar to the wysiwyg in the backend of the wigets section of wordpress websites. Start with a common “default view” but allow the customization of the dashboard.
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,957
    To add to Langy's comment, I also feel that adding an "internet game" designation would also be valuable!
    Thanks Micah, for understanding! Sorry for the earlier confusion....

    Just trying to help out.

  • ZacZero
    ZacZero
    Posts: 8
    Unnecessary, maybe, but I like repping my Cincinnati pride on the 'where we game' map. Just saying. :)
  • Quasimotocar
    Quasimotocar
    Posts: 12
    The Staleness Quotient would be very useful. Would it be a kind of updates per day value (total number of days on OP divided by number of updates)? Also, a sense of the amount of content would be interesting - in public campaigns this isn't so important, but if there are private campaigns looking for players, it would be nice to get a feeling for how much depth there is to the setting, or how many player updates/posts have been made.
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,957
    Sorry Quasimotocar.... I disagree- if campaigns are looking for players they should be public- and adding another layer to the equation is unrealistic- the gm can easily inflate those totals.

    Just trying to help out.

  • Quasimotocar
    Quasimotocar
    Posts: 12
    killervp - I think the "Last Updated" value is sufficient, and you're right about campaigns being public if they're looking for players. At that point, a curious player-to-be can simply review the content themselves - an abstracted value wouldn't offer much.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    We're adding a way to mark games as "remote" to indicate they're Internet based. I'm not exactly sure yet how we'll represent that visually, but I can understand the need.

    For last update, we're going to simply show the most recent date any change was made, at least at first. Indicating staleness is important, so I'll try to come up with a better way to show it. Maybe campaigns automatically transition to "On Hiatus" status if they haven't been touched in a while. Just thinking out loud...
  • weasel0
    weasel0
    Posts: 433
    I like that auto-hiatus idea. A month is probably a good time frame, also, any editing done that isn't GM only could move it to either "In Planning" or back to "Currently Playing." Something to also consider - My _The Masters of Hack_ campaign is played here using the forums so there isn't a lot of wiki or "Campaign" updating because PbP is so slow and that could possibly trigger a move to "On Hiatus" if not taken into consideration(as forum posts do not currently trigger campaigns to the top of the "Most Recently Updated."
  • weasel0
    weasel0
    Posts: 433 edited August 2013
    Noticed that when one is on their own personal page, the list of compaigns they belong to(GM or Player) is awesome and the current sized campaign banners fit there wonderfully. On the campaign landing page.....they do not. Any ideas on how the formatting may change for one or the other? Is there going to be separate banner pictures needed. The campaign landing page is not as tall so it cuts the top and bottoms off the images.

    PS- this is on the staging site.
    Post edited by weasel0 on
  • DarthKrzysztof
    DarthKrzysztof
    Posts: 132
    Overall, I quite like what I see so far.

    Is the exclamation point inside the gear going to be where the theme settings are? It isn't working for me (nor is what must be the die roller), but I don't know if that's "because beta" or because of something wrong on my end. I only ask because the email told me to "try playing with the campaign backgrounds and color schemes," and it doesn't look like I can. ; )

    Which is too bad, because I can barely see, let alone read, the yellow links against the white of the center column, especially in this overly-daylit room. : ( This is something we'll be able to customize, though?

    And I feel like the center column is too narrow. I don't need it to be as wide as it is on the current site, but it could definitely stand to be wider than it is now. Is there a "default resolution" you're working with?

    Still, so far, so good!
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    I should make it clearer on how to navigate the site. We're still adding more navigation, so it's not easy to get to all the screens just yet. To get to the style settings, follow these screenshots:

    !https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/145070/op_choose_campaign.png!

    then

    !https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/145070/op_dashboard.png!
  • Langy
    Langy
    Posts: 364
    "And I feel like the center column is too narrow. I don't need it to be as wide as it is on the current site, but it could definitely stand to be wider than it is now. Is there a "default resolution" you're working with?"

    It's much, much, much too narrow in the current beta. I need it to be _wider_ than the current site, not narrower; it feels like we're losing usability there rather than gaining anything.
  • crimsonknave
    crimsonknave
    Posts: 28
    I agree with Langy, the column is way too narrow. Personally, I'd want the main content section to get as large as the whole column currently is. At least on my machine (running 2048x1152) it feels like so much wasted space. Hopefully since it's responsive when that size gets too large for the window it can shrink down.
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