I'm Greg from GameFly and I've been working on the Moby Games redesign. I apologize for not jumping in here earlier to introduce myself.
I've read your comments and I understand your frustration at the lack of development on Moby Games recently. I can tell you that we are working on Moby and we are mindful of the community here. We know that the community is the most critical component of the continued success of Moby Games.
With the Moby redesign our goals are to make the site easier to navigate, to present all the great data and images you've all contributed in a way that makes them easy to find and consume, and to streamline the contribution process to make life easier for our existing contributors and encourage more people to contribute to the site.
Moby is a very large site with a ton of content, a rich and lengthy history, and an incredibly devoted community. It's taken us some time to learn about the site and how it works, what it needs to improve, and where it should be heading. We are actively looking for another developer to help us get there. If you're interested you can view the job posting here:
Software Engineer (PERL)
I'm always open to hearing new ideas and thoughts on Moby Games. I've read some of the comments here on the forums so I'm aware of some of your ideas and concerns, but I'd love to hear, and learn, more from all of you. You can email me any time at gmueller at GameFly or private message me on Moby. My nickname is greg-m.
Here are a couple screenshots for you. Please bear in mind that this is a work in-progress and is subject to change.
Welcome to MobyGames, or at least, welcome to this part of MobyGames. =) I'm glad to see we're getting in touch with you GameFly guys.
I just stopped by to say I like what I see in those new screenshots. The only thing that I didn't like was the logo. I understand that the logo on those screenshots is probably a placeholder, but I'll miss our blue'n'green logo with its bold font. Maybe you guys could think of ways to update it without losing its identity (I don't know, maybe losing the gradient effect).
Thanks for sharing those images with us.
I have to say I like the look of the profile page a lot better than the game page.
The main problem I have with the game page is that it's way too long vertically; too much information, spread out over a large area, which results in some things ending up "below the fold," so to speak. One thing I appreciate about the current format is that the pages feel really short, even if you still have to scroll down to see everything.
The game rap sheet doesn't work. It contains less information than the current version. The update history is a useful addition, but it needn't take valuable space where we now have our screenshots and credits. The advertisements and their placement is also a sign of strange priorities.
Mind you, what most of us have been asking for hasn't been a visual redesign first and foremost, but things that work under the hood – bug fixes, more platforms, a simpler back-end and so on. The current design isn't pretty, but it loads and renders quickly, which is of utmost importance when you're having a dozen pages active at the same time, inputting stuff.
(Edited by 雷堂嬢太朗 -jotaro.raido- (47527), Aug 15, 2011)Re: Introduction and New Moby Games Screenshots
雷堂嬢太朗 -jotaro.raido- (47527), Aug 15, 2011
Welcome, nice to hear something new for a change!
One thing that jumps out at me is the "videos" link in the game listing. Is that a spot for promotional video? Related video, like say a Let's Play on Youtube? User-submitted gameplay video?
My main concern with this redesign is that it seems very horizontally compressed, and far too long vertically. One thing I really like about the current design is that it will expand horizontally to fill the browser window. There's those big black bars on the sides in your mock-ups. Use that space!
Greg, thanks for posting! Rob, (I assume you had a hand in encouraging this) thanks for introducing us and opening up some dialogue from GF!
I'm not sure this post was meant to encourage critique, but I do agree with what the others have said about the page looking to long vertically. Also, please do keep the blue/green logo - it really does feel like part of the site.
I would also be curious where the videos come from. I'm hoping if they are user-submitted, it will be handled similar to screenshots - i.e. showing gameplay and not "Let's Play" style commentary. What they do at NESGuide would be a good example of what I'm thinking.
I said the only thing I didn't like was the logo but yeah, I agree about the verticalization. I know you guys are going for a fixed width, but maybe you could make it a bit wider.
I don't really care for it at all. It's pretty bland, and looks way too cluttered. Without the blue and green theme, it's looks more like a random blog than a game site. And like the others said, it's too vertical.
(Edited by vile_r (2287), Aug 15, 2011)Re: Introduction and New Moby Games Screenshots
vile_r (2287), Aug 15, 2011
OK... I know I'm only a very small-time contributor here at MobyGames, but as a web designer by trade I might as well comment.
I have to agree with the concerns voiced here about the page layout being too long vertically, and too compressed horizontally. Of course, I can't tell whether the width is absolute or relative to the browser viewport, but the image indicates a window around 1280px wide (minus scrollbar) which is the same size I browse full-screen at.
The black border area does look neat - I'd keep it, but make it much narrower (just wide enough to be noticeable), so the content itself would have more screen real-estate. In the game page screenshot, the actual content has less than half the width of the window, while with the current layout I get more than three-quarters.
Other things I'd try would be shorter headers, smaller titles (with thinner margins), a lower line-height for paragraphs, and re-proportioning the sidebar. This would all go towards giving more horizontal room for the important stuff, and avoiding distraction / scroll-wheel fatigue.
As for the ads, their size, and their positioning - eh, not my place to talk. And I assume you're not the one calling the shots on them anyway :) This is something that can and should be discussed regarding the future goals of this site... but that's a different matter entirely.
Right now, as far as web design goes, Moby ain't very pretty visually, but the actual layout is highly economical, functional, and convenient. It could be made sleeker and more modern, but doesn't really need such a radical departure sructure-wise.... or color theme-wise.
< /two cents >
Thanks for posting this message! It's very important for us that we know where we are headed. I really appreciate the fact you reacted to our concerns and are willing to share information with us.
Regarding the new design, I'll be blunt: I don't like it at all. Like the others said, it's too vertical, and it does look like a blog.
Also, like Iggy here said, we aren't really interested in a visual re-design. We are interested in fixing bugs and adding all those new features we have been discussing here in the forums for several years. It would be great if these features are implemented in the new design.
Thanks in advance!
(Edited by Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze (588), Aug 15, 2011)Re: Introduction and New Moby Games Screenshots
Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze (588), Aug 15, 2011
Sorry to break it to you, but that bit where Greg up there says...
“With the Moby redesign our goals are to make the site easier to navigate, to present all the great data and images you've all contributed in a way that makes them easy to find and consume, and to streamline the contribution process to make life easier for our existing contributors and encourage more people to contribute to the site.”
...should be read as...
“You don't really get a saying in the big picture design.”
Web 2.0 is here to stay, for better or for worse, and that means a fairly standardized format for websites like this one. You can get away with fancy, mold-breaking formats if your site is an artistic portfolio or some sort of interactive experience; but when the information, the content to be read is the main star of the site, you need to be as accessible as you can. And today, that means it's either the blog format or a wiki. That's the only way they can lure more people in: Having the site look like what Joe Internet (that was a great one :D) understands is What The Internet Looks Like.
Also, let's face it: We're used to Moby as it is because we've known and loved it like this for years, but the design is way outdated and quite frankly not very user-friendly.
Personally, I rather like the bloggish format. There is a reason why that format is so successful, and it's that it makes navigation very very easy. I agree with some of the ideas of Pseudo_Intellectual down here when it comes to distribution of the information, but in general terms I'm fine with the whole verticality thing. And again, more importantly, I doubt we have a saying in that.
I agree I'd rather have an updatedish version of the current logo though.
And a splash of color is definitely needed to give the whole thing more personality.
Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze Wrote:
That's flat out wrong. Building an innovative, user-friendly and intuitive front-end around/on top of a standardized code base like a CMF (that might be structured like a wiki) is no problem with modern tools. Shit, you could even make it look like an app. If you're competent enough, that is. But that doesn't work with Spielfliege's corporate identity design, which in and of itself is among some of the blandest shit I've ever seen.
(Edited by Pseudo_Intellectual (42315), Aug 15, 2011)Re: Introduction and New Moby Games Screenshots
Pseudo_Intellectual (42315), Aug 15, 2011
Great to see you! I appreciate that as nonpaying tenants, we don't really get input into what colour the house is painted, so long as the plumbing works and the electricity doesn't get cut off.
I gather with the new (placeholder?) logo you're going for a periodic table of elements feel, branding us the new element MobyGamium? (or am I reading too much into that 99?)
The prioritization of the information layout is naturally a matter of taste -- some of us are more interested in seeing covers than screenshots, scores than reviews, trivia than credits. All of us are interested in seeing all of those before we see the ads, but see above about the electricity. It might be nice if readers could customize for themselves their viewing priorities -- I always want to see screen shots on top, I never want to see credits, etc. (I'm curious as to how the new layout with its prominent "buy this game" positioning will handle freeware (we could perhaps host direct demo or shareware downloads), but ostensibly any mechanism that increases the availability of any game -- from any online storefront (from Steam to iTunes to Good Old Games) -- furthers our general goals of documenting these games... those being, getting people to play them! (But as such availability is heavily platform-dependent, it'll look strange having a "buy used on eBay" link" atop iPhone-only game entries, much as a "buy from iTunes" link would look strange for a Commodore 64-only game 8) Ideally these sales links could be contributed and approved like any other piece of info so we'd only offer sale links that actually lead to actual possible sales.
I'm a bit confused about the presence of game-info-categories both on the left sidebar and also present on the screen (except for those which aren't present on the screen) -- would the left sidebar link to "credits" be a same-page link taking the reader to that part of the page, saving their pgdn key?
There are a lot of places to "add" which raises a bit of concern that... if it is too easy for Joe Internet to contribute their two cents, the approvers will find themselves permanently bogged down rejecting submissions of info we already have on file submitted by people who didn't bother reading to the bottom of the page. I support a low bar to contribution, but not one absent entirely 8)
The right sidebar does seem a bit misguided; I don't go to a game's entry to see info about the site's contributors or recent contributions. That's mainpage stuff, or perhaps in that latter case grist for a stock ticker somewhere.
We're all full of strong opinions here. We can't all be made happy. (It's possible /no one/ will be made happy.) That said, it's nice to see someone speculating about change to the site who's actually in a position to enact said change... even if we do make a step backwards, at least there's someone in a position to potentially correct it and maybe even move forwards. (So I'm a pessimist. But I appreciate your demonstrating interest!)
The screenshots should be moved closer to the top-right corner. Otherwise, when visiting a page for a coverless game, we'd end up with nothing interesting to catch our eye.
I kind of like the idea behind the redesign, but it screams "bland" a little too much for me to like it. Maybe it'll grow on me if the features of the site will compensate for the lack of eye-pleasing design. As it stands, I get the feeling that this could be a design for just about any site; makeup, vacuum bags, fishing equipment... or as it happens, the biggest database for video games online.
I understand that Moby needs funding somehow, but 1/3 of the screen filled with various ads? That's a lot, and clutters up the page a whole lot (I guess that is the splash of color the rest of the site is missing ;) ).
So, sadly... I'm not that impressed with it so far.
(Edited by Rola (5899), Aug 16, 2011)Re: Introduction and New Moby Games Screenshots
Rola (5899), Aug 16, 2011
I was about to express my point of view, but I realized that I'd be wasting my time (you already have a set mind), my opinion would be unpopular anyway (I'm not into Web2.0 style) : I don't like changes for the sake of changes alone, unless I get the new features I need.
So I'll only add: make sure we get a new forum script! I'm tired of typing HTML tags myself (that's so 1990s)! And make it completely linear, that nesting thing makes it only confusing... (I need to search for latest posts in the tree...)
make sure we get a new forum script! I'm tired of typing HTML tags myself
Forum script? How about a script for descriptions, trivias, reviews?.. I mean, I do love spending half of my time merrily typing < moby game = " game " > and < i > and especially < ul > and < h3 >!... Wait... No, as a matter of fact I don't love it at all.
I too am glad to finally hear from GameFly and see some first mockup shots. Thanks Greg!
I've placed the two side to side (the current game sheet and the mock-up you posted)
As for the Profile page. The list of games, please keep it an option to just show it as a plain text list. Currently we can set in our preferences how many items we want to see per list (25, 50, 75, 100) and this is a wonderful feature to have, because it gives some user freedom to accommodate the site to their personal preferences and usage. Scrolling through 50 or 100 icons like that will be tedious, likewise srolling through them if you have to click next page after every 20 items
I suggested the very same thing ages ago during an approver's chat (way back when we had them) and the biggest problem about it is with games with lots of alternate titles (specially those compilations that only get their included games in such a way). I know that in the case of compilations we have a different problem that should be addressed separately, but still there are games with several titles in different languages. This could also be addressed with a greater localization of our site, something that has also been suggested many times in the past. The site could mold itself to the country/region selected by the user in its profile page.
I have two Moby windows side by side, or a reference page next to the contribution page, so no fixed width for me, thank you. If I wanted to fill the screen with one single page, I'd get a smaller monitor. Keep in mind that you can resize your windows, but not your monitor.
I see three screenshots when the current design offers eight. I call that a down-grade.
That's the thing that brought me into this site, and we currently list at least 9 positions or 20 people on the main page. If the new design removes information, it's a redesign we don't need. Also, a lot of games in the database are old games, and you are less likely to click to see the full credits list if you don't see it at all.
I agree with all three of these points, Iggy. Regarding the fixed-width, I often have a dozen or more tabs open at once when I'm working on corrections, though I switch between them rather than put them side-by-side. However, I also leave my browser only filling about half my screen, and put other things in the rest of the space like screenshots, text notes, emulator windows etc... A fixed-width design would obviously remove some of the flexibility in working with the site together with other resources. Or at the very least, make it more awkward.
Credits definitely need to remain on the game pages, but I think they'd be fine in the sidebar as they are now. I may be a little off, but I often care about a game's credits more than the actual description. ;)
I'm with Iggy on the multiple windows for comparison thing. I do the same thing...
Depeche Mike Wrote:
Hey Mike, don't disappear like that, man, we miss you around here!
Depeche Mike Wrote:
Well I do too, but I have multiple monitors.
And let me rephrase what I meant about my fixed width comment. I think the current design we have is a design flaw, where certain elements of the site stretch in the horizontal direction indefinitely, making them unreadable. I don't have an objection with elements resizing to the size of the user's Window; I have a problem with things getting stretched too big [I don't want to have to resize my browser just for MobyGames, while all other sites I visit look absolutely fine!]. And as I said "a fixed width would help" with that problem. But it's definitely not the most elegant and user-friendly solution.
I don't get why there doesn't seem to be a MobyScore immediately visible on the game page. It's always interesting to see what we, as a community, think of a game, as well as just what the critics said.
Keep in mind that all trivia eventually will look like this one.
Thanks for all the feedback so far. Please do keep it coming!
(Edited by havoc of smeg (10888), Aug 17, 2011)Re: Introduction and New Moby Games Screenshots
havoc of smeg (10888), Aug 17, 2011
Im afraid I too am going to have to jump on the design slagging bandwagon. it's plain, boring, generic and uninteresting. If I was new to Moby, it would not give me any motivation to look around the site further than the homepage.
With that said, I think I'll spare you the cynical "I'll believe it when I see it implemented"...