How intuitive is OGS for new users?

Fixed :slight_smile:

See also messaging a user and adding a user as a friend


If you are willing to invest some time and energy when you newly arrive on OGS, then it is a good, warm and welcoming site. Not a perfect site ( but believe me being perfect is grossly overrated).
If you however are passive, negative, maybe behaving a bit like a spoiled child, then OGS or any go server is no good.
What I like about OGS is (despite all the ravers, ranters and moaners) the positive attitude, the willingness to help others and to share our passion with others.
This is one of most important, if not the most important strong point of OGS.


I have heard people say this is difficult. I also vaguely remember not knowing how to search for a user when I started playing on OGS.

I have also heard a couple of (possibly older) people say they find OGS a bit complicated.

Maybe we need a site tour button that just highlights ui elements and tells you where everything is.

Or some kind of simplified accessibility mode. I’m not sure what that would entail but maybe polling some users about it could help see if something like that was necessary.


What they mean is “OGS is not KGS, and is therefore bad”


I have introduced about half a dozen people to OGS and the only criticism I have heard is that the notification indicator (when you are challenged to a game) is not very prominent. You always have to instruct people to click in the top right corner.

That’s a fairly insignificant detail though. Altogether I think OGS is very easy to use. Certainly easier than jumping through hoops to get an account on KGS via the Java client.


I have just helped someone with this. I think it’s not at all obvious how to get a game on ogs or more particularly how to get a game you want with the opponent you want set up how you want.

It’s certainly much easier to get an account and access the site then other go servers but i don’t think that’s enough. And it certainly not that people are passive, negative or like spoiled children. We are talking about people who are highly motivated to figure it out but cannot without help. Now help is available and it’s easy once you know how but the first steps should not be that hard.

Something like this would be good i think.

Lots of people , older probably, who have never played online but who are strong players are trying it out, we should be sure to make it easy as well as welcoming.


More like overwhelming, just because it’s packed with features, most of which I haven’t used.

Something like “core” or “minimal” mode might help for lower-end hardware as well as for getting used to the site.


From my memories, I was a bit confused at beginning with the analysis/variations on a game which were very quick to appear and not that easy to get rid of.

For KGS, since Java is integrated to the installer I don’t see that much difference in ease with OGS. It’s all quite similar.

For the feeling and welcome, same, I think players are friendly everywhere since Yahoo games disappeared.


If by “mode” you mean a setting, then the people who need it will never find it. I think best to make the site simpler for everyone by making “core” features more prominent, and perhaps make non-core features less prominent.

Like to take some ideas from our friends in the chess world, it’s almost too easy to get a game on and lichess. lichess has big buttons on the front page for “Create a game” “Play with a friend” “play with a computer”. I would argue those are our core features as well


I think the main problem for most of the users who say it is confusing is that they have not read the guide to the site (under Documentation). I am old and had never played anything online when I joined in Dec 2016. The first thing I did was read the documentation and then play a few bot games to get used to playing online. The old documentation was murky on a few points, but those were corrected when it was revised some time back.

From moderating, I know that most new users do not read the documentation because they don’t know basic stuff, like clicking autoscore to reset the score when an opponent score cheats, or even passing to go to scoring.


Well that’s like a universal problem, whatever the go website, almost no one read the documentation/help pages and what? There is nothing we can do on this and better trying to integrate it and provide a site which requires as less as possible to read a documentation.


Me too, but I think that a lot of players aren’t even aware that there is such a thing as Documentation & FAQ.
When I first looked for Help I couldn’t find it, was puzzled that there was no Help and tried some other options and this way I discovered Documentation & FAQ.
Most players just dump their problem on the Forums and someone will help. Often the problem is not new and has already been discussed, but easygoing go players don 't even bother to search the Forums for an answer.
I have said it before and say it again: rename Documentation & FAQ into Help so that people can find it and place Doc/FAQ (Help) in a more prominent place.


The only things I remember being confused about when I joined were the difference between the analysis and the review button; and the scatter plot showing the open game invitations.

Other than that, I think it was fine…


FTFY :grinning:


There are already some interesting ergonomy introduced by the Android app:

An alert system activated outside.
A clear and necessary request to activate the analysis mode

Maybe more things I miss yet to mention.

The app can be useful on its own I don’t want to mean that the website should be build according to it.

I think if you need to read documentation to work a website then the website design has failed. People don’t come here to read documentation, they come here to play Go. If people who know how to play can’t figure it out by just clicking around then i think there’s room for improvement.

I don’t know how the sign up process is but i know it’s deliberately very easy. Maybe adding a step of offering a tour or even asking if you know other users already and allowing then to be added to the friends list would help with setting someone up?


That is why some people never bothered to take the theory exam. They didn’t come to read but to drive a car.

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For newcommers I think the menu/searchbar not being immediately visible is absolutely and overwhelmingly our main issue.

The rest of the little annoyances is mostly personal prefference/different experience or expactations, but not being able to find a menu or searchbar is a great hinderance.

I always half expected someone will try to fix it on github, and when that did not happen I always wanted to fix that myself, but over the past half year never got to it myself, so no blame from me :smiley: , but if somebody felt adventurous:


This is indeed the only thing that ever confused me. Fortunately I wasn’t after any of the features only available through the ‘hamburger menu’ for a long time, so it didn’t really trouble me.


For me, the only confusing point about joining the site was not knowing what rank to put for myself. I quickly discovered I was much closer to 25kyu than 15kyu, but - having had almost zero experience playing humans, I was a very bad guesser.

At the the time, I was able to ping the mods, and they kindly reset it for me. These days, it’s done auto-magically as a new user’s stats adjust within their first 5-10 games. I think this is a well-automated system that performs its intended function well, but for players with a poor understanding of what separates a 20kyu from a 15kyu, it can feel a bit weird and out-of-their-control.

Don’t quite know what would make that better though… starting everyone off at 20kyu? Just food for thought, really.

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