How intuitive is OGS for new users?

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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Only recently I started to use OGS more, so I clearly remember that it took me some time to realize that the 3 horizontal lines in the top left are a hamburger menu and not a part of the logo. It’s quite inconspicuous.

Hamburger menus are a fairly recent thing and I mostly associate it with mobile apps, not with web sites. And when they are used, it’s usually a place for less used features IME.

I’m still getting used to it. At least now, when I can’t find what I’m looking for, it takes less time before I think of checking the hamburger menu.


Another thing that I don’t find intuitive at all, is how OGS reviews work. I have done a lot of reviewing on gokibitz over the past few years and somehow I found their system very intuitive from the start.
Ofcourse it could be improved in some areas and there are a few bugs, but overall I like the experience and the clarity of how it works and the preservation of any narrative in the review.

I have tried a bit to “get” the reviewing system of OGS, because I may want to do more reviews on OGS at some point and I like the drawing feature a lot.

But when I check a reviewed game on OGS, it’s difficult for me to make sense of the review. If there is some narrative in the review, it’s difficult to follow. To me it just feels like an OGS review will quickly become a jumble of variations without head or tail. That’s not very encouraging. Is it because I’m reading those reviews in the “wrong” way? Or are people using the tools “wrong” when they make a review?

As it is now, when someone asks for a gokibitz review, I may do it. But when someone asks for an OGS review, I will pass.


I’m not sure about this analogy. I have in mind people who can already drive. They should be able to change their other license for a local one without having to navigate a needlessly complex process that has nothing to do with driving.

For people who know how to play Go and even know who they want to play should be able to get a game going without needing to read documentation surely?


I think if there was a large button on the home page that you could click to search for a user to friend/play/message rather than expecting them to find and use the menu, then find and use the search bar, then find and use the context menu, that would go a long way to helping the new user experience.


To be fair, reviewing games is the single primary focus of gokibitz, so I’m glad they’re doing it well! I would not expect a general server to compete with a specialist platform, but surely there are some ideas and concepts we could borrow from them :slightly_smiling_face:


I actually think that the “review” functionality is the one area of OGS that sucks. I mean - really sucks. It is fine for a single person going over a game unilaterally. But any sensible conversation about the game is nigh on impossible. I find that very frustrating.

However, this is hardly a “new user intuitiveness” limitation - it’s an “advanced feature that needs a workover”


I was a bit apprehensive that it was just me having issues with OGS’ reviewing system, so I feel relieved now! (and I will probably stick with gokibitz for reviewing other people’s games).

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Actually, to be fair, one should say “As a kibitz tool, OGS review sucks”.

It’s fine for a unilateral review. It’s just that a unilateral review is a pretty rare thing - we typically want to talk about the review.


Another small annoying thing : I once congratulated my opponent for a recent win on a high rank, and he asked : how do you know about it ? I told him that on a game page you had to click twice on your opponent pseudo to get his profile. He did not know about it although he already had 100 game SF on OGS. I guess a button « Profile » next to « challenge » or « friend » would do it.

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Maybe if you define a new user as a beginner to playing Go. What if the new user to the website is a pro Player using OGS to review or make videos with a demo board etc (which is happening).


Still the same thing. OGS reviews aren’t bad because they’re hard to find, which would make them a new user issue. They are bad because they do a poor job of fulfilling their full job description, regardless of your expertise on either the goban or OGS server.


I guess my point about the review feature being a ‘new user issue’ is that some experienced users might come to OGS with certain expectations. Maybe they’ve played and reviewed on other servers (KGS, IGS, Fox, etc) or other website like GoKibitz.

I still think this thread’s primary focus is “how intuitive is it to find our features” rather than “how well do our features actually work”


Can it be fixed by just changing the icon for menu—it could even just say MENU? This might actually make the below moot.

If it’s possible to organize the UI better that makes sense.

I don’t know web-dev enough to tell what’s reasonable but, alternatively with “go to full site” button

If it uses similar layout as the main one’s, I’m guessing it’s not that hard—once familiarizing oneself with it—to move to the main site. A person with an ancient computer would stay on it. core + teaching tools

(Would it update semi-automatically when “core” updates?)

At the moment my thought for addressing “finding out about the left menu” is to have it open by default when people start here, and so you actively collapse it the first time.