Let me start by stating that the site is awesome. The amount of development that has been done is amazing, especially given that the site is basically volunteer.
My point: I think that the site would be greatly enhanced with a consistent help function in the right-side menu. A discussion of help is covered by web usability guidelines http://guidelines.usability.gov/guidelines/27
It could be included in the interface as a question mark in a circle or some similar visual cue and link to a page that helps users get started or at least know where to look to find information, but be non-invasive on the site interface.
On that site, the “power button” icon acts as a ‘getting started’ visual cue.
I see this site as the best site on the web for beginning go players to learn the game, practice, and get excited about playing. I see it not only as a place for players to “meet” but also as a promotional channel for Go, especially in the US and Europe, where it is relatively unknown.
While the user interface is pretty straightforward, it can have a relatively steep learning curve. Most users impression of a website is created within the first 200ms of viewing, definitely within the first 20 seconds or so. As a user and a web developer, I would expect that a help function in the upper right corner of the interface would make the site much more usable, and less embarrassing for users who do not know about features or who cannot figure out where to start.
Suggestion for content:
What it can contain can be easily ascertained by
Asking the moderators what kinds of questions they frequently encounter
Using feedback from the usability testers
Having a suggestions link on the site and in the help section itself
I would be willing to volunteer some time to develop. I am a web developer for a living and worked as a teacher and a writer (help manuals and docs).
This is certainly a weak point of ours, one which we are actively hoping to address in the coming month or so. My first priority on this line of thought is to get an integrated “introduction to the game” tutorial in place which will probably take another week or two to get up on to the beta site. While I think that’s a critical step for our users new to the game, I absolutely agree with you that the rest of the site needs a comprehensive help system as well which is more to your point.
So all that to say - it’s certainly on the agenda, any specific inputs you have on this matter would appreciated, but be patient with us on this one, it may take a few weeks for anything to start showing up on the site.
anoek, no problem whatsoever. The reason why I bring up the topic at all is because I often see chats on the game lobby of users asking if a feature exists, where to find it, or how to do something. I would think that devs and mods would be tired of answering some of them and a help feature would save time and energy for actual dev.
I constantly have people telling me what is wrong with a site or what they don’t like. It can wear on you, especially when you are underpaid. Please don’t interpret my post as anything of the sort.
Again, I offer myself as a resource to actually offer a hand. If it helps.
Writing help is a lot of work but very useful because it saves answering the same questions over and over. I would think it needs someone who does nothing else but write the help, don’t know if devs have the time to do it justice. @anoek, the guy volunteered ! Accept before he changes his mind