The latest upgrade of the OngoingWorlds website is really to fix some bugs, and tidy up a few things which were a bit rough around the edges the first time round.
Here’s a list of what’s been changed:
Not a massive change, but one which I thought was important. When testing the site when I wanted to view the posts that have already been posted, my eyes were scanning the menu down the left for the keyword “view”, but it wasn’t included because I’d tried to be as concise as possible when coming up with names for pages. I’ve decided to change it now to “View Posts” which I think is a lot more intuitive.
“Find Games” renamed to “All Games”
I want the buttons at the top of the site to be as concise as possible, with no wasted words. I’m also trying to reduce the amount of buttons and links on screen that the user can click on. The three buttons initially were instructions to the user, “Find Games”, “Create Game” and “Login”.
There are times though when you want to view all of the games on the site, but you might just be browsing, and not necessarily finding a particular game. I’ve removed the word “Find” and replaced it simply with “All”, so that the user knows when they click the buttons they’ll see a list of all games.
When viewing your archive of posts, this page will display the summaries of 10 posts before it breaks it up onto a second page. Initially the Prev/Next buttons were the wrong way around, meaning that you had to press “Next” to see older posts. This didn’t sound very intuitive, so now “Prev” means older posts.
“Join this game” button is bigger
If you’re a user looking at a game, you might want to have a look at the homepage, read the game’s latest posts, check out the members, and see the character profiles. One of the most important things for you to do next would be to apply to join the game, and I wanted this to be as prominent as possible on the page. I’ve made the text much larger and bolder.
There’s a chance this still isn’t bold enough, if you think it should be bolder please add a comment below.
Removed the rich-text editor from “Create Post” and “Edit Game Description”
Initially, there was a rich text editor on certain textboxes on the site, this allowed you to make text bold, italic and underlined, and add a link to other webpages. This has now been removed because it caused too many problems and also was a security risk.
Removing this might cause certain games to display formatting code which looks messy. Unfortunately there’s not much we can do about this I’m afraid, apart from manually editing each game description or post to remove the formatting code and making it look nice again.
The editor was also stopping some people from posting, for example we had problems early on with it not working on smart phones, and then there was a problem with people copy and pasting text in from Microsoft Word, which caused problems with the form. This has been fixed by simply removing the rich-text editor, as I was told it wasn’t used very much and was an adequate price to pay.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to add formatting to your text, I plan to add functionality in to allow people to style their posts using bbcode in the near future, but initially this will be limited only to members who have posted a certain number of times, as a special privilege.
In games you’re a member of, the option on the left initially was simply “Post”. This was to be concise, but I’ve actually noticed that it’s hard to find in the menu and so have changed it for the more instructional “Post a New Story”, showing people that this is where you’ll post your story. Simple.
Also I want to enforce that the main purpose of this site is to post stories, so I wanted to make this totally clear. In fact, I think this button needs a lot more prominence over the other buttons so some time soon will change this so that this button is bigger.
Many other bug fixes
I’ve fixed lots more bugs through the site, and I want to thank everyone who pointed them out to me, so that I could fix them. Please if you find any more or just have any suggestions, please let me know.
I’ve got some future plans, one is to better reward members for writing good quality posts, and the other is to give the user more control over privacy settings in their game, as some people have requested their games to be made private. I’ve discussed this before in an older blog post and it looks like there is a small section of people who would really like this, so It’s on my list.
Giving members the ability to tag characters in a post is going well, which means I’ll proceed with developing this to the next stage.
As the site gets more popular, more people are creating games. I’ve mentioned in an older blog post that the list of active games should always be made current, with old and abandoned games removed, and this is something I’m going to tackle to make sure all abandoned games are filtered out.