At the beginning of the year I came up with an idea for a serious WoW news site, a site that could satisfy my own never-ending need to be updated on the latest WoW news. Fortunately for me I design databases and website programming for a living. During my spare time over the last two months I have been very busy preparing a release and today I want to make it publicly known first via the Elitist Jerk's website.
The purpose of this site is to update the user with the latest happenings in WoW. I guess you could call it a digest of information designed to visited every 1-3 hours. Each type of article (news, blue, addon, other) is color coded in the sidebar, and there are regular scans from around various sites to collect this information. One thing I have noticed is that news tends to be sparser during the weekends, I guess people are too busy playing
Aspects of the site I'm particularly proud of:
. Blue posts from both EU & US official forums
. Daily new and updated addons
. Daily new items discovered
Currently the site design is lacking some design polish, but I thought it ready enough for public use until I can get my designer to touch it up.
In addition I've tried to make the site user friendly, actions that normally would require you to leave the page such as voting and submitting a shout are done asynchronously to the server.
Things remaining on my to do list:
. Search functionality
. User comments for each article
. Favourites of week / month
. Any new sources of information as people request them
If you have any suggestions or critisisms let me know.
It's not bad, I guess, but the layout for the forum posts is a little confusing - its hard to understand exactly what's going on, when it's taken out of context. Simply linking to BlueTracker with a short description of what's being said would be much less cumbersome.
The color scheme feels very flat, but you said you're going to get a designer, so I assume that you've decided to just bite that bullet for now.
If you try to navigate to an archived day with zero entries, nothing happens. That's not a big deal, but you might want to make a "no news found!" page or something for those days.
No links appear to be outright broken, which is a plus for a new site. It's pretty nice overall. Good work!
I think there is definitely demand for this - a really simple RSS feed + website (with multiple posters for flavor), that culls all the crap out of wowraids/bluetracker/these forums, and gives you what you NEED (or really want) to know, so you know what people are talking about in /g when you log in. A "slashwow", essentially.
Crisp up the design a little, use proper grammar/punctuation, a decent font, and multiple decent posters... and you'll have something good. RSS FEED!
Some longer articles should be broken down into a small headline that you can click on (possibly all articles). The giant patch one is annoying for a general viewer. (Basically, like slashdot, heh)
Funny you should mention slashdot, I often referenced their style of presenting news if I ever felt I was getting sidetracked with details.
I've felt there has been a lack of truly informative WoW portals that satisfy the needs of players who want to be up-to-date, but I think wowfix.com can be something unique and raise the bar.
Good point on that very long blue thread about the PTR patch notes that often pops back. For all the warnings of necromancy the blues remind us of, they have a knack of being guilty themselves with that thread. However, it certainly merits a system of trimming it down in real-estate size at the very least. I have some notes I can action on how to do this in a user-friendly way.
Thanks everyone for the insightful suggestions, I'll continue to monitor feedback and make adjustments to the order of my to-do list.
Thanks for the feedback on the site way back when it was in early beta. Ever since the last post here we have been working tirelessly to improve the site based on the comments given. I've just reached the stage where we now deem it a live site.
Return visitors will notice that the layout and design has gone through a major overhall as this seemed to be the major issue with users here. Long articles (especially those blue posts that can have many entries) will now be condensed into a small sample of their content. The design now displays clear seperation between news articles. There is also daily reports on new/updated addons, movies, and game items.
RSS. Yes RSS is now available, and also very configurable. You can get all the details from this page:
The first thing you'll read on the above page is the new feature to directly place news onto your own website. One common issue we've noticed with guild sites in particular is that their front pages can become stale, however, regularly updated WoW news on these sites should alleviate that problem. Its caching system makes it extremely fast and also very bandwidth friendly. The code is written in php and has been designed to be extremely easy (just one include) to install, and comes with plenty of help and troubleshooting information.
The site mostly looks good. The left-hand side is very, very "busy" though - what with the multicoloured archive and shoutbox and is kinda annoying when reading the news posts. It might be worth losing the multicolouredness or doing away with the archive in that position altogether.
I like the idea behind the site. A simple portal pulling news that matter from other site. Simply one problem. There's the whole 'that matters' part that seems to have slipped by.
Right now, I see blue posts about how the mail system works, a blue saying thanks, another person crying about new realms, and the rules for posting in another language on an English EU forum. Thats the same crap that we have to wade through at cardplace. Run through the front page of the site, and count how many of the items actually matter. Bear in mind that your intended audience seems to be addicts, the likes of whom spend time on EJ. That is a very well informed crowd your trying to cater to, and you'll need to do it better, faster, and cleaner than everyone else. Right now theres just too much trash taking up space.
I would recommend taking blue posts off the front page altogether, except maybe with the exception that the blue is the original poster - as in they are posting a news update of some sort. There are just way too many random blue posts that nobody cares about.