Kongming’s Archives Usability Suggestions

Questions, feedback, suggestions, and Kongming's Archives projects.

Kongming’s Archives Usability Suggestions

Unread postby James » Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:21 am

Greetings everyone!

Although I frequently get letters thanking me for making Kongming’s Archives such an accessible site, there are still many things which could be done to improve it. More to the point, Kongming’s Archives contains some old sections and old code which needs a rework quite badly.

Here’s the catch:

Feedback from others is vital to identifying usability problems.

I’ve got my own experience and my own observations, but I’m still me. Someone might be frustrated with a part of Kongming’s Archives which I think is fine and if I don’t hear from them it would never be improved. Or I might know an area which could be improved but I might think of other areas as a higher priority.

Please share your suggestions?
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
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Unread postby James » Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:24 am

Lady Wu complained about how poor the game listings page was. :)

It wasn’t very good...

Romance of the Three Kingdoms Video Games
http://kongming.net/games/

I’ve re-worked the presentation of data on that page to make it much easier to use. Does anyone have any feedback or suggestions while I’ve got the code and ideas for that section fresh on my mind?

Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel and History
http://kongming.net/novel/

I’m going to be reworking the Novel & History home page. Suggestions?
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:12 am

James wrote:Lady Wu complained about how poor the game listings page was. :)

It wasn’t very good...

Romance of the Three Kingdoms Video Games
http://kongming.net/games/

I’ve re-worked the presentation of data on that page to make it much easier to use. Does anyone have any feedback or suggestions while I’ve got the code and ideas for that section fresh on my mind?

MUCH better. I like the spacing in the list (beneath the menu) and the fact that the boxart is clickable. :D

The menu on the top still looks cluttered, though, especially with the "home" links. To someone who doesn't know KMA that well, it may be confusing why there are two links per game. It seems pretty redundant to me. (I mean, I understand that the point is that not every game has a home page. But what if you make only the subsections (DW games, RTK games, etc) anchored to the list below, and forget about the "intro blurb" links?)
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Unread postby Catalyst » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:53 am

I would kind of like it if the portraits and stuff didn't open a separate window. I'm a Firefox user who loves his tabs, so I always want to middle-click a whole bunch of pictures to open them, and then a minute later I see that they're all only going to open in a new window, which bugs me a bit.

Of course, if you have a reason for doing that, I'll understand.
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Unread postby James » Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:14 am

Lady Wu wrote:The menu on the top still looks cluttered, though, especially with the "home" links. To someone who doesn't know KMA that well, it may be confusing why there are two links per game. It seems pretty redundant to me. (I mean, I understand that the point is that not every game has a home page. But what if you make only the subsections (DW games, RTK games, etc) anchored to the list below, and forget about the "intro blurb" links?)

I'm glad the section makes a bit more sense for you now. :)

Yeah, I also dislike the top menu. Its length does make it somewhat cluttered. I'm trying to think of a way which it might be made a little more manageable. After thought I suppose the >>Home links can definitely be dropped.

I thought for a moment about displaying only links to the actual game home pages but that would leave out all the non-featured titles. Almost any change we make from this point results in either the requirement of an extra click for older titles or the omission of older titles from the top menu.

Here's an idea:

The top can have header links and they take you to the section below. Each section begins with its own sub-menu list. I'll play around with that (the only thing that sucks is that it will require more work) and I'll see what I can do. Other suggestions are welcome!

Catalyst wrote:I would kind of like it if the portraits and stuff didn't open a separate window. I'm a Firefox user who loves his tabs, so I always want to middle-click a whole bunch of pictures to open them, and then a minute later I see that they're all only going to open in a new window, which bugs me a bit.

For quite a while now I've disliked the idea of opening a new window much of anywhere on the site. It took me a while to find a solution. I think that is a very beautiful and elegant solution as far as presenting data but it does leave the question of downloading actual portraits. Perhaps I could add a link in the actual description of each portrait? I don't want to host a zip archive of all portraits. I know what that will lead to.

That is a potential solution for all the RTK games but XI. XI brings up a whole entire little web page showing the portrait and all the snazzy details. I'm open to suggestions but I think a popup window is the best solution to that area of the site.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
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Unread postby James » Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:42 am

Hah! There we go, I came up with something which works great!

Now, on the games home page, the top menu only offers a few small section links. Those section links take you to the individual sections where the sub-listing of all titles in that series are shown below the paragraph introducing them. Clicking on a link there jumps further down to the actual entry.

I've also replaced the >>Home garbage with a simple '>>' in orange. When you mouse over it some text (which is hopefully hidden) appears, explaining that a click will jump to the actual section of Kongming’s Archives. That area is also reserved for the link so it isn't actually a pain to target that link and use it once you see how it works.

Any other feedback or ideas?

(I haven't tested all the CSS for this page in other browsers yet).
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:07 am

How about a stationary frame or object that reloads the image of the officer whose name you click on?
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Unread postby James » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:18 am

Sun Gongli wrote:How about a stationary frame or object that reloads the image of the officer whose name you click on?

Elaborate? If you are talking about having a floating window which loads whatever it is you click on without launching a new floating window it should already be capable of doing it. To try, open a window and instead of closing it, click on another officer. It should load the new officer in the existing window. If you are talking about something grander, let me know.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
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