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Andytizer

Home page redesign

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I think that the it's about time that Home could do with a redesign, so I'd love to get any thoughts and opinions. It's a long term project with lots of things that need adding before any meaningful change can be made.

 

The Home page is the highest viewed page on the site and arguably the most important on the site. It is a new visitor's first impression, and also the best way to 'convert' users and attract new editors.

What the Home page should do:

  1. Explain what PCGamingWiki is about
  2. Point to interesting/timely content
  3. Focus our attention on specific projects people should view/join
  4. Announcements

Past Home page:

There hasn't had a huge amount of change since we moved from the Vector to the Overclocked skin. The design of the Home page went from one which was predominantly 'widescreenl' (see screenshot) to one that had max-width and 2 columns, and later modified by Aemony to 3 columns which we have today. Here's how it looked in around 2014 according to the Way Back Machine.

screencapture-web-archive-org-web-20141221100847-http-pcgamingwiki-com-wiki-Home-2020-05-31-11_37_14.png

Arguably there are some things I preferred with this - clarity that we support multiple OS, more emphasis on non-gaming pages etc. use of RecentChanges on the Home page, and plus I also prefer the 'widescreen' layout more.

 

Anyway some ideas on what a new Home page might change:

  • Reduce size of News
    • This was an experiment which I'm still going to continue but I am going to de-emphasize on the Home page to stop shifting focus too far away from the wiki articles. I'd like to make this much smaller and take it away from the 'top' of mobile view as well. I think I will also separate Announcements as a section.
  • Changelog/Announcements
    • We have a current Changelog which I'd like to integrate into Home, perhaps showing 5 of the latest changes and a button to view the full Changelog. Integrate announcements into this.
  • Game tracker
    • Some discussions about this in #editors channel - this would be a collaborative news section that allows us to highlight game platform changes, big sale events, major DRM changes etc. These articles would get big traffic as soon as these events happens and it would be good to highlight them and improve them when there is a lot of attention on them. It might have a format like this:
      May 30 - [[Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes]] released, a port of Xbox game from 2005
      May 29 - [[Borderlands 2]] and [[Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel]] free on [[Epic Games Store]]
      May 27 - [[GOG]] Summer Sale begins 05/27 - 06-15
      May 27 - [[Doom Eternal]] removes [[Denuvo#Denvuo Anti-Cheat]].
      May 25 - [[Heavy Rain]] releases on [[Steam]]
  • Notable releases
    • Instead of having 20 in a single column, I'm thinking of splitting it into 14 over two wider columns, and making it more 'dense' so it doesn't take up as much room.
  • Forum feed
    • I'd like to keep this but make it much smaller and more dense.
  • Integrate top pages using Google Analytics
    • We had a solution using ExternalData/Matomo which broke but I will be attempting another method using this extension.
  • RecentChanges
    • So this is an interesting thing to integrate - not possible using Special:RecentChanges because it cannot be cached. However we could use the RecentChanges RSS feed to somehow integrate this into the Home page (this is also done in the Forum, see top of the sidebar). Now whether this is actually desireable - I've always thought it increased editor engagement, however I can see an argument for not having it (virtually no other wikis do it or it is relegated to the Community page).
  • Search bar change
    • I think that the search bar at the top of the page is too large and distracting, I think reducing its size would be desireable.
  • Sponsorship
    • Make this much smaller, and possibly integrate it back into an 'About' box which integrates About/Sponsorship/Statistics.
  • Lists and projects
    • I think instead of having lots of icons, we have use more written links to make it easier to make changes and updates to focus our attention on proper games.
  • Emphasising non-game article pages 
    • The whole non-game article section will be redone and I'd like to show more of this type of thing.
    • Emphasising and improving the Mac and Linux 

Anyway it would be interesting to hear feedback and thoughts, as my own ramblings above are very initial thoughts. Some questions that might be helpful to answer:

  • What examples of good wiki home pages have you seen? Include some links
  • What sections would you like added or removed?
  • Do you have any ideas for a layout?

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Sounds pretty good so far. Some quick things that come to mind.

 

Search bar:

Since we have effectively 2 search bars on the home page this should be a given. Maybe we could remove the big search bar entirely and highlight the one in the top nav bar a bit more instead (white, or lighter grey background inside the search bar and maybe a bit wider).

 

Recent changes:

Not sure if this is needed as in such a small scale it doesn't provide much information. On the full page on the other hand you can see right away what and how much has been done. It's just that the link is a bit hidden if you don't know about it. Again, maybe just highlight it more.

 

Changelog:

Is this something a normal user really needs to see? Announcements should be visible but stuff that is mainly aimed for editors isn't interesting for normal visitors I guess (maybe it can be filtered depending on being an anonymous or registered user?)

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On 6/3/2020 at 9:20 PM, Waschbär said:

Since we have effectively 2 search bars on the home page this should be a given. Maybe we could remove the big search bar entirely and highlight the one in the top nav bar a bit more instead (white, or lighter grey background inside the search bar and maybe a bit wider).

 

We have a tiny search bar on the front page?

 

I never use that one.

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