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Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

Location: NY, NY
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Nov, 2006 10:20 pm    Post subject: Site Tour for newbies?         Reply with quote


I'm a believer in the effectiveness of content-driven sites, and I think that myArmoury has met with a lot of success due to its structure. That being said, I'm not sure that the average new forum user (and we seem to have a good influx of those) is fully aware of the site's principal resources.

I'm sure Nathan can tell how many people visit what areas of the site; if it is in fact the case that myArmoury receives a good number of new forum users who are slow to discover the remainder of the site, perhaps new accounts could feature a prominent link (or automatic redirect) to a simple one-page "site tour" - showing off some of the niftier elements of myArmoury (and suggesting that new forum posters read the sub-forum descriptions first Wink).

Of course, for all I know this already exists (and even existed way back when I signed up), and most new users do seem to get oriented very quickly anyway, so this could be simple busy work. Just a suggestion.

-Gabriel L.
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Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin

myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Fri 24 Nov, 2006 1:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Gabriel,

Thank you so much for the note. The same things that prompted you to write it have troubled me for some time as well. This will prompt me to further improve things.

After thinking about this stuff for the last couple years, there has been a few conclusions I've made and a lot of information I've gathered. Here are some of my thoughts:

Only 11% of our site's traffic is forum-related. I'm pleased that the non-forum areas of the site are getting the attention I want them to receive. However, I've noticed that many forum members are often struck with surprise that a feature exists, or even worse, that an entire section of the site exists. This leads me to believe that there are two types of members: those who are extremely forum-centric, and those who are not. This same separation can be seen on many Web sites on the 'net. There are far more sites that offer a valuable site or a valuable forum, but very few sites that offer value in both. (There are many reasons for this, but the upshot is that it's a real difficult thing to achieve).

Much of the Internet arms and armour community was formed and grown on Sword Forum International. While there was a time that SFI had an online magazine with articles and whatnot, that time has come and gone by many, many years. Even then, the site outside their forum wasn't updated for months at a time and when it was, the content was short and not very in-depth. Today, we see SFI's homepage and non-forum areas suffering from neglect. Most of these areas have not been touched in literally years. SFI's real value has always been the forum: a grand place of tremendous variety, tons of members, and a lot of activity.

I believe that it's this culture, and that defined by other similar sites, that has caused the arms and armour related community to expect that this is simply how things work. When we created this site, it was an uphill battle to get people to understand that this site is fundamentally different than the other sites. Simply put, we do things completely differently and have a much greater variety of offerings for this type of content than nearly anywhere on the 'net.

Our homepage has always been very clear about our offerings. We have a road map right on the homepage for all users to see:

This menu shows each main section and described them. This is our "site tour", as it were. The rest of the home page shows new updates, current contests, and other things, too, so that any new (or existing) member can immediately see what we have to offer and what is going on.

Every new member is also sent a PM (Private Message) telling them about the site and some of the things they can do. With your suggestion, I'll add to this message and encourage them to browse the feature articles, hands-on reviews, spotlight articles, and of course, the forum search tool prior to jumping into the forum head first.

I think, after all is said and done, I've come to the realization that people simply don't read. You can put a sentence or an entire page of text in front of them and most simply won't read it. I've seen this time and time again. As an example, I have an absolutely explicit explanation of our real name policy for the site. It explains that we require a first name and a last name (or at least one full name and an initial). It also says, explicitly, that we do not allow fantasy names, "handles", titles, or any of that sort of thing. It also asks that names be properly capitalized and formatted appropriately. Examples for all these things are provided. Despite all this, I've had to delete literally thousands of names in the last few years because people simply don't read it.

This is only one example. And with this one, I've done a lot of coding to try to "crack down" on the naming issue so that the system now checks much more thoroughly before allowing a registration. As nice as this is for me, it makes registration more difficult for potential new users. And this is the crux of the the problem with a lot of this: the more we try to explain and steer those members who decide not to read, the more we put roadblocks and difficulty in front of other members who "get it". It's always been this balancing act of how far to take things and, unfortunately, at the end of the day many people will fall through the cracks.

I love the idea of a new page that is a site tour.. perhaps a slide show type of thing.. perhaps a simple menu of items.. I've done this for many of the commercial sites I've created. Unfortunately, people often don't use them and when they do, generally don't read the text contained in them. It can't hurt, of course, but I am left wondering how effective it would be. I will need to find the time to write it, create the graphics, produce it, and all that...

Keep up the suggestions.

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Jean Thibodeau

Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Nov, 2006 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think there is something to the suggestion of having a quick tour " POP " up the first time someone logs in: Slide show and
BIG TEXT. Wink Laughing Out Loud

Nathan your main comment that people don't read and just jump in to the Forums if they are of the forum kind of member says it all I think !

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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