Seeking player feedback on more intuitive menu options

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Hi all,

We realize the existing menu on the home page is not all that intuitive and we're seeking to improve it. We're trying to figure out what kind of branching makes sense. This would be a step towards improving the home page's UI in the near future.

Below are the current menu divisions:

Home: just the homepage
Newsfeed: takes you to the newsfeed
Community:
  - Players: lets you search for players
  - Wiki: takes you to the player-maintained wiki
  - Forums: takes you to these forums
  - Strategy Guides: A 2013 collection of strategy guides (that may have been updated at some point?)
  - Code of Conduct: The code of conduct page
  - Make a Donation: A page where you can donate (without a menu sidebar)
Resources:
  - Profile: current profile
  - Challenges: The "challenge" puzzles posted by devs, which I don't think have been added to in quite a long while
  - Player Puzzles: Player puzzles, where you can search; also, this is where you can find the create puzzle, create 2-state switch, and create 3-state switches
  - Lab Archive: A long list of previous lab projects
  - Data Browser: Takes you to the data browser
About: the about page

Of course, the current labs are not in the menu but in the main frame on the home page.

The problem is that names like "Community" and "Resources" don't adequately describe where these branches will take you. Entering the puzzle maker, which is something that people do pretty frequently, requires going through resources to player puzzles to finding a button below the search (or alternatively scrolling down on the home page to create a puzzle, but this won't get you 2-state and 3-state puzzles).

For example, here is one proposed branching that captures some, but not all of the above activity:

Playing Puzzles: All puzzles -> "challenges", "player puzzles",
Designing for Labs: Current labs + past labs, data browser
Learning resources (or Eterna University): forums, wiki, strategy guides, potentially teaching puzzles, etc.
Creating things: Creating puzzles (all kinds), creating scripts, creating tutorials

This leaves a handful of things out:
 - The newsfeed and player profile, which seem related
 - The code of conduct, the donation page, and searching for players is also left out.

So here are my questions:
1) Any other suggestions for branching?
2) How to fit in remaining menu items in the proposed branching?
3) Should there be a different menu structure for incoming players (more relevant to them) and for more experienced players (those doing a lot of lab stuff or a lot of puzzle creation)?

Right now we're trying to improve the menu, but in the next version of Eterna it may be possible to make the site a little more adaptive to the user (feature puzzles you're currently working on on your home page, for example or labs you're examining).

Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks!

Best,
Ben
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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Posted 1 year ago

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Astromon

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Since it seems you like five tabs to be the max, maybe combine play puzzles and create things into one Tab and make a new tab for news-feed and profile.
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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Agreed - that makes sense.
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whbob

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Hi Ben,
Here are some thoughts on the home page & menu structure:

GAME                                                        MEDICINE
   Sanford Dev. challenge puzzles                 Labs
   Player created puzzles                                   Current labs
   Progression level puzzles                               Archived labs
                                                                           Data Browser
   Player List
   My Profile

COMMUNICATIONS                                  ABOUT
   Forums                                                        User Agreement
   Newsfeed                                                    Code of Conduct
                                                                       Mission Statement
                                                                       Site Map
                                                                       Donations

LEARNING CENTER                                 TOOLS
   Wiki                                                             Eterna Scripts
   Tutorials                                                      Player Puzzle Maker
   Study Guides 

Sorting of Challenge and Player puzzles will need some work.
A number of Challenge and Player Puzzles would support a progression puzzle test.
The process would be a loop.
At certain progression levels, lab access might be unlocked for a player.

Challenges does not make me think it would contain puzzles so I added to the name.

It's a work in progress. Hope others will join in the discussion.

    
 
                                                    
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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Thanks for your thoughts! I like your proposed categories.

I don't quite grasp your meaning on sorting challenge and player puzzles and the loop.

I think the division between "challenge puzzles" and "player-created puzzles" is a bit of a legacy holdover. There is a difference between them but not sure if the distinction is worth the cost of having these multiple categories. The initial menu change will likely keep these divisions though, as that's how the site is still set up.
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whbob

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I got off topic on puzzles.  In a reorganized site, I could imagine selected puzzles that would have plenty of practice puzzles.  A progression puzzle(s) would use those practice puzzles to get the player ready for the progression puzzle.  At the advancement to the next progression, some access to other puzzles would be opened.
It had nothing to do with your questions, I just drifted off :)
  
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JR

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A quick stab - How about:

Redesign home page
"smaller icons for ""mastering eterna"" and rest of page"
"get rid of ""my recent projects"""
"change ""try puzzle progression to ""puzzle progression challenges"""
leave lab access icon as is on  top
"pull ""player puzzles"" - ""Newsfeed"" - ""lab archive"" to new icon row on front page just below lab frame"?????  - banner style so it looks like one strip.


puzzles
"ÿ - Challenges: The ""challenge"" puzzles posted by devs, which I don't think have been added to in quite a long while"
"ÿ - Player Puzzles: Player puzzles, where you can search; also, this is where you can find the create - puzzle, create 2-state switch, and create 3-state switches"
- might roll Jinicol's excell spreadsheet into new category
- scripting 

analysis
- current labs
ÿ - Lab Archive: tree presentation form to show progression -milestones 
ÿ - Data Browser: Takes you to the data browser
- scripting


discussion
   - Newsfeed: takes you to the newsfeed
ÿ - Wiki: takes you to the player-maintained wiki
ÿ - Forums: takes you to these forums
ÿ - Strategy Guides: A  collection of strategy guides 
- articles
- videos - utube list
- eternacon's


Participants
ÿ - Players: lets you search for players
ÿ - Profile: current profile


Eterna
ÿ - Code of Conduct: The code of conduct page
ÿ - Make a Donation: A page where you can donate (without a menu sidebar)
- About: the about page
- donor list - sources of funding
(Edited)
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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JR: I like your redesign ideas. I'll talk to Sharif about shrinking the icons for mastering Eterna. Changing the name of the puzzle progression title makes sense.

Do you want "player puzzles", "newsfeed", and "lab archive" in their own banner-like menu because you use them frequently?

Question for others: do other players agree with JR that "Recent Projects" should go? Happy to get rid of it if people aren't using it.
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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Thanks whbob and JR! Here's a proposed synthesis of our ideas:

Puzzles

   Solve Developer-created puzzles

   Solve Player-created puzzles

   Solve Progression puzzles

   Create a single-state puzzle

   Create a two-state switch puzzle

   Create a three-state switch puzzle


Labs

    Current labs

    Archived Labs

    Data Browser


People

    Newsfeed

    Players

    My profile


Learning Resources

    Forums

    Wiki

    Tutorials

    Strategy Guides

    Eternacon? -> don’t think there is a page yet, but we could plan to create one in the future


About

   Overview

   User Agreement

   Code of Conduct

   Donations

   Site Map? -> doesn’t exist yet, as far as I know, but maybe create it?


I'm going to talk to Sharif (our designer) to get his impressions, too. Then we'll implement and see how it goes. We could keep a "Home" in the menu or perhaps have another way of going home (I sometimes click on the top Eterna banner to go "home", but get redirected to the lab).

Best,Ben
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whbob

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Thanks Ben,

The above list looks good.
It would make a good site map.
One thing missing is Eterna Scripts.

In web design, sometimes tabs are used
with no links back, just close the tab.
I prefer at least 1 link back to the home page:)

A thought just came to mind, can a landing page have
a user customized box where the user can put in their favorite 
links ( say two or three)?
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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Thanks for catching the scripts. Perhaps I would put that in learning resources, but it's not the best fit.

Re: home page - yep, makes sense.

Yes, in the future I would like to see more customizability. So that a user could, say, have links to the puzzles/labs they're working on or interested in so that they don't have to go through the navigation time and again. Another simple feature that would be nice is a formalization of puzzle series, so that players can create a series out of the puzzles they make and other players can walk through the series without going to individual profiles or searching for keywords in the player puzzle section. Then you could put that series as a link on your homepage and return to where you left off.  But these changes will have to wait until the next major website update (which should still be soonish - within the next year I imagine - but not right away). Menu change is quick and easy, which is why Sharif and I brought it up.
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JR

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Since it looks like I may be one of the parties on the hook for this change, please give me a few days to digest what you have ( which is an excellent start) and reply with a second  proposal using the above as a starting point.
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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You got it.
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Zama

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Maybe add Tutorial Puzzles to the Puzzle mix- scripted, non-scripted and tutorial series?  Separate from guide-like tutorials.
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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Hi Zama,
Can you clarify what you mean by Tutorial Puzzles? What link would it go to? Or are you suggesting a new page that reflects something like Eli's collection of tutorial and teaching puzzles?
Thanks,Ben
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Zama

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Yes, I'm suggesting a new page.
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JR

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Try #2:


Home

People

     Newsfeed

     Forum

     Profile

     Players

Participate

     Player Puzzles

     Active labs

     Eterna Scripts

     Archived Labs

     Data Browser

Learning Resources

     Wiki

     Tutorials

     Strategy Guides

     Eterna videos

Game Introduction

     Nova

     Challenges

     Puzzle Progression

About

     Overview

     Publications

     License

     Donating to Eterna

 

 

For home page:

  Keep Active Labs frame

  Keep mastering Eterna

  Loose My recent projects

  Keep puzzle progression

 

Create icon under mastering eternal for Turtorial puzzles, keep Best lab practices separate

Clone the “Player Puzzles”  page with the themes:

(1)      Lab archive and tools, replace player puzzles with  past labs list, etc

(2)    Eterna vids, replace player puzzles with links to vids 
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JR

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Forgot to add. Update data browser of course but also update past labs with score so that those that are not so data oriented can access puzzles and scores inside a familiar setting.
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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Hi JR,
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.  I like the headings and may reorder them (by putting "Introduction" right after "Home", for example). This approach hides all of the division between developer- and player-created puzzles, which I would like to simplify as well. Although it still means having to navigate through the Player Puzzles page in order to create a puzzle. I'd like to front puzzle creation more, if possible.
At this point I'm going to table discussion about these issues (as I think we have a lot of good ideas), get Sharif's take, and incorporate your divisions into our earlier iteration (by, for example, getting rid of the developer-created, player-created menu in the beginning and adopting your headings).

No one else has chimed in about getting rid of "my recent projects", but I will run it by Nando, Omei, and LFP6 to see what their take is. Some of the other changes might wait for a more extensive update.
Thanks so much for the input and discussion, JR.
Best,Ben
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JR

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To clarify, I would like to switch "my recent projects" ( which are labs) with a new page that would be a clone of "player puzzles" so you have all labs and lab resources on one page. The "players puzzles" page is a very functional page that I would like to take advantage of.  Instead of a player puzzle, the list would be labs  
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JR

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There also doesn't seem to be a lot of discussion so you may think of doing nothing until a major change comes along and do them both at the same time. 
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rhiju, Researcher

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Ben, you also had some broader thoughts on the layout including mockup of homepage for advanced players -- perhaps this is a good thread to post that? I bet JR, Zama, whbob would have useful thoughts -- or alternatives.
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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Here's the link to the mockups - it reflects some of the ideas I mentioned above, but includes some new features (like letting people create and work on puzzle series instead of just searching, finding them and then going back, finding the next one...). The idea was to give players more control over what they see, so that a player can select something they're working on to see on their homepage.
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whbob

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7/9/2018, 10:40 EST got a 502 error trying to access the link
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whbob

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link is working again.
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mgotrik

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Hey all,
After playing Eterna and going through the challenges over the last several months, I put together a list of some of the ideas I have had to improve it. I see many of them are repeated in some form or another here, but I have a few ideas in here that I don't see elsewhere. Here is a google doc link to the full list of suggestions: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VcpxNIQ6JsgLtCfjwIm3_zbrsS5BoWJsOcJsGaNM-zk/edit?usp=sharing

feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts!
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Zama

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Very creative ideas! I think you have a good grasp on the new player experience and its problems. I feel validated. I have added my two cents worth in the comments. 
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bekeep, Learning Researcher

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FYI:
Since this thread has taken on bigger subjects than just the menus and since both players and devs have ideas about changing the website generally, the dev plan is to do a website update in August. So everyone who's following this, chime in with your ideas! Take a look at our links above, or make your own proposals, as JR, Zama, and whbob have.
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whbob

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(Edited)
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whbob

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Seeing your tab layout made me re-organize my "site Map" above.
I think there needs to be an introduction to Eterna at the home page.
In my new layout, the bold headings are meant to be tabs on the home page. The lists under the bold headings could be tabs in the sub-headings.
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Zama

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You have Player Puzzle Maker twice, so maybe switch the one under puzzles to Tutorial Puzzles. I also think we could add more categories of puzzles- different levels.
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whbob

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Thanks Zama,
The player created puzzles have single and switch puzzles. Someone might work out for players to complete a puzzle type group and be brought to a progression "test" area where passing raises them to another level.  
I did put the puzzle maker twice. Most want it with the puzzles, but I thought duplicating it in "create" would give new players a better chance to find it. 
I'm trying to think of what a new player might want for categories.
For instance, I have not put a search link in anywhere. There must be a good place for one somewhere.
The more ideas you have the better.  Looking forward to more comments :) 
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worseize

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Please return in game option called before as  "Low performance mode" It will hide all bubles on game screen . It is annoing . Thanks.
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Firebrand

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Well...I've been having trouble trying to create puzzles so that would be cool. https://eternagame.org/web/player/259775/created_puzzles/