Suggested front page changes

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qqwref
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:17 pm

Suggested front page changes

Post by qqwref » Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:56 pm

Here are some changes I suggest to the front page (http://www.minesweeper.info/). I think these would make the site look a little more professional. Don't mistake the large amount of text in this post for some kind of angry diatribe, I just want to properly explain why each of these changes would help.

1) Remove the "cheats" section on the sidebar and every mention of cheats. Our goal is to be an authoritative official Minesweeper community, so we shouldn't talk about how to undermine this in the same breath. Sports organizations don't have front-page links of how to use steroids and avoid drug tests.

2) Remove "did you know you can win a million dollars solving minesweeper". Yeah, not really. Anyone who looks into this will learn that "solving" minesweeper is as hard as developing a proof of the P=NP conjecture, which requires extremely thorough grounding in mathematics and a lot of work, and isn't really all that related to minesweeper since other NP-hard problems (e.g. 3-SAT) are far easier to reason about. Wording like the above sort of implies there is some kind of actual million-dollar prize which will be won by someone in the community, and I think a new person who sees this and realizes it's impossible will be likely to just abandon the community entirely.

3) Are the links to slots or the online casino bluebook paid sponsors/advertisers? If so, could we use Google Ads instead? They're text-based, so not too obtrusive, and they also don't blend in to the content, which would look more professional.

4) Add a couple of free minesweeper versions alongside the paid ones in the "fun minesweeper games" section, like zombie minesweeper or multimine or hexmine. The advertising is just too obvious and I think it looks bad.

5) The left menu is a good idea, but I think it would look better if the graphics were changed a little. Remove the "Minesweeper scores, ..." text part, get rid of the boxes on the left (so it's just a big grey field), and shift the actual menu items up a bunch. This should make it look cleaner and have none of the text over other stuff. I can do a mockup or give you the image if you want.

And some more subtle changes:
a) Rename "Custom Ranking" to "Density Ranking", just to make it more obvious what it is.
b) Move "Guestbook"/"Forum"/"Wiki" up so they are more obvious.
c) We have a lot of ranking things - WR, country ranking, active ranking, custom ranking, score lists, world records. It's not obvious that these are all similar pages, especially since they are not all next to each other. I think it would make more sense to just have one main Rankings page that has links to all of these sub-pages, with explanations. We could just start out with a link to the existing pages. The point is that this would make the left menu easier to follow, and people new to the site would have an easier time getting around.
NF player. Best scores 1-10-39.

EWQMinesweeper
Posts: 410
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:50 pm

Re: Suggested front page changes

Post by EWQMinesweeper » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:17 pm

great ideas, qq. my 2 cents:

1) the cheats section doesn't do much harm as it only explains how to cheat in the windows version. since the rankings require a clone to be used, i don't see any problem there. also, the number of videos on youtube featuring these cheats suggests that there are quite a few people interested in cheating at minesweeper. feeding them these relatively harmless cheats might be a good way to keep them from more serious attempts at cheating.

2) good point, agreed.

3) have a chat with damien about this. it's up to him to decide. imho it should be discussed via pm or something alike rather than in public.

4) this should be the start of a general discussion about how we view free and non-free versions of minesweeper. my opinion should be clear. there are better and worse versions, most of them aren't worth their price while others come close to the quality of our 4 clones.

5) i agree that it could be tidied up a bit. i think the wca rankings are a good example for how everything could be integrated into a single link. i'd like to see what exactly you have in mind, qq.

6) a) custom ranking clearly refers to custom mode in the windows version. although density ranking is more accurate, custom ranking is probably more intuitive for non-irc regulars

b) a subtle change, indeed ;)

c) as far as i am concerned a single world ranking, score lists, active ranking, country ranking and world records are the only rankings we need. a single link to the rankings seems a good idea.
„Das perlt jetzt aber richtig über, ma sagn. Mach ma' noch'n Bier! Wie heißt das? Biddä! Bidddää! Biddddäää! Reiner Weltladen!“

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Tommy
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Re: Suggested front page changes

Post by Tommy » Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:09 am

qqwref, some great ideas there!

I am not sure where I stand on the cheats section. On one hand, I agree that it shouldn't be there IF ms.info is supposed to be a site that is just about professional minesweeping and this community. However, I have a feeling that Damien wants to provide information about the game in general, which would obviously include information regarding how to cheat. After all, cheating itself isn't a problem; claiming a highscore that used cheats is. A sensible application of cheats might be to use shift-xyzzy to verify that one read patterns correctly, and only continuing when one knows why the mines are where they are.

I do think that the cheats section should make it much more clear that submitting cheated scores is not acceptable. Something like "Note: This community does not accept cheated scores as valid highscores; consider this page a list of reasons why you are not allowed to use the standard windows version of the game."

By the way, something nice and subtle that some people might not know: Go to the main page, and hover over some other menu items. Then, hover over "Cheating" ;)
Don't anthropomorphize computers - they don't like it.

qqwref
Posts: 121
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Re: Suggested front page changes

Post by qqwref » Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:52 am

I understand the idea that this is also a repository of information about the game in general, but I think it's just way too visible. It should probably be *somewhere* on the site, because we certainly do keep a lot of old stuff like the dead websites, but maybe it should be on the wiki or something instead of heavily promoted on the front page. I mean, it's listed on the top italic part, in the "Minesweeper Community" text below it, in the sideways text on the sidebar, and also as a sidebar link. IMO the audience who is interested in getting cheated scores on winmine is a totally different group than the audience who is interested in seriously playing/thinking about minesweeper - there is almost no overlap between the two.

PS: I can't imagine someone looking at a single pixel during a game to check if they are reading the pattern correctly, because they could just try their guess and look at the mine placements if they die :)
NF player. Best scores 1-10-39.

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Tommy
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Location: Vienna

Re: Suggested front page changes

Post by Tommy » Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:47 pm

qqwref, I'd like it much more that way as well.

About the "looking at the mine patterns" thing - you're assuming that beginners are capable of visualizing what the board looked like before. I think it makes a huge difference to be presented with the situation again - too easy to mix what you know already up with what the game tells you. This may be a bit of a contrived example, granted, since people will be too lazy to squint at the screen to use this cheat, but the point that I'm trying to make is that cheating can be used as a tool to get better at legitimate games.
Don't anthropomorphize computers - they don't like it.

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