GiantBomb.com - First Impressions

Hello World!

I've been visiting GiantBomb.com semi-regularly pretty much since its inception but it hasn't been till today (well, yesterday local time) that I've decided to register. Big Live Live Show Live contributed a bit I guess. As a software developer I look at things with a significant nerd-bend but I've decided to dedicate this first post to my initial impressions of the site from the account owner point of view. We all know that content around here rocks and that's something that doesn't require any emphasis. :)

First the bad stuff.

Navigation is really inconsistent. I'll probably file a bunch of bugs on this topic (not hoping for the fix anytime soon) but let's look at the very simple thing, the top-level navigation. There are two "dimensions" in which you navigate the site, let's call them content and personal. Content is everything you access via the red bar on top and personal is pretty much gathered in your profile tag in the top right corner. They both have pretty nice drop-down menus, but for some unknown reason they behave different. Content reacts on mouse-over and personal reacts to the click. What's even worse is that closing personal menu requires clicking on the nickname itself and clicking anywhere on the screen is not enough.

That's really bad and leads to some nasty situations, potentially even data loss. Let's say you're editing your blog and you hover over the Browse menu item in the content menu. If you expect it to behave the way personal navigation does, you click on Browse and... lose all the stuff typed in the editor. And you may expect that dynamics if you were browsing your profile, achievements, quests, etc. and got used to clicking to close the menu. It's all muscles memory and can be trained but it would be much better if it just was consistent.

There are some other tiny things that break the overall experience, most of them related to the amount of JavaScript this site is packed with. Image management is a complete dog in probably any browser other than FireFox. Which I dislike with passion. ;] Opera - blocked. IE8 - broken. What the heck? Some CSS is busted here and there as well and there are some other UX issues I find annoying. I'll probably bitch about it on forums as well. :)

Now the good stuff.

Boy is this site awesome or what? :D Content is KING but pretty much every single feature here makes sense. The way Wikid is organized is well thought through (although there's some crap content here and there that could use some cleanup; and will) and pretty much everything you'd expect is here. But social aspects of GiantBomb and definitely the crown jewel of web development. Stuff like FB, Twitter and achievement synchronization are cool but features from blogs to interactive wall to the way forums are implemented (and have bio instead of signature) are pure gold. No fluff, pure "let's socialize boys and girls!" functionality. I like it.

Don't have much to say about the community itself YET since I've had this account for what? 5 hours? But I'm hoping for the best.

So yeah, this is my first blog post on this site, I hope you report it for deletion and have a good time in general. :)

Cheers!

18 Comments