Website needs a complete overhaul


Website Feedback

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Hello,

I've just started using your site due to the Humble Bundle deal that was done. Excellent deal, excluding the fact that you charge over DOUBLE what you originally paid to get a product shipped out (That's just out and out daylight robbery) that's not what I'm here to talk about though.

Your website is, in the nicest possible way, really bad. The flow of it is just ridiculous, inconsistent menus and inconsistent styles. Horrible styling. Trying to find my way around the site was difficult to start. My Account, My Downloads. Why am I "Personalizing" a PDF that has no personalized info in it ? You knew this deal would be popular, why are you not using proper server scaling? Third parties will do this for you, Amazon comes to mind. If you are hosting it yourselves, throw some more servers in the LoadBalancer (if you're using one) there really isn't any excuse for server loads these days when you can easily load test your servers with various tools, and have them dynamically spin more servers up when traffic starts increasing.

Why do you scroll me down, with the "Personalizing" or whatever it's doing as the top of my page? It's horrible, don't unnecessarily move the Users scroll around.

Message Boards. Section them out, don't make me scroll the entire page to look at different method boards. Top menu could scroll with the page. Use some JavaScript. Everything is a full post back, it's horrible.

You offer so many good products, but are massively let down by a poor, dated, tatty looking site.

Community & Digital Content Director

39 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the feedback! We actually have a long wishlist of things we'd love to see on paizo.com ourselves (including a fresh coat of paint, and some flame decals for increased speed).

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Lol.


This is my favourite website! No overhaul required!


While I doubt the OP's technical expertise for too many reasons to mention and the way he spoke I do agree that the site could use an update. I don't know if occasional traffic spikes warrant a new server though.


Hmm, I will skip the Humble Bundle problems here, because they are not permanent and discussed enough anyway. I like the website overall, but when it lists current forum threads ('Messageboards' and 'Online Campaigns' on the right side), the server sometimes doesn't respond at all. I don't encounter such problems when I enter the forum - which doesn't show the sidebars.

If the threads are really the reason, maybe it's a point where the page can become much faster with relatively small effort.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Chris Lambertz wrote:
Thanks for the feedback! We actually have a long wishlist of things we'd love to see on paizo.com ourselves (including a fresh coat of paint, and some flame decals for increased speed).

Ah man, that is going to look sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Also, you should get rid of all the writing on the site. Not only does writing steal the words out of your head, they also cause drag, which slows down a server.

You should also definitely paint it red.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Also, Paizo totally knew exactly how popular this was going to be. You see I forsaw it while reading omans in a dogs guts, and was sure to warn the goblins of the IT department in a dream where we got messed up, travelled back in time and slew the postmonster.

Scarab Sages

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Is it time for a new thread - WNACO?


Not want home ovra...ovaholed...changed...me want home stay!


Burn, baby burn!


13 people marked this as a favorite.

You guys can snark all you want, the OP certainly has a valid point - the Paizo website is out-of-date. Veteran members might not care, but in terms of both usability and compatibility there is a lot of room for improvement. And that has nothing to do with the tech staff not doing their job, far from it.


Heathen!Feed him to the postmonster general lest it return!

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Snargle, Goblin Techn-Shaman wrote:
Heathen!Feed him to the postmonster general lest it return!

Come on now. We have to go easy on the new kids.

Besides, if they update the site, maybe I can finally get that flamethrower guitar animation I've been wanting.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Antariuk wrote:
You guys can snark all you want, the OP certainly has a valid point - the Paizo website is out-of-date. Veteran members might not care, but in terms of both usability and compatibility there is a lot of room for improvement. And that has nothing to do with the tech staff not doing their job, far from it.

Truth is, I could actually give two f~#~s less about whether the site is out of date or not. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm patient enough to let the staff work that stuff out in their own time.

But that doesn't mean I can't have fun with it.


I also want a flame thrower guitar.


All good goblins want flamenthrower guitars.


Stabbyface stabs'es bard with flaming guitar, once's.


Oh bloody smurf...


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ICTech wrote:

Why am I "Personalizing" a PDF that has no personalized info in it ?

Every personalized PDF has personalized info in it. You might want to look at the top and bottom of each PDF page there a bit closer again.

Also with >45.000 sold bundles, this is comparable to the start of a Triple A PC game or MMO. Those are done by a lot larger companies with a lot more resources and see servers etc crashing on a regular scale.
And unlike Steam, there´s not preload on a Humble Bundle.

As for the robbery, the Beginners Box is quite heavy and everyone who ever ordered something by international orders should already know, from the picture alone, that it´s gonna be expensive to order that.
Not to mention that the shipping prices are actually named on the Humble Bundle Site.


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Antariuk wrote:
You guys can snark all you want, the OP certainly has a valid point - the Paizo website is out-of-date.

Good.

I've had enough of "modern" design, thank you very much. While it wouldn't be harmful to support the underline BBCODE, much of modern design seems to be about annoying users, not enabling them.

I don't need menus replaced by clickable lines that throw moving sheets of options. I don't need search boxes and fields that have no border differentiating them from the areas around them. I don't need buttons flattened so they look like part of the background.

User interface should NOT be hidden. Chrome is wrong. Period.

We're living in a world where the arties have taken control over the web and have decreed that a car's steering wheel should be concealed in the trunk, under the spare tire, because "clean!"

It's obnoxious.

So yeah. I won't argue against architectural and infrastructural changes as Paizo sees fit, but as far as appearance is concerned frankly I find this a comforting refuge from the user-hostile environment the web has become in the last three years.

**ADDENDUM**
I'm currently struggling with a philosophical issue. I want to support someone via Patreon. I was two clicks from giving them a significant boost in funding. But various browser plugins proceeded to tell me how intrusive Patreon's site is. They're sharing data with an awful lot of other domains. While I'm used to Google Analytics, there were a half-dozen other nosy demographics networks involved. Sorry, no. Privacy by default. Ask me if you want to share my information. The web has become evil.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Fallout Rampage Cap'n Furiosa wrote:
I also want a flame thrower guitar.

All who join Asmodeus's congregation get free flamethrower guitars! Join now and we'll increase the flame levels to Hellfire mode, absolutely free!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Anguish wrote:

**ADDENDUM**

I'm currently struggling with a philosophical issue. I want to support someone via Patreon. I was two clicks from giving them a significant boost in funding. But various browser plugins proceeded to tell me how intrusive Patreon's site is. They're sharing data with an awful lot of other domains. While I'm used to Google Analytics, there were a half-dozen other nosy demographics networks involved. Sorry, no. Privacy by default. Ask me if you want to share my information. The web has become evil.

Hmm. Thanks for that. I've had other issues with patreon, but I agree that sharing data shouldn't be done without being explicit about it.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

ICTech wrote:

Excellent deal, excluding the fact that you charge over DOUBLE what you originally paid to get a product shipped out (That's just out and out daylight robbery)

We charge what it costs. See this post for more info.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I actually like the simplicity of the website. Now, if we could get the messageboards on their own server like the PRD that would be great!

Community Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed some posts and their responses. Mocking posts and personal attacks aren't cool.


Anguish wrote:
Antariuk wrote:
You guys can snark all you want, the OP certainly has a valid point - the Paizo website is out-of-date.

Good.

I've had enough of "modern" design, thank you very much. While it wouldn't be harmful to support the underline BBCODE, much of modern design seems to be about annoying users, not enabling them.

I don't need menus replaced by clickable lines that throw moving sheets of options. I don't need search boxes and fields that have no border differentiating them from the areas around them. I don't need buttons flattened so they look like part of the background.

User interface should NOT be hidden. Chrome is wrong. Period.

We're living in a world where the arties have taken control over the web and have decreed that a car's steering wheel should be concealed in the trunk, under the spare tire, because "clean!"

It's obnoxious.

So yeah. I won't argue against architectural and infrastructural changes as Paizo sees fit, but as far as appearance is concerned frankly I find this a comforting refuge from the user-hostile environment the web has become in the last three years.

**ADDENDUM**
I'm currently struggling with a philosophical issue. I want to support someone via Patreon. I was two clicks from giving them a significant boost in funding. But various browser plugins proceeded to tell me how intrusive Patreon's site is. They're sharing data with an awful lot of other domains. While I'm used to Google Analytics, there were a half-dozen other nosy demographics networks involved. Sorry, no. Privacy by default. Ask me if you want to share my information. The web has become evil.

Something tells me you only use linux.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Gunner McNewb wrote:
Something tells me you only use linux.

Interesting.

But no. My "production" desktop is Win8.1 (with ClassicShell). I have a Win7 workstation as well. My work machines I chose to update from Win7 to Win10 (with ClassicShell). Aesthetically there's a lot I find annoying, but I can certainly use modern stuff. It's just unpleasant.

I could do Linux if I wanted to not run Windows software and wanted to "hand-code my own kernel" and stuff, but sorry, there are plenty of things I want that require Windows.

I could do Mac, but the same thing applies.

For browsers, I tend to use Firefox with lots of crunchy add-ons that let me move UI elements around and make stuff work the way I like it. Basically, I like UI where User Interface includes the interface part.

Um. Hey. Does "I still use Office 2003 because I find menus more intuitive than ribbons" count? 'Cuz I totally do.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Anguish wrote:


Good.

I've had enough of "modern" design, thank you very much. While it wouldn't be harmful to support the underline BBCODE, much of modern design seems to be about annoying users, not enabling them.

I have no idea what you think constitutes "modern design". I do know that most forums designed after 1999 are organized into subforums and subsubforums, and the main sections are all visible on the front page without having to scroll past a hundred subsubsubfora to see the main topics. I also know that most fora have BBCode support for superscript and subscript, and a handful of other things. Also, most websites have some explanation as to what BBCode tags do what. Paizo.com does have such a tutorial, but it is woefully incomplete. For example, the [bigger] tag is not mentioned at all was not mentioned at all until recently Thanks Joana!, nor is the weirdness of how nested spoilers and titles interact explained. So the issues are

1. The main forum interface is difficult for newcomers to navigate.
2. There is a dearth of BBCode support.
3. The BBCode support that IS there is not explained well, again making the forum unwelcoming to newcomers.

I'm sure you'll find a way to spin all of those flaws as "enabling" users, or, at least, enabling to the people who've been posting here the longest.

For what it's worth, though, I'm not a fan of the Chrome interface, either (I just use Firefox).

Gunner McNewb wrote:
Something tells me you only use linux.

Hey, let's be fair! Sure, there was a time when many Linux developers played "blame the user" anytime people found their distros difficult to use or buggy. But things have changed in Linux world. Now, the two most popular desktop Linux distributions (Ubuntu and Mint) have developers who focus on making their OSes work out of the box. Of course, they can't match the market penetration of the OSes with big advertising budgets behind them, though. And that's just the desktop scene: in the mobile market, the most popular operating system is a user-friendly version of Linux.

Tying back to the main point of the thread, though, Google didn't get to number one in the smartphone OS market for nothing. They certainly didn't get their by making Android difficult for new users to learn, or by insulting potential customers, or by claiming that any faults you find in their product are the user's fault. Google got their current market share through a combination of
1. Making their product as good as they can (or at least seem that way to enough people).
and
2. Advertising better than anyone else who completed step (1).

Making the Paizo.com interface easier for new users is something that would benefit Paizo. Based on comments in this thread, it sounds like the Paizo staff are already working on it, they just haven't had the right combination of time and money.


I wouldn't mind seeing better layout, but not one with a ton of flash related stuff that hangs the computer at times.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Anguish wrote:
Um. Hey. Does "I still use Office 2003 because I find menus more intuitive than ribbons" count? 'Cuz I totally do.

I think the last time Microsoft added a feature to Word that I actually wanted was about 1992.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Snargle, Goblin Techn-Shaman wrote:
You should also definitely paint it red.

Da red 'uns go fasta.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
137ben wrote:
Paizo.com does have such a tutorial, but it is woefully incomplete. For example, the [bigger] tag is not mentioned at all,

*clicks on How to format your text*

Bigger and smaller are right between list and ooc.

Fwiw, I like having all the newest posts on one page where I can scroll down the whole list, without having to click into a forum and back out, in and back out, over and over again. These fora aren't like, say, WolfLair, where people interested in HeroLab for Pathfinder probably aren't interested in HeroLab for 5e or RealmWorks or ArmyBuilder. I browse many of the subfora ... but probably wouldn't if it meant lots of extra clicking. One news site I used to frequent just lost me as a regular visitor because it redesigned to where you can't see the latest posts in all topics from the main page.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Fallout Rampage Cap'n Furiosa wrote:
I also want a flame thrower guitar.

Does it shoot chocolate hundred dollar bills?

Spoiler:
Wait, that's was a 'different town', not a 'different website'.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Anguish wrote:
Um. Hey. Does "I still use Office 2003 because I find menus more intuitive than ribbons" count? 'Cuz I totally do.
I think the last time Microsoft added a feature to Word that I actually wanted was about 1992.

Did that version have Track Changes and comments? Because when you're editing or reviewing a big document, those features are gold. Apart from that, though, I agree.


Joana wrote:
137ben wrote:
Paizo.com does have such a tutorial, but it is woefully incomplete. For example, the [bigger] tag is not mentioned at all,

*clicks on How to format your text*

Bigger and smaller are right between list and ooc.

Hwat!? Ah, man, they must have updated it. What is Paizo thinking updating their tutorial?

My post has been edited, thanks Joana.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Joana wrote:
Fwiw, I like having all the newest posts on one page where I can scroll down the whole list, without having to click into a forum and back out, in and back out, over and over again. These fora aren't like, say, WolfLair, where people interested in HeroLab for Pathfinder probably aren't interested in HeroLab for 5e or RealmWorks or ArmyBuilder. I browse many of the subfora ... but probably wouldn't if it meant lots of extra clicking. One news site I used to frequent just lost me as a regular visitor because it redesigned to where you can't see the latest posts in all topics from the main page.

As an addendum, I believe all the forums are open for new users by default. More prominent instructions on how to close the ones that don't interest you are probably warranted. I practically forget some of the subfora exist, I've had mine closed for so long.

Also, it can be really tedious clicking all those little triangles one by one. Maybe a checklist where you can select which forums to close, rather than making you do each one manually?

Scarab Sages

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ICTech wrote:
Why am I "Personalizing" a PDF that has no personalized info in it ?

i may have missed someone responding to this, But Paizo marks your PDF several different ways with personalized info, including your name and email at the top and bottom of every page. I Hear something about a watermark as well, though that might have just been someone abusing the term.

ICTech wrote:

Message Boards. Section them out, don't make me scroll the entire page to look at different method boards. Top menu could scroll with the page. Use some JavaScript. Everything is a full post back, it's horrible.

First off, Javascript is in the process of being shut down automatically by several browsers and/or browser add-ons because of massive vulnerabilities introduced when you run javascript. Its not neccisarily the best answer.

Further more section them off? You mean like they do? where you click messageboards and it brings up forums and a sampling of their subforums? That you can click on to get even deeper levels of sub forums? Maybe I'm just old, but most message boards I use act similar, and I normally have to scroll through boards with so many different subforums. In either case you complaint is not well stated.

ICTech wrote:
You knew this deal would be popular, why are you not using proper server scaling? Third parties will do this for you, Amazon comes to mind. If you are hosting it yourselves, throw some more servers in the LoadBalancer (if you're using one) there really isn't any excuse for server loads these days when you can easily load test your servers with various tools, and have them dynamically spin more servers up when traffic starts increasing.

When EA, Ubisoft, and Blizzard can't deal with launch day stress perfectly how do you expect a medium sized publishing company to know how to perfectly handle hundreds if not thousands of times their normal volume? They have significantly improved response times since the Humble bundle started.

Its not flashy, but it gets the job done. I mean really, Paizo went from a 3pp provider for Wizards to (what I consider) the #1 tabletop RPG company currently around, in less than a decade. The website is really the companies outgrown shirt and pants. Could it use a redesign? Sure. But it works.

Oh by the way. I was pretty sure humble bundle was listing shipping, but the beginners box isn't light, and that means it costs big bucks to ship. That's not Paizo's call.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Reading this thread just makes me so excited about the forum ideas I have for y'all. Just saying :)

Shadow Lodge

GAH you tease!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Joana wrote:
Also, it can be really tedious clicking all those little triangles one by one. Maybe a checklist where you can select which forums to close, rather than making you do each one manually?

Yes please. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
137ben wrote:
I'm sure you'll find a way to spin all of those flaws as "enabling" users, or, at least, enabling to the people who've been posting here the longest.

Nope. The specific things you've talked about are features, which I'm on board with. I'm very pro-functionality. What I'm against, and (perhaps) misunderstood you to be advocating was modernizing the site. There's a difference between "improving functionality" and "making it not out-dated", and I (mis)understood you to be talking about the latter.

What I object to is stuff like Windows "Metro", and Chrome's interfaceless-UI, and the "flat" style that is all the rage these days, and Google's "material design" ethic. Basically there's a mad rush to remove visual cues that provide users an idea about the UI they're working with. Suddenly 3D buttons that looks like... buttons... are evil. That sort of thing.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What is an example of a modern website, anyway?

-Skeld


Bluntly, it's one of the worst ecommerce layouts I've seen since the days of geocities.

A redesign would be great, but I'd settle for a single place to see all non-adventure path pathfinder content. Right now it's a hodgepodge of sections, some of which have content and some that don't. The default sort is oldest first, rather than newest, and so on.

It makes absolutely no logical sense, and more importantly, costs paizo money because it's so hard to find what's new.

To the op though, most watermarked content systems have a two stage download. I don't begrudge Paizo that. I do wish there was an easy way to filter the downloads section to show things ive downloaded that have updates, and an option to hide things I'll never use (like the one file per chapter files).

Spending a few bucks on a real site designer, even if it means skipping one book this year would be a good idea. You'd probably make more net money with an easy to navigate site.

One other thought. Like others, avoid a moden, low density, high white space site. Google nerfed their tablet layout to the point of being unusable (reload/request desktop site is your friend). Don't go that route...there's a sweet spot in the middle between form and function.


Maybe these functions have existed for awhile, but I just used the adventure finder (by level or by region) - very handy additions.
No complaints on the other web features or functionality.

As a PFS PbP player/GM, one feature that I would like to see if possible, and not too complex, is a link on a character's profile to show the associates (other characters) that my character has adventured with in his career. Sometimes it is difficult to keep track of which agents I know "in character" if it has been several years since we last adventured together. Not a major issue, but saves time going back to look through 20-30 other campaign threads for every character.


UI Design is an art, not a science, but it has way too much science to leave to those who don't truly understand the reasons why clean is better. I'd argue improperly implementing simplicity and task-orientation is far worse than ignoring the concept altogether. (If you want to discuss that, shoot me a side line)

I agree that the site could stand some serious improvements; I would hope that nobody thinks that's something that should be done in a cavalier manner.

Credit where it's due: Those guys know their horses, but this is a job for the geeks.

(This got me thinking, though. I'm off to check out their help-wanted postings...)

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
GoldenKlondike wrote:
The default sort is oldest first, rather than newest, and so on.

This is the only thing you've said that I kinda agree with. I'd personally rather that the default sort was newest first, but that creates another problem because it puts foundational products like the Core Rulebook and World Guide at the bottom (or on a second page, since they were released ealier), which is not a good place for them. Most new players show up here wanting to know what they need to start playing and none of that would be on "top."

GoldenKlondike wrote:
I do wish there was an easy way to filter the downloads section to show things ive downloaded that have updates...

That's what "Date Download Last Updated" on your My Downloads page does. They also send you an email when something is updated.

GoldenKlondike wrote:
A redesign would be great, but I'd settle for a single place to see all non-adventure path pathfinder content. Right now it's a hodgepodge of sections, some of which have content and some that don't.

It's organized around the different product lines, each of which is a little different and don't necessarily mix together.

"Role Playing game" is for straight-up rulebooks, intended for players and GMs, that contain minimal setting fluff. They're hardcovers and get ~3 books/year.
"Campaign Setting" is the opposite. They're specific to some facet of the setting, don't contain as much rule information, and are GM-centric. They're 64-page softcovers (usually) and get ~10 books/year.
"Companions" are player-focused, fluffy, 32-page softcovers. They contain a mix of targeted setting background and player options. They get about 1 book/month.
"Modules" are 96-page, self-contained adventures. They're softcovers and get ~4 books/year.
"Adventure paths" are 96-pages, softcover, and released monthly. 6 volumes to an AP; 2 APs/year.
Putting all the non-AP material in a single place would lead to some confusion as to what products are generic-ish rulebooks, what's player-focused material, and what's meant for GMs. Fortunately, they explain what the various products lines are on the Pathfinder page.

GoldenKlondike wrote:
...even if it means skipping one book this year would be a good idea.

No thanks. Lol.

-Skeld

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