Very Buggy, Poor Interface Design
I am blown away by the idea of this site. I am a fan of Jane McGonigal and a game design student in Montreal (almost finished). I have had a similar idea but of much more limited scope--so I'm definitely a fan of this project. But it seems like an alpha version.
The interface is exceptionally poorly designed and confusing. And buggy. Just a few quick examples.
1) I was able to invite myself as a friend and now appear as my own ally, even having received email saying, "Andrew Kozloski, you have just agreed to be an ally of Andrew Kozloski!"
2) My girlfriend appears twice in my ally list.
3) It seems difficult, almost impossible to view the profile of my allies.
4) I am encouraged to frequently "Check In" with my allies, but in so doing, I receive no actual information about their progress whatsoever and neither are they informed of the fact that I was showing interest in their progress.
5) The system of point/progression feels not very connected to the activities I comple and it is unclear where I am headed with my increasing experience levels.
This is just off the top of my head. Seriously, I'm a great fan of the idea but this game feels like it has been published half a year early or something. Are these issues being looked at?
Dria Diamond commented
Does anybody do follow ups after giving an initial response? Because I would have loved to have read a response to darkflamejam's comment since I had the same experience when I finished the initial tasks. I'm sorry but this just doesn't feel like a game.
Oh and I think that having your quests that appear in the to do list on the activity page should be displayed in the quests page too. I've just discovered a load of quests that weren't listed on the quests page...
As a game programmer, who revels in ease of use and user experience, I have some major issues with your website. At the moment your website is one of the bad guys for your site, every time you want to do something you need to fight it. The idea behind the site is amazing, but wow, you really need to do some user testing.
The introduction to the site was amazing, do this or this then click I did this. It's simple it's clean and it's the google way of presenting information without any clutter. As soon as these three tasks were complete, I hit the bad guy of the main website. I was instantly confused, things were all over the place, I was looking at an activity page rather than the quests page. I was presented with so much information around the sides, but the main activity website held no useful information, I didn't know what anything meant and I had no idea where I had to click to find something useful. You went very much from walking down a corridor with one door to open, to suddenly opening into a courtroom with millions of doors and in the centre of the room is a piece of paper that say's "Pete walked down a corridor, Pete opened a Door, Pete is now very confused". The user has no idea where to go, and the page where you spend the least amount of time (activity) is given the highest priority on the sidebar! Surely that should be quests!
The tutorials are a great way to get the player to learn about the other parts of the site, but you've got the tutorial information on the webpage, rather than the quest itself. The quest should explain what the Powerup is, what it does and why it's important, then you would click, select the powerup you want.
As for selecting a powerup like thing, to select, read, then choose I don't want to do it is three clicks and time waiting for pages to load, this could easily be done in the way of click, and then you show hidden information rather than a new webpage.
Finding allies! Holy crap I've never had so much trouble! I knew people were already on, I had their usernames and real names, it was IMPOSSIBLE to actually find them on the site, the only way I could do it was to send them a spam facebook message generated by your site. Then they would have to click on it, only then could they be my ally. Then to become thier ally they need to do the exact same thing! As much as I don't trust facebook, they know user interfaces, Search, Request, Accept, Allies both ways. No faffing.
Those are my main gripes with the site, now for the solution I think would make the interface far more intuitive with four sidebar options.
Quests (first page you see logging in)
- Current Quests (first page you see upon clicking Quests)
- Power Ups
- Bad Guys
- Activity (First page you see clicking allies)
- Check in
- Suggestions from Allies
- Find Oh for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster find allies!
- Epic Win
- Superhero name
Obviously with all interface changes, get people who have never used the site to test it, record them (or watch from the room but offer no help), and view it, and iterate appropriately. With the right design you won't get the bad guy issue :D
Oh also, if the website is Beta, you should really say so.
Andrew Kozloski commented
I am extremely impressed with and grateful for your personal response.
I know all about limited time and resources, as I have worked in the industry for a while now, simply not as a designer. If it were marked anywhere on the site that this game is a beta, I wouldn't have framed my comments in the way I did (although I did attempt to be constructive).
The site presents itself as a finished product and I think it should prominently declare that it is a beta so that people immediately know.
Is there any way to become more directly involved in the process of improving this game, such as a long-distance internship?