I’ve recently gone on a spree revamping the Game Wizard once more. The last time I touched it was in November when I wanted it a bit more up to date for the Christmas season, but we were still missing large chunks of new releases. This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the backend processes, so if you haven’t read the previous post, you should.
I’ve been thinking about the nature of the Game Wizard in comparison to a flowchart (which is what we initially based the Wizard off). With a traditional flowchart, you really only want a few answers (mostly yes / no) since this allows people to track their path more easily. With the Wizard though, we can ask more open ended questions with multiple answers since we reload the page with the new question each time. That leads to much ‘shorter’ paths while providing the same amount of information.
However, one danger we wanted to avoid was replicating what our filters already do on our category page. We don’t want to ask questions like ‘how many players’ or ‘how long do you want to play’ even if we would ask those questions in real life, because those kind of questions are already best answered by our filter system. A customer could go to the main category page and choose their options there, filtering by the various criteria to individual games.
Instead, what we want the Game Wizard to do is ask the sillier / more thematic or generic questions, the kinds you might ask a friend who is standing in front of your game library. You don’t necessarily want to say ‘how many players’, but rather ‘are you looking for something more thematic or strategy’? You know already, to some extent the games you can offer, what you want to know is what would suit them best at that moment.
The Lucky Few
By the very nature of the Wizard, we are narrowing down our options of games significantly. We host over 5,000 board games (okay, card games and miniatures too) on the site. There’s no point asking specific questions to differentiate each and every game. Instead, you have to choose a few. So how do we do that? The usual really. Personal taste, sales and critical acclaim. While I might weigh a little more to games I personally enjoy occasionally, if there’s a bestseller out there, I”m going to do my best to ensure it gets added to the Wizard somewhere.
That creates a circle of course, of bestselling games getting more attention which generate more sales which generates more attention. It’s why I let things like my personal taste and other critical reviews have a say once in a while. It’s also one of the reasons why we prefer the wizard, there’s no physical ‘space’ constraints we have to worry and the ability to ask more open-ended questions means we can have more answers, which can highlight some great less well known games.
Will we ever return to editing the flowchart we created? I don’t know. In some ways, the flowchart being a picture has been spread much further than our Game Wizard even though we feel it’s an inferior product. There’s too many limitations to the form. If we ever did, we’d have to hire a professional designer to redesign the infographic once again and that would mean editing the various Q&A’s we created.
One thing we do want is some feedback on the Wizard. Are the Q&A’s doing their job. Are you getting where you want to go? Are you learning anything new? Have you tried it with new gamers? Do they like it? What answers / branches could we add?