FrontierNav Weekly: 28 September 2020
- Added option to hide completed map features in Interactive Maps.
- Started work on unifying activity into timelines for better visibility (see below).
- Weekly maintenance work (see below)
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Thank you to this month's patrons!
Michael Rademakers, cd, Sebastian Tasto, Chuang Sing Kee, 777, Aloftheabove, Roadrunnerto, Nightshade, Mario Carmona, Hex, Pussel W, yeili, Ghil and 2 anonymous patrons.
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Most of the heavy maintenance work that built up over the year (i.e. technical debt) has been dealt with now, so that should free up more time to work on new features more often. I won't be going into explaining the changes since it requires knowing about all the internal workings of FrontierNav which will take a lot of time to properly write up. Though, when FrontierNav is more stable, I hope to do that.
Last week I mentioned improving usability, so I've been going through some ideas to figure out what might work. I've written some summaries below.
I don't remember when, but a while back I mentioned Activity Timelines. Basically a list of stuff that's happened on the website. Not only is it useful for knowing what's changed between visits, it's also useful for new visitors to know what features are available and that the website is alive.
I already have a basic admin-only activity timeline to notify me when there's a new discussion or change request, so the next step is to open that up for everyone else to use. There will be multiple context-specific timelines:
- Global (New Users, Discussions, Merge Requests)
- Games (Discussions, Merge Requests, User Status?)
- Global User Profiles (Status, Discussions, Merge Requests, Custom Lists)
- Game-specific User Profiles (Status, Discussions, Merge Requests, Custom Lists)
- Merge Requests (Status)
Entities may also benefit from having a timeline for history, but considering there can be thousands of them, it might be a bit much for a first release.
Currently when clicking around FrontierNav, there's no consistent context of where you are. Typically this is solved using "breadcrumbs", but in the past I've struggled to find an elegant way of introducing it that works well with Data Tables, Interactive Maps and any other present and future interactive guide. It's been a while since then and now I have a pretty good idea of how it might work. I just need to try it out and iterate.
One of the most often used features of FrontierNav is completion tracking. A few months back I introduced basic "Custom Lists" to help people organise the things they're tracking. That was just the minimal implementation so there's a lot I can improve to make it more friendly. For example:
- Progress indicators (percentage and/or fractions).
- Create Custom Lists from other lists.
- Quickly add items to a list from the right-click context menu.
- Organise item order.
- Add arbitrary text as items for general goals.
- Add other lists as items to create a list of lists (Boards).
- See lists side-by-side and move items between them.
- Tying it to the User Library for a quick top-level achievement-like overview.
There's a lot I can do to improve usability. I'll start with Activity Timelines. I rely on it heavily myself in the admin-only interface, so it'd be nice if everyone could benefit from it.
On the data-entry side, there aren't any notable FrontierNav-related games coming out this month, so I'll work on a single game to provide a "complete" dataset to demonstrate FrontierNav's features (tables, wiki, guides, etc.). Out of the games I've played, The Witcher 3 seems like the best choice. It's the most recent one so it's fresh in my memory and it's getting a remaster soon.
Thanks for reading.