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FOUR QUESTIONS FOR OUR CUSTOMERS
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djdood
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Replies to replies to replies.

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SVC: If you click on the middle FC link, the one about the game, the free download it on that page. I cannot really imagine people wanting a free download when they know nothing about the game, but we can add a link to the front page, sure.
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I took another look at the main FC page, and to be honest... I don't see the link and I'm looking for it. Not as intuitive as it could be.

I'm assuming you were talking about the two main "click the klingon-people painting" or "click the romulan-people painting" image-links, which point to the product descriptions for KB and RB. Neither of those pages point to First Missions.

It could just be me being a moron (always true) and maybe that's why it seems hard-ish to find. However, web-design is something I've done and it's 80% or more user-reaction and psychology. My inner-moron helps me think like a "naive user" sometimes.

The only reason I brought this up is First Missions is positioned as a free "gateway" product, which leads to the pay "gateway" products.

The model being used struck me as similar to shareware-software. Websites for those products always make darn sure you see a big honking link for their freebie. They want you to download it, love it, and pay for more. First Missions fits the same mold, so having it shared as an ancillary thing (out of direct view) isn't helping it do it's job.

A quick example is the website for WinZip (http://www.winzip.com/). Visually, the two biggest links are for their pay products (just as FC.com is designed right now), but the next most prominent link (and located right with the pay links) is for the free trail version.


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This box could also be the "market it to the Trekkers" product (since the two most recognizable minis are there and it can point them to where to download the rules - if they are so inclined). The only thing the Trekkers end up with that they don't want that seems like it drove any price (to them) is a hex-map.
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SVC: I am not grasing the hex map point. Can you elaborate?
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Sure. I figure the real target for the "market to the Trekkers" demographic is true non-gamers. This is over and beyond the "maybe can be converted to gamers, *if* they knew about FedCom" people. The true non-gamer Trekker would see the classic Connie and Klingon ships and go "Ohhhh... it must be mine". A lot of these folks are the same ones who buy the Hallmark ornaments, Ralcliff metal replicas ships, etc. From their point of view, they are buying a little box that has a pair of nice metal starships from Classic Trek.

They would know it's associated to some game called "Federation Commander" due to the box-art and propaganda paper in the box, but what they really want is the ships.

The value/investment associated to the purchase, from their point of view, is in the ships.

The box and box-art? Feh. Something to tear off to get to the ships.
Painting Guide for the ships? They'd keep that, and maybe paint the minis someday.
The propaganda and advertising? Feh. Un-noticed and recycled (but they also don't feel like they spent money for it).
Some turn gauges and counters on paper? Feh. Un-noticed and recycled (but they also don't feel like they spent money for it).

A map with significant intrinsic value (like the SFB map, or the FedCom map boards) would conflict with this, as they would feel "why am I paying more to get this map thing for a game I may (or may not) play?".

A simple (cheap) paper map (like the old blue SFB Cadet Module map) would just be one more piece of paper - they would lump it in with the other game paraphernalia they already discounted.

For this demo, paper is just paper. Everyone is used to seeing sheets of paper and ads, stuffed into the box every product we buy. Most folks just ignore it (most of the time) and don't associate it as having cost extra price in the product to produce and ad it. That is the key.

The minimal components to support someone actually trying the game with the two ships they just bought are there for the small percentage of this demographic that would give it a whirl. For ADB, you guys sell the "Trekker box" either way - it hopefully leads to some additional FedCom sales, but either way "Trekker boxes" are getting sold with only the barest minimum of additional production costs above what the target audience feels they want.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DJ: In between the two "people" is a huge space (fed commander) which is the link to the product info page.

On the trekker thing, are you talking about a game including the two ships or about a box of ships not related to the game? Both have been discussed, both are worthy ideas. I just didn't understand what your point was about "small hexes". And I'm still not. Do you want us to sell a box of ships or a box of into game including ships?
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I may (and I'm not speaking on others' behalf here) I would suggest a box with:

*An introductory rulebook - perhaps one printed in the same size as that seen in Booster Zero or Star Fleet Battle Force (simialr to First Missions, but with plasma torp and cloak rules).

*3 Ship Cards - a Fed CA, a Klingon D7 and a Romulan K7R (or perhaps a War Eagle instead - that mini is iconic trek, too.)

*2 metal minis - a Fed Command Cruiser mini (with the new saucer) and a D7 (which can be painted up in either suitable colours). If you add the War Eagle instead of the K7R, that would mean three models instead.

*The foldable hex map seen in Basic Set, along with 1/2" counters for the three ships included plus a few plasma torps, drones and shuttles. (If there is a similar foldable map out there with 1" hexes on the other side, use it, along with 1" counters.)

*Miniature turn gauges for using the minis on a hexless board.

*New cover art, showing a Fed CA against a Klingon D7 (and maybe the Romulan D7R or WE, too) and the three emblems of the factions involved.


And the usual ads for other FC or ADB products, too.


Gary
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djdood
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SVC - DJ: In between the two "people" is a huge space (fed commander) which is the link to the product info page.
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Actually, this is Will McCammon from the other board. I've annoyed you many times before... Wink

That link doesn't really stand out for me. It never occurred to me to click it. I'd always assumed it was just exposition text. It probably doesn't occur to a lot of people to click it, since it isn't highlighted or made into a button.

I do think it is very much overwhelmed by the big Federation Commander logo above (which is not linked).

It would be interesting to see if the server-logs could show if people are finding the relevant sub-page via the existing image-link, or not.

On that sub-page, the link for First Missions is just one of several text-links, and is kind of lost in the crowd.

Bear in mind, I think the new site is beautiful and well worth your having had it done. These are just my observations - different people may well be seeing it differently. I'm just a big fan of prominent graphical cues to steer the user to key content and links. My own site (http://www.djdood.com) is a product of my take on interface and presentation - just not as pretty as what the developers did for you.

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SVC -On the trekker thing, are you talking about a game including the two ships or about a box of ships not related to the game? Both have been discussed, both are worthy ideas. I just didn't understand what your point was about "small hexes". And I'm still not. Do you want us to sell a box of ships or a box of into game including ships?
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No small hexes (that wasn't me). I was talking about including only the cheapest (to produce) map in a "hook in the Trekkers" small box. The box would be positioned as a way to get the recognizable minis in front of non-gamer Trekkers. The inclusion of a map and ruleset from First Missions would provide the hooks into the game for non-Trekkers, while minimizing your expense on game components. It would also avoid that off-market set of folks from feeling like they paid for game components they didn't want (they "just want the ships"). If the components are just printed paper, they won't seem like it "jacked the price" of what they bought (a small box with "the Enterprise" and a "Klingon" for their shelf).
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striker8
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that would be nice some where on the FC site would be link to a paint scheme guides for those who have no idea how to paint the mini's.

I know there is one on the main site but if I would of not come through the main site finding this one I wouldn't know they even existed.

And it might be me computer, but some of the guides seem messed up. I've been working on the Kzinti's but other than the color PDF the other guides are so small they are all but impossible to read, and yes I've tried to zoom in on them with no luck.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt is going to be making some changes to the main page. I had a huge fight with Vanessa and the web guys over the "center link" and they insisted that every single user of internet checks every pixel of every site looking for links so it wasn't necessary to have links clearly marked as "this is a link, you idiot". Turns out that the one guy in that meeting who knew nothing about intenet was right and the five people who knew everything about internet were wrong. Heck, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

One problem I have is that everybody I talk to wants something added to the front page (a link to this, an explanation of that) and there just isn't anymore room on the front screen than you see. You cannot print everything in a book on the first page of the book, but maybe we can be more clever of telling you how many pages there are and what is on them. I notice that the front page says nothign about miniatures and I don't think there is anything on any part of fc.com that says anything about on-line or play by email gaming.

But seriously, we are trying to make a major effort to make both web sites more functional. Matt is going to be making the legacy site prettier, and Matt is going to be changing some stuff on the front page of this site to let you better know what's in here and where to find it. Phase-1 is complete, and has the old and useless blog thing replaced by three buttons (blog, cart, and the new site map) and the new site map has all of the stuff already here (much of which some of you never found) and has several new links (with more to come).

Maybe you have an old version of acrobat? I can read all the painting guide files just swell.
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mahatmamanic
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While you're right that there's only so much you can fit on the front page, it still can be bigger than it is now. I think it's wise to keep it narrow, to make sure it renders well without horizontal scrolling on most systems, but on the other hand vertical scrolling is a well established norm. You could lengthen the page, spread out some of the info if you wanted to with clearer links, etc. and even add more information.
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Bolo_MK_XL
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SVC

Hes referring to the old paint guides that came with the Starline 2200 Minis that were scanned and put on the Legacy Site -- Yes they are hard to read and zooming in doesnt help (actually makes it worse in some cases) --
Was lucky to get a bundle of them with a ebay "firesale" during the summer, some of them are bad enough if you have them in your hands --
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Sneaky Scot
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something that might be worth thinking about:

There is a very successful magazine called SFX that is published here in the UK. It deals with all aspects of Sci-Fi & fantasy (mainly focussing on movies it must be said). In the past they have done reviews of Sci-Fi and fantasy games (they regularly look at Computer Games for example, and did a reasonably comprehensive review of AD&D 3rd Edition). They have a large world-wide circulation.

Perhaps Vanessa could contact them and see what the possibilities are? I have no idea how expensive their advertising is, but that might be worth examining too.

Hope that helps.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would guess that their advertising rates exceed all sales to the UK to date. Color magazine pages cost horrendous amounts of money and (unless your game is so popular you don't need to advertise it) you never break even.

Reviews, however, Vanessa can do.

One thing desperately needed is a US sci-fi gaming magazine. I'm threatening to start one. My (rather strange) theory is to give every company doing sci-fi games a free page or two as long as they print "play value" stuff along with a web site url. I then break even paying the cost of printing (and enough profit to be worth the bother), but everybody gets their games out in front of the audience. The only question is whether enough stores would bother carrying it for it to matter.
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djdood
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. That was fast!

I see Matt has been busy with the main page.

I certainly didn't expect my suggestions to be adopted 'whole-lot' like that, but it's neat to see that what I offered up actually meant something.

Nobody could miss seeing First Missions now!

I think the changes are great - they really guide the eye to the important content links and Matt did a great job of implementing it while maintining the "look and feel" of the site.
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jpat
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My only suggestion is that the "double link" to the same introductory information (under Federation Commander and Tell Me More) seems like overkill, but then again I wasn't one who said anything about having a problem finding the front-page link in the first place (or at least I never meant to--I'd always assumed there could be a link in the graphic).

OK, well, two suggestions/observations. I think the Free Demo should have some indication that Adobe is required. Maybe that seems passe today, but for dial-up users that may be a significant issue. I mean, they'll figure it out soon enough, but ...

Edit: I should've noted above that I really do like having the "free demo" link here. I think that's a good change.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad to see the much-ignored Klingon Army getting some respect. (Note Jpat's use of that avatar.)

I am happy with Matt's changes so far. I may want to do some more but I'm trying very hard to stay on one screen without scrolling. Space "above the fold" is valuable, and space below the fold much less so. Until I HAVE to go there, I don't WANT to go there. In particular, I need the "Paramount statement" to be visible along the bottom. We're legal and I want everybody to know it first thing.

I am thinking of having the card/rpg blocks made a little smaller vertically and adding a bar across there saying "other games of the Star Fleet Universe" and maybe eventually inserting a third block into that row.

I also want to eventually add a button saying "I'm not a gamer, what do you have for me" that goes to a page with our various products (and some new ones such as the paperback novels/anthologies and the Leanna's Fighting Starships books) which appeal to non-gamers. That may wait until we actually have those last two items. We have a "pin" for sale (a really nice cloisone pin) and eventually I want to make five or six more and offer them all for sale.

Seriously, guys, this isn't supposed to be the "fix the website" topic but it has become that, so let's use it. What else do you want?
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defurusu
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long years ago, Strategy & Tactics had a "sister" publication catering to the SF genre. It went the way of the Dodo pretty quickly, if I recall correctly.

While a part of me would love to see you attempt an SF gaming magazine, I think the best advice would be to steer well clear. Sounds like rather a lot of effort for not very much gain at all to me.
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jpat
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

defurusu wrote:
Long years ago, Strategy & Tactics had a "sister" publication catering to the SF genre. It went the way of the Dodo pretty quickly, if I recall correctly.

While a part of me would love to see you attempt an SF gaming magazine, I think the best advice would be to steer well clear. Sounds like rather a lot of effort for not very much gain at all to me.


I tend to agree. I think the magazine's "moment" as a format is over, at least as far as print goes. There were a lot of reasons for this month's announcement that Dragon and Dungeon were ceasing publication, and most of them weren't tied to the magazines' current profitability (as I understand it), but I still think it says something about the long-term viability of a print mag at this stage in the proverbial game.
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