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Old December 24 2013, 04:01 PM   #1
FreddyE
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looking for beta testers

I´m looking for beta testers for my new website. "CollabNovel", a platform for writing novels using the wiki principle.

http://www.modulohost.de/collabnovel/
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Old December 24 2013, 05:02 PM   #2
Robert Maxwell
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Re: looking for beta testers

What is there to test here, really? All I see is what it apparently a stock Mediawiki installation that you've made a couple pages on.

Also, the AdFly redirect is pretty obnoxious. It's fine if you want people to help with this, but don't make them look at ads (and make you money) in the process. It's insulting.
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Old December 25 2013, 12:55 AM   #3
FreddyE
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Re: looking for beta testers

The beta test is more to see if the wiki principle can really be used for this and to find out which rules and guidelines need to be established.

Yes, this website is supposed to make some money...but you´re probably right...this was overdoing it. It was not supposed to offend anybody. Tried banner mode right now...that banner is pretty big...even if its supposed to show up only five times a day.

I decided to go without any ads until its come far enough to be a "real" website.
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Old December 26 2013, 12:50 AM   #4
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Re: looking for beta testers

Good idea on removing the ads for now. At the very least, you shouldn't show ads to people who are supposed to help contribute. They're already "paying" you that way.

As for the concept itself, I don't see why it wouldn't work, but right now you don't have enough in place to demonstrate it either way. Why not create a sample novel (or part of one) to show how this is meant to work? What you have right now is incredibly sparse.
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Old December 26 2013, 02:59 PM   #5
FreddyE
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Re: looking for beta testers

That one sentence is only a start I will add to it soon. I got a few ideas. Right now I´m looking into extensions if there´s anything usefull..for example I don´t think user communication via the discussion page is the right way for this. There might be an extension thats more like a message board. Also I think I need a way to block parts of a page from editing instead the whole page...for chapters that are finished etc.
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Old December 27 2013, 03:16 AM   #6
Robert Maxwell
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Re: looking for beta testers

Maybe those would be things to look into before you announce it as being ready for "beta testers"?
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Old January 1 2014, 08:16 PM   #7
Captain Kathryn
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Re: looking for beta testers

Hmm...I glanced at it briefly.

I don't know how deep your knowledge is of web development (I work in the web/gaming industry as part game designer / part web developer), but I think it would work better if it had a more unique look instead of directly copying Wikipedia's style? The function would still be the same, where people could add their own chapters or sections to a collaborative novel. It's just...a little bit strange to open the page and it looks like a Wiki article. Just my 2 cents. I mean, just because you know that the function is the same regardless of how it looks doesn't mean casual internet users will know. If that makes any sense. Making your site user-friendly and visually appealing is half the battle. Getting users to actually go there and pay money (or in this case if you are using ads, just go there) is another battle.

I don't know how far you are into it yet, but the layout is a bit confusing. Not sure what to do when I land on the page, not sure how to read what has been written or how to edit or add. It says click the EDIT button on the top of the screen but I do not see it.

UPDATE: I found and clicked START and now see the EDIT button and the story so I am all good now if I wanted to use the site.

However, I must say that from your average user's perspective, the user should not have to try THAT hard to figure out how to begin. It is proven that if users cannot figure out how to sign up or use a website in under a couple of seconds, they are more than likely to leave the page. I have the exact numbers somewhere. But basically unless someone sees that START button big and in their face, the average user will not take the time to search for it. The main function of your site should be in the user's face. Like a big red button that is begging to be pressed....that idea.

Something as simple as putting the START button right up at the top of the page could help. Or even skipping that step and allowing the EDIT button to be seen from the get-go. A lot of people would rather just DO than read instructions. So my final suggestion would be, if you are still going to use the Wikipedia model, is to not make more steps than are needed. Allow users to EDIT immediately after making an account and have any buttons needed to start USING the site be *right in their face at the top of the screen*.

Here is an example of what I mean. I recommend just checking out this bit of constructive criticism! The site tells the users to EDIT by going to the top of the page. So without reading further down (to where START is) the average user will read "...click on "Edit" above the page", stop reading, and go to the top (above the page) because that is what they were told to do. Meanwhile the actual way to start editing was below that text way down at the bottom. I recommend skipping this step entirely. Just have a big EDIT button up top or at least don't tell them to go up top when the START button needed to be pressed is actually below.

Example:


I made an account and received my confirmation email and everything, so functionally that works. Another poster mentioned ads, but I did not see any.
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Old January 28 2014, 06:39 PM   #8
2takesfrakes
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Re: looking for beta testers

Captain Kathryn, listen to you! If I ever come up with a site of my own, now I know who to go to ...
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Old February 3 2014, 10:37 PM   #9
Captain Kathryn
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Re: looking for beta testers

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
Captain Kathryn, listen to you! If I ever come up with a site of my own, now I know who to go to ...
LOL I spend my entire day at a web company... it's probably unhealthy.
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