For the past week or so, I’ve been employed by a small IT consultancy in Abbotsford. With that, I consider the Gameplaydate project to be a success. It succeeded in its primary function which was to get me a new job programming in rails. I must say it’s knocked it out of the park in that aspect. I’ve got a 10-minute commute, my own office and all the k-cups I could drink.
Now you might be thinking that this is the last scrumcast from myself, and that may be true. I don’t really have to show up here to prove that I’m programming rails anymore. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m leaving gameplaydate behind. Projects like these are a great form of unemployment insurance, and the problem still remains: I still can’t play online games with people I know whenever I want. I still want to go to full indie this month and I still want to create a presentation about Gameplaydate. A new video update every now and again might just complete this one-man media empire of James Strocel. I’ll only have an hour to work with each night, but if anything you read on Hackernews is true, then that’s all I will need.
Part of yesterday was spent repairing a rather ugly incident in production where I deleted a test user, but did not delete the events created by that user. Remember to use dependent destroy boys and girls!
Yesterday, a good friend mine and a loyal viewer Ryan Taylor responded to my call for more user feedback. He just sent some notes through facebook messenger. Mostly about cosmetic stuff, like position of the signup button, or that the font size may be too small for the dropdowns.
The most revealing notes were about matters of user miscommunication. For instance, should you use your real name at signup, or a gamer tag? And what does it mean to claim a game? Does it mean you own it? Is it installed?
This just goes to show that programming is not so much about solving a problem as it is about communication. The program has know that the user is there to do something and it has to tell the user what it can do. Ryan suggested using a wizard or tooltips to walk users through the site, but I wonder, can I make the site’s design obvious enough so that anybody can use it from the get-go?
I also noticed that as Ryan signed up on the site, he was not able to create any events because he did not have any friends on my site. Which is not really true, I’m connected to him through facebook. Yesterday I managed to run the password authentication through oauth, which means I can finish implementing the facebook authentication. Hopefully I’ll use that so that if facebook friends go on the site, they should be able to find their friends immediately after signup.
So to re-iterate, talking with users get you great feedback and much-needed direction. Anybody who is working on a web app should get it in front of their friends and family as quickly as possible. If any of you want to give me notes on the user experience of gameplaydate, just head down to gameplaydate.com, make an account, and send all notes to me! Through James@gameplaydate.com.