A Big Thanks to All Our Readers! Major Website Overhaul & Usability Upgrades – 2014

By Published December 31, 2014 at 12:00 am

On December 31, 2013, I promised that we'd have a new website with a focus on compatibility for large screens and mobile devices. I also promised that we'd have it “sometime soon in 2014.” It's been one year exactly. That's soon-ish. Hey – at least I stuck to my story.

Sorta.

But it's here. We're now on revision 4.0 of GamersNexus – 7 years in (wow!) – boasting what will become a comprehensive “specs dictionary” of all major hardware specifications and game settings. Go check it out – it's been a big effort and isn't even 20% complete. It also auto-highlights terms in content, like this: NAND Flash.

That's the least of our improvements, though.

Among other changes, the website is now more responsive to large desktops and small laptops; we've also got a custom mobile template that has improved speed, usability, and menu functionality over the previous version. The desktop website will span to 1400px wide when screen space allows (like on a 1920x1080 screen), but will scale down when necessary. For reference, the web standard for design when we started this site in 2008 was 960px wide. Many of our competitors still use this old standard or something close to it, with very few utilizing as much screen space as the new GN does.

If you're on a 1080p screen, try hitting the windows key + right arrow key. It'll move the site to the right half of your screen and you'll notice the sidebar completely disappears. This allows the content to take the full available page space. Of course, we'd appreciate the ad views on the sidebar, but it's more important that you're able to see the content without inhibiting ad bleed or squished page space. Usability is key in this redesign.

Major Features You'll Like

  • Specs dictionary that aims to define all major hardware specifications listed on retail sites or specs tables. We want to demystify nebulous terminology. This dictionary will highlight phrases that are more technical in articles, so you'll be able to rapidly click on it and understand what it is. Here, watch this! Texture Fill-Rate, Cherry MX Switches, Actuation Behavior. Pretty neat, right?
  • Ajax login & registration: You will no longer have to leave the page to register a new account or login.
  • Updated home page slider makes finding big features easier (large image) and big news simple (small image).
  • Updated forums allow for better usability when searching for recent discussions. Updated look allows for mobile compatibility and faster loading.
  • Complete mobile compatibility.
  • More useful left sidebar that visually shows the most recent PC builds and comments.
  • Home page “write comment” now accurately reflects the number of comments on a post.

Major Features We Like

  • Image-driven approach to related articles, allowing quicker user recognition of a topic (scroll to the bottom of one of our recent feature or news posts to see this in action).
  • Improved efficiency for content creation, management, and community interaction.
  • Easier-to-access social media accounts (see: top right and above this post) for audience building.
  • Slimmed-down scripts to allow faster loading and reduce chance of conflict / bugs.

Still Left to Do

  • Fill-in more of the specifications dictionary – some of this will be done tonight, but it'll be an ongoing project.
  • Drastically overhaul forum categories to better facilitate hardware discussion, while closing unused sections of the forum.
  • Add more “attached images” to older content. We've only gone through the 20 most recent posts thus far.
  • Reduce Time to First Byte and drastically improve page loading speed. This will be done after CES.
  • Improve caching system to allow faster page loading.
  • Losslessly compress images to allow faster page loading.
  • Add a staff directory.

Philosophical Changes

We've removed the ability to comment as a guest user. Going forward, we will only allow comments from registered users. This will reduce a few issues, primarily including spam, derogatory or hurtful posting, and will limit comments that are damaging to science.

Among these changes, we're trying to facilitate useful, interesting community discussion and interaction with greater depth going forward. Enforcing account creation ensures a tighter and more helpful community. The website is getting big – we're at nearly 500k pageviews per month these days, which is >3x growth over last year. With this size realized, it's time to build the forums in a fashion that make more sense and integrate social media (particularly YouTube and Twitter) to allow fan-website interaction. We're archiving several “dead” sections of the forums later tonight and rebuilding the index to make more sense for our hardware-driven approach to games.

We now have a dedicated social media manager (Patrick Lathan, who also writes for the site) to help with twitter, facebook, and Google+, but I'll still be personally getting involved with questions. If you ever have a hardware question going forward and you'd rather have an immediate, short answer (for something that can be answered shortly), please follow us and tweet it our way.

I was against twitter in its early days, but have now realized that it's a great means to answer your quick hardware questions with rapidity. Stick to the forum for in-depth support or comments for context-driven questions, of course.

What Makes Us Who We Are: Hardware as it Pertains to Gaming

site-growth

We're still a gaming website, but we've had a heavy hardware focus for a number of years. It is my firm belief that posting educational, informational, or interesting articles under the scope of “hardware as it pertains to gaming” is the best approach to this website. It's our niche, and we've gotten pretty damn good at it.

Our articles will continue driving discussion on computer hardware at a level of depth that is interesting to gamers and enthusiasts, but may not be useful to electrical engineer types – and that's OK, because there are other sites for that. We want to build content for the gaming community; after all, it is GamersNexus. As in years past, you'll find game benchmarks, PC hardware tutorials (overclocking, et al.), PC builds, performance tweaking guides, and architecture discussion that'll ensure you're getting the most out of games.

Thank You to Our Readers, Fans, and Staff

Our readers make this possible. We've got some very vocal fans – you know who you are, folks – and we keep you in mind when building our vision going forward. Our content plan has only improved, but we're not straying from our roots. Please continue to email, comment, and tweet/post about what you'd like to see us do.

This is a web development project I started alone in the summer of 2008 (I think – memory fades), but I was immediately joined by Martin Baker who wrote our first articles and game reviews. Working closely with Martin, we turned GamersNexus into a proper gaming website that went beyond the scope of my “I'll try this CMS out” efforts. These days, we've got experts in various computer games and hardware spaces, which allows each of us to focus more heavily on our “owned” component. Ultimately, that fuels better content.

A huge thanks to all our regular writers:

  • Nick Pinkerton, Sr. Editor.
  • Michael Mann, PC Builds Expert.
  • Scott Griffin, Staff Writer.
  • Michael Kerns, Staff Writer & Mechanical Keyboard Expert.
  • Patrick Lathan, Social Media & Future Case Reviewer.
  • Patrick Stone, Hardware Editor.
  • Keegan Gallick, for his convention support and undying criticism of modern games.

And, of course, an equally large thanks to all of those who've contributed articles over the past years.

As for you, our readers, we greatly appreciate your continuing support and hope to continue producing content that interests you.

- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.

Last modified on January 02, 2015 at 12:00 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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