Thursday, October 1, 2009

Slouching towards a viable web presence: WOTC’s website redesign

Wizards of the Coast’s website has recently undergone a major revision.  According to the News Archive, the redesign is intended to create “more cohesive, user-friendly website that brings together all of the important information, delivered and stored in an intuitive, easy-to-navigate manner.”

It is a big improvement over the old website design.  I like the fact that they have divided the top navigation bar into useful groups.  Player content and Dungeon Master content are now divided into distinct sections.  They have also created a Tools section, for easy access to all of their D&D Insider digital tools.  Not surprisingly, they link the new Wizards of the Coast Community Site is there as well (which is nice because I thought it was a pain to find in the past).  The navigation bar is rounded out with content that they wish to push like Events, Game Products, and Novels.

In case you couldn't guess, this is what the logo looks like. Another nice addition is that D&D Insider content is now clearly marked with the D&D Insider logo.  Ironically, I imagine this feature is most useful for non-D&D Insiders, so that they know not even to bother clicking on articles marked with this logo.  Of course, considering how much of the content is marked with the D&D Insider logo nowadays, it might be a little depressing for non-D&D Insiders as well.

All and all I believe the new website design is a success.  It didn’t blow me away, but it contains a number of incremental improvements which greatly enhance the user experience.  Having surfed around the new website myself, it just seems like it presents content to the user in a much more logical manner.

This seems to be typical of how Wizards of the Coast has been handling the digital initiative recently.  They have definitely adopted an “under promise, over deliver philosophy.”  I am not a fan of that mantra, but even I think this is an improvement when compared the “over promise, never deliver” philosophy they used to have with their digital products.

No if only they would adopt a rational attitude towards DRM, they might really have something.


Saragon said...

I definitely find the site much-improved as well -- it appears that WotC's finally come to understand their own business model. ;) But more seriously, having things like novels clearly visible and explored in detail is great, since they were hard to find on the old site.

Medraut said...

@Saragon - "But more seriously, having things like novels clearly visible and explored in detail is great"

This is a very nice feature. The funny thing is that most of the content isn't new, just easier to find.