In January, Facebook introduced the Facebook Games Dashboard, a centralized place for Facebook users to access their favorite Facebook games. I’ve been a regular user since its debut and have kept a list of a few recommended features that the Dashboard could implement to help players find their games faster. Here are seven improvements I think would dramatically improve the games dashboard experience.
Today’s Most Popular Games
Facebook clearly has a goal to expose players to new types of games based on friends’ activity. By showing me all the different games my friends play and how many of my friends play it, I can easily find games that probably match my style. That said, I would love to feel a bit of timeliness to the games dashboard. What if there was a small section to the right that showed me the top three games arranged by the number of friends that have played today. That wouldn’t just give me a general recommendation, but rather a recommendation of something cool that is happening now within my social network.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve become very accustomed to the Apple way of doing things. That said, I sometimes wish I could just have a big grid of icons of all my Facebook games. If they had a small “view” button in the top right where I could choose between this view, a list view and an icon grid view, I’d be happy. Ideally, I could sort these icons and put my favorite games at the top, and maybe they could even poach the idea of having a little ‘star’ appear over an icon for games where I’ve received invitations or gifts.
Again, a layout issue, but I’m not a fan of scrolling down the page to see the Friends’ Recent Activity and Friends’ Games areas. Why don’t you standardize the layout and use tabs for these different areas? This reminds me of when Facebook Pages first came out, and they looked quite different from the regular Facebook profile pages. Someone at FB had the great idea to consolidate the design, and today’s Fan Pages are more easily navigatable because they use the same format as regular profile pages.
I would love to see that kind of style for the FB Games Dashboard. Obviously it wouldn’t be wise to shape the dashboard like a profile page, but by keeping the tab structure consistent, it may help players get used to the different areas. I don’t have numbers on this, but having all the areas lined up on one page probably means that people aren’t seeing the “Friends’ Games” area as much as they could be. Also, if I could set a tab as my favorite, then my dashboard would represent the news I want to see.
Themes and Customization
These are games, and the current dashboard looks sterile to say the least. Even if I could just customize the color scheme for the dashboard, it would feel more useful to me. Right now, even though it IS customized to me based on my social graph, the page feels simple and utilitarian, which is frankly, the opposite of what games represent. Introducing a bit of colour would help.
Also, like I mentioned above in Tabs, the ability to customize what sections I could see would be great. Add the icon grids, the tabs and more, and I would really feel like this is my games homepage. And I really feel that the ‘games homepage’ is what Facebook is trying to achieve with this dashboard. They want this to serve as something akin to a Mindjolt games homepage, where users can view all their different, favorite games in one place.
My Favorite Games
Facebook knows what games I play, and how much. Why not show me? It’s always really interesting on various social music sites when I am able to be told what type of music listener I am, and who my favorite artists are. This is because I just like to dive in and play the songs that I like.
It’s the same way with Facebook Games, where people jump from game to game based on today’s trends, and if there was a small list on the right side which listed my favorite games in the order of time played, I think users would likely use that area to click over to those favorites.
They do have the “your recent activity” area, but it’s hidden and only displays the games I’ve recently played in reverse chronological order.
Fully Sortable Index of Games
I would love to be able to view all the different games in an index format, and sort them by various factors. When searching for a new game, it would be like searching for a great game on GameSpot: you login and start finding the games that are best rated, most played, recently released, etc.
I would love to see games sortable by release date, daily active users, monthly active users, alphabetical, number of friends playing, my playtime, and possibly others.
What gaming experience is complete without chat rooms? As long as multiplayer games and game portals have existed, so to have chat rooms where people can talk about the games themselves. I do realize that Facebook has its own chat, but if there were a small chat room on the right side that I could choose to join and then chat with other Facebook gamers, I think this would help a lot of players find new teammates, competitors and game recommendations.