After months of hard work, We’re pleased to announce that ready to release a closed beta of Xfire’s new website! Initially, this will be closed to the Xfire Beta Testers Clan (xfbt), so if betas are your thing, feel free to join the clan here.
The focus of this development effort was twofold. First, it was to give the old site a much-needed facelift. While Xfire has a lot of good technology behind it, the front end was looking very dated. Second, was to modify the back end so we could more quickly modify the site and release new features.
Once you have joined the Xfire beta Testers Clan, you can play with the new site at http://beta.xfire.com. When you get there, you won’t see an unfamiliar site where everything has been drastically moved and nothing is where you expect it to be. To avoid a learning curve and the confusion that comes with it, we’ve kept most things very close to where they were before. What we did move was done so to create consistency across the site. Instead, what you’ll see is a new look and feel, geared toward featuring content from Xfire users.
That said, we did add a few new features.
- A slimmer site header, without dropdown menus, that is now fixed to the top of the browser. The goal was to surface the site’s features so you won’t have to dig around in the header to find what you are looking for.
- The new header also features a language selector. Xfire has a significant international userbase, and we think its about time we start supporting it. Currently, we have only Korean, but as the site moves through beta, we’ll be looking to add new languages.
- Featured screenshots in the background. Xfire users are also content creators, so as mentioned above, one of our goals is to feature user content. In the lower right corner of the browser, you will see a button that makes the site transparent. In the not too distant future, we will rotate the background to feature screenshots that represent the creativity of xfire users. We’ll also be adding controls that enable you to do things like lock the image so it doesn’t rotate, set that image as your profile background, and rocker buttons to let you rotate them.
- A link to the old site. Some people like change, some don’t. We’ve added a link to the top of the page that will help you get back to the old xfire.
- Feedback Tab. On the right side of the browser, we have a feedback tab powered by Uservoice. This tab is your one stop shop for suggesting new features, reporting bugs, opening customer support tickets, and searching our knowledge base. With Uservoice, there will be no more posting in the forums, waiting and hoping for an answer from the Xfire team - your feedback will go straight to us! Whether it’s an issue with the site, or a great idea, just click the “feedback & support” tab on the right side of the site. And the best part is - if you’re already logged into the site, then you’re logged into Uservoice!
- Citizenship. You can also go to the feedback tab to vote on other users’ suggestions and bugs. Voting will help us to know what Xfire users want the most. One Man One Vote may work for world super powers, but it doesn’t work for Xfire. We’re giving each user 10 votes, and you can vote, un-vote, and re-vote those 10 anyway you want. When a suggestion is taken, developed, and released, you’ll automatically get your votes for that item back so don’t be chintzy with them!
This site has been a major development effort - we’ve had to rewrite a lot of stuff from the ground up, and we look forward to adding many cool new features to Xfire in the coming months! While we have a lot more to do in terms of adding more features, bringing some of the old ones to the new Xfire (like forums and communities), and polishing (lots and lots of polishing), we feel the new site is at a point where you get a sense for where we want to take Xfire, and offer your opinions about it. The idea of holding it back any longer feels like working in a vacuum and given that we are developing the new Xfire for you, the user, we don’t mind releasing early if it means we get your feedback early too.
Lastly, I want to give a big shout out to the Xfire dev team who have worked tirelessly over the last few months to get this site ready for the beta. While the work is far from over, this is a major milestone and that would still be referenced in the future tense if it weren’t for many, many sleepless nights.