N4G – Social News for Gamers

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N4G (n4g.com) bills itself as a social game news site. The site is focused squarely on gaming and gaming news. Current generation platforms, previous generation platforms, and PC gaming are all represented. N4G does not offer any original content, but rather specializes in links to recommended content which is submitted by members.

Featured Site Info

The member-driven approach to content is clearly evident, as the front page is filled links to posts about the newest games and trends. A menu at the top of the page directs visitors to platform specific pages, as well as other categories of content. Many of the story titles are marked as “Fresh”. Stories and articles are not carried on the website, instead a brief summary is presented, and a link to the story (which will open in a new browser tab) is shown.

Frequency of Updates

The site is constantly updated by its member base, who post links to new content on other sites. N4G employs an algorithm which detects and filters duplicate submissions, so repeat submissions of brand new articles are kept to a bare minimum.

Variety of Content

The social nature of the site leads to posts which vary due to the tastes of the individual member but tend to the same type of content. Since duplicate submissions are filtered, the links will point to different articles and sources, which should provide a wide range of content.

Social networking and social media carry an inertia which could often result in a concentration of different stories that eventually point back to the same original source. N4G’s guidelines encourage members to try and trace articles and stories back to their initial source, but members who are anxious to post links to certain articles may ignore those in their rush to be the first to post a new story or item. N4G displays a list of top posters, which will create a certain sense of competition, which may lead to posts being made without an effort to trace them back to the original source.

Posters can employ tagging to enable more accurate searches, both on the website, or through Yahoo, Google, or other search engines.

Visual Appeal

The site is designed with the gaming community in mind. Because of this, the layout is more friendly to large monitors with a high-resolution. Visitors with smaller displays, or who use mobile devices, may find the page to be cluttered and difficult to navigate.

Fonts and colors are used with a fair amount of effectiveness and promote readability.

The main content area of the web page is a collection of tiles, each showing an image and a headline. Clicking on the tile will take the visitor to a brief summary of the linked content. The main content area can be extended downward by use of a link found at the bottom of the area. Following the main content area, visitors will find a section devoted to additional NewsBoiler content, followed by the typical collection of links and information at the bottom of the page.

The site uses graphics heavily, but most of those are of a modest size, and load quickly.

Ads are present, and many are created and positioned in a way that makes them very hard to distinguish from the tiles carrying actual content. Visitors should look closely before clicking any of the tiles, and inspect the lower left corner of the tile for the word “Ad,” which will identify an advertisement. Banner ads are employed and offset from content. The use of animated GIFs is low, which is a boon when the page loads, given the overall use of images on the site.

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