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Chris Aylott

Go Play Chat Log
Posted by: Chris Aylott
Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Did you miss last week’s Twitter chat? Catch up with this transcript! Thanks to Paul Barchilon (@AGFgo), who joined us to talk about how the American Go Foundation refocused its go website on a target audience of teachers, librarians, and teens.


Chris Aylott (@EngageChris): Welcome to our “Ancient Game, Modern Technology” #engage365 chat! I’m very pleased to introduce Paul Barchilon of the American Go Foundation!

Paul has been modernizing the AGF’s go website and uniting a widespread membership.

Paul Barchilon (@AGFgo): Glad to be here, and thanks for your interest in Go.

Chris: I’ve told friends for years that I’m the worst Go player on the planet, but I love the game. Just how long has it been around?

Paul: Go was invented almost 4,000 years ago we think, in ancient China.

Chris: And it’s a “simple” game. A few stones, a grid, maybe three rules. Nothing to it, right?

Paul: Very simple rules, which can be learned by anyone in a couple of minutes. But they lead to endless complexities.

Go is much more complex than chess, but much easier to learn.

Chris:  The endless complexities are what get me in trouble. But let’s talk about the complexities of revamping your web presence.


Focusing on What’s Important

AGF go website

The AGF reaches out to classrooms and libraries with free starter kits.

Chris: You’ve got a well-established go website, but you’re revamping to serve members and new players. Where do you start?

Paul: Our website was really out of date, so we started fresh. Our designer recommended Bootstrap, so we went with that.

Chris: I remember the old site — which wasn’t bad, but it hadn’t been changed in quite a while. What did you want to be different?

Paul: Our design was really outdated, and visitors drowned in endless wall of text on a confusing labyrinth of pages.

We also wanted to do a better job at reaching our target group: teachers, librarians, and the like.

Chris: Was that target group always part of the association’s goals? Or was it something you developed as part of the revamp?

Paul: Libraries are a newer target for us, we used to just do schools. Anyplace where we can teach Go to kids is where we want to be.

Chris: (If you want to see the revamped AGF go website, by the way, you can check it out here. It’s very nice!)

Paul: Thanks Chris, I can’t tell you how many photos I had to shoot to get that splash page right, lol!

Chris: And that focus seems to be up front now. The headline reads, “Engage kids and teens with go…”

Paul: Right, can’t remember if this was my idea or our web designers. It sends the focus where we want it though.

Chris: What’s the response been like? Have you seen a change in how people use the AGF go website?

Paul: We launched Tuesday, but initial numbers have been good, and feedback has been positive. I hope the site is easier to use now.

Chris: Let’s talk about other social media for a moment. A lot of new channels have opened up — is the AGF trying them out?

Paul: We are new to Twitter, so we trying this. We have a forum based youth site too:


Empowering Young Tigers

Dosaku, the resident go master of

Chris: What was it like building a youth go website? Are there different issues you need to be aware of?

Paul: Absolutely, lol. We used PHP Fusion for that site, I called for volunteers, and a teenager built it for me. ^_^

Chris: Did the teenager choose the forums-first approach? I like it, but I’m curious why it’s different from the adult site.

Paul: We had a team of kids and myself working on it. They all wanted the forum, and I resisted at first. They were right though!

We are all about empowering kids too, so it was great they worked on the site. It has been a big hit.

Chris: Looking at the content, it seems pretty lively. Have the kids stayed involved?

Paul: We have had lots of different kids come and go, and a few that have been with us from the beginning. We all play Go online too.

Chris: We’re almost out of time, but one more question. Let’s say an association is setting out on an extensive revamp like the AGF has done with its go website. What are your top 3 pieces of advice?

Paul: 1) get feedback from your community; 2) find a web developer you can have a good working relationship with; 3) be flexible.

Chris: Words to revamp by! That’s all the time we have for today… thanks so much to Paul and the AGF!

Don’t forget to check out the AGF go website and Tigersmouth!


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