#6 – Design analysis on Semantle


To set the context, my friends and I, over Discord each night, do a little ritual we like to call ‘dailies’, where we will play Wordle and its many variants together (ie. Connections, mini crosswords) over the screen sharing feature. The game we save for last is Semantle, where players have to guess the word of the day by figuring out the most semantically similar words to it. It’s a great closer because Semantle is the only game that we play where multiple players are able to input their guesses at the same time.

Using a few of the concepts we covered in class with Mauvé, I intend to discuss the design of the Semantle website.


Where the Semantle website is most successful in, I believe, is communicating the intended purpose of the website. The placement of the text input box makes it apparent that the website was designed with scanning pattern in mind – In both the Z-shaped pattern and the F-shaped pattern, users start scanning at the top left of the page, where they may see the text box. This allows users to hypothesize how they may begin to interact with the website, before they are even finished scanning the whole page.


Hierarchy is also well-established, where the primary interactions on the left column are made to be larger, and thus visually important, as opposed to the right column, which contains interactions that would navigate the user away from the page. FAQs are also placed at a distance from the textbox, to ensure that users who do not need the section do not have to feel obstructed by the contents of it. What also becomes apparent after a few guesses is that your latest guess is made distinguishable from your previous guesses through a separator and a highlight, making it easy to identify the information before making your next guess.

Ease of use

There is a general clear distinction between clickable and non-clickable elements as well that becomes apparent after a few guesses, as seen above – words that have been guessed already cannot be clicked on, hence why they are displayed against the blank background. However, the single area of this site that comes up as an inconvenience is in the bolded text (“#”, “Guesses”, “Similarity”, “Getting close?”). Other than sorting guesses by similarity, which is the default, users have the option to sort words alphabetically, or by order in which it was guessed in. While styling the bolded text in a manner similar to other buttons on the screen does feel risky in that its currently successful information hierarchy structure may be disrupted, its current design does not make it feel like sorting is an option at all – off the top of my head, perhaps icons, similar to the buttons in the navigation bar, may help afford interaction with the sorting buttons.