[beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

[beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby I Fight For The Users » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:27 pm

http://beta.a-m-v.org

No great changes here except the domain name. I still want beta.animemusicvideos.org, but I need to talk to more people for that to happen.

Actually, there is one nice change. You can drag cover images to reposition them, which is a lot nicer than typing in CSS background-position directives. Try http://beta.a-m-v.org/videos/85uutbxhpm ... 1n6dr/edit for an example. (No, you won't be able to save your changes -- unless you log in as Scintilla.)

---

Next up: I've hit a block with the approach I'm taking. I want direct, simple editing of all data -- no multi-page processes or long lists of checkboxes. For stuff like image positioning and event positioning, however, this often means "page editors powered by Javascript", which in turn implies that you need some way to synchronize state being manipulated by Javascript with what's eventually sent back to the server. I've been doing all that synchronization manually, and it sucks to do that.

Other people have told me that they want fewer page loads. I've been told by AisuzuZwei, for example, that it would be nice if clicking "Edit video information" (or any other edit link) did not result in a page load, but instead replaced all read-only areas with editable content areas. I agree that this is indeed useful, but it is not easy to accomplish with the current setup.

I have therefore decided to separate view from application. The upside of this is that beta.a-m-v.org will (in a few weeks) require only one page load; once you load the page, you can get anywhere in the catalog. (You will, of course, be able to enter the catalog at any point; e.g. going to http://beta.a-m-v.org/~trythil/ always will put you at a video information page for a crappy Evangelion video.) The downside is that beta.a-m-v.org will do absolutely nothing with Javascript disabled.

I can go on and on about how much I think that downside sucks, but Web development is very much an art of Sucks Less, and I think it's the least bad option for everyone. I'm happy to go into more detail about the technicals behind that decision if anyone's interested.
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby Chained(E)Studio » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:30 pm

Is that going to be the homepage? >.>
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby Nya-chan Production » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:28 am

I Fight For The Users wrote:http://beta.a-m-v.org

No great changes here except the domain name. I still want beta.animemusicvideos.org, but I need to talk to more people for that to happen.

Actually, there is one nice change. You can drag cover images to reposition them, which is a lot nicer than typing in CSS background-position directives. Try http://beta.a-m-v.org/videos/85uutbxhpm ... 1n6dr/edit for an example. (No, you won't be able to save your changes -- unless you log in as Scintilla.)

---

Next up: I've hit a block with the approach I'm taking. I want direct, simple editing of all data -- no multi-page processes or long lists of checkboxes. For stuff like image positioning and event positioning, however, this often means "page editors powered by Javascript", which in turn implies that you need some way to synchronize state being manipulated by Javascript with what's eventually sent back to the server. I've been doing all that synchronization manually, and it sucks to do that.

Other people have told me that they want fewer page loads. I've been told by AisuzuZwei, for example, that it would be nice if clicking "Edit video information" (or any other edit link) did not result in a page load, but instead replaced all read-only areas with editable content areas. I agree that this is indeed useful, but it is not easy to accomplish with the current setup.

I have therefore decided to separate view from application. The upside of this is that beta.a-m-v.org will (in a few weeks) require only one page load; once you load the page, you can get anywhere in the catalog. (You will, of course, be able to enter the catalog at any point; e.g. going to http://beta.a-m-v.org/~trythil/ always will put you at a video information page for a crappy Evangelion video.) The downside is that beta.a-m-v.org will do absolutely nothing with Javascript disabled.

I can go on and on about how much I think that downside sucks, but Web development is very much an art of Sucks Less, and I think it's the least bad option for everyone. I'm happy to go into more detail about the technicals behind that decision if anyone's interested.

What about the mobiles, mobile subdomain?

Why do we even need stuff like image positioning? Isn't it more convenient to do it locally and upload the result? I can understand cropping, but positioning? Really? It's tough to do it precisely anyway.

The JS approach sounds good, but I can't stop worrying something will go wrong somewhere. Reminds me a bit too much of notorious Japanese webs completely made in Flash (and thus completely non-functional). I know there's a difference and that this can work great, but... the feeling!

Chained(E)Studio wrote:Is that going to be the homepage? >.>

If it were IFFTU's way, I think it would happen - I have learned that over time (no pictures, no colors, if it were by his, no background colors as well, maybe). But I suppose there will be some design stuff going on later.
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby CodeZTM » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:42 am

I'll be honest (and I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just voicing my opinion here), I'm still not a big fan of the menu at the bottom of the screen. I feel like the main stuff that I use on the Member's Main Page is going to be less easily accessible. I still absolutely love this menu design that Phant designed. Not so much on the other stuff, but the menu by itself is easily visible and well organized, easy to read and still in a somewhat similar format to what we have now.
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby BasharOfTheAges » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:55 am

Nya-chan Production wrote:What about the mobiles, mobile subdomain?

Need a face stabbing emote - right here. Mobile pages existed for hacked together mobile browsers on feature phones that couldn't zoom or easily pan. The have no place on the modern internet except to cause frustration. See: http://www.xkcd.com/869/
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby I Fight For The Users » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:10 pm

Nya-chan Production wrote:What about the mobiles, mobile subdomain?


What about them? The current .org doesn't work well on a mobile device anyway. (Or, if it does, whatever media detection it does isn't working for my N9.) Use cases on mobile devices are different and therefore tend to be served better by different presentations; they can be addressed after more fundamental issues.

And, yes, something like m.(domain) is a pretty common convention these days.

Nya-chan Production wrote:Why do we even need stuff like image positioning? Isn't it more convenient to do it locally and upload the result? I can understand cropping, but positioning? Really? It's tough to do it precisely anyway.


Because people asked for it.

Nya-chan Production wrote:The JS approach sounds good, but I can't stop worrying something will go wrong somewhere. Reminds me a bit too much of notorious Japanese webs completely made in Flash (and thus completely non-functional). I know there's a difference and that this can work great, but... the feeling!


I don't like it either, but it really is the path of least resistance to accomplishing what people have said that they'd really like to see. I hate describing this sort of stuff on web boards; catch me on SynIRC in #grommet if you want the rationale.

Nya-chan Production wrote:
Chained(E)Studio wrote:Is that going to be the homepage? >.>

If it were IFFTU's way, I think it would happen - I have learned that over time (no pictures, no colors, if it were by his, no background colors as well, maybe). But I suppose there will be some design stuff going on later.


1. You do not separate "design stuff" with "programming stuff". They occur simultaneously, and if you look in the source history for this project, you will see that that is indeed the case.

2. That homepage is incomplete, and that is the reason why it is sparse. There is no benefit to ornamentation when fundamental sections have yet to be constructed. (Which, incidentally, are why such additions are called ornamental.)

3. What is this "no pictures" crap? Did you see the mockups? (Did you see what's already there?) Video-related images are precisely the reason why little ornamentation exists.

CodeZTM wrote:I still absolutely love this menu design that Phant designed. Not so much on the other stuff, but the menu by itself is easily visible and well organized, easy to read and still in a somewhat similar format to what we have now.


I don't love it; I think it's lazy work. All he did is shove a bunch of actions into a hierarchy.

I suspect the reason you find the current mechanism "more easily accessible" is habituation. But consider interactions:

1. The best-case scenario for getting to the "new video" page, in the current layout, is click, travel, click. That's assuming that you know that "New Video" is stashed under "Editors". If you don't, it's going to be a while; throw in a lot more clicking and mouse travel. You can configure nodes of the menu to be kept expanded, but that's even more interactions.

2. The best-case scenario for getting to the "new video" page (indeed, any other leaf) in my design is one key press, mouse travel, one click. If you're not used to it, it's (scroll wheel / move mouse to scrollbar, drag), find, click. However, there is no hierarchy to remember, and the site map is a fixture, easily located. (That site map design is also a convention adopted by many other websites, further increasing its utility.)

For other actions, such as searching for events, videos, or other editors, it can be even better:

* Want to go to an editor's profile? Just type http://beta.a-m-v.org/~(editor name) in the address bar. You don't have to interact with any page widgets, just your browser.
* Want to go to an editor's video? Type http://beta.a-m-v.org/~(editor)/(title). Ditto.
* Don't like the address bar, or don't have one available? That's okay too; type whatever you want to find in the search box. It's then my responsibility to tune the search index so that you have a good chance of getting what it is you want to find. (Search doesn't work right now because I'm prototyping ways to make it good. Also, said JS rework.)

The first two interactions require habituation, but it's habituation that can be taught by having the site generate URLs in those formats.
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby I Fight For The Users » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:16 pm

me wrote:Because people asked for it.


I want to qualify that: just because someone asks for something, that doesn't mean it's a good idea. However, those people who asked for it told me why they wanted it, showed me demos of that drag interaction in other sites (i.e. Facebook), and from there I could see that there is, in fact, quite a bit of value in providing that sort of function. It gets even better when you think about how it could be applied elsewhere. (For example, videos on profiles are shown with thumbnails. Why not make those customizable too?)
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby CodeZTM » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:28 pm

I Fight For The Users wrote:
2. The best-case scenario for getting to the "new video" page (indeed, any other leaf) in my design is one key press, mouse travel, one click. If you're not used to it, it's (scroll wheel / move mouse to scrollbar, drag), find, click. However, there is no hierarchy to remember, and the site map is a fixture, easily located. (That site map design is also a convention adopted by many other websites, further increasing its utility.)

For other actions, such as searching for events, videos, or other editors, it can be even better:

* Want to go to an editor's profile? Just type http://beta.a-m-v.org/~(editor name) in the address bar. You don't have to interact with any page widgets, just your browser.
* Want to go to an editor's video? Type http://beta.a-m-v.org/~(editor)/(title). Ditto.
* Don't like the address bar, or don't have one available? That's okay too; type whatever you want to find in the search box. It's then my responsibility to tune the search index so that you have a good chance of getting what it is you want to find. (Search doesn't work right now because I'm prototyping ways to make it good. Also, said JS rework.)

The first two interactions require habituation, but it's habituation that can be taught by having the site generate URLs in those formats.


Ok, the site urls are nice. That alone makes me enjoy the new system.

Still, can you provide me an example of a site that's actually using menus at the bottom of the page? At the same time, is it going to remain what is is now text/font wise, or is there going to be some design manipulated into it?

Also, you mentioned "one key press, mouse travel, one click". What do you mean by One Key Press? There's a key that takes directly to the menu?
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby I Fight For The Users » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:03 pm

CodeZTM wrote:
I Fight For The Users wrote:
2. The best-case scenario for getting to the "new video" page (indeed, any other leaf) in my design is one key press, mouse travel, one click. If you're not used to it, it's (scroll wheel / move mouse to scrollbar, drag), find, click. However, there is no hierarchy to remember, and the site map is a fixture, easily located. (That site map design is also a convention adopted by many other websites, further increasing its utility.)

For other actions, such as searching for events, videos, or other editors, it can be even better:

* Want to go to an editor's profile? Just type http://beta.a-m-v.org/~(editor name) in the address bar. You don't have to interact with any page widgets, just your browser.
* Want to go to an editor's video? Type http://beta.a-m-v.org/~(editor)/(title). Ditto.
* Don't like the address bar, or don't have one available? That's okay too; type whatever you want to find in the search box. It's then my responsibility to tune the search index so that you have a good chance of getting what it is you want to find. (Search doesn't work right now because I'm prototyping ways to make it good. Also, said JS rework.)

The first two interactions require habituation, but it's habituation that can be taught by having the site generate URLs in those formats.


Ok, the site urls are nice. That alone makes me enjoy the new system.

Still, can you provide me an example of a site that's actually using menus at the bottom of the page?


* http://www.apple.com (site map)
* https://github.com (site map)
* http://www.engadget.com/ (used for ancillary links; I'll get back to that)
* https://twitter.com/ (meta-links)

If you're going "but wait a minute, all the examples you gave put secondary links at the bottom!", then you're right. The same applies here.

I don't think stuff like "new video" is important enough to deserve top billing. (Maybe it does. I've asked for usage metrics on the current .org but haven't gotten them yet.) Either way, the important stuff that I have been able to identify is:

1. Log in.
2. Sign up. (No sign up page yet, I know.)
3. Search the database.

Item #3 is the big one, which is why that search box eats up so much of the top. You should be able to get to any video, any event, any profile, any user-generated content from a single point. (Should I find a way to make phpBB behave, yeah, that may include forum threads.) The best way to do that, I think, is incremental search: as you type, you get suggestions. Properly executed, it's a very fast and satisfying feedback loop.

Fast, relevant incremental search on the Web is actually pretty hard to do, especially when you're searching a large heterogeneous database, but I think I can make it work. The important part insofar as using the site goes is that you can assume that you can type in anything (e.g. "CodeZTM", "Playground Love", "AWA Pro") and get back relevant information within (let's say) 100-150 ms.

At the same time, is it going to remain what is is now text/font wise, or is there going to be some design manipulated into it?


The typefaces have gone through a bit of iteration; I'm happy with what they are now. The front page does not show any body text, but something like http://beta.a-m-v.org/~jasper-isis/Frost%20and%20Flames may give a better example.

I've heard that the typefaces are too thin on Windows XP with ClearType enabled, but I haven't been able to get a screenshot (or, probably better, camera capture of the screen) of the problem. I find the typefaces to have acceptable width on Windows 7 w/ ClearType enabled, OS X 10.6.8, and Ubuntu 12.04.

Also, you mentioned "one key press, mouse travel, one click". What do you mean by One Key Press? There's a key that takes directly to the menu?


The End key does, because it takes you to the end of the page.
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby I Fight For The Users » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:13 pm

FYI, please feel free to stop by #amv or #grommet on synIRC. I think the real-time nature of IRC is much better for conveying information than the chunky conversation required by forums.
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby Nya-chan Production » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:32 am

I Fight For The Users wrote:
me wrote:Because people asked for it.


I want to qualify that: just because someone asks for something, that doesn't mean it's a good idea. However, those people who asked for it told me why they wanted it, showed me demos of that drag interaction in other sites (i.e. Facebook), and from there I could see that there is, in fact, quite a bit of value in providing that sort of function. It gets even better when you think about how it could be applied elsewhere. (For example, videos on profiles are shown with thumbnails. Why not make those customizable too?)

As the current state is, IMO it will result only in many broken headers on video pages. Surely there will be some reset button, though, which might fix it.
But still... can I hear those reasons? I can't imagine ANY marginal advantage of implementing that (which is probably my fault). If you can't shift image in image editor it will be most likely ugly anyway (and ugly artifacted image is still ugly artifacted image, even when shifted). And if you can why have it on page?

I'll try to stop by on #grommet, though :3
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby Pwolf » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:17 pm

I like the idea of being able to drag the image around to get the right framing you want... that said, I think there's needs to be some bounds you can't cross. Using the default image, based on grabbing a set of frames from the video itself, I think you need to restrict any movement on the Y axis and take more frames from the video to make the overall width longer. Basically just gives you a long timeline of frames to pick from to make the banner. I hope that made sense. If you want to upload your own image, don't allow the user to drag past the bounds of the image where it repeats itself. it looks tacky. I think if an editor really wants their video banner image to have an obvious edge going down the middle of it, they can learn MS Paint or iPhoto and do it themselves.
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby DriftRoot » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:33 am

I love that you're taking the time to do this and that it's actually moving forward. It's something this site really needs and will hopefully draw great benefits from. I've been following progress for awhile and haven't really said too much because I was still waiting to see how certain things resolved themselves, but since some topics have now come up I feel I want to chime in on, here I go. :mrgreen:

I will second Code's concerns regarding the bottom navigation, plus... Is that the only content that will be available at the bottom? It's hard to gauge the effectiveness of this homepage design when there is nothing in that big white space in the middle, the unknowns on this design are what concern me. If that's all there's going to be, I'd really challenge it. I want to be able to hop around to different areas of the site from anywhere on the site (one problem with the site now) whether I'm logged in or not. I also want to see the most important benefits/areas this site has to offer and get to them quickly and easily right from the homepage and any other page. It drives me nuts when sites don't have adequate navigation built in at the top or left that I have to scroll down and use their sitemap just to get around. It's just a very basic usability requirement, IMO - yes, have a sitemap as well, but most websites are built with topside and/or leftside navigation and that's why most people expect and are comfortable navigating websites that way. I don't see how forcing a different type of navigation onto a-m-v.org is in the site's best interest.

Also...I have to say that I look at this design and see something that is highly generic and is presenting a very cold, clinical approach to the AMV hobby. This last is a reputation a-m-v.org has which we all know has turned a lot of people away from this site. It's fine to look like we have a website that knows what it's doing, but where is the fun? Where is the casual love of AMVing? Where's the personality? The current site may be troublesome, but it's got fun colors, fun images and (in certain areas) fun copywriting that all help establish the feel of this site is. Do we really have to abandon all of that personality in pursuit of a more modern, updated website that's all whites and grays? To me this looks like you are re-branding a-m-v.org on top of designing a new website, and since we've been asked to share our opinions, I do not like the way this new a-m-v.org looks or feels for the reasons stated. Maybe more personality will be added into the center, but right now I can't really see what's going to be there...and that still leaves a frame around every page that doesn't exude great personality or brand.

Along these lines, where is space being allocated to effectively branding this website AS a-m-v.org? That whole featured video space at the top...I can't even make out what those images are supposed to be or represent (Princess Tutu, I know), but how is that compelling to click on? There's no hook there than "Featured Video" and a sliced up gallery of partial images. How is a whole, website-wide string of images the most effective way to get people to check out that video? I can't see why it needs to take up that much space or be presented like that. That whole areas is where I would expect to see something that clearly establishes "HEY, You're at a-m-v.org!!"

I Fight For The Users wrote:1. Log in.
2. Sign up. (No sign up page yet, I know.)
3. Search the database.

Item #3 is the big one, which is why that search box eats up so much of the top. You should be able to get to any video, any event, any profile, any user-generated content from a single point. (Should I find a way to make phpBB behave, yeah, that may include forum threads.) The best way to do that, I think, is incremental search: as you type, you get suggestions. Properly executed, it's a very fast and satisfying feedback loop.

So...one highly likely pitfall here is the quality of the search results. Sure, someone can look for whatever they want, but what are they going to find? If someone searches for a "Princess Tutu AMV" are they going to get a list of totally random results, or is the search going to be controlled to display videos which meet certain parameters higher up on the list? Maybe those with the most opinions, highest star scores, most views? Allowing users to filter search results via a sidebar navigation scheme seems like it would be most the effective way to get people to the videos they want. Is this what you already had in mind?
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby Chained(E)Studio » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:11 pm

DriftRoot wrote:I love that you're taking the time to do this and that it's actually moving forward. It's something this site really needs and will hopefully draw great benefits from. I've been following progress for awhile and haven't really said too much because I was still waiting to see how certain things resolved themselves, but since some topics have now come up I feel I want to chime in on, here I go. :mrgreen:

I will second Code's concerns regarding the bottom navigation, plus... Is that the only content that will be available at the bottom? It's hard to gauge the effectiveness of this homepage design when there is nothing in that big white space in the middle, the unknowns on this design are what concern me. If that's all there's going to be, I'd really challenge it. I want to be able to hop around to different areas of the site from anywhere on the site (one problem with the site now) whether I'm logged in or not. I also want to see the most important benefits/areas this site has to offer and get to them quickly and easily right from the homepage and any other page. It drives me nuts when sites don't have adequate navigation built in at the top or left that I have to scroll down and use their sitemap just to get around. It's just a very basic usability requirement, IMO - yes, have a sitemap as well, but most websites are built with topside and/or leftside navigation and that's why most people expect and are comfortable navigating websites that way. I don't see how forcing a different type of navigation onto a-m-v.org is in the site's best interest.

Also...I have to say that I look at this design and see something that is highly generic and is presenting a very cold, clinical approach to the AMV hobby. This last is a reputation a-m-v.org has which we all know has turned a lot of people away from this site. It's fine to look like we have a website that knows what it's doing, but where is the fun? Where is the casual love of AMVing? Where's the personality? The current site may be troublesome, but it's got fun colors, fun images and (in certain areas) fun copywriting that all help establish the feel of this site is. Do we really have to abandon all of that personality in pursuit of a more modern, updated website that's all whites and grays? To me this looks like you are re-branding a-m-v.org on top of designing a new website, and since we've been asked to share our opinions, I do not like the way this new a-m-v.org looks or feels for the reasons stated. Maybe more personality will be added into the center, but right now I can't really see what's going to be there...and that still leaves a frame around every page that doesn't exude great personality or brand.

Along these lines, where is space being allocated to effectively branding this website AS a-m-v.org? That whole featured video space at the top...I can't even make out what those images are supposed to be or represent (Princess Tutu, I know), but how is that compelling to click on? There's no hook there than "Featured Video" and a sliced up gallery of partial images. How is a whole, website-wide string of images the most effective way to get people to check out that video? I can't see why it needs to take up that much space or be presented like that. That whole areas is where I would expect to see something that clearly establishes "HEY, You're at a-m-v.org!!"



x2

I also feel that this layout will just scare people away more than the original does. I'm already confused on how I am supposed to use it and what page I could possibly be on. I feel new users or current users who are still trying to learn with the site now will just be lost in a sea of white. They will come to the page and be like .. O-O. Then they'll give up or leave. While current users who enjoy org will be the ONLY ones to take the time to learn it (which is bad). You shouldn't have to search that hard to find everything on a web site to begin with especially with the navigation at the bottom. When the original was on the side, it should be taking things from the old and implementing them into the new. Not just trashing everything like it seems to be. This not only keeps current, past users up to date with how the new design works but new users can still use it easily.

Right now if that's how the site is going to be going... I'd rather just go to Apple and see if they will upload my AMVs. ='p

My eyes already go crazy just trying to stare at the beta D:
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Re: [beta.a-m-v.org] Hey, we're semi-official

Postby I Fight For The Users » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:38 am

The sterility of each page depends on two things.

1. The user managing the page (e.g. profile, video pages).
2. For search pages, it is the set of users whose videos/profiles/etc. show up in the results.

The degree to which this new layout appears sterile is therefore entirely up to you. This will become clearer as additional editing functionality comes online, but you can get an idea of what's going on with the profile image editor.

re: search results: Yes, quality of search results is an important factor in the success of search. That's my responsibility to get right, and I'll get it as right as I can. I have some ideas about this, and we'll see how they work once they're implemented.

Pwolf wrote:I like the idea of being able to drag the image around to get the right framing you want... that said, I think there's needs to be some bounds you can't cross. Using the default image, based on grabbing a set of frames from the video itself, I think you need to restrict any movement on the Y axis and take more frames from the video to make the overall width longer. Basically just gives you a long timeline of frames to pick from to make the banner. I hope that made sense. If you want to upload your own image, don't allow the user to drag past the bounds of the image where it repeats itself. it looks tacky. I think if an editor really wants their video banner image to have an obvious edge going down the middle of it, they can learn MS Paint or iPhoto and do it themselves.


This is something that Facebook does, and it's something I've considered implementing -- but I'll leave it out for now; when more people start using that functionality, we can look at it then.
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