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Seeking user insight for unsolicited redesign.

Ideas to improve Criticker and new feature requests, as well as announcements about new enhancements.
Davidless
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Seeking user insight for unsolicited redesign.

Postby Davidless » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:21 pm

Hey peeps,

I've been a part of this here community for about a decade on and off and I love the site. Even today when we have options like Letterboxd, I will always choose (and praise) Criticker. All that aside, I was planning on an unsolicited redesign that attempts to keep the basic functionality and style mostly intact while rearranging the architecture for the home page, user profile, and media profiles. Was looking for some user insight to help me ground some of my design decisions so that I'm being faithful to the community. I've listed a couple of questions below, answer as you see fit and I'll try and get some screenshots for you all as soon as I'm feeling confident about the project.

Thanks! ;)

My questions for you all are as follows:
  • What are your favorite features?
  • What pages do you find yourself frequenting most?
  • Do you prefer a simple, more old school aesthetic (like Criticker) or something more modern (like Letterboxd)?
  • What crucial feature do you think is missing?
  • What feature can you do without?

uvlalid
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Re: Seeking user insight for unsolicited redesign.

Postby uvlalid » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:09 pm

Wait, so what exactly is this for? Are you going to make a mirror of Criticker with different UI? Or are you going to make a new website/app similar to it but which doesn't use the same back-end and database? If it's the case of the latter, I reckon there's at least a couple improvements that could be made to how the recommendation engine works and I can PM you some ideas I had about it if you like (I don't want to flood this thread in case it isn't relevant). If it's the case of the former, why?

I digress though. My favourite features, in no particular order, are:
  • the fact that the algorithm used by the recommendation engine is actually decent
  • the database viewer with which many different filters can be applied
  • the fact that I can see and interact with users with similar "tastes" to me
  • the fact that I can make and curate my own collections
  • the fact that I can make reviews and read others' reviews

The page I frequent the most is probably the database viewer.

I'm not too sure what constitutes an old school/modern aesthetic by your standards, and I haven't used Letterboxd so I can't really answer that question. What I will say is that what I like about the Criticker UI is its speed and, more importantly, ease of use due to its coherent design. Almost everything to a new user just makes sense as there's only a small amount of unlabelled buttons as it were. I wouldn't mind if it looked flashier as long as it doesn't get bogged down and as long as it still makes sense. It could also do with being made more simpler, or even better, customisable, as there's a lot of UI elements that I personally don't really use and just consider a bit distracting such as the "Advice From:", the "Top Recommendation" and the "Other Recommendations..." panels in the homepage (I mostly just use the database viewer like I said as it's more customisable). I also don't really use the "Lastminute Bargains" feature, but that isn't really readily visible to me, so I don't mind it.

One feature that I reckon would not be relatively hard to add is an option to add and show similar listings, and @mpowell has already expressed their interest in that idea, so it might be added in the future. Also, a method to view user statistics (most/least watched, highest/lowest ranked genres, score distributions, some kind of graph visualising similarities with other users, etc.) would be pretty cool. But really, the most crucial feature that is missing is the ability to add more than just movies or games to the database, which I think is unfortunately a limitation of how the front-end, database and recommendation engine are fundamentally designed and it might be saner just to start from scratch instead of changing those. Like I said, I have some ideas on how to improve it and I can PM you if you're interested.

Davidless
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Re: Seeking user insight for unsolicited redesign.

Postby Davidless » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:13 am

Hey uvlalid,

Thanks for following up on this. Sorry if I wasn't clear, I'm doing this as a case study project for my portfolio. I have no intention of creating a mirror or new website. If anything, I can share the code for the final visual design when it's done, but I won't be looking at backend processes or algorithms. My goal is to provide clarity to the UI without changing the way the site functions. As you said, there are some superfluous UI elements that can bog down the home experience and I want to streamline that a bit.

Your insight is super helpful!

paulofilmo
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Re: Seeking user insight for unsolicited redesign.

Postby paulofilmo » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:19 pm

i can't imagine much of this will be helpful, as i've just dumped feature thoughts, rather than thought about design.

Spoiler: show
  • What are your favorite features?
The main box thing in the profile page, where I can see recent kumpel activity, etc.
On a film's page - seeing kumpel stats and mini-reviews; a link to the director's other films
the forums
  • What pages do you find yourself frequenting most?
profile, film pages, forums
  • Do you prefer a simple, more old school aesthetic (like Criticker) or something more modern (like Letterboxd)?
old school. i use movielens very occassionally, but find it clunky and annoying. it annoys me that i can't seem to ctrl+f film titles on letterboxd (maybe i'm the only one left with a keyboard). mubi generally worked well.
  • What crucial feature do you think is missing?
Could celebrate mini-reviews more (Maaxwell started a thread on this, iirc).
hardly crucial but i miss mubi's more tonal expression especially with regards to lists/collections. And i find it cute how they can leave comments, and you could see the followers. Maybe a whole website could be dedicated to something like this—after mubi socially gutted itself, and criticker seems to be culturally quite different. (But!) maybe criticker has the data to create this sort of thing itself.

  • What feature can you do without?
I don't think I ever look at the homepage

livelove
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Re: Seeking user insight for unsolicited redesign.

Postby livelove » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:14 am



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