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.