I am the founder of DBolical and creator of ModDB, IndieDB and SlideDB. My aim is to make it easier for gamers to find great games/mods no matter their stage of development. And more importantly give game/mod developers a place to share their work and grow their fanbase - without being dependent on press/editors gatekeeping the important news sites. If you have any ideas or suggestions, hit me up I am always available to talk with the community.

Report RSS Site simplification

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UPDATE #1: I have just put all news, features and tutorials on the site under articles. They are filterable and existing links still work. This allows the system to be smarter and show profile content more accurately.

A question for you to ponder. We have begun the slow march towards site simplification, as I believe it is important for us to make our site responsive, mobile friendly and easier to use. 13 years ago when I begun this work these buzzwords didn't exist, and while I generally don't do "buzz" I believe anything that helps us support our community and encourage content to be shared is a good thing. Here are the first few steps I'm contemplating:

  1. Merge videos / images / audio into one gallery system "media" and have videos ordered to the front
  2. Merge news / features / tutorials into one "articles" system
  3. Merge groups / events into groups
  4. Merge addons / downloads / mods into a more connected system (will be complex, still figuring this one out)

This will unify / change a number of URLs. Just wanted to see if you think this is wise or crazy or have suggestions for me, as I start thinking about this process. I'll keep you posted and thanks for the continued support!

Comments
ElfFriend
ElfFriend

Personally I think it would make finding stuff that's been buried under other stuff even harder than it already is. So I'm not too fond of this idea. Maybe it's because I rarely use mobile and when I do I tell websites I'm on a desktop :D

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Admiral_Nemo
Admiral_Nemo

I think merging news/features and addons/downloads into one system is a good idea.
Merging videos and images on the other hand, not so much. Like ElfFriend said, this would probably make things harder to find and prioritizing videos over images really makes no sense.

Instead I think maybe a bit of a page layout overhaul of the image "gallery" that already exists would be a good idea. Adding a profile-specific search function and possibly a larger miniature list with an optional slideshow for easier browsing would also be a good idea.

But keep images and video separate.

I also suggested a media library to streamline uploading and re-submitting files across the various groups and profiles of the site a few years ago that I still think would improve the usability of the site. Media.moddb.com

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Admiral_Nemo
Admiral_Nemo

To demonstrate my idea about a design overhaul for the image gallery: Media.moddb.com

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TKAzA Staff
TKAzA

That gallery mockup rocks sir!

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INtense! Author
INtense!

I do quite like your expanded gallery idea. I'm contemplating a system where fan galleries are separated from the official gallery, so fans can submit images and your expanded gallery may help with that as i'm not sure how to design it in.

Media library is harder. I understand there is duplication right now, but that is a "power user" feature and in my experience power user features are generally bad because only a tiny % of people use them and they confuse everyone else.

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Admiral_Nemo
Admiral_Nemo

I think making the assumption that people get confused by more features may not be entirely accurate.
It may seem like a lot of large websites are simplifying their service nowadays but usually that means putting a lot of thought and effort into designing a layout and user interface that is easier to understand yet doesn't take away functionality.

Working on the user interface of their services has led to a simpler page layout with more complex scripts.
A button may no longer just be a link to another page but expand an entirely new section of the page that you're already on.
That type of simplification is all about analyzing and prioritizing what features users use the most and what needs to be accessible first.

But you have to design features for your audience, not the masses.

If you look at DeviantArt, they have made sure that their "Submit" button is pretty much everywhere to be found, in galleries, groups and now at the top of the page. This makes it extremely clear how to upload a file.

ModDB could do a similar thing where you have an Add Media button next to the search bar at the top of each page.
This would expand a menu with "Mod" "News" "Image" "Video" etc. and after selecting what you want to upload it will take you to the standard upload page. This page would need the additional option of selecting where to upload a file. To your profile, a game page or a group.
Perhaps several places at once (the media library idea would come in handy here).
Just an idea.

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Admiral_Nemo
Admiral_Nemo

Oh by the way... while I stand by my media library idea I would be the first to admit that my original concept looks horribly out-dated.

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INtense! Author
INtense!

I think that a unified submission button like you suggest has a lot of merit and is something we need to consider. And yes the design process i'm going through now is trying to retain what is good about ModDB - and if we've made it worse then that is a big failure. I'm just looking at some elements of the site that are rarely used and contemplating how they should be adapted

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Admiral_Nemo
Admiral_Nemo

Well a couple of things could probably be removed from the top bar for profiles.

The Summary link seems a bit redundant since you can just click on the much larger profile name.

The Comments link could be removed for simplification reasons since that one can still be found under Statistics.

One thing I'd like to see, as demonstrated on the second concept image I posted, is larger images in the image gallery, same for videos. Kind of how it was on Desura.

Maybe make the gallery thumbnail-strip on summary page of mods/games and members bigger as well.
Just so people can show off their media better.

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feillyne StaffSubscriber
feillyne

Well, to be honest, not fond of any.

Not only images and videos would be buried, but also e.g. important release news and progress updates under tutorials (which are more valuable to developers not players, and we have more players than developers here).

The system is very complex and it requires more filters/sections, not less.

So

1) mobile version yes
2) add-on submission form remade to make it easy to upload smaller downloads
3) also easier Linking System to add those add-ons/downloads/mods as people dislike reading, they have to have some sort of visual guide

IMHO, even AddonDB could be brought back - but not with a more simplified/merged system - but a more complicated, filtered one - and necessarily with 4-5 times easier submission form to quick-add stuff.

For example
1) no need to upload any preview pictures - preview image can be selected from the game gallery the file is uploaded to (= optional previews)
2) visual Linking System, smart linking - adding add-ons/downloads to a specific game/mod page via some fancy dropdown menu at the top etc
3) resuming uploads / FTP upload / maybe "unfinished upload" page self-created in case someone wants to add it in parts / does not have the time/ability to upload it all in one go?

Just some small ideas for this all.

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INtense! Author
INtense!

I'm going to bring the AddonDB logic back to ModDB, but not create a separate site for it. And i'm constantly working on making submission forms easier, downloads and articles both should be easier these days.

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feillyne StaffSubscriber
feillyne

Oh, by the way, could AddonDB.com redirect to moddb.com/addons rather than moddb.com? ;-)

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BioDestroyer
BioDestroyer

Please don't.

The simplification of the site will not necessarily make it more responsive and easier to use, it would probably only clutter things. One thing I love about ModDB is the fact it's very well organized, this would only make things an utter mess. There is an area for each type of content and each content has it's own area for feedback (comments), and I like that.

Merging videos/audio with the images is a terrible idea. Merging tutorials with the rest is a terrible idea, and I think news and features should remain as 2 separate areas.

I hate the recent changes sites have been making because of mobile and/or metro. ModDB is a site about Modding and PC Gaming, this means we have PCs, so the site's focus should be PCs.

If you want to make things more intuitive I think we should revamp some areas of the site. But that would not be simplification, it would be the opposite.

Remember: Complexity does not equal difficulty.

ModDB has to be a complex site, but we can improve its intuitiveness.

I'll post my idea to make it more intuitive later, as a reply to this comment.

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BioDestroyer
BioDestroyer

Here's my idea:

We have many specialized areas, that helps keep the pages very well organized, however most devs don't know how to use them properly.

For example, look at Tiberian Odyssey's page: Moddb.com

As you can see, he puts news about the development on News, and he puts the features (faction backstory, buildings, lore, etc.) of the game on Features.

Pretty straight forward, isn't it? However some devs don't use it like this. We need to find an effective and intuitive way to convey this to them and the people that browse ModDB.

Downloads and Addons could use an improvement, since sometimes I mix what is supposed to be on them (this might also happen to other people). I have an idea, but when I wrote it it sounded confusing as ****. I'll post it when I reformulate it.

I have an idea for images, but I need to develop it a bit more.

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INtense! Author
INtense!

I too feel like the site is incredibly well structured and organized, but these days I'm not sure that is what the rest of the internet understands. If you know the site well like yourself, you know how to navigate around, find comments and browse content through hundreds of pages - but i'd say the majority of users are probably not like you.

Right now when you goto a profile the tutorial and feature tabs are generally empty. Only a few profiles use them (i.e. there are 80000 news posts and only 3000 features / tutorials). So for the vast majority of people those tabs are a distraction and just splitting site content across more pages. So if they were to be merged we'd add it all into "articles" then just make it so you can filter by type "feature, tutorial or news".

Oh and I totally agree that we are a PC site, and I don't want to remove the content that makes us like that. But a few little steps towards simplification may help a great deal and make us more accessible to even more users.

I'm interested in hearing your ideas.

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BioDestroyer
BioDestroyer

I don't remember having any problems understanding the site 7 years ago.

News contains news, Features contains features, Tutorials contains tutorials, etc...

And back then my English was at its infancy. I had to use a PT-EN dictionary and Google Translate to browse English sites.

You are using the same reason devs use to justify the dumbing down of games. "There are people that don't want to use 100% of their brain capacity, therefore we must make it easier".

There will always be more news than features/tutorials, especially for projects that update frequently. It doesn't mean there isn't a need for it, the need is just naturally smaller. (And as I said in my second comment, we need to find a way to make devs use the features tab more, so they can relay more information to their profile visitors)

But what exactly do you mean with 'merging the articles'? Merging them all together as one (as your blog post made it look like) or putting the three under a button 'Articles' in the profiles' headline and then inside we can select them by news/features/tutorials (like your comment made it look like, essentially not changing anything)?

The first one is a bad idea, the second essentially doesn't change anything.

About you reply to Garyn Dakari: The media is very clear you mean the same page for both videos and images, I don't like that idea. Some projects have a good amount of videos/audios, mixing them with images would only mess things up.

I like the fact you are hearing our opinions. (Look at the size of the comments people posted. xD And I still have things I want to post...)

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INtense! Author
INtense!

I do mean keeping them, but merging them under the "articles" header. So you would filter to find tutorials for example.

And the same would occur for media, except I would add filter and the ability to reorder galleries so users can choose what is shown at the front.

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BioDestroyer
BioDestroyer

Sorry for the late reply.

Well, in that case, not much will change, but if done in a bad way, it will not help at all.

About images, I'm not sure, I think they should not be mixed.

I would like to see a concept on how you would do the filters on both of them. I can imagine ways where it would not be bad, others where it would be.

The other ideas:

Images: You could make it so we can filter them by types. ModDB already has types in the Details of an image (or had, I don't see it anymore). We could use them to find, for example, concept/promotional art, wallpapers, etc. in a gallery.

This is something small, just one thing that people would use to find wallpapers to their favorite mods, find the concept art, and other things.

Downloads/Addons: It seems a bit messy to browse them, especially when there is a lot of content. I'm not sure how we could improve it, but I think it would be good to have a way to filter mod content from the downloads/addons of games. This way to could see 'everything', 'mods related' (like releases, resources, etc. related to mods of that game) or 'game related' (content not connected to any mod of that game, just the game itself and maybe other games).

And the last one: While tutorials are good, I feel they don't help people reach the max they can to create proper documentation to the modding of a game.

People say that one of the things that hinders modding is the lack of proper documentation. I think we should create a wiki for modding, where people can put all the information required to mod a game in the same place, in a cohesive way.

Every game would have its own wiki 'main page', which would take you to the pages relating to that game.

We would need the collaboration of the community to create it, tough.

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MattmanDude
MattmanDude

I'm going to have to go with what my fellow members are saying on this.

The idea of converging these into singular tabs is counter-productive at best. I can't really say anything that hasn't been said. It would cause confusion, and the burying of media and certain downloads.

Not that there isn't room for improvement/overhaul. I have been familiar with my friend Skeybar's ideas for a while now. They definitely have merit.

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