Giant Bomb News

233 Comments

Recent Design Changes [UPDATED]

We've been mucking up your favorite websites a bit, by embiggening them.

UPDATE: Based on feedback from our subscribers we recently made the following changes to the video hub.

  1. Logged in users will see the latest videos by default.
  2. You can now toggle auto-play on or off.
  3. Subscribers can now select HTML5 as a video option if they're using a supporting browser. (Chrome, Safari, IE9)
  4. Back button functionality now is completely consistant across the entire page.
  5. Middle clicks and command-clicks act as normal for opening new tabs.
  6. Timestamps added to video thumbnails (this one will be in this afternoon).

We'll continue to monitor feedback and make changes as needed. Thanks for the support.

ORIGINAL STORY: This post is likely a bit overdue. If you haven't noticed by now, the engineers have been fooling around quite a bit on the Whiskey Media sites' design over the last several weeks. Right now those changes only show up on Giant Bomb and Screened, but expect the rest of the network to receive these same updates relatively soon. In general, most of these redesigns have been met with approval, but I felt now was a good time to explain the thought process since we're planning to do a lot more pixel-pushing in the next few months.

In general our team tries to accomplish the following every time we start a redesign project:

  1. Remove clicks and make the content more accessible.
  2. Provide a better experience for the subscribers that support us.
  3. Be pretty.

Today Alexis and Mike launched a new video hub that hopefully hit all three. The page looks the same for subscribers and regular members, but in use they are drastically different. Rather than explain it, check out the video below. Put simply, we removed page loads completely for subscribers so that they can get from video to video much faster.

Pretty cool, huh? Same page and layout, but really a better experience for our paid members. I'm bringing this up because it's something we plan on doing a lot more of as we attack pages to redesign this year and wanted to be upfront with you guys about it. The reasoning is simple. For non-paying members we still have to worry about pageviews. Those pages contain ads, and ads bring us revenue. For subscribers, well, you're already helping us out, so we're gonna build the site towards you as if we were building it for ourselves. That is to say my dream site, a site without clutter and tedium. Biodigital jazz, man.

That said, I still think the Internet is mostly a mess when it comes to UI and we will always try to avoid adding to the pile. For non-subscribers we will continue our policies of not taking away features that exist and not adding undue pageloads that break up content. That means no multi-page reviews, slideshow galleries, or general click traps intended to do nothing but load ads. It's simply a bad way to build the web, and Whiskey Media wants to stay in the not pissing you off business. But as we attack new pages, we do plan on giving subscribers as many high fives as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns please let me know in the comments below or through a private message. If the sillyness of an "embiggen" button has taught you anything, it's that we listen to all the stupid ideas that come our way. Thanks for supporting our sites.

Dave Snider on Google+
233 Comments
Posted by RPG_Master

may just need to go ahead and get a subscription now... And I agree with everyone else, giantbomb is a very well designed website.

Posted by Sil3n7

As a paying member, thank you.

Posted by Afroman269

This is great, I love getting more value for my membership.

Posted by Jayross

Where's my wiki?

Posted by rjayb89

When I middle click a video, I want it to open in another tab, not autoplay on the same page. Take out autoplay, too, bros. OR ELSE.

Online
Posted by Sharpshooter

I'd say you guys fulfilled your three objectives quite well. Excellent work.

Posted by PillClinton

@Jayross said:

Where's my wiki?

dude, for real. what's up with that?

Posted by SiN13

Funny, the video on this page doesn't fit the frame for me.

Edited by ChrisTaran

This is actively a worse experience for this paid member. It fails on both point 1 and 2.

Auto-play is the most frustrating thing that has ever been added to this site. I would rather see ads than have a video auto-play. I highly dislike this.

I'm going to repost my 3 largest complaints with this redesign from a forum post I already made:

  • Auto-play of videos
  • Loss of dates for the videos under the "Recent Videos" sidebar.
  • Clicking on a video causes the video to load instead of taking me to the video page with the comments. Not at all intuitive to get to that main video page with the comments.

Also, Facebook and Twitter links still show for me even with the option to turn them off in my settings set.

Posted by NHLmaniac
@Branthog Under your username go to settings, click on the notifications tab, scroll down to social preferences and you can turn off all of those buttons.
Edited by Sergotron

If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!

Posted by Tennmuerti

I love the embigen button, but is there a way to turn off continuous play?

Most of the time when I finish watching a QL or some other video I would like to comment on it, instead now it skips straight to another video.

Posted by Seraphim84

I was /just/ going through the few early endurance run episodes and thinking about how it was a bit annoying to dig deep into those files. Perfect solution to the problem, top men!

Posted by SomethingClever

I can get game/movie/tech/comic/anime news from a million other places but the personality that Whiskey Media offers, both in actual people and in the presentation of the sites is why I have made this my home. Once in a while I'll hit up some other site for something and the layout is just terrible or I have to click 40 things to find what I'm looking for, and even then the content is bland.

Long story short; I love Whiskey Media!

Edited by Klaimore

I'm again impressed by the many awesome changes to this awesome website again thank you Mr.Snider and the other awesome people that help out. My only problem that I have suffered is that I'm watching a video and sometimes it will immediately stop and tell me to reload the page. It's only happened on a few occasions though its a little frustrating when I'm watching the HappyHour and I'm on half way through the show and its stops. Now I don't know if this is really relevant to the website or maybe my browser or ISP I have been using Firefox instead of Gooogle Chrome now and the problem hasn't presented itself. Just putting that out there in case anyone else has gone through the same problem. Anyways I still love you Whiskey Media.

Posted by Kajaah117

It looks fantastic! Very functional too. Whiskey Media is easily my favorite UI to navigate on the internet right now. You guys are brilliant.

Posted by Zero_Tactility

I'm really digging the tiny Andre embiggen/debiggen button, and the new comment format is sexy as hell. My compliments to the top men.

Posted by Alazoral

That's cool but you know what? I actually prefer discrete pageviews. What if I accidentally click on something, it happens sometimes, then the whole interface shifts and I can't get back. What if I find something really cool and want to link it to someone thus increasing your user base but I am six clicks deep? What if I want to right click and save the URL for later? Sure, you could use the HTML5 location API to push fake page results on there, but that shit doesn't work for a vast majority of the time or browsers and it only works if sending that url gets me the exact page view you're looking for.

I get it, you know, you've worked in this electronic media with bosses that go pageview, pageview, pageview, that force you to paginate inanely. But whole different articles need different pageloads. People's browsers need to clear themselves some memory for your next half hour exploration. People have got to be able to atomically link reliably to content. Look what happened to the Gawker sites. That is slowly what is happening to Whiskey, and I can't stand it.

I can't stand your anaemic little search box, either, when I press Enter in there I want to be taken to a full-on results page. If I'm searching for something with more than a few results paging back and forth inside that cramped little box with very little actual detail is literally hell. Most of the time I find myself just using google with site:giantbomb.com. That's pretty sad right there. Surely the point of the wiki is having enormous amounts of structured data that an experienced user could build advanced queries around to pull out just the right item, or as is usually the case, the right collection of results. An autocomplete box is great but when I hit enter it should take me to a lovely full results page with a column full of options for refining my search and a big old button that lets me save that search instantly as a list. I should be able to build boolean searches for all kinds of shit.

The web is a collection of interlinked pages. That's the model that works. It's a model with history. It's how browsers optimise caches and histories, how extensions expect pages to behave, how networking layers deal with intermittent connections, how phones deal with battery loss, and it's how your users think about pages.

You guys aren't ignorant when it comes to putting together an attractive looking design, but you're complexing this shit up too much. Remember those awful Flash-only websites that people used to put up all the time? You don't want that. You want simple, powerful, universal.

Here's an action plan, by a qualified professional in research and practice in the field of design and cognition:

  1. Dump the Javascript based links.
  2. Bring back the search results page.
  3. Investigate proper search engine options for your weird ass django setup.
  4. Implement the ability to store transcriptions for videos and podcasts. (Don't worry, you've enough obsessive users that you won't have to transcribe them yourself)

Why? Let me tell you why. A random passerby overheard Jeff say something hilarious in a random video someone else was watching about some video game that they don't remember, and they want to find the video. They google 'jeff games' and giantbomb comes up in the results, with a search box right there.

They type 'charlie chiae jeff' in the box. It takes them right to a list of the persona videos (and probably some other ones) with Jeff in em, as well as forum articles. They can use +terms and -terms to focus down on what they remember, until they find the video. They watch the video. They send it to all their friends. You get a zillion more pageviews and subscriptions.

What happens now? They find giantbomb ok, but then what? Nothing. They try the anaemic little search box but it's frustrating and doesn't work properly on their device. They walk away dejected. You get 1 pageview. They might find some other content of interest, but they've lost and psychologically that will always be about what you're about, the funny video they will never see. If they do eventually find it they will have built it up so much in their head that they will be disappointed. People will say "have you seen giant bomb" and they will say "urg, i can't stand that site".

Fix your shit. Turn back from this javascript path before it is too late. Pageviews aren't just for idiot bosses, they're for proper information architecture.

Posted by ScreamingFist

Love the design changes, thanks so much guys!

Posted by roguehallow

@BlazeHedgehog said:

I have one problem: Lately, picking "Streaming" will mean that the video just ends after 20 minutes like it reached the end of the file. With the way that works now, instead of being able to rewind and pick up where the file died, it will instantly skip me to the next video and using the back button on my browser doesn't seem to work.

I'm having this problem as well; I was worried it was just me. Also, when choosing "Progressive" the video tends to stop loading a few minutes in. Good news: picking the "Download" option seems to work very well, I can watch the whole video at my leisure.

Posted by Pkshields

Dave Snider. Every time I read one of your posts or listen to you you just come across as such a classy guy.

Love the new design, features and the respect to explain the reason behind some of those features.

Posted by Spiritof

@ChrisTaran said:

  • Clicking on a video causes the video to load instead of taking me to the video page with the comments. Not at all intuitive to get to that main video page with the comments.

Maybe I'm not getting exactly what you're saying, but the comments link is right there underneath the video. Click it and they pop down under the video.

Posted by Paradigmer

I could almost hear Jeff Bridges saying "biodigital jazz man" in his scruffy voice.  I wish he was my dad, so his beautiful voice could read me bedtime stories every night. 

Posted by powerpc127

I'm not a paid member (I'm broke), but I want you all to know that I really appreciate the way you guys do business. For instance:
 
"For non-subscribers we will continue our policies of not taking away features that exist and not adding undue pageloads that break up content. That means no multi-page reviews, slideshow galleries, or general click traps intended to do nothing but load ads. It's simply a bad way to build the web, and Whiskey Media wants to stay in the not pissing you off business."
 
Amen to that, brother (the part I underlined). My favorite Ghandi quote is "be the change you wish to see in the world," and I think you folks deserve a gold star for doing just that. If I wasn't trying to make it through school right now, I would totally fork over for a yearly subscription just to support people with as noble an MO as yours. Stay awesome, you guys.

Posted by orshick

I approve.

Posted by Siphillis

Am I the only person who wants ranked comments, a la Joystiq or DailyTech?  They certainly encourage users to make more insightful comments than "First" or "Nice."

Posted by UsbCable

Good job humans! The rate that this site is being updated is crazy, thanks.

Posted by Keenblaze

Every video takes me to the DNF Quick Look after like 10 seconds of streaming. 
 
 
Well played, Snider, well played.

Posted by Ghost_of_Perdition

Embiggen was to never leave the chat room, Dave. What have you done!

Neat redesign.

Posted by ChrisTaran

@SpiritOf:

Just noticed, but that kills "1. Remove clicks and make the content more accessible." then doesn't it? 2 clicks instead of 1.

Posted by Kowalo

Love the new video page, especially the embiggen feature.

Edited by Deathpooky

Agree that the autoplay is annoying. Anytime a video plays without me telling it to play I dislike it. I don't want my browser/computer to go through the effort of downloading a video unless I tell it to. It shouldn't autoplay when I click on a video, and it shouldn't autoplay a NEW video when the first one is done unless I click something. When combined with the streaming bug it can be really annoying. This is the reason I didn't visit ESPN for quite a while. Playing a video and giving me unexpected audio can be really bad at times.

ETA: I'm an idiot - the comments button is right there and works perfect. Love it!

Posted by Skywarpgold

Oh man, that's awesome! Working great so far!

Posted by GS_Dan

Hey Dave-

Any way of forum posts and comments being individually anchored within a page so that notifications link directly to them? Autoplay is also a bit irritating as others have said.

Everything else is lovely though- loving the new comment system and front page/video layout.

Posted by Roddykat

I noticed the embiggening earlier. I dig it a lot (especially the grinworthy button and icon)! A toast to the Top Men!

Posted by Dany

Love the new look for the comments!

Edited by LiquidPrince

I'm a paid member. How come I can't use this feature?

Edit: Nevermind.

Posted by TheDarkVoid

The new look is cool, but I preferred the old layout of the video pages. You could look at the list of other videos on the left while watching something. Now, you have to look downnn. With this, I couldn't be bothered  going through other videos.. too many little pictures at the same time on one page doesn't look nice. 
 
I loved to watch trailers and stuff here on giantbomb because the video page was the best thing out there..no stupid ads, no clutter, you could quickly check new videos in the sidebar..now, the page is a total mess.  You have to scroll down, move your mouse, look trough this mess of a list and than select. It sounds stupid and lazy, but we're living in the age where everyone wants everything instantly to happen on their computers and the internet. If I have to do something even a second longer than I used to, to get the same thing, I'm not gonna be bothered with it.  
 
Why would you, instead of keeping it clean and tidy, throw all this crap on the page?? We go to that page for one reason and one reason only: TO WATCH THE VIDEOS! 
 
Dont change the site just for the sake of changing, adding new features to the site. Why would you completely change something that's already great? I think you are trying too hard, trying to do too much. Sometimes, less is more.

idk, with all these changes gb doesn't look like gb anymore..

Posted by Enigma777

Like I said before, i wish I could embiggen everything on the internet.

Posted by Sparklykiss

You've done step 3 and you've done it very well. Great work, guys. :D

Moderator
Posted by YoungFrey

I can't figure out how to turn off autoplay. I pretty much never watch videos on the site. Only the occasional TNT. Everything else is downloaded. I'd like to be able to right-click on a video element and have it give me the download options, rather than waste a click to then select the DL option.

Also I like the channel selector above the play window. And the old more readable text.

I also think it's high time we had a "just everything made in house" option.

Posted by ImperiousRix

Okay, even being a non paid subscriber I must admit that this is pretty cool.

Posted by Zeemod

Boom Shackalacka!

Posted by c_rakestraw

Damn that looks cool. I need to get myself a subscription so I start using all these awesome features, and quick!

Posted by DetectiveSpecial

Embiggens. What a perfectly cromulent word.

Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1

Where's that wiki rebuild? Will we ever get proper sorting?

Posted by effache

I feel like now is a good time to bring up the fact that the giant bomb and screened front pages don't render in my browser about 90% of the time. I can still click on links where they would be, but it just shows up in my browser (chrome) as a white page. maybe my computer is just a POS

Online
Posted by Hector

I like it the changes, the site looks more sleek now. GiantBomb Vita!

Posted by 49th

Meh, still not enough to get me to subscribe. Sorry.

Posted by Pibo47

THE INTERNET!!!