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 Lelcar

@LifeByDegrees said:

One concern and potential improvement I've run into follows here-:Is there a way to make viewing longer series of videos easier? Example: I'm watching the Persona 4 Endurance run videos.

This same sort of issue occurs with podcast archives on the site. Though somewhat unrelated- I can't seem to access the vast majority of recent Bombcasts via the RSS feed or iTunes? Is this me- or is something specific to how the Bombcast is managed? Thanks for all you do!

I agree. It would be cool to be able to make a playlist or watch videos back-to-back like that. And before anyone says it, that HTML Theatre function that already exists only works for Safari and Chrome, so people using Firefox and IE are boned.

And yeah, and easier archived Bombcast selection would be dope too.

Again, thanks for all the hard work! I've been a paying member since the beginning of this year because I love you all.

Edited by cowdrunk

the new text editer won't post for me (tryed on crome,Internet Explorer, and Fire Fox) 
and is there anyway to stop the auto playing of movies after one finishes 
sorry to just be complaining I realy do love the whiskey Media sites
Posted by evil_gordita

Shit is so cash, man. If there is one complaint I have so far, the download popup is a little difficult to use due to being such a small target. Maybe you should add a short delay to it so it doesn't disappear right away when I move the mouse cursor off of it.

Posted by RagingLion

In general everything is very swish and looks good and navigating around the videos page works like a dream now.
 
I have two things to mention that I'd like to see change from these recent updates:

  1. Some way to disable the next video playing automatically.  I disliked it when it was recently introduced to Gametrailers and it's a shame to see the same thing at GB.  I understand the motivation presumably being to encourage people to stay to watch more video content, but after a video has ended the first thing I often do is scroll down to comment on it or read other people's comments.  It's annoying to have the those comments suddenly disappear just at the moment that I automatically start scrolling down to the them forcing me to manually hit/gesture 'back' and wait for the page to reload again.
  2. I'd like to see the blogs of those you follow back on the front page.  I heard a rumour that would happen but I'm not certain.  The friends stream is alright but it's nice to have all the information just there and static and it still goes to non-friend stuff once it starts scrolling.  I know I can get to that info by going to my profile homepage - that's what I'm doing atm and that's not awful but still annoying.  I'm more concerned about others who won't be bothered enough to check out their profile pages constantly.  When considering those who follow me it deincentivises me from posting status updates and blog entries because I'm not convinced that many people will notice them any more without them being on the front page.  I expect their to be a bit of lag in seeing any noticeable change in the numbers of status updates and blogs posted per person decreasing but I think that may well happen once people being followed notice a lessening in the responses their getting back directly from their followers.   More news is getting posted now but I often would check the GB homepage frequently just to see what the people I follow had posted on their statuses or for new blogs before the redesign.
I appreciate all you guys are doing btw.  Those are just my thoughts coming from my perspective and I know you have to consider many different ones.
Posted by kerikxi

Thumbs up. Video page is definitely awesome.

Posted by veXedbulldog

Looks great, works better. Right on, bombers.

Posted by Kato

Please, if you love us, make new-tab opening work.

Posted by lifeofriles

Much love and praise. Good people, doing the right thing.  If only there were more sites out there who put user experience above ad revenue (I'm looking at you Gawker and AOL). I wish I were in a position to pay for a subscription; you guys deserve it. 

Posted by GaZZuM

I hate this redesign, the videos screen was 1000% clearer before, videos were arranged with clear date headings which made it super easy to see what the newest videos were, plus having them right next to the player meant you could look to see what your next video was going to be before the one you were watching was finished.

If it aint broke, don't fix it guys!

Posted by Tebbit

I really like the new comment formatting too. I'm not sure if it's new or not, but I only just noticed it now. Very elegant!

Keep up the great work, Dave & Co.

Posted by 234r2we232

 

Whiskey Media wants to stay in the not pissing you off business. 

 
That's funny, because I could have sworn the very first thing you guys did when you set up paid membership was ransom off the Bombcast :/
Posted by afrofools

I feel loved

Posted by blacklab

That's some nice added value. thx Dave.

Posted by BeautifulSpaceCowboy

Very nice.

Posted by Bummey

What sorcery is this?

Posted by PresidentOfJellybeans

All of this would be waaaay more impressive if the new video player actually worked! There have been problems with it since before E3 and staff hasn't clued us in, on the bug report forums in 2 weeks. Old player still works great on Tested. Would love to be able to watch Giantbomb videos! It's great the video page is all pretty now, it really is. Any chance y'all can get the video player to work now? <3

Posted by mjk1

Love the new video's page.

Posted by kickinthehead

I love the design of the Whiskey Media sites which is probably why I tend to just leave their tabs open in my browser during the day. The new video hub is great and very easy to search for old content. I know you say the design is meant to minimize clicks, but the design just makes me want to click everywhere!

These features make me happy to be a paid subscriber. Great job guys!

Posted by Acornactivist

well done Dave. You can file this one under "Another reason to consider subscribing". I've been tossing it over for a while, and while I don't have a lot of spare money lyin' around, and I know I can get just about all of what I want out of WM sites with the free profile, there is definitely something to be said about the atmosphere and personableness here. And that's something I find far too little of on the internet, and something I'm willing to get behind. You guys rock, GB.

Posted by probablytuna

Sounds good, I love the new design.

Posted by ILikePopCans

I don't like change.

Posted by Winsord

A toggle for auto-play on the next video would be fantastic as that can be rather annoying when trying to watch a series like an Endurance Run; other than that, loving the new embiggen feature and really glad with all of the general smart UI changes the Whiskey Media team is able to pull off. It's like the opposite of Youtube; making changes to make it easier to access content, rather than making more page loads and more difficult to actually find the content you care about.

Posted by Beforet

Oooh the comment section has been redone!

Posted by Beforet

Was anyone else able to alter UI elements on the page a minute ago?

Posted by Gerhabio

@RagingLion said:

In general everything is very swish and looks good and navigating around the videos page works like a dream now.

I have two things to mention that I'd like to see change from these recent updates:
  1. Some way to disable the next video playing automatically. I disliked it when it was recently introduced to Gametrailers and it's a shame to see the same thing at GB. I understand the motivation presumably being to encourage people to stay to watch more video content, but after a video has ended the first thing I often do is scroll down to comment on it or read other people's comments. It's annoying to have the those comments suddenly disappear just at the moment that I automatically start scrolling down to the them forcing me to manually hit/gesture 'back' and wait for the page to reload again.
  2. I'd like to see the blogs of those you follow back on the front page. I heard a rumour that would happen but I'm not certain. The friends stream is alright but it's nice to have all the information just there and static and it still goes to non-friend stuff once it starts scrolling. I know I can get to that info by going to my profile homepage - that's what I'm doing atm and that's not awful but still annoying. I'm more concerned about others who won't be bothered enough to check out their profile pages constantly. When considering those who follow me it deincentivises me from posting status updates and blog entries because I'm not convinced that many people will notice them any more without them being on the front page. I expect their to be a bit of lag in seeing any noticeable change in the numbers of status updates and blogs posted per person decreasing but I think that may well happen once people being followed notice a lessening in the responses their getting back directly from their followers. More news is getting posted now but I often would check the GB homepage frequently just to see what the people I follow had posted on their statuses or for new blogs before the redesign.
I appreciate all you guys are doing btw. Those are just my thoughts coming from my perspective and I know you have to consider many different ones.

i agree with these two points

Edited by dr_mantas

Love the changes, everything looks pretty, but TWO things:

Don't autoplay next video. I believe it's better, at least for me, to wait for it to finish and choose the next video myself. Now it autoplays and steals focus. At least make it an option.

Everything seems a bit more resource intensive. I love the prettiness, but for example the new player seems somehow more resource intensive and slow.

Also, all the never leaving the page trickery seems fun, but a tad slow. Maybe I should switch to Chrome. Although the comments work very smoothly, so I dunno. Could just be me.

EDIT: Last second - bring back twitter posts, blog posts, etc of people you follow back to the front page. It wouldn't take up too much space anyhow.

Posted by XTraFries

Great work Top Men.

Noticed the new video pages earlier today and it was quite a pleasant surprise.

Online
Posted by dr_mantas

@GaZZuM said:

I hate this redesign, the videos screen was 1000% clearer before, videos were arranged with clear date headings which made it super easy to see what the newest videos were, plus having them right next to the player meant you could look to see what your next video was going to be before the one you were watching was finished.

If it aint broke, don't fix it guys!

Two pretty good points, actually. Videos down the side mean you could look them up while watching the video, but that is still possible if you're watching debiggened videos - they're simply at the bottom of the player.

And there should probably be some sort of date categorization on the videos, seems just... useful.

Posted by Redbullet685

I love the embiggen "Andre The Giant" icon that throws up its arms when you scroll over it. :)

Posted by YoThatLimp

I fucking love the embiggen icon design.

Posted by beekface

I really like the redesign. It's important when going through archives to remove the page loads so you can stay where you are. For example, staying on page 8 of Quick Looks after playing a video. That's a user friendly improvement.

There needs to be an option to disable auto-play though... at least for subscribers.

Good work.

Posted by Dunchad

Mostly very positive changes in my opinion, but there is one thing I'd like to change.

I'd like it to be easier to watch multiple videos in row. What I mean is, when I have a video open and I click "Show All Categories" and "Trailers" and I click on a new video, the default view shows the comments section. So when I want to watch the next trailer, I have to do all the clicks again - it's especially bothersome when the videos I want to watch are not on the first page that shows up.

So I'd like the bottom part of the screen to always remain the same when switching from a video to another - so if I have comments section visible when I click on another video, it'll continue to show me the comments section of active video, but when I have page 3 of Endurance Run videos open, it'll stay open even when I click on the new QL of Alice.

Hope that makes sense.

Posted by Marconi88

Love all the new changes keep up the great work.

Now I'm not sure if it only happens to me but how about an auto hide for the mouse and not just the player.

Posted by Kyle

@Dunchad: I'm not exactly sure what you meant, but if you basically mean you want to queue up multiple videos at a time, you can do that using the theater mode.

Edited by snide

@Alazoral said:

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

Send me a resume, love to hire smart people with ideas. I don't disagree with your comments (especially about search), but if you've had experience building sites (or something) similar to this size you know the problems of actually building those ideas in a production environment. We hire for passion, and you're definitely that. But we're also a small company that doesn't live in theory and has to live with active changes that small teams make. Sometimes you sacrifice to move forward. Sometimes you focus on small specific features instead of big, generic ones.

Also, as an aside. One thing I left out in this post is how we can, through our analytics backend, look at these redesigns and see multi-digit improvements in consumption because of the changes. There's definitely a fearful trend toward application style web-design, but looking at the data, it's hard to discount that it's making its definitely pushing consumption in the right direction.

Posted by Marokai

I'm generally not a fan of redesigns of any kind, since I'm a grump, but at the very least: Please pretty please make it easier to tell what date a video was added to the site on by casually glancing at the recent video column. It's a little harder to tell when a video popped up unless I just keep checking the "Recent" tab, and I don't actually think there's any way at all to check dates right now.

Posted by CrashTanuki

As a non-subscriber, I have zero clue what some of these subscriber features are because you guys don't explain anything. What's theater mode and embiggen and why should I want them? All I've been able to find about what the sub offers is here (https://auth.whiskeymedia.com/signup/?from_site=giant-bomb) and even then, it's just a list of stuff with no explanation. If I wasn't a regular Giant Bomb reader/viewer, I'd never see these blogs posts on one of the five sites that are currently in the WhiskeyMedia family, so you should use your great enthusiasm to always push the sites' design forward to upgrading the Subscriber site and explanation of what it offers. I've had the money to be able to sign up and the only reason that I can come up with to pull the trigger is that I enjoy a few of the sites greatly, but other than that, I don't know what I'd be getting for the money.
 
As for the video page overhaul, it's hard for me to tell when I'm at the front page or the video page because they're practically the same now. I have to check the url to make sure I'm where I wanted to be. Maybe the video page could get a different background or something to differentiate the two pages. Also, if I turn on the chat, please have the column of videos to the right of it be the LATEST videos, not somewhat recent, so that it's at least offering similar functionality as the old version of the video page. Even making that adjustable would be fine since there's no reason to offer all of the categories of videos and then lock you out of the choices because you prefer having comments below the video.

Posted by Bass

The new comment section looks very good. I approve of all changes.

Posted by AuthenticM

I approve. So does Chuck Norris.

Posted by snide

@CrashTanuki said:

As a non-subscriber, I have zero clue what some of these subscriber features are because you guys don't explain anything. What's theater mode and embiggen and why should I want them?

Agreed. It'll get an overhaul before September when we have to make the pitch again. For the last year we've been more concerned with adding benefit to existing users than bringing in new ones.

Also, I hear you (and others) on the date stuff. I think the solution is to bring back the timestamps and present the latest videos to logged in users while presenting staff picks to logged out ones. That way both sides get what they need.

Edited by Jcdenton

I personally liked the design from the last few weeks--not feeling the most recent update so much, except the comment system update is great. The new menu bar at the top is great as well.

I don't mind going page to page. Internet connections and computers are fast enough these days to handle it instantaneously. Sometimes I like the separation. I thought the tabbed video layout from before was excellent. Also I don't like the video up against the grey background. You guys used to have it up against a black or darker background for the longest time, which makes the video blend in way more and looks much better if you aren't going to watch full-screen.

Posted by drewm135

I love it! Being a subscriber is awesome as usual

Posted by Peewi

Ad revenue? What ads? The only time I've seen ads on Giant Bomb has been for the occasional new release.
Edited by Jumanji

@mantasradzas said:

Love the changes, everything looks pretty, but TWO things:

Don't autoplay next video. I believe it's better, at least for me, to wait for it to finish and choose the next video myself. Now it autoplays and steals focus. At least make it an option.

Yes! This is annoying!

Remaining front page complaints: the carousel beneath the player and the "latest stories" field are contradictory and weird. I would make the carousel solely feature original video content, or do away with it entirely.

I also still think the top menu bar is too cluttered.

I also wish the form you're using to index the site's content on a particular game in the "Featured Games" field would be the standard for the site, rather than the "dig deeper..." form, whose entries are a bit more vague as to whether or not Giant Bomb has any editorial content related to the game (which is all I really come to the site to consume)

Posted by PrivateIronTFU

Embiggen is a perfectly cromulent word.

Posted by Nime

With the video page, my only criticism is the featured video. It takes up too much screen real estate and when looking for videos, I am looking through the recent videos much more often than I am watching the one featured.

Posted by Ali_D

I know this isn't the same thing, but the mobile site is really great. It works so well on my iPhone.

Posted by csl316

Wasn't sure what to think of this, but it's pretty cool. I like how the comments can be minimized to allow browsing of the videos. Good stuff, guys.

Posted by BerserkingGuts

I love what you and the guys do for the site snider, and as a fellow subscriber things like this just make me beam with pride that I'm part of it. Rock on whiskey media!

Posted by alexisg

Man what Dave said (also thanks for writing this up, my night went really well btw) . I really appreciate all the comments from everyone here (I try and read every single one on each of these projects, be it the homepage, chat or this video page). I think most people are really getting what we were trying to accomplish with this redesign. After a full day of live data, comments and bug reports I think even those with the biggest concerns can rest assured that we are always listening and we are own biggest critics. The autoplay, the dates, the files not streaming all the way through*, the consistency and or expectation of click actions... all things we will be working on. But right now I am pretty glad that one of our goals of making it easier for people to watch videos is seemingly being met on the grand scale. We'll fine tune the nitty gritty stuff. Oh and yes this was all just a big excuse so I could make an Andre icon.

*we are working on this. Figuring out why a small percentage of people are not getting all the data on some very large files hosted on different servers is a tough thing to diagnose

Staff