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Giant Devcast

Giant Devcast: Your Feedback Is Valuable To Us

Feedback. Everybody's got 'em! What'ya do with it! Find out!

Will Carle and Dan Auer talk through the behind-the-scenes work that the engineering and design teams do for Giant Bomb.

Mar. 17 2019

Cast: Will, Dan

Posted by: Dan

30 Comments

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bathala

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first time listening to Devcast

After watching a video which loads the next video, even though I don't click play it sometimes go to my Continue Watch list.

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sicamore

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Unfortunately, my current feelings on the redesign are still largely the same now as my initial impression, which could be summed up as inefficient use of space on the home page for desktop viewing.

Ideally, I would still prefer a similar compact version of the old website(I suggested https://easyallies.com/ as an example of what this might look like in the site redesign feedback forum post before), but that seems unlikely.

So discounting that, I would at least like an actual "Latest" page that contains all the new stuff since things can easily get buried at first glance unless you scroll the carousel. The https://www.giantbomb.com/videos/ page is close, but obviously doesn't contain non-video content.

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rmanthorp

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rmanthorp  Moderator

Still struggling with the new website. I hate being negative without offering a solution but it just feels difficult and sluggish and it honestly lead to a lot less time spent on the website... (doesn't help that I dearly miss the light theme).

I wish I could give better feedback than, things seem too big and it's hard to find what's new and what I haven't watched.

Things I am so grateful for: Combined comment pages. Thanks so much!

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YapaPanda

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Great episode! I really enjoy hearing about how other people deal with criticism (constructive or not) as part of their jobs because it is also a large part of my job. I think the redesign is great but requires a learning curve for someone use to the old design.

Also I was curious if there were any plans to add a lot of the old or miscellaneous streams under a show or category? I love the this day in Giant Bomb carousel but a lot of the random videos I revisit fall under no show or category so it makes discovery of those shows outside of search harder for me. Am I missing a key functionality somewhere on the site? Is the number of users that watch old videos just too small to warrant this?

Another question is more for @jeff but has the shift in structure of how shows are listed changed the way videos get made or thought up? I've always thought of the spontaneity of the site as a real strength but will we be seeing more specific shows vs one-off streams?

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poobumbutt

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As someone who usually stays on top of watching Giant Bomb content, I like the new design pretty well, but I will agree it can be easy for something to get lost in the shuffle. A video you're interested in, along with a few others is posted on a day you happen to not be home/go on the internet, and the next day is particularly busy with more; that video is now at least one scroll into "latest" and it can be easy for one episode of Demo Derby or Die Another Friday to slip your mind, or even easier: a one-off that was unexpected.

I agree that a separate page listing all of the latest content for the past month(?) would solve pretty much the only issue I have with the redesign.

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WillyOD

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I have pretty much stopped using the site since the redesign, that cured all my problems with it. Using YT/Twitch for random videos here and there. Getting the podcasts directly to my iPhone/iPad. Too bad about forums, premium memberships and other cool stuff I used to be part of, but I guess that's the way it sometimes goes.

I'm kinda happy that I have more free time instead of devouring *all* the GB content. I learned it's ok to fast forward a video and skip around and only see the content I am truly interested in. So in a way, thanks for the detonation ;D

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johnsolo

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Edited By johnsolo

I feel like there are (at least) two types of audiences for GB content - the newcomers and the veterans.

The vets watch every video religiously, and don't need to 'discover' new content because they've already watched everything and are just waiting on the next video.

A single design to fit both of these audiences is going to be real hard. Right now the design skews towards newcomers - offering them lots of ways to discover shows, videos, etc that they might not have seen.

But for the vets, a lot of this stuff feels like noise because they've already seen everything, and they just want to see a big list of videos to make sure they are all caught up with everything.

So, for those people, I wrote a browser extension for Firefox/Chrome to tweak the homepage a bit:

https://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion-30/giant-bomb-turbo-browser-extension-1856941

It lets you view the homepage as just a big grid of the latest videos and turn off all the other modules, if you desire. Here's what my homepage looks like now:

No Caption Provided

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danielssonleo

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Edited By danielssonleo

Some UX feedback regarding the header on large screens:

I think the header would get much nicer to use if you got rid of the expand-on-hover. It feels fidgety, you accidentally open menus you didn't want to open and the slight delay is annoying when you do want to open a specific menu.

Just having the header expand/collapse on click feels more deliberate makes the user feels like they are in control of the UI.

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winsord

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@johnsolo: This looks great, thanks for putting this together. I've been using QLCrew from since before the redesign, and continued to, but maybe I'll start to use the modified homepage now instead.

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Coreus

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First rule of web design: Don't let the user get frustrated.

Second rule of web design: See first rule.

Also: People don't use carousels on desktops. A little more on mobile.

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BINARYGOD

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I dont see why you can take a que from Arstechnica - they have two layouts. The "new" layout is in many ways similar (from a high level) to yours - low information density, very flashy, probably for newer and/or fresh eyes (or at least that is possibly the justification that might not even be based on any real data). However, they offer an alternate view that is pretty much a reverse-chronological list running down the page - every article is given the same in-list layout.

Many, or even most, of the longtime readers use this option instead, and I imagine many here would also like a less-busy, simple interface that just shows ALL content similarly.

That said, I dont know if have ever really enjoy the layout of this site, I kind of always feel like I have to do more work (vs Arstechnica or even YouTube) to get what I want (as in more clicks). I also am not necessarily a fan of what it looks like when I get there.

To use Ars as an example again, that reverse-chrono-vertical-list is true no matter what sub-section of the site I go to (so I click on the "gaming" link so I only see gaming stuff on their, and layout is no different, it only has filtered out the non gaming stuff).

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Genessee

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This is why I always couch my criticism as if so much time was spent on it so it cuts thru the cruff, espeically since 85% of the new was nifty-keen.

Same as with the logo. "Oh...we have pallets and pallets of this new logo and praise is dwarfed by the people who like the OG logo better".

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CyrusRaven

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Edited By CyrusRaven

...

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Boy, I get that I've been grumpy with some of my criticism lately, but I really don't cotton much to a design philosophy aimed at new users instead of the, as you put it, "three or four" users that comprise one of your site's fanbase (and yeah, I know that reference was to Comic Vine and not here, but still, that's pretty gross). I would think you'd want to cultivate future long-term users by offering them reasons to stick around, and for that you'd maybe want to divide the focus between both of those user bases. And maybe we're not done seeing some of those updates - I can sure hope for an end to CSRF token issues and a forum search engine that works, not to mention the reinstatement of the early site design's ways to track followed user updates and the blogs of all the people on the site. But I sure hope you folks reconsider that kind of philosophy because otherwise, what's the point of sticking around?

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swordstruck

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Edited By swordstruck

The personality bit I just don't get. I can understand not putting a ton of effort into keeping the personality of the old design, but relying on the content to relay 100% of Giant Bomb's personality to the end user just doesn't work when the site looks like an unmodified template. Not trying to be a dick, but 100% flat design hasn't been a recommended design avenue since 2014 as it's been replaced by 'flat 2.0'.

Regarding feedback for actual feature requests that would significantly improve my usability of the site, I still think an actual 'watch list' that I curate/add videos to myself is the thing I'd like the most. 'Watching' shows is borderline useless to me, as someone who would visit the site every day prior to the redesign.

I've pretty much concluded that at this point my big issues with the design probably aren't going to be fixed. Everything is still too big, the carousels are awkward to use on desktop, there's a weird use of empty space, and everything just feels a bit janky.

Sometimes the play button on a page doesn't work until 15-20 seconds after I've landed on a page, and the 'play next video' functionality will at times result in the audio of 2 videos playing at once.

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Stephen_Von_Cloud

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@swordstruck said:

I've pretty much concluded that at this point my big issues with the design probably aren't going to be fixed. Everything is still too big, the carousels are awkward to use on desktop, there's a weird use of empty space, and everything just feels a bit janky.

Yep. Unfortunate just about every long time user I see on here feels this way and the response it gets is like we just don't get it or something.

Turns out there are tons of other sites to compare out there design wise and this new GB is one of the worst.

@sparky_buzzsaw: you aren't alone and it's reasonable to make the complaints. Doesn't seem like anyone will listen though. The vision behind the design team is very confusing. I also don't like complaining or going on about it either but people pay for this site.

Thank god for QLcrew.com

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zoofame

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@binarygod: This is exactly how I've felt as an avid user of GB and arstechnica. Long time users prioritize being able to see at a glance if they're caught up. That's where the power of a chronological, flat list with high information density is king. It's what I prefer on ars and what I wish was an option here.

The "Latest" carousel feels like an attempt to meet that need but a horizontal carousel just doesn't have the density or UX to satisfy that need. The "Latest" grid view under the Videos page comes close, but it's hidden behind a header drop-down and a link. Basically, if I left for a week and came back to see what I missed, I should be able to see it all on the front page (or "my" front page if it's configurable). Having to dig into menus and scroll through carousels that have overlapping content makes it easy to lose track of everything.

Looking at the front page now, I think the biggest issue is it's just difficult to organize all the different kinds of content into a coherent mental model. Partly because the categories are all up in the header which is easy to ignore. If I were to prioritize things I would have:

* a section for recurring features that people can anticipate each week: Bombcast, Beastcast, UPF, Playdates, + whatever weekly series are active like Mass Alex and This is the Run

* a separate list of one-off time sensitive stuff tied to new game releases like Quick Looks, Reviews, Previews, first impressions (the kind of stuff that would fit a blog or news style feed)

* and finally the stuff that doesn't really fit into a category like special guest Megadates or semi-regular features like Game Tapes, Demo Derby, Breaking Brad, Jeff endurance runs, etc

I would keep the This Day in GB History and Upcoming feeds, along with the special Live stuff you do to instantly join chat. Those are great ideas and seem to work as intended.

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ravensword

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Can I offer a criticism of the Apple TV app. I know its probably not like some official thing, (I think its from a third party dev, but am not sure) but I feel like there should be some kinda accountability from the site since it is there product and brand. Far as I can tell the app had not been updated in many months. there's still lots of playback issues (lose of audio after a certain amount of time played is a major one I notice) and some stability issues. I really wish you guys would either release a official app that's supported more or take the time to make sure to incentivize the creator the the app to update more.

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JonDo

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Edited By JonDo

Desktop duder here:

I had some problems with sluggishness when the new ux rolled out and have had minor quibbles (don't like carousels), but some of these people quitting reading the site are bananas. Sometimes I have to hunt for what I'm looking for which isn't great. I have not had sluggishness issues at all after the first week or two.

Mostly, main page wise, the Latest page is much more functional but an inconvenience. Furthermore there's a lack of clarity; is the latest page videos and video-player podcasts only? If it's literally everything (podcasts etc), I will likely adjust my bookmark. An option for something more like this for the main page would indeed be nice.

Surely a bargain can be struck where there are options for this, or new users get the exposure to other GB content they might be missing, in an easier to digest version for people who check the site multiple times a day out of habit.

Since the redesign (iirc, new player?) I have problems with the saved volume being inconsistent among videos and things popping on at very loud. With the volumes seeming to vary themselves by-video from a production standpoint, this makes things a pain late at night.

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The_Nubster

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Edited By The_Nubster

but some of these people quitting reading the site are bananas.

QLCrew is a functional, versatile index of every video with really neat community hooks. It has none of the issues you've listed in your post. I still come to the site out of habit, but surely you can understand why people might leave for something that does exactly what they want in the way that they want it.

Edit: That top line is supposed to be a quote, I guess those aren't working?

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kalos

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Two things I'd love to see:

* Remember my Grid vs Carousel selection (I always want Grid View).

* Have a page like Latest, but only includes Shows from My Watchlist.

I don't have time to watch every video. When I have 30 minutes to spare, I want to watch a new episode of my favourite shows. (I use GB on desktop and mobile and this would help on both platforms.)

Because I'm a premium member, I avoid youtube and qlcrew to be free of ads (especially on mobile).

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london_

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How hard would it be to make a roku app using the GB SDK if I only really know C++ and C#? Because I feel like I'm missing a lot of stuff because I'm too lazy to turn on my PS4 and watch GB through their web browser.

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bigdc666

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add a news section

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givemesnacks

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@london_: Do you know about the unlisted Roku app? Here's a forum thread with instructions for installing: https://www.giantbomb.com/forums/bug-reporting-33/roku-app-not-working-use-the-beta-version-1808125/

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london_

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@givemesnacks: Ah no I didn't thanks, I using one of those roku integrated TV's though. I wonder if it will work for that.

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Willy105

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Fusion should have become the new Gamespot.

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Elk

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Ahh. You couldn't find fusion because it was called Fuse!

I was a big user of that site and ended up making a dark mode for it (which was a lot better than the light mode extension I made for Giantbomb)

I even made a site based off of it, which I really need to shut down http://fuser.ninja/

Here's a way back of the site too: https://web.archive.org/web/20130301000000*/Fuse.gamespot.com

I was a mod there back in the day, it was good times

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mrblarg

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Hey, finally getting around to listening to the show. It's good stuff.

I'm interested in what you have to say about video. Are you checking out AV1? What are your relationships with CDNs like? What kind of tools have you built for the producers?

BTW I'm a long time premium member and I'm pretty happy with the redesign. Keep up the good work.

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mattack

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I hate that hitting the search button blacks out the rest of the page.. I just want a darn search field.. even if it's small and can't fit whatever I type in there... Hmm, maybe if I turn off JavaScript the page will work closer to what I want?