Thursday, April 16, 2009

"New" catalog look/features

We've gone live with a number of aesthetic and functional changes to members' catalog pages.

Some examples, or see my catalog.


Before

After



Before

After

Together the changes aim to:
  • Look better. Those big clunky icons have been with us since the beginning—August 2005. The original files are on an old OS9 iMac. I'm sad to see them go, but man, they were clunky. LibraryThing is something of a "ransom note," but we're moving toward uniformity and beauty. You'll see the little icons popping up elsewhere.
  • Prepare the way for collections. Collections was too deeply integrated into the "new" catalog to bring it live separately. Doing both at the same time would have been a lot of work too. We're getting closer*.
  • Address some usability issues, particularly confusion over how to sort and "what the little numbers mean."
  • Speed up the page. The new page uses CSS sprites, moving from dozens of images to one.**
  • Fix some bugs.
Some things are missing, including:
  • Collections!
  • Better "covers" display. Mike is working on that. We decided to go ahead without him.
We've started two conversations:
  • New Catalog #1: Larger issues. Larger reflections on what we did. For the sake of argument, assume that it's "working" for you, and concentrate on whether you like how it works.
  • New Catalog #2: Bugs and small issues. Small issues, particularly ones we can just fix. I want these sequestered, so we aren't stuck with messages 2-20 in the main thread being about some trivial bug that got fixed.



*At least you're all now on the catalog we've been using for months, anyway.
**As Chris says, "Tim has found a hammer." It's all CSS-sprite-shaped nails to me now.

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20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice - I like it, and yes, I think it's a bit quicker.
You guys are amazing!
Lisa (gunung)

4/16/2009 10:44 AM  
Blogger mcmikedermott said...

The new buttons are coming from that rounded corner facebook icon comment aren't they : "The rounded corners bug me - I want those pixels back"

4/16/2009 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the style. Congratulations.

4/16/2009 11:48 AM  
Blogger Σmpire said...

Very nice. Though, we've lived with "Tags" for so long, do you think "Organize" is better?

The sort feature is great and a fine addition.

Thanks for everything.

4/16/2009 2:59 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Re: Rounded corners. Ha. True. I guess I find rounding images that were square to be theft—you lose something you know is there. Rounding interface elements is, I think, different.

4/16/2009 3:45 PM  
Blogger jjmcgaffey said...

Organize is going to relate to Collections as well, when that goes live.

4/16/2009 4:21 PM  
Blogger JBD said...

I feel the same way about round crackers :-)

4/16/2009 5:30 PM  
Blogger Nora said...

I like it a lot, except that changing the "date read" column to "stopped" doesn't give me the same feeling of satisfaction :-(

4/16/2009 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I'm right in saying we lost the tag tab at the top of my home page - is there anyway to access tags (or organize) from the homepage - I almost rely on it as a type of search and sort.

Like the new style though - thanks.

4/17/2009 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did the Tags tab go?

4/18/2009 1:31 AM  
Blogger Alanna Smythee said...

You've removed the ability to sort books by number of people shared with? I didn't use it much, but am sad to see it go.

4/18/2009 2:00 AM  
Anonymous Ian said...

Organise??? Really, seems like my IT at work has taken over - where improvements equal confusion. Please return Tags to the Home Page.

4/18/2009 4:20 PM  
Blogger homeschoolmom said...

i don't mind the changes, but wouldn't it look better if the labels (List, Covers, Organize, etc) were actually ON the buttons instead of hovering just below? or is it just me?

4/20/2009 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with all of the changes. Your staff has been extraordinary. You have given Library Thing a new meaning and some more appealing attributes. Keep up the good work.

4/22/2009 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please consider returning the Tags tab. I used it a lot and now I miss it.

4/22/2009 6:14 PM  
Blogger Geeky Black Girl said...

Thats great, I like the changes for the most part!

4/22/2009 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the look, and the best thing is the new style solved the problem I had which required me to keep refreshing the page. Thank You!

4/22/2009 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Carole said...

My own LT site seems to be in the midst of being converted, so I can't comment on rounded boxes,etc. But PLEASE return "Date Read". "Stopped" is equal to "abandoned this book for an undetermined duration in my lingo. I use "date started" to keep track of exactly those books. "Finished" would be just fine, but "stopped" - oh no! I also much prefer "tags" to organize. Every field is an organizing field, but "tags" are tags. Please revert to that terminology.
Thanks for your continued brilliance - its' my favourite place to hang out. Way too addictive.

4/22/2009 11:56 PM  
Anonymous Pam said...

I really like the new designs, but I don't know how to function without the tags tab. I'm a librarian and I use LibraryThing as the online catalog... I depend on easy access to tags for organizational purposes. Please, please can it be brought back? Otherwise - great job!

4/23/2009 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLEASE bring the "tags" tab back.. I miss it so much. It is more difficult for me to label my books, and that is an important part of my work as a Children's Librarian. Thanks.

4/27/2009 4:21 PM  

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