New Discover Page

Created about 3 years ago by Thad Woodman with 16 comments
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Imlnct1j Jamison Stone · Author · added about 3 years ago
@Thad Woodman New features, you say? I’m excited! I can only imagine it’s super hard navigating how best to present so many books on the site, but am excited to learn how we can, as authors, put our best foot forward in representing our work to the community. Search ratings are an important part of visibility so I think some clear metrics on how to best represent ourselves will be helpful, especially for new authors. 

Speaking of search, I’m not sure if this is the same issue that @Craig Munro is having, but someone at a convention two weeks ago told me (and I verified for myself) that when you type "apprentice" in the search bar there are two other drafts (not books, but drafts--with very low follower counts) before Rune of the Apprentice despite "apprentice" being in the title and sub title. 

I originally found this out when a woman asked me, "So, how do I find your book on" and I said, "Just search for ’apprentice’ and it should be the top one--I don’t think there are any other books with a similar name." 

There was a short pause and the woman answered, "Not first, nor second, but judging by the follower count, your book seems to be a confusing third." 

At the end of the day, it’s not a huge deal, but she and I did get a good chuckle out of it because it really didn’t make sense at all because those drafts don’t even have covers. I don’t know, maybe your ’relevant’ algorithm just hates my book, haha! Oh well, readers love it and I guess that’s all that matters!
Img 0366 Thad Woodman · Inksharesian · edited about 3 years ago · 2 likes
@Craig Munro @Jamison Stone Thanks for the feedback guys.  You are right, I think it would be helpful for us add ’most followed’ or ’copies sold’ to the list of sort options. 

’Followers count’ as the default sort is a little tricky because it is still possible to game it, and having this be the default would encourage this kind of gaming.  ’Copies sold’ is tricky because it only applies to projects that are funding or have funded.  The current ’relevant’ sort attempts to track community interest. I’m a little reluctant to say exactly how we’re doing this right now, but I will say that we have some features rolling out in the near future which will shed some light on it.

@Craig Munro I’ve noticed some odd sort behavior for some search terms like the one you highlighted.  This might have a little more to do with how we are indexing content (rather than the sorting issue above). This is something we’ll look into soon.
Dsc00487   copy Craig A. Munro · Author · edited about 3 years ago · 3 likes
I agree that the order seems odd... and a sales or follower ranking would make more sense to me. The order does change slightly over time but I can’t seem to find any  logic to it.  

I also noticed rather bizarre results in searches - If we look for "Proxy" for example, we get this for top 3 most ’relevant’ results. In the case of Final Solution, the word "proxy" is used once in the About section. Is there some way the results could be weighted? Title>;Tagline>; everything else? 

Imlnct1j Jamison Stone · Author · edited about 3 years ago · 2 likes
@Thad Woodman Thought I’d follow up on the data/metrics of the "Sort by" "most relevant" section. I don’t see any real unifying factor for the current top books (drafts) there. There are even some unfunded (failed to fund) drafts above published Inkshares bestsellers which I find very confusing. 

I think follower count is a great default metric seeing that this is a crowd funding platform, however, I think raw sales would work well, too.

Whichever you all choose, I just don’t get why the current default and listed as most relevant would reward a failed draft over best sellers and large follower base. Am I missing something?
Imlnct1j Jamison Stone · Author · edited about 3 years ago · 1 like
@Thad Woodman Cool! It would be interesting to know what data/metrics the algorithm factors so that we, as authors, can put our best foot forward. i.e. does it help having more chapters uploaded, etc. I ask wondering if it involves your partnership with Kadaxis and their machine learning which uncover data elements within manuscripts. 

All in all, I did like seeing top sellers at the top of the list. Most folks I know in the external world like to rate/judge books based on "best seller lists" and I, personally, think that might be a good default metric--an Inkshares best seller list. Followers could work too. And as another category, it might be good to have a "just released to bookstores," too. Just some thoughts :)

Dsc00487   copy Craig A. Munro · Author · added about 3 years ago
I’ve looked it over and from my perspective the default sort order just seems random. Which might be a nice option if it really could be random - give everyone some visibility.
Img 0366 Thad Woodman · Inksharesian · edited about 3 years ago · 1 like
@Matthew Isaac Sobin thanks for the heads up on Blood Dawn; I’ve just taken in out of the index.

@Amanda Orneck thanks for the feedback.  Are there specific changes to the current browse pages that you’d recommend – e.g., a hierarchical taxonomy of more refined genres?

@Jamison Stone the default sort order is based on a new algorithm that analyzes a number of different metrics.  So far we’ve been happy about the results for our internal use but I’m interested to know what the community thinks.  I could reintroduce a sort by followers count or change the default. This is something we’ll continue to tweak and refine.

New profile inkshares Matthew Isaac Sobin · Author · edited about 3 years ago · 3 likes
Follow-up point to @Jamison Stone re: Blood Dawn always at the top of the search result list. It appears that the book actually isn’t "public" anymore. So when the project stopped funding, it not only reverted to a draft but was no longer viewable to Inkshares users. 

Perhaps books that are no longer / not yet public shouldn’t return in search results? 

On a related note, in the past I have received the Inkshares "Recommended" email and clicked on selections only to arrive at the webpage telling me "Sorry, the author hasn’t made this book public yet." Books that aren’t public should probably be excluded from these Inkshares generated emails as well.
Picture Amanda Orneck · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 5 likes
I recently stumbled on what I see as a divergence in philosophy between how many of the visitors perceive the browse experience on Inkshares and how how it was designed.

The browse page seems to be designed for exploration, and thus emulates strolling through a brick and mortar store, drawing your finger along the spines and picking them up as they jump out at you. 

Online purchasers tend to like the maximum amount of information density possible for their time visiting a page. For me, and some like me, the browse is slow because I am used to finding books on sites like Amazon, where I can find books through a list of genres that dial down through breadcrumb list into even more refined genres.  In this search format, I can find all the books of a certain genre quickly, sort through reviews, find recommendations based on other books I’ve purchased, all in moments.  

I’ve seen much of this functionality in the backend of Inkshares. The search box provides access to genres, once you back one book the site brings up recommendations of others you might like. (Just some quick examples.) But what isn’t currently on Inkshares is  quick access to information about books in the same way it can be found on Goodreads or Amazon. We’re still in a brick-and-mortar mindset about user experience, and that slows access to many books.

Now if Inkshares is fine with browse continuing to be a meandering sort of experience, that is fine. It feels much like Netflix in that you come on hoping to find just a nice fantasy book, but end up scrolling through covers until you find something that *might* fit the mood you’re in. 

I just find that for users like me who are used to online book purchasing, I expected less of a treasure hunt when it comes to finding books. 
Imlnct1j Jamison Stone · Author · edited about 3 years ago · 1 like
Quick question @Thad Woodman it seems that the search function has changed and now Blood Dawn is always at the top of my list whenever I click on the "search" tab (and its on its default of "most relevant.")

Seems a bit strange to me to have an unpublished book that left Inkshares be your search leader. What are the new criteria for search / most relevant? 

Personally, I enjoyed seeing Herb and Abomination as the leaders (with most followers) reminding me what what success could look like if I continued to push hard for RUNE. Instead, I am now reminded of John Robin departure every time I click search. 
Img 0366 Thad Woodman · Inksharesian · edited about 3 years ago · 3 likes
This is fantastic feedback everyone, thank you!

The idea behind the horizontal scrolling mechanism (’shelves’ as we call them) is to give users a number of curated segments to quickly scroll through (’the vertical scroll’), once they find a shelf they like, they can browse more books by scrolling to the horizontally.

@Jamison Stone I like your suggestion of incorporating these segments as options on the search page.

@A.C. Weston great point about the depth of the search functionality. Will definitely add some text that makes users aware that this feature searches LOTS elements: titles, names, descriptions, genres, etc...

Keep the great feedback coming!

Imlnct1j Jamison Stone · Author · edited about 3 years ago · 4 likes
I use the "Search" a lot. It’s great to not only find new books, but also great way to sort the ones I know exist and am looking for to comment or check up on, etc. I also REALLY like the top down scrolling. Not really a fan of the side scrolling of the "Discover" page. I’m going to agree with @Elan Samuel  "- I’m not sure about other folks, but I find the side-scrolling mechanism (like the Bookshelf and Browse pages) to be a slow browsing experience that doesn’t draw me toward any title in particular."

All in all, love the search function and would love to see some of the "discover" options on the far right hand side of the "search" page, i.e. "Recommended by Inkshares Readers", "Staff Picks", "Syndicate Picks", "Trending" and "Funding" etc. 

Hope that helps! Thanks for all your work on this site, it really shows! Looking great!
Dsc00487   copy Craig A. Munro · Author · edited about 3 years ago · 2 likes
Much more intuitive for newcomers to the site, especially given that the search function is repeated/highlighted there. Another solid improvement!
Close up A.C. Weston · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 6 likes
I love how you’re continuously working on this stuff, and everything is getting so much better!

The Discover page seems fine for people who are new and just want to browse a wide range of things. I far prefer to use the search function to narrow down what I’m looking for - I can look by Status + Genre, which is fantastic. In thinking of what I would want to suggest, I decided to be smart and check to see if it already exists, and...

GUYS. Maybe everyone knew this and I didn’t, but YOU CAN SEARCH BY ANY WORD IN THE SYNOPSIS!! Which means you can tag your stuff - feminist, LGBTQ+, humor, etc etc etc, AND PEOPLE CAN SEARCH BY THAT STUFF!!! I’m so excited!

And it works to search by a term and then narrow it down by status and genre, so I could search for, say, "humor" and then narrow it down to Currently Funding + Science Fiction, and see the humorous scifi books that I can pre-order!!!

Of course, it’s not very functional if nobody knows you can search that way. Readers need to know they can search by general terms AND authors need to tag their books in order for it to be useful, but the functionality is there!!!

I recommend, then, some sort of note or guide for when authors create their projects so they know they can include a tags section to make their projects easier to find; and also a note underneath the search function letting people know they can search by general categories besides just the status and genre ones (ex: young adult, humor, werewolves). (Yes, I know YA is a genre, but search for that term and you’ll see lots of YA categorized as fiction, scifi, fantasy, etc that doesn’t come up when you choose just the YA genre.)

I know, I know, this stuff might be obvious to some of you. But I didn’t realize the functionality was already there, and I sure haven’t tried adding any sort of tags beyond whatever words are already in my synopsis naturally.

Elanprof sq Elan Samuel · Reader · edited about 3 years ago · 3 likes
Great changes, Thad. Excited to see the iterations on the page. Some thoughts: 
- I love the way the  Search page is laid out, with covers to the left of titles, descriptions, and other data. It’s by far the most robust way to find new books.
- I think the Trending page might benefit from a similar treatment, if it were to extend beyond ideas and into drafting/recommended/near-campaign-end items. As it is, it’s great.
- I’m not sure about other folks, but I find the side-scrolling mechanism (like the Bookshelf and Browse pages) to be a slow browsing experience that doesn’t draw me toward any title in particular. Also, there’s an odd bug on my machine (OSX 10.11.4 running Chrome V. 50.0.2661.94) wherein if the window is larger than three books wide, no more books load.) 

I feel like there’s probably a helpful, articulate thought in there somewhere about the browse mechanic, but right now I’m drawing a blank. I’ll hop back in when I figure it out.
Img 0366 Thad Woodman · Inksharesian · edited about 3 years ago · 4 likes
Hello Everyone,

We just push an update that consolidates our browsing views to a single ’Discover’ page.  Would love any feedback!

Would also like to hear how you currently find projects on Inkshares and if you have any suggestions for another browse experience. Are there any other products with a browse functionality you’d like to see here?  Goodreads? Product Hunt? Tinder????