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Thanks for all the feedback that you all gave when we posted the various freesound designs. We've used this feedback and worked on a new design, which -in our opinion- is much better and works well with freesound's idea (the idea of a blank canvas that our members fill with their sounds). Comments below, but remember, very little is going to change. The logo will be tweaked a *bit* more but will largely stay the same. Have a look:
I am not a web page designer, but have we used the access log data to design the page? i.e. would we want to put links to the most frequently accessed pages toward the top, and the least accessed toward the bottom?
Or perhaps we could adopt the grocery store strategy (put the milk at the back of the store) and put links to the most often used pages at the bottom, so that people are tempted by all the offerings in between...
I know for me, I most often visit the "recent additions", though I have a bookmark which takes me straight there.
A question about the "featured sound" - who or what makes a particular sound "featured"? This reminds me of the "random sound" on todays homepage, which personally I don't pay attention to.
I also think it would be good to indicate somewhere how freesound is funded, both now and into the future. People like to know what makes a site run and whether it will be around for a while.
Yes, this is a nice clean front page,i like it.
The news section is very prominent as rutgermuller sais,i guess you have ideas how to fill this and make it interesting?
I usually enter the site through the recent additions tho' i also use the Latest comments a lot.I also have my own files bookmarked if i need to go there. I check the latest forum posts and enter there if its interesting to me,i pretty much ignore the rest of the present home page so i like the clean simplicity of this new one.....well done team!
cajo - those are still under development. The forum will be a **LOT** simpler than it is right now. I think phpBB has way too many features, and it's a pain in the *** to keep it running properly ( not to mention the spam ). The single-sample page will be one of the things that will undergo the largest change, a complete reorganization of the data on the page.
rutgermuller - the news section will take its news from the blog. the current separate news on freesound will stop existing. so, sure, we can have both. we could also have some more guest writers at the blog, that would be nice.
daveincamas - it's rather hard to know which parts of the front page are used most... There will be a few additions to freesound to make life easier when browsing though. One major missing point is favorites, something we don't have right now... I'm still thinking if we should only have favorite sounds, or only favorite authors. But anyway, it would be a way to keep up with things. The "featured sound" will probably be a random selection from the favorites of a few selected people. For example, we could chose randomly from the favorites of all the sound *uploaders* (which is still a very small percentage of the sound downloaders...). Until we figure out how to do it exactly, we can chane it back to "Random sound of the day".
juskiddink - the title of "Recent additions" could be a link to a page will all recent additions in the last X days, just like the one there is right now. Or there could be a "more" page.
By the way - for all of you, the idea is that in the future when you come through freesound you go to your own home page rather than the front page. This is the same for almost all sites out there. The home page is MOSTLY for people who are new to the site.
So far so good.
At the risk of repeating myself please allow a couple of thoughts in reply.
1.FAVORITES:Whatever the method used to decide this,would it not be best to have them on the front page?(instead of recent additions-see below).This would hopefully encourage the "MOSTLY new" people to look further into the site.
2.RECENT ADDITIONS:I may be wrong of course but my guess is that many/most regular freesounders enter through recent additions because it's the most practical way to keep up with what is currently happening sound-wise.For this reason i think it deserves its own page rather than a random few on the front page and a "more"link.
3.LATEST COMMENTS:Also very important imo......for bringing notice to sounds that may have been lost through time as well as a favoriting system that's open to ALL freesounders.
........oh.....and thanks and credit for allowing us to have a say in this!
thanks Bram for your clear answers, and for the hard job you all are making.
I would like to have FAVORITES AUTHORS, more than favourite sounds, on users' page.
what about a LOG of all COMMENTS left, in each user's page?
I usually "answer" to a comment on my samples with a new comment: it's a natural way to interact in Freesound.
when I comment others' samples I go back to check the author's answer, or others' comments, on the same sound.
but it's an hard job to trace all comments left.
this, imho, could enhance the social aspect, letting users build a thread with comments, and could also balance tech and non-tech views.
cajo - yes, my idea was to be able to hit a "reply" button on each comment which would notify the original author, without really having a threaded comment structure.
but - let's keep on topic here!
I really appreciate all the comments - but let's keep talking only about the front page an its design.
I feel like the main content of the page should be ordered differently, most logical to me is that the section that is updated most often would be at the top, so perhaps it would be "recent additions" then "featured sound" then "blog" unless you intend to update those more often. Otherwise it seems like the front page doesn't change all that much, and gives the appearence that Freesound is not as active as it actually is. Of course that doesn't matter as much if, as you say, mostly only new people will see the front page.
Thank you for the positive comments, it looks like everyone is happy with the direction of this final draft at least as far as visual presentation goes.
People clearly have their own uses and needs from Freesound as a site and so that's why we'll all have our own unique home page once logged in. It's up to Bram how customizable this page will be I suspect
Back to the front / landing page here, it's an interesting idea to have the content that is most frequently updated near the top to show how active freesound is. It would be easy to reorder the <divs> once the HTML and CSS has been coded.
Any further thoughts on this new "look" for Freesound are appreciated and go a long way to contributing to the final outcome.
I love the new design; very clean, very clear, and attractive too. So my personal thanks to those involved. I think it was extremely rewarding that we users were asked for input as this helps retain freesound's personal feel. Oh and nice to hear from Myles - thank you!
As for the content of the front page and other aspects of freesound2 I am looking forward to seeing user input. I know that ultimately you will be constrained by what is possible but there are a few things on my wish list. I have been a user almost 2 years now and have spent literally hundreds of hours uploading and using the site and I have therefore got to know what makes it good to use and what makes it hard and have a few ideas on how it can be improved from the point of view of a regular user. Now is not the time for these I know but I await the next stage with anticipation.
It's looking good!
Thanks again to all.
you know guys - it would be really good to have some talks with you about this, in real time.
anyone who wants to chat with me (in either dutch, english or spanish) about the way you use the site, or basically give any feedback on the design, and future designs, add "the_etcher" to your skype and let's have a chat.
I'll take notes.
That includes anyone who is a major CONTRIBUTOR to freesound. Anyone over 50 sounds and who I know from the forums is welcome. Anyone who doesn't have any sounds up here, not interested
I don't have skype set up (lame, I know) but I'll throw out some thoughts. No reply necessary.
Call me a dreamer, but I see this site/project in the category of "making the world a better place".
It has several things going for it that are rare:
- Sponsorship by a non-commercial organization (i.e. not funded by advertising or subscription/sales). However I also worry about the ability of the sponsor to continue the funding. I know we have gotten reassurances from them before, but still, I imagine that the expense of maintaining the site will continue to grow as membership and visitor traffic grows - but is the sponsor's funding also growing at the same rate?
- A talented and dedicated "Benevolent Dictator for Life" (Bram). But again - if Bram were to decide to be dictator somewhere else, would the site cease to exist?
- A large and dedicated core of contributors from all over the planet, who regularly use their quite expensive equipment, rare talents, and precious time to create and donate recordings, receiving nothing in return except for the satisfaction of sharing.
- A relatively large population of "consumers" and site traffic which would make most commercial websites envious.
It supports a quite diverse set of audiences, including:
- People who have strong auditory aptitudes, and just enjoy recording and listening to interesting sounds
- People looking for long MP3s of ambient/nature/relaxing sounds
- People looking for drum and instrument samples to use in their music (as well as miscellaneous audio clips, e.g. radio static)
- People looking for sound effects & foley for plays, videos, podcasts, films, etc. My most popular recording is 5 seconds of a fire truck siren.
- People doing research on sound files (which I believe was the original purpose of the site yet I would guess is the smallest audience)
- Any other large audiences that people have noticed?
Here are some ideas long-term:
- I think there are a fair number of contributors who seem to have a natural talent and interest for recording but are severely limited by their equipment or funds. Would it be possible to have some kind of internship/apprenticeship program, or some other means to help budding recordists grow? I'm not sure what this might look like - internship, apprenticeship, equipment loan program, grants to purchase equipment, or even just a "how to make better recordings" web page?
- Regular assignments. I know we have these on occasion now, and people are continuously making specific requests. I think it would be great to be a bit more regular about this, for example "In the next three months, post your best recordings of _____", probably with some small incentive. Competition can be a powerful motivator, which can yield fantastic results. Actually it might be better to have one every month, planned a year at a time so people could plan to make specific recordings while traveling. e.g. December: Bells; January: Sounds of winter; February: Guitar riffs; March: Train/large machinery sounds; April: Human voices; May: Dawn bird chorus; June: Animal sounds at night; July: Quiet sounds in wild places; August: Aircraft; etc. etc. This would of course be supplemental to the regular contributions - we don't want to give the impression that ONLY those types of recordings are wanted.
- Introduce regular community-building activities (such as the previous example). e.g. take up a collection and bring in some well known sound person for a web seminar; encourage local freesounders to meet in person (ala meetup.com); ask each contributor to record and post a very brief introduction (name and where you live); etc.
- Since the audience is so diverse, I think your approach of providing an API for previewing the freesound sounds is a good one. For example I can see the geotags being a complete site/project in itself - probably as audio layers in Google Earth. For example, people could make various kinds of tours in GE which utilize Freesounds. But with an API I worry that freesound incurs additional bandwidth costs without getting anything in return. So I guess I am saying that you should invest in the API but also consider using the API to generate revenue, perhaps a tiny click charge when a sound is previewed via the API on a commercial site? I know this feels counter to "free" sound, but in fact it is the licenses for the sounds that are free, the resources to store and share them are not free.
- My last point makes me wonder if in considering the site design, it should be designed primarily to encourage people to contribute sounds (vs. preview/download). I would guess that over time, most of the previewing will happen on other sites, via the API. Perhaps the downloading will as well? Anyway, I don't really see the uploading happening on other sites via API (could be wrong about that though...), thus the freesound.org site should be optimized for people who wish to contribute sounds. It certainly needs to have the ability to preview and download sounds, but only at a basic level. e.g. think about how google has become the popular way to provide search and preview on many websites (vs. providing search internally) - this will probably become true for sounds as well.
- I think we may be missing a category of sounds, which is the sound that was captured while recording video. Today, most of these go to youtube, which to me is really just "free storage for low-quality video files, where copyright laws are generally ignored". I would hate to see freesound become an audio version of youtube (though I suspect that google would like it to become that). Anyway, back to video recordings - you could argue that the audio from a video camera is substandard (as compared to audio recording equipment), and that used to be true. But I'm not so sure that it is any more, except for the automatic gain control which ruins some recordings. There are hundreds of very popular sounds on freesound that were recorded with a camcorder mic (including some of mine). When listening to a field recording, there is a natural curiosity about the location/scene where the recording was made. If the sound was recorded with video, it would be great to be able to share the video with the sound. Thus for camcorder recordings I wonder about making it easy to link the high-quality audio on freesound to the low-quality audio+video on the video sharing sites such as youtube? Currently this can be done in the freesound file description, though the URL is not clickable. If you put the URL in the comments, it will be clickable. Anyway, during the upload process we might want to ask "Is this from a camcorder? If so, is the video on youtube? If so, what is the URL?" then include the URL to the video in some standard place near the description. If we want to encourage people to post quality audio clips from their hi-fi camcorders (I think we should), we should provide some advice on tools and procedures to do this. I know I have boxes full of Hi8 and digital tapes with some great clips on them such as a huge metal door closing inside a WW2 military bunker.
Well I could go on but once again I have probably introduced more than my fair share of confusion and distraction...
Wow Dave, I like your thinking!
As ever it is Bram's call on all these things that regard the sites functionality and "ethos". I look forward to designing the pages that focus on the idea of supporting uploaders and producers of content in better ways.