I also think that voting maps 1 out of 10 instead of 1 out of 5 was also better. Some cosmetic things like the option to have no avatar (as opposed to the lack of an avatar being represented by a whited-out picture of crash), the characters appearing next to the front page's logo, and different symbols for the voting score were nice. I really do miss the old website layout because I felt that it was set up almost perfectly, however I do think that the addition of the reputation system and map search engine was needed. Every now and then I'll attribute a theme to a map so it's easier to find.
As far as items being removed, that is not exactly true. The current home page has a Featured release, 3 of the most recent reviews, 4 recent downloads, 4 recent votes and 4 recent comments (on a desktop PC anyway). The icon in the top left corner is the key to each section except the comments where a sample of the comment is shown over the screenshot. While the numbers are smaller, the content areas are the same.
That said, if I needed to explain that, then maybe the new layout is not as clear as I thought it was. Very open to suggestions.
There is also the "latest" page - lvlworld.com/latest - which is pretty much only used with the ..::LvL App, but can be used by anyone.
The vote system is something that has always rubbed me the wrong way. Never liked it, always felt it was open for exploitation and abuse - and that is what happens. No need to go in to details, but the system is abused by some. A few maps have even had voting disabled. The system I wanted was a "Good" vs "Bad" or Thumbs up and Thumbs down one.
I like the idea of bringing back a randomised icon on the home page. I will look in to that.
On a side note, the page load speed should be a lot faster, the code is a lot cleaner and scales seamlessly from phone to desktop. These are a few of the improvements over the old design.
I think the Main page could be improved by shrinking the size of the map images and listing them into categories that are further apart to make it more clear that they are in different categories. For example with the old layout "Recent Downloads" and "Recent Reviews" were easier to distinguish because they were under separate lines that were labeled. The new layout has icons on the top-left of the images, but I noticed the "Featured Release" is mixed in with them instead of separated to the side and enlarged like the old layout.
I like the idea that the recent comments only show one comment by the commenter as opposed to all of them, so comments of other people can be found as well. However the old main page categorized them better by not having the image of the map with them to conserve space. The old "news" page at the top was helpful to show what recent site changes there were so forum posts about them didn't need to be posted instead. All of this I believe will make the site much easier to use.
While its unfortunate that there are trolls out there who abuse whatever rating system is in place, but I don't really see how a like/dislike system for voting would fix that any better than the 1/5 or 0/10 system did. YouTube changed thier system of rating videos from 1/5 stars to like/dislike, and I don't consider that to have been an improvement. The number rating system gave people the chance to rate maps according to a scale as opposed to a Borderline-esque "loved or hated it".
I mentioned "removed" because I recall being able to search for maps based on their theme, gametype, etc. in the map search, and now cannot.
The "latest" page was designed to be used with the App and that is where it is linked from. The previous version of the latest page was almost useless on the desktop PC, but now it is desktop friendly.
As to the tag search (search by theme, textures, game mode, etc), I did not know people where using it. I'll work out a way to bring it back.
Notice any errors, please let me know!
Is this what you mean? The change in navigation is not clear enough?
My suggestion is regarding member features. I am wondering how easy it would be to set up a "favourites" feature for members to access maps off the site. Currently we only have bookmarks, voting and comments as guides. The problem with bookmarks is that i bookmark my favourites but i also have a lot of maps book marked that i would like to play on/haven't played. The problem with votes, is it lists all the maps you don't like as well as the ones you do. And the problem with comments is that notes i want to make on playability, layout, gametype etc. aren't always appropriate under the comments section for the map.
So the the suggestion is a favourites list/feature, with the additional feature of making notes on the maps that members favourite. Something like what they do on youtube. The member could also have the option of making the list public or private.
On the issue of privacy: what do people think about the idea of making votes private for members as well? I can see the public nature of the vote has the advantage of accountability, but at the same time I don't really care about the reputation in terms of public prestige. My voting system is as much an indicator for myself of the maps i like/don't like as it is about the maps. While I haven't really encountered any abuse of the system personally myself, solving the old problem of spamming maps with down votes seems to be shifted now to members being spammed with down votes if there are disagreements. I noticed that CZghost came across this problem in the forum threads. (this wouldn't be so much of an issue if one could use a favourites feature rather than the votes feature to access favourite maps).
Thanks in advance.
PS: Tig, please let me know if this requires a new thread.
PPS: is it possible to track the page numbers when doing a search under a particular heading. Down at the bottom of a page where there are the more and back buttons. it serves as a useful indicator of how many pages you have to go before reaching the end of a search. (eg. 5 of 100 pgs if you were searching ctf maps)
Edited 15.75 minutes after the original posting.
Re: Favourites - Would an extension of the bookmarks be suitable? For example, adding the options to mark as a private, favourite, add notes, played, will play and then the option to filter based on these flags be suitable?
Re: Votes - A little tricky, but doable to add "blind" voting options. I like the idea of transparency, but with some of the recent activity I have seen on the site, I am starting to sway back to the idea of an anonymous vote option. If introduced, it will require a level reputation to be enabled.
Re: Page numbers for browse, search, listing options - again, this is doable and I can see the benefit of it on listings that do not change often (list of CTF maps) and no benefit on other listings (like recent downloads). It may be worth investing some time on this one on certain sections.
To counter the abuse to member comments by disgruntled others, I'm looking at adding some transparency there as well.
This feature will be a little weird on the ..::LvL App version or mobile devices as it relies on a mouse. Do not expect "ease of use" on these formats.