Inkpop Blog

Write, Read, Connect

Help Us Redesign inkpop

Posted by inkpopbecki on June 11, 2010

Hey inkpoppers! It’s Friday, which means more redesign questions for you. We’ve tried to include some free form as well as survey questions. Please answer whichever is easiest for you. Remember you can always post random ideas to the Help Us Remake inkpop forum here.

1)     Many people have complained that the homepage of inkpop is too busy. What would you do to make the homepage cleaner and make the goals of the site more clear?

2)   You were all new users to inkpop once. When you first arrived could you explain the experience of trying to figure out how to use inkpop? Were there things we could have described better or designed better to make learning how to use the site easier for you?

3)      There has been a lot of talk about making the practice of “swapping reads” more official on the site. Please describe the ideal tool that would make requesting and keeping track of swapping reads easiest for you.

4)      Reading, commenting and writing are all huge parts of this site. Currently we have top picks to reward the top writers and trendsetters. How else could we reward users for being pro-active readers and commenters on the site?

If your interested, please take our survey:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/inkpopredesign

22 Responses to “Help Us Redesign inkpop”

  1. Nella said

    I don’t think swap boxes should be official :/ but if some people really need them…

    😛 Cara,there’s no mention of my voting system!

  2. Nella said

    Oooh and I forgot to add, is there a way to turn off bookrank without making it private? Like some people don’t want to reach the Top 5 but they hate it when their projects have pink arrows.

  3. Redhead said

    1)Some inkies and I have been wanting to redirect all the CC’s and RP’s to a different site which would definitely free it up!
    2)Um, I was confused about how the ranking system worked for a LONG time and eventually I just posted a thread sometime in February, I think, about that. Everybody was helpful.
    3)Maybe a little box in the Browse Writing tab? Like, that says “Inkpoppers requesting swaps” or whatever.
    4)Well, I don’t know ^^

  4. Evie said

    I have to admit, some of the survey confused the crap out of me. Anyway:

    1) Many people have complained that the homepage of inkpop is too busy. What would you do to make the homepage cleaner and make the goals of the site more clear?

    I think the homepage is fine, although somehow, I think the blog needs to be more apparent. There are people who still don’t know it exists, which is sad.

    2) You were all new users to inkpop once. When you first arrived could you explain the experience of trying to figure out how to use inkpop? Were there things we could have described better or designed better to make learning how to use the site easier for you?

    I didn’t know we couldn’t rotate our picks for 24 hours. I didn’t know what picks were. I added books just because people asked me. I think there needs to be a “What you need to know” before joining. Newbies need to what everything means on here before they just start picking things and all that.

    3) There has been a lot of talk about making the practice of “swapping reads” more official on the site. Please describe the ideal tool that would make requesting and keeping track of swapping reads easiest for you.

    A “swap” forum. One swap thread allowed per user. Other than that, swaps are fine the way they are. We need a “to-read” list. Whether private or not, but that’s really something we need. The watch list has a 30 project limit, which is kind of pointless and hard to keep track of stuff on that for.

    4) Reading, commenting and writing are all huge parts of this site. Currently we have top picks to reward the top writers and trendsetters. How else could we reward users for being pro-active readers and commenters on the site?

    Yeah, honestly, I don’t think we need “rewards.” Writing is what we do and we have this opportunity. To me, that is a reward. The last thing we need is for people trying to get rewards…

    Really, I don’t think any of this is what needs to change right now. Only a “to-read list.” The forum needs more organization. We need a “Books in Progress” section in addition to the Short Stories, not instead of. We need an option to not have other people showing up in “My News.” Ours profiles need fixing; they’re still lower-case and we’re writers…that makes a lot of us cringe.

    I have to admit, I’m getting a little frustrated. None of the suggestions on the blog so far is what the members have really been asking for, or what we really need. We don’t want changes that are going to cause more competition. The changes we need are ones that make navigating and posting and commenting easier.

    I also heard that you guys were going to have a poll for changing the voting system; the post went to another member’s email and she shared it with me. And I’d like to voice my opinion on that: No! Please no! Having a voting system with stars and all of that will only make things difficult. Some people who think “This.” She said. is right, could rank a project filled with that, high. It’s just not worth it. And can you imagine rank swapping? Please no. Pick swapping is already tapering off, and the pick system is easy enough for everyone to understand. Either you like it enough to pick it for a day, or you don’t. Just please don’t change that.

    I’ll post my suggestions again:

    1)Books-In-Progress:
    Okay, so I know a lot of people have ‘short stories’ that are actually ‘books in progress’ because they have yet to reach 10,000 words. We all know that that causes a problem because of picks and all that. If/When you reach 10,000 words, no one wants to reupload and lose all the picks, right? Also, it’s quite annoying to have books be invisible to the public because of word count. My main reason for this is because it’s not fair to the short story section to have the majority actually be a book-in-progress. And also because there are a lot of young people on here who don’t think they can write a whole book and getting feedback and encouragement early on can really help someone. I mean, people already upload the incomplete book, so why not just accommodate for it so the site’s cleaner.
    The suggestion: To have another category.
    Books (Completed books only, whether you would want to upload the entire thing or not; this would also help HC because they’ll know which ones are finished and which are not)
    Books in Progress: (Books that aren’t finished (this would replace the ‘incomplete’ option and there wouldn’t be a word count limit)
    Short Stories (Would be back to just the short stories, and I think people should be able to put chapters/sections with these too just because some have mini-chapters/sections within their short stories)

    2) Comments per Chapter
    Maybe on the homepage of our project (before one clicks “view project”), all comments would be visible, but then once we clicked on “view project,” we’d only see comments on that chapter. Then the comments on Chapter 2, and so on. This would be helpful for those of use who get a bunch of comments, and then we’re trying to search for a certain one.

    3) Shuffled Comments
    Okay, a big problem, and annoyance, many of us have is with people “copying” a previous member’s comment. I think if the comments were shuffled whenever someone clicked on a project, it would eliminate a lot of that, at least for those who correct things right off the bat. It’d let the author know who actually read the project, and who didn’t.

    4) Invisible Comments
    Or just “cherry-picked” visible comments. This goes back to what I said earlier about members copying. I think if people didn’t have anything to look at, they’d be more inclined to actually read. Of course, that can’t be certain or anything, but just me thinking about ways to get more people to actually read as apposed to the ridiculous “I love this” comments.

    5) Cleaner forum
    I think Mods should be able to “move” a thread if it’s in the wrong section. I think we need a few more boards for organization. Also, the mods/admins need a “Basket.” That’s an invisible board for old and dead and duplicate topics. Honestly, with the thousands of members, we really need that. If anyone wants me to explain this more, I can. also, having a section where we can view our own topics would be nice. And if possible…the “hottest topics” section…can something be done about the “character-chats” taking up that section? Don’t know, but I really want to see threads other than those.

    6) Private Messages for Admins
    I think there are a lot of things that members sometimes need to ask administrators that are better left private.

    7) More links under “Website” and easier profile fields for the “Books/Movie/Music” section
    Some of us have more than two websites, so I don’t think it should be limited to the amount of links we can have. And for the other sections on our profiles, it’s really annoying to have to enter everything separately. I think it should just be a profile field like our “About Me.”

    8) “About my projects” and “Reading Policy” section
    Some of us write about our updates and our other projects on our profiles, and I think it would be cool to have a section for that. And also many have reading policies, whether it’s “I don’t swap” or “Read mine first if you want a swap” or whatever it may be. People get annoyed with copy and paste, impersonal messages, and this way, members would be more inclined to “read” a person’s profile, or at least that section before messaging. It could just be at the top of profiles.

    9) Prologue and Epilogue Option
    Right now, if someone has a prologue, they have to put it with their chapter 1 or make it “1” and their Chapter 1 is “2.” So a “P” and an “E” would be very helpful.

    10) Project Updates/Edits should be easier.
    Whenever we want to update our projects, we have to go through five pages just to fix one mistake. We should be able to click edit on each chapter we upload so that we just go to the chapter, click edit, and re-upload the new document for that chapter. And same for the description/pitch. I think there should just be an edit right there.

    11) To-read list
    We should have a invisible reading list without a limit. We have the watch list, which doesn’t really do anything. Some people do a lot of swaps or some people like to find reads then forget about them. Having a reading list would be extremely helpful. This could even be public. Like “Evie’s reading list” or something. Don’t know, but a reading list would probably one of my most wanted things on this site.

    12) Larger Cover Option
    Some people have some pretty awesome covers, but we can’t really see them. Being able to click on them or something would be nice.

    13) Be able to rearrange our projects on our profiles
    I think we should be able to put our projects in any order we please. Some people have a lot of projects and really, their only focus is one that in the middle of ten other projects.

    14) The ability not to have people’s projects in “My News”
    Okay, so, it’s cool to have “friends” and all, but I don’t always want to know when someone uploads a project, especially when the same person uploads the same project a hundred times. I think it should just be “our” news. Messages, comments, and picks.

    15) Contests based off merit
    We have the challenges, but people are selected at random to win, and that’s…really not good. I think for challenges: 2 short stories should win, and 2 poems. Not comments. And I think a panel needs to be chosen made up of multiple people. It can even be anonymous, and they can fill out a sheet, points can be averaged, and a person can win because they earned it, not because they lucked out.

    16) Pick list limit less
    I heard that on Authonomy, they can rotate whenever. That would really be helpful, or even cutting it in half. There are so many projects and it’s really annoying to have to wait so long sometimes. Also because theirs no clock and I don’t know about everyone else, but most of the time, I don’t remember the exact time I picked something, so it’s really annoying to try and swap out when I can’t yet. At least a timer or something….

    17) Top Picks removed from all picks list and made “unpickable.”
    So this would kind of defeat the purpose of the All-time chart, I guess, but it really doesn’t help anyone and only takes up space on someone’s pick list. Also, people don’t realize that picking top picks help no one, so they’ll fill up their slots and think they can’t remove them.

    18) A Q&A session with the editor who reviewed our top picked worked
    Okay, no, not a hour long conversation, but being able to ask a couple of questions would be so helpful. Beyond helpful! Half the time, lately, the reviews have been mostly praise, and with some of the criticism, it can be confusing.

    19) The ability to make projects un-pickable (like Nella said)
    Sometimes we have projects that we don’t want in the ranks. We should be able to turn that off.

    20) Forum for Character Chats, or ban them.
    Honestly, they do nothing but cause unwanted arguments. There are only a few people who do them, and there’s a forum dedicated for InkPop’s C.C.s. People can go there, and stop being lazy. Seriously, it does nothing but clog the newsfeed, and since you all said you can’t actually can’t take them out of the newsfeed, then I think they just need to go. They’ve taken away from the site.

  5. Madilynne said

    1) I don’t think there should be a read it now and i think the blog should be moved to it’s own tab
    2) I didn’t understand trendsetter or book rankings well. I also didn’t understand the point of the site.
    3) I think there should be a bar, like for TOP READS, that has room for 5 users. Then you be able to request a swap, in the same manner as friending someone. Once it is accepted, you both must select which work you will read. The swap should remain on your bar until you do something to prove you read it, like write a comment. Once you write a comment, the space on your bar is free, but the other person is bound until they return the swap, and you are informed when they return it. You should be able to report people who have not returned it in 5 months.
    4) They should get points everytime they comment. 5-10 points should equal to one pick. Cheating commenters (blank comment, singular words or letters, continuations of previous comments, etc.)should be reportable

  6. Redhead said

    Yeah…Evie, I totally agree ^^

  7. FeatherW said

    1) Hmm, columns, maybe. For one, you wouldn’t have to scroll to find the blog. There could be Top Picks, Happening Now, On the Blog, Read it Now, and Trendsetters. Five tidy columns running vertically with the “What’s Your Story?” written across the top right below the green and gray Inkpop toolbar.

    2)
    a. I had no clue what the picks were.
    b. It annoyed me (still does, actually) that I couldn’t keep track of my forum posts easily.
    c. It took me forever to find where “My News” was.

    3)I’m not much into swaps, so I don’t have any ideas on how to make it “more official.”

    4) . . . Rewards? Isn’t reading and writing a reward in itself?

    And just a few other things:
    I think it would be nice to have a minimum word requirement for comments. Nothing monstrously large – maybe ten words or something. It’s kind of annoying to get the “I like it” comment.

    Also, (and if there is something like this make it more apparent ’cause I can’t be the only one who’s unaware) a record of your own posts on the forums – not just the ability to “watch threads.”

    And . . . I had another idea but I forgot it. Oh well. 🙂

    • Marisa :] said

      I’ve been on this website since February and I had absolutely no clue there was such a thing as My News until yesterday…

  8. esmirelda said

    Well, when I first joined inkpop I was kinda lost. I didn’t really understand most things untill someone explained it to me.

    So here’s my IDEA:
    Send an information letter on how things work on inkpop to ALL new users. It will clear up a lot of the confusion. 🙂

  9. ~{Legacy Pen}~ said

    1.I don’t really find the homepage to be too too busy. Yeah, it has a bunch of stuff happening, but I never have personally thought of it as busy per say. But to fix it up and make it even cleaner, you should probably get rid of the “happening now” box and the “read it now” box. I never have used the “read it now” box, and the “happening now” seems to be more centered around the forums. HOWEVER, I do like how the “happening now” box gives you a heads up about new users. But then again, I guess you could just find out about this in the “Welcome to Inkpop” section of the forums.

    2.I really learned how to use this site by observing what other people did before I signed up. I made sure I knew how to post comments, what others did to get their stories read, and whatnot. Only then did I join and get into this cite. But there was that one thing that really bothered me (and still bothers me): comments. For some reason, I cannot carry on my comment to the next chapter. Instead, it vanishes, and I need to save and edit it with every single chapter I read. I also found it really annoying with the book form how it has to be 10,000 words long before you can have it public. A couple of times when I first started out, I was really confused about what happened to the rankings if I accidentally was editing my novel and it suddenly became less than 10,000 words. . .

    3.Hmm. . .I know that I personally get really confused with the swaps at times, especially if I am reading a bunch of stories at once. Lately, I have been doing a mix of free reads and swaps, but I can never figure out where to put them! I think it would help a LOT of people if you had a place to put swaps and a place to put free reads. I’ve tried putting stuff like this on my Watch, but that usually gets filled too. . . 😦

    4.Yes, I feel you should in a way. Not by the amount of time they spend on this site, but how much content they put into their comments and how helpful they have been for others on this site. Some people just don’t have all the time in the world to be on here, so you somehow need an equalizer in this respect.

  10. Georgia said

    There should be an option to see unread replies to your posts since you last signed in. Maybe on your profile – as well as the ‘new messages’ and ‘new comments’ you could have ‘new replies’. That would be helpful.

  11. sakira said

    I agree with a lot of what Evvy said.

    It would help if comments were made visible only to the author except what the author choose to make visible. Comments take up A LOT of space and often discourages readers (like me 🙂 ) in various ways (like I think…. this is such a long chapter/story and then see how short it is… it makes it hard to scroll too). Plus, again, readers often copy prior comments. Also, when an author has edited the work, other readers become confused by previous comments. For example, I changed my prologue, and a reader related to a previous comment that had been about my old prologue. Invisible comment would be a plus!

    I would prefer if we could choose the chapter number instead of having to go in inkpop order because I posted the first couple chapters of my book and then also the end, but I don’t have the middle portion. Thus, readers don’t know the exact chapter numbers that I have posted. I agree that prologue and epilogue should be a choice, maybe even a table of contents and a cover page. That way, we can see the full-sized cover, and a table of contents can sometimes help a reader remember where he/she left off.

    I would also like it if novels didn’t have a minimum limit of 10,000 words because sometimes people want to start showing off their work early and submit it into the short story genre. It becomes confusing because the short story genre should also be kept.

    The automatic privatization is also… well, it’s troublesome because all the picks and watches get taken off. Rank is kept, yes, but picks are like advertisement, and people can’t always remember what they’re watching because there are so many works they’re interested in.

    Maybe a “bookshelf” could be made for each user. They have the sections of poetry, short story, book, essay… and the works they like can be organized on their bookshelves. Often, I don’t watch works even if I like them because they’re a short story or poem and I have so many works I still need to continue reading. Watch lists get cluttered easily, as I mentioned somewhere here. But a bookshelf… that’s better than a readlist! 😀

    1) Many people have complained that the homepage of inkpop is too busy. What would you do to make the homepage cleaner and make the goals of the site more clear?

    The homepage isn’t bad, but I’d like links to different places like the weekly challenge, a more obvious blog… the blog might be changed so that it’s easier to find different pages on it…

    2) You were all new users to inkpop once. When you first arrived could you explain the experience of trying to figure out how to use inkpop? Were there things we could have described better or designed better to make learning how to use the site easier for you?
    The forums… that was where I found out about swaps, met users… I agree with Evvy that an official guide to inkpop would be very, very helpful. We might even have a page where users give their own comments on inkpop. That would be AWESOME 😀

    3) There has been a lot of talk about making the practice of “swapping reads” more official on the site. Please describe the ideal tool that would make requesting and keeping track of swapping reads easiest for you.
    I think that if would be helpful if there was a “swap request” on each work (besides the “pick” and “watchlist”). A swap request is made and when accepted, each person has- on their profile page- a list of works they need to comment on, which disappears once they’ve commented on the work. It would make keeping track of works we need to read so much easier! We might even have an official “readlist” instead of “watchlist” that’s easier to access than the watchlist. The watchlist isn’t organized in any particular order from what I can see. It’d be very helpful if we could choose to organize it by user or by title… I had trouble finding a work on it to move up to my picks before.

    Plus, with an official swapping system, the plug your story forums won’t be so crowded that people cannot advertise their work for long because new swap threads keep on being made. I often see several swap threads by one user for the same work again and again. We might also have a section on our profile page that lists out our swap policies. When a user returns a swap read, a message might be given to the other user in the swap notifying him/her of the read so that the user knows to quickly return the read.

    4) Reading, commenting and writing are all huge parts of this site. Currently we have top picks to reward the top writers and trendsetters. How else could we reward users for being pro-active readers and commenters on the site?
    If a user finds a comment useful, then they should be able to award the commenter in some way without cherry picking them. Oftentimes, a user will pick the work that give great reviews on their work without giving one liners like “I love this!!!” Maybe different kinds of “badges” (as suggested) could be given like someone who gives great grammar review, others who give useful suggestions to plot or to character development…

    Another thing that might be considered is having a system where users can offer to give beta reads, maybe focusing on certain areas like character or plot or grammar… or an overall read. Users can apply somewhere to become an “official” beta reader on the site. Beta readers should be able to go on active (as in accepting works) or busy (as in not taking new reads at the moment). With an “official” beta system of sorts, other users can find readers easily without swamping the forums with threads asking for reads.

  12. Cara said

    well honestly Evie basically said it all but there was one thing I think I can add. Unlike authonomy which has a personal newsfeed alerting us when somebody picked our book, the inkpop newsfeed is on the homepage and call me oblivious but it took me FOREVER to realize I could access my personal newsfeed through that so maybe making that more clear or moving our personal newsfeed on our page like it is on authonomy so we can see who picked our book, etc.

    Also what about if we had a “to add to picklist” section? Sometimes I don’t have room on my picks so I put it in my WL but then I lose stuff and forget what I did or did not already add to my picks and it becomes confusing so what about an entire new “waiting room” you could say to store books we intend to add to our picks and then the authors can be alerted that they are basically on the waiting list b/c some people get mad if we don’t add them on our picks right away or think we forgot them so maybe making something like a wait list would be cool. Just a thought.

  13. Cara said

    oh and another idea. I feel like the trendsetter thing should be changed maybe…? Like people get rewarded for books they add to their picks if the books rise up in ranking but that does not necessarily mean they have found some rare, hidden gem it just means they found somebody with time on their hands to swap like crazy. I have read a bunch of books that are lower down in the ranking and if you pick them even if they are brilliant, your trendsetter rank falls. Maybe instead of trendsetters it could be like people who offer the best critiques…maybe even the harshest critiques and therefore their vote/pick would be of more value.

  14. Emma said

    I know I am really late in answering this but maybe it will still be read. I think the FAQs should be put front and center, so to speak.

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