Posts Tagged ‘upgrades’

Update on Voting + Favorites Features

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Hi Everyone! I appreciate all of the suggestions that you have been sending in and posting, both here and on the Lit forum.

This will just be another quick update on the recent changes to the Literotica story page Voting Element and Add To Favorites buttons. So far, everything seems to be working fine. It’s still early, but voting seems to have increased slightly after the changes were launched on the site.

Since the launch, we have made the following additions changes, based on user feedback:

Voting Element:

1. The stars now have numbers on them, to link them more closely to the previous system where each vote was a number between one and five.

2. The text on a few of the votes has been changed. The current text for each vote is:

  • 1. I Hated It!
  • 2. I Didn’t Like It Much.
  • 3. Liked It – Keep On Writing.
  • 4. Really Liked It – Good Read!
  • 5. Loved It – One Of The Best!!

Add To Favorites Button:

1. With the launch of the easy to use buttons, we’ve seen an increase in the number of registered users adding items to their Favorites List. Because of this, and based on current and previous user feedback, we have increased the number of “Favorites” that each user can have from 10 to 25 – for both Stories and Authors.

Additionally:

1. There has been some concern that the new voting system may result in a slight drop in the overall vote scores because readers may only give a “5″ to stories that they think are truly exceptional. I don’t know yet if the voting scores will go down at all based on the new system, but even if the middle did change slightly, it may not be a bad thing if the stories that score close to perfect are ones that readers felt were above and beyond the average.

2. We have had some questions asking about changing the voting system from a 1-5 system to a 1-10 system. That is something that we may consider for the future, but we don’t have immediate plans to do it.

3. Some members have been asking about the Public Comment Element (the system where you leave a public comment on a story) voting versus the new on-page voting element. We are already working on standardizing those two systems and, once the Public Comment Element is updated, readers will be able to leave a comment with or without voting.

I think that’s all I have for now. Just wanted to give everyone an update on what I’ve been working on and what’s concerns I’ve been hearing. Thanks for the ongoing feedback and another update should be coming soon! :)

Literotica Upgrades: Voting Element + Add To Favorites

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

It’s time for another Literotica upgrade update!

Within the last 24 hours, we have rolled out two changes to the Literotica Story/Poem pages. Neither change is huge, but we hope that both of them will encourage Lit visitors to interact a little more with the stories and poems that they read.

The changes are:

1. We have changed the Lit voting element from a two click system to a one click system using more modern web technology. The old voting element, which has been used on the site since just about the beginning, required a reader to click on a radio button near the score that they want to give a submission, and then click on the “vote” form button. They would then be taken away from the submission to a confirmation page.

Using the new system, readers simply click on one to five animated stars and the vote is saved. They do not leave the story page, so they can easily click on “post comment”, “send feedback”, “add to favorites”, “author profile”, or other story or author related links. We are hoping that the ease of one click voting will encourage more voting. We have also increased the size of the voting element to bring more attention to it.

Several authors have kindly given their feedback on the new voting element on the Lit forum. One of the main concerns seems to be about making sure that existing users understand the new “star system” versus the old “number system”. We used the stars because they seem to be internet standard voting icons. More of the biggest sites that allow voting (You Tube, Yahoo, IMDB, etc.) seem to use stars when they ask people to rate their submissions, articles, movies, etc. Our thinking is that web users can easily understand these icons as voting icons because they see and use similar systems on many websites. However, we are definitely listening to feedback. If readers seem confused. we may add numbers to the stars to make it clear that one star equals one vote, five stars equal five stars, etc. We are watching the voting results closely right now to try to determine if there is in fact more, less, or the same amount of voting going on.

You can see an example of the new voting element on this story, or on any of the recently submitted Literotica stories. The new voting element should appear on all stories in the next few days.

2. We have added two buttons to the end of the Story/Poem pages on Literotica. One button says “Add Story To Favorites” and the other says “Add Author To Favorites”. If a logged in user clicks on one of the buttons, a box will appear allowing them to confirm their request, and the item will be added to their Favorites List. Just like that. They will not need to leave the page or do anything tricky. Just click, confirm, and keep on reading. If the user is not logged in, they can login directly inside of the new “Add To Favorites” buttons. If the user is not yet a registered member of Literotica, they must signup for the site before they can add anything to their Favorites List, of course.

So far, I don’t think that we have had any suggestions in regards to improving the Add To Favorites buttons. I think they are pretty simple to use and easy to understand. If you do have suggestions for improving them, please post them here. I was thinking maybe we should add a “Join Literotica Now” link on the element, for unregistered users who want to save the story they are reading to their Favorites.

If you have a moment, please test out both of these new features and let me know if you find any bugs or have any suggestions for improving them. You can also let me know if you just generally hate them or love them or anything in between. These are not huge changes, obviously, but small movement towards a more modern and interactive Literotica. Our goal with these changes, and many more to come in 2008, is to make sure that the great Literotica authors (who put so much work into writing their stories) get as much feedback and support from their readers as possible.

Thank you for reading this long update and please feel free to post feedback, suggestions, or anything else in the comments!

Literotica Forum Upgrades

Friday, December 7th, 2007

I already posted this on the forum, but I thought I’d mention it here as well. Tomorrow (Saturday night, December 8th), I’m going to work on upgrading the Literotica forum to the most recent version of vBulletin. Because the upgrades will involved some changes to the databases that Lit runs on, we will probably have to take parts of the site offline for a short time while upgrading. Hopefully everything will go smoothly and the disruption will be minimal. Hopefully. :)

The reasons for the upgrade are many, but one of the big reasons is that we want to get the database updated before we launch some of the new features we are working on. We figure it will be easier to do the upgrades and then add the features, than to add the features and then do the upgrades. We’ll see if that’s really true starting tomorrow.

Once the upgrade is done, I will post a thread on the forum, or latch onto an existing one, so that I can get reports about problems and issues created by the upgrade. I will also need to update all of the forum skins to the latest version, which may take several hours or longer. My main concern is making sure that the upgrade doesn’t inadvertently break anything on the main site. We think we have it all planned out, but we’ve also found that things don’t always go as planned when it comes to Lit. :)

If you do see anything strange on the site tomorrow, please feel free to post comments/reports here on Planet Manu as well as on the forums. More updates on the upgrade soon!

The New Literotica Search

Monday, November 19th, 2007

The first of the new features that I want to discuss with you and get feedback from you on is the new Literotica Search.

The new Literotica Search was first launched a few months ago in BETA mode. Since then, thanks to a lot of feedback from users, we’ve released several upgrades and bug fixes. We still consider the search to be in BETA, but it seems to be pretty stable now and most of the initial issues have been resolved.

The goals of the new search included:

  • Full text search of the stories and poems
  • Fast search and less overloading during heavy usage
  • Create a scalable search that can grow with upcoming features
  • Make it easy to use and with better design than the old search

The first and second goals were solved by adding a dedicated server just for the search and using software that was specifically written for high volume full text searching. So far, we are happy with the speed of the search and the full text capabilities. There are a few small issues related to wildcards in searches and in calculating the exact number of results for a given query, but overall it seems to be working fine.

The third goal, creating a search that can grow with some of the new features we’ll eventually be adding is not really relevant right now. We’ll see how that works in the future. :)

The fourth goal is probably the one that we need the most feedback on. When we first rolled out the new search, the number of complaints that I got via email was pretty high. Part of that was that we annoyed just about everyone by adding a CAPTCHA to the search for non-logged in users. We also had a few technical issues with the search and even a couple of design issues with some of the less used browsers. It wasn’t a perfect launch, but we didn’t expect it to be. However, after a few days of updates and changes (and the removal of the CAPTCHA except for flood control), we got past most of the major problems.

What we were (and are) left with was a variety of differing user opinions. Some of you love the new design and some of you hate it. Some of you find it easier to use and some of you have said it’s confusing. It’s a big departure from the look of the old search, that’s for sure. During the design stage, Laurel and I wondered whether the tabs were the best way to navigate between different types of search (Stories/Members/etc.), and if the ajax “Advanced Search” was too tricky, and if the big “search” button was too big, and we had many other questions.

But, we can’t answer those questions ourselves. That’s why we went live with a BETA version of the search when we did. Basically, it works. Now we need to know – does it work for you? Not just work, but work in the way you want it to work? What would you do to improve it? What would you change? Do you love or hate the design? Does it make your eyes burn or bleed? How can the results formatting be improved? Are there any obvious options or features that you think are missing?

Now you know the story of the new Literotica Search. I want to read your opinions and suggestions (and even complaints) relating to this feature. Don’t be shy!

I guess that’s all I’ve got on the Search feature for now. There are a lot of other features coming soon, so get ready for lots of post and (hopefully) lots of comments from all of you.

Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you very soon! :)

Welcome to the new Planet Manu!

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Well, it’s been a couple of years since I was last updating this site. I’m not sure if anyone missed it but, regardless, Planet Manu is back in active mode. This time around things will be a little different. I’ll probably still be posting links to interesting articles when I see them, but what really motivated me to upgrade the blog and bring it back to life is the coming onslaught of upgrades and BETA features at Literotica.com.

Those of you that have been around Lit for a few years know that we have been working hard on about a million upgrades to the site. Well, some of those changes are starting to see the light of day. As the new features are put into BETA mode, I want to have a place to post about them and, very importantly, get feedback from all of you about what you think is going wrong or right.

For example, when we changed the front page of Literotica.com from an old HTML table layout to a modern CSS tableless design, there were (as expected) some problems with a few of the less-used browsers. Lit members were nice enough to email me with their problems and we were able to overcome most (hopefully all) of them. However, if there had been a central depository for complaints/reports, I think bug fixes could have happened quicker. Right now, the communication is only between myself and each user via email. With this blog, and the comments on each blog post, we can do better by including user-user communication in the equation. When more than one user is having the same problem, together we can try to figure out quickly what those users have in common (browser, OS, ISP, etc.) and quickly resolve the problem.

So, the overall idea behind bringing Planet Manu back (other than posting links to random celebrity sex scandals around the world) is to create a place where I can share information on the ongoing Literotica upgrades and you can share your opinions of the upgrades and let me know about any problems you encounter. That’s the idea, at least. We’ll see what happens!

Thanks for reading and, once again, Welcome Back!

First post after the WP upgrade

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Ok, WordPress is upgraded to the latest stable version and I’ve added the ReCaptcha plugin for new comments. The spammers were running wild, so had to add the captcha. Sorry about the hassle, but it seems pretty readable. Let me know if you are having any problems posting or reading Planet Manu now that we’re up to date..