Our main focus with this update is to streamline and improve the overall browsing experience. We have flattened our design, introduced a new logo, and created a more consistent flow to how content is presented and consumed. After reading hundreds of suggestions from the past year, we noticed that many of you (especially new members) were overwhelmed with the amount of content that was shown when you first landed on Snapzu.
Because most of our first-time viewers experience Snapzu by viewing a snap (via google, twitter, facebook, etc), we felt that the amount of additional information was too much for someone not yet acquainted with our service. There is little reason to engulf someone with member-specific (and typically more private) features. Having said that, we have optimized the location and accessibility to such features as tribe mastery, XP points/levels and reputation. We feel that the new changes will greatly improve the overall browsing experience of Snapzu, be it on mobile or computers alike. Below are some of the main changes that were made:
Vertical Member Bar
The left member bar has been removed from all user profiles to free up room for content on that specific page. With the left bar removed, snaps (such as written content, images, videos) will now look a lot more uniform, be easier to follow, and at the center of a user's attention. Other profile areas (such as snapzines, inbox, and tribe pages) also have more room to display content more relevant to that page.
Progression avatars have been removed from all member pages, however can still be seen in the compare profile feature. As we evolve as a service we will consider better ways to incorporate the progression avatars.
Avatar, Tribe and Snap Visuals
For site-wide consistency, all user avatars will now be circles, and all tribes and snaps will be represented by squares.
The follow/unfollow functionality was moved over slightly to the right of the user avatar.
The PM function has been moved up and beside the avatar, the functionality for private messaging users remains the same.
Level Progression and Reputation
The XP Level and Reputation is now less central and is shown in a coloured circle just over top of the new user avatar. In the future we will consider ways to show other member's progression.
Achievements have now been moved to the main horizontal navigation bar, where it will join other central areas like snaps, followers, following and snapzines.
Tribe mastery (showing tribes a user is most influential in) has been moved to the user drop down menu located in the top right area of your account.
Snaps have been slightly re-structured to follow the same design regardless of the native snap or link snap origin. The inconsistencies of the splash image sizes (now called cover image), and the voting concept were major contributors to the changes. The general process of “Snap Creation” has been heavily modified for speed and ease of use by also being converted into a one step procedure.
For our regular users, this may feel a lot different the first few times you use it, but we promise that most of it is the same as before. The following changes have been made to snaps, and the creation process:
The snap creation process is now a single step with all required content appearing on one page. The bookmarklet function has retained the same general work flow as before.
The snap creation area and all previous functionality still exists, but is slightly reorganized as we push towards simplification and ease of use. The left column will now focus on content that will actually be there after publication, which includes the title, intro, links, images, videos and text, just to name a few.
The right column (right bar) will now focus on snap essentials like “snap type”, “tribe selection” and module management. The goal is to make the creation process as similar to the finished product as possible to avoid confusion.
Large cover images are now only shown in link snaps, which means native snaps will no longer display the smaller cover images. Because native snaps provide a lot more flexibility, users are free to add full size images just below the title and introduction for an even more powerful effect.
To further reduce friction in creating/submitting content, we have made the snap introduction text optional. Certain types of content only really need a title, and users should not be bothered with a requirement for an introduction. Images and Videos generally come to mind.
A new snap type called "Unspecified" will be assigned to snaps that have not been labelled, thus making “Snap Type” optional. Forcing users to label content is counter-productive as sometimes it is difficult to label certain snaps, especially for new users. However, leaving snaps as unspecified is not recommended as it can result in the loss of potential audience.
Youtube/Vimeo links will now have the "videos" tribe automatically placed into the tribe selection area (using up a tribe credit, of course).
Links to images (ending in .jpg, .gif, etc) will now have the "pics" tribe automatically placed into the tribe selection area.
Now that the entire left member bar is gone, more top real estate is available to show the contents of the snap. This results in improved presentation on smaller screens such as smart phones, tablets and netbooks since that area was using up nearly 40% of the room at those resolutions. In the near future we plan on continuing that trend by creating a mobile version of the site that will help users on smart phones and other devices to better consume content.
The right column will now always display voting statistics, publication sources (tribes, front page, etc) and sharing options (including the pin-up option). The vote score is now the total score from all sources with the votes displayed visually from each source below. We have removed the stats button since all that information is now available upfront.
There are also dozens of small changes, mostly visual, to accompany the new look, along with some new features, many of which were suggested from our fantastic community. These include:
Logo menu: The new logo serves for more than just a new look, it actually has extensive front page browsing options that can help in the discovery of content.
Top tribes “Scroll up” bar: A popular suggestion that appears when a user scrolls upwards while viewing any page.
Feed: The user feed stays relatively unchanged, with the only exception of a few minor changes such as bigger images/videos, and the absence of the quick filter options on small screens (tablets, phones). The Lounge button has been removed from the top of the feed as it was a temporary solution, but it is still linked from welcome emails and system notifications. In the future, as we expand our member base, we will consider a permanent location for this tribe.
Progress avatars: The progress avatars were removed from the profile left bar, but will still be shown in the compare profile page, and the XP level upgrade notifications.
Level upgrades: The level upgrades were made to make more sense logically. With the changes, users can follow more members, join more tribes, submit more contributions (Related Links, List items, etc), have more Snapzine editions. We will continue to expand and improve unlocks as we progress into the future.
User navigation bar: This area will now contain the "Achievements" page. The previous "Snapzine" button is now called "Pinups", and lists the amount of items in all Snapzine editions of that user, instead of the amount of editions, which we feel is generally more informative.
Front Page color coding: This functionality was removed from the grid view as it was only creating more confusion than it was solving. The size of the snap's grid box size is enough to distinguish more popular snaps from less popular snaps.
Front Page favicons: Favicons have been re-implemented within the front page grid to allow users to jump directly to the link (link snaps only). We have slightly redesigned this functionality to be less resource intensive, and will work on mouse over of any link snap.
Commenting: The commenting area no longer includes the tier system filtering since it's not needed at this time and only helped to add unnecessary clutter (extra buttons) to the page.
Meme snap type removal: The meme snap type was removed because it was redundant. It's essentially the same as an image snap, and there aren't enough memes submitted to justify keeping it (probably a good thing!). All previous meme snap types were converted to image snap types.
Tribe link submission shortcut: A new button was added to help guide new users to the proper snap submission area. Clicking this button loads the submission drop-down and automatically places that specific tribe into the snap's tribe publication list. Of course adding additional tribes to the snap is still an option.
General Inconsistencies: Forms/fields have been made more consistent by ALWAYS using the same type of pop-over (centred with a darkening of background).
As we move forward with version 5, we thank all of you for your continued support on our journey as a community together.
In the next major update, we can expect a fully working and responsive mobile version as we continue to expand our service. We are also considering going back to an invite only system to ensure the community grows at the right pace and with the right people. Invites can be provided at a steady pace to our current members, and we can use the levelling system to good use in the constant battle against spam. Please tell us your thoughts and suggestions about this in the comments area. Thanks for reading and have a great day!
PS: As with all updates, there may be a bug or two that we may have missed, and if so, please report it the comments section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to do a hard refresh by pressing CTRL+F5, or better yet, try clearing your browser cache if you spot something weird or glitchy.