Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Memory Lane Part 4: The Modern Era

By 2010, screen were getting bigger and bigger, but at the same time folks were going mobile. So, we had to evolve to designs that could be easily viewed on both large and small screens. We streamlined our look too, moving away from the multi-color genre variations and we have stuck with more of a blue-themed design.

Our logo has changed over the years too, from lower case to mixed case, with and without our book graphic. Today, it's with the book, all CAPS!

It has been fun reminiscing about our page designs. For us, we wanted a spot in our blog to memorialize the changes.

If you have feedback about our look and feel, features you want added, please leave a comment here or on the FictionDB Facebook page, or FictionDB Twitter works too.

Our 2011 design with a simplified logo, more book graphics on the homepage.

The 2013 look. Similar, but different.

The 2015 design. We're back to the mixed case logo.

2016, a cleaner look, and we added back the book graphic to our logo, and all CAPS!

2020 ... and here we are today! Happy reading, folks!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Memory Lane Part 3: The Mid-2000s

By the mid-2000s, folks were getting bigger and better monitors for their computers. So, FictionDB had to evolve. Now that there was more screen real-estate, we could fill it in with more book information.

Here is our homepage from 2006. Key additions:
  • We added a graphical element to our logo, a stylized book with a color gradient pages that are fanned out.
  • In addition to our book tracking features, we used to offer a book selling marketplace too. Wow, almost forgot about that!
  • Many more quick links to take you deeper into the site, where most of you spend your time anyway.

And, as before, we kept the color themes for each genre. Who else misses the candy-colored buttons?!

As computer screens got bigger, little things were on the horizon -- the iPhone was about to be launched later in the decade. We were so used to designing for larger screens, then all of sudden we had to be prepared for the mobile web too. We'll discuss this next time ... happy reading, folks!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Memory Lane Part 2: Colors, Colors, Colors

Around 2000, we worked with a graphic designer to make FictionDB look splashier and more professional. This was the height of the dot.com boom and we were riding along with it.

The FictionDB homepage went to a bright yellow with blue accents, along with a beautiful swoopy navigation bar, and we created a more stylized logo too. This was the era of VGA (640 x 480)and SVGA (800 x 600) cathode ray tube monitors. Remember those?!

FictionDB in blue and gold.

And then we went nuts with all of the genres. Each genre had its own color scheme. The romance sections were pink, Mystery was a blood red and SpeculativeDB was a Halloween-esque pumpkin orange.

What do you think? I miss these days.

We'll take a look at the mid-2000s designs in a few days. I hope you're enjoying our walk down memory lane.

Monday, April 20, 2020

A Trip Down Memory Lane -- Part 1, Before the Turn of the Century

FictionDB has been on the web for over twenty years now! Can you believe it? Since we're all in isolation/quarantine, we felt like now would be a good time to memorialize some of our early website designs in our blog.

Have you been with us since Day One? Here's a quick trip down memory lane ...

Back in the day, late-1999, we used to call carve out our database by genre. RomanceDB, MysteryDB, SuspenseDB, etc. But, because Romance dominates the paperback marketplace, we launched with RomanceDB in November, 1999.

Here is the earliest FictionDB.com home page that was published. Cool fonts, right?

And, this is what the page looked like when you drilled down into RomanceDB. I love this time machine.

We'll post our early 21st Century designs later this week!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The FictionDB Blog is Back in Action!

Wow, it has been years since we have posted anything to our blog. We have focused on the other social media platforms that are out there the past few years, mostly Facebook and Twitter. But, with everyone working from home, we felt that our friends and fans wanted more content from us, LOL. So many social media channels, so little time!

For now, why don't you head on over to our Facebook page and see what is going on there. For the past three weeks or so, we have been posting questions about your reading habits. It has been to get so many comments to our posts.

Here is today's question ... feel free to comment here or on FB. Stay safe, stay healthy!

Your favorite genre(s)? Mystery/suspense, romance, speculative, horror, others?

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The FictionDB Visitor Satisfaction Survey

Thanks to everyone who participated in our recent survey!

I thought it would be fun to share the results and answer some of your responses on improving the site.

Overall, how well does FictionDB meet your needs?

These results make us very happy. We appear to be heading in the right direction!

How easy was it to find what you were looking for on our website?

In general, most of you find using the site pretty easy. Most of the comments we received on this reference the new site layout. Some people have been having trouble finding some of their most-used features. Almost every feature on the site can be found either in the footer or in the header under the Members dropdown.

What is the most important reason you visit FictionDB?

Not surprisingly, the biggest reason for using the site are the author and series lists. Everything else is in a tie for distant third place.

Would you like the ability to share your lists with other visitors and view other’s lists?

We have long considered adding certain "social" aspects to the site. This is the social feature most often requested through our help desk. While, the "Yes" answers are in the minority, this is a feature that we would like to add at some point in the future.

How visually appealing is our website?

Well, we're glad you like the look of the site.

How much do you trust the information on our website?

Another statistic that makes us really happy.

SUMMARY: You told us we're doing everything really well, which is always great to hear. As most of you know, we use the site as visitors just as much as you do. If there is something that frustrates us or we want to see, we don't hesitate to add it ASAP.

Do you have any other comments about how we can improve our website?

Most of you actually gave us some feedback in this question. Thank you for that! We take your feedback seriously. We can't answer every individual comment, but here are a few that fall into broad categories and our response.

Comments on keeping the site updated:

"Author lists need updating."
"Update author lists with new books."
"More indie & self published information."
"I find the website extremely helpful and the only recommendation that I can make is to continue to add authors to the database."

Our response: FictionDB has grown so much over the last couple years that keeping it updated has become a Herculean task. We add at least 20,000 new titles a month. It is almost physically impossible to keep up with every author out there. That's why we rely on our editors. If you would like to add authors and titles that you see are missing, please apply to become an editor. Editors can add authors, titles, series, genres, synopses and much more.

Comments on the new design:

"Go back to the way it was! Preferred the old way vs the new."

Our response: FictionDB has to change with the times and that means that the site will be redesigned on a regular basis. All of our editors were given the opportunity to help with the new design. If you'd like the chance to add input into the site's design, please become an editor.

Personal Book Tracking:

"have more lists for us to use to keep better track of our reading"
"more lists for use by me"
"make it so we have access to more lists in our accounts."

Our response: FictionDB has used the 3 list system since its inception. Adding new lists would obviously be a very big change given the site's design. If we can come up with a way to do it without compromising the existing site design, we will do it.

iPhone App / Android App / Mobile Site:

"I find the site difficult to use on a mobile device."
"The iphone app could be a bit faster and retain last items looked up."
"an Android app would be awesome"
"Would like to duplicate or match data to my iphone!!!"

Our response: We are in the process of creating an App that will be shared across both the iPhone and Android platforms. It is a complete overhaul, not an update to our existing app, so it's taking a little longer than we would like, but we are working on it. As for the FictionDB.com mobile site, we have done everything possible to accommodate a variety of devices with the same code, but obviously it's not going to work for everyone.

Requests for Existing Features:

"Allow users to add tags"
Our response: Tags can be added on any book detail page provided you are logged in to your account.

"Books to be published in the next 6 months"
Our response: The New Fiction page is one of the cornerstones of FictionDB and has existed from the beginning. New Releases

"I am not able to go directly to my favorite new book list."
Our response: The Favorites by Author and Series is available in the Members dropdown that can be found at the top of every page.

"Very difficult to just find my book lists."
Our response: The My Books link is available in the Members dropdown that can be found at the top of every page. The My Books link can also be found at the bottom of every page.

"Maybe be you can put a best sellers tab, broken down by genre."
Our response: Great minds think alike. We were actually working on this over the last month and the lists are ready. Bestseller Lists

"Being able to get an e-mail alert when a new book in a series is about to release would be great.especially the multiauthor series."
Our response: To get an email about a series all you have to do is click the gray heart next to the series name. It will turn red and the series has been favorited. Make sure you have updated your email preferences here: Update Account

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Status - Did Not Finish

Every year around this time, I take a look at my reading for the year. Unfortunately, this was a big year for DNF (Did Not Finish). In the past, I identified these books with a 1-star rating. Since I had so many of them this year, I began to think about it a little more and decided it probably wasn't fair of me to give these books one star. Maybe they are great books, but just not for me. Huh. So how I would I denote these books? I obviously needed a new status code. Lucky for me, I can add status codes whenever I want. You will now see the new Status Code (D) for did not finish.

What other status codes make sense, but are missing from FictionDB? Let me know and I'll see about getting them added.