Just a note to welcome you to the new Creativity Online. As you may have noticed, we've revamped our site.
You may have some questions about the whys and hows and WTFs of the site. I wanted to address some of the questions here and invite feedback from you on how you're using the site and any problems you're encountering. With any web site overhaul of this scope, there are going to be some growing pains and bugs to fix and we're experiencing those now. We are working to address the issues we've identified and those that our audience has noted and we appreciate your feedback and patience so far.
I wanted to let you know where we're at with a few of the main issues.
But first: why the redesign?
The original Adcritic was designed, many moons ago, for one thing: to view commercials. That's still the primary thing that drives our site and our audience, and it's still there in easily accessible spades. There's actually more work viewable at a glance than on the old site. (see below for some tips on quickly getting to the work you want). We're also adding new features and functionality to make work viewing even better—like tags on all items, so you can search work by category or region.
But, there are other things happening in the brand creativity world these days. Many of the creative and production and post and design people in our audience are working across and interested in a wide array of creative disciplines. We wanted a better way to display all the different kinds of great creative work that are on our and your radar, as well as a way to showcase campaigns that include work across different media.
In addition, we needed a better way of showcasing news and information, to provide more insight about the work, the process and the people behind it. Adcritic's print sibling Creativity has long been a source of information and insight into the work and the industry, so we brought that resource online. There's more news, interviews with interesting creatives, and behind the scenes info about top work-in both text and video format. You can see the latest stories on the home page and in the Creative Culture section. You can also see content from current and past issues of Creativity in The Issue section. We also wanted to add more means of audience feedback and participation. We've added a Forum and we'll be adding blogs and guest editor features and more in the coming weeks.
So, what's going on with searching?
You may have noticed some hiccups in search functionality at launch (i.e., it didn't really work). Be assured that those issues are being addressed posthaste. A big part of the site's utility for subscribers rests on search, so we're devoting all efforts to fixing it.
We are addressing search accuracy first. The end result will be clearer, more relevant search results (i.e. search Jameson Parker and get results for Jameson Parker, not Parker Posey and James Joyce). You will essentially be able to search the way you always have on Adcritic-enter Agency's or creative's name and arrive directly at a list of that person's/entity's work. You'll also be able to see their work broken down by job function (for example, if Jeff Goodby has ad credits as a creative director, executive creative officer and director, you'll see all his ads listed under those titles). The first part of this equation is in place now - search results are now filtered and should be delivering the names you're looking for without extraneous results. Part two, delivering spots arranged by title, and redesigning the pages so that you get those results with one click is underway and should be up and running in the next week.
In terms of agency search in particular, we are addressing a problem with searching specific agency locations. With the enormous volume of assets that migrated from the old site, some of the metadata was left behind. We're bringing it over now and expect to have all agency locations in order and searchable in the coming days.
Why so slow?
We had some major performance issues at launch. We fixed some of those issues but many of you are still experiencing slow video loads. We realize this is a major pain and we are looking at ways to resolve it quickly. We switched to a Flash player on the site to allow better quality video without commensurate bandwidth increases. We're now dealing with configuring our systems to ensure that video loading and overall performance are as good as or better than the old site.
A note about navigation:
Some of our users have reminded us that they just want to watch TV spots. And that's great. We think the site is even better set up to do just that. Formerly, Adcritic displayed one TV spot and one Print item above the fold. Now, you can scan three Pick of the Day items and a right rail list of Latest work items (several of which are TV spots) on the top half of the home page (look for the 'starburst' icons next to each title, which indicate the main media category of the work—TV for TV/Video, PD for Print/Design, and IX for Interactive).
Those users who are primarily interested in just viewing work, or just one kind of work, and bypassing the news and information on the home page can still do that. Click to Adcritic The Work right on the main nav bar at the top of the page, where you'll see all work all the time—the Picks of the Day at the top of the page are followed by a page full of the latest work and the Adcritic Top 20. Or, you can go to the drop down menu and select TV/Video (or Print/Design, or Interactive, depending on what you're into) and go to a page with just that type of work on it without having to deal with work from other media (you might even choose to bookmark that page). If you want to browse through all the work in our archive, go to Browse All in the dropdown. There, you can browse every possible kind of work, or get as specific as you like. Just want to see TV spots, or Web films? Click on that section in the list and go directly to pages and pages of that kind of work (we're still populating some of the sub-sections, like Branded Content, etc. Click Show All TV/Video to see all the sub-categories of work).
We'll be updating you in the coming days on status of search upgrades and speed issues. Until then, please contact me at [email protected] or [email protected] to let me know your thoughts on the site. Your (constructive) input will help fix some of the glitches and will contribute to the evolution of the site.
To discuss this article, visit the Creativity Forums.