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Comments on recent site changes: Star ratings, tags, visual 'matrix layout'
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All: Teach Hunch About You questions will remain a key part of Hunch and they'll continue to play an important role in Hunch's machine learning algorithm and result predictions. Starting tomorrow there will be links to answer THAYs on the visual browse pages. This was always the plan, but we simply hadn't finished that specific design element when we were otherwise ready to release the new visual browse page.
@catastrophe: we acknowledge that some contributors such as yourself may miss the structured format of the former topic-specific questions. What we did hear from people who are primarily 'consumers' (as opposed to contributors) on the site - and that's about 95% of users - is that the topic-specific question sequence often took too long to get at the feature or filter that really mattered to them. In that context, tag filtering provides a more immediate and flexible approach for the majority of users.
So our goal in the change to tags was to make the site more useful to everyone - faster and easier to navigate for 'consumers', while still providing flexibility and a creative forum for contributors. We think the change will also make more sense as we introduce some very compelling new features in the near future, so we hope you'll bear with us in the meantime.
Posted at: 2:24PM on Feb. 2, 2011. [ permalink ]
Sorry, don't think I'm willing to stick around to see how you're going to make tags compelling. Again, you had a model that was new and interesting and now you're listening to users who apparently would rather stick to the old and dated methods of suggestion sites, which, as I said before, means there is NOTHING original or new about your site. The Questions about you aren't useful in the NOW, which is when I want to use this site. I'm not going to answer a million questions over the course of months and then when I'm ready to buy a cell phone say, "hmm" I wonder what Hunch thinks I should do about a new cell phone. I'm going to go to CNET where people review electronics for a living. When I want to find out what music I should listen to, I'm going to use last.fm, which has been charting what music I listen to for 4 years now, and has gotten pretty damn accurate with its suggestions. The same for Netflix.
What I used your site for was this: *Spontaneous moment* "I want to listen to an album. But, hmm, I don't know what I want to listen to. Oh look, Hunch! I can tell it how I'm feeling and it will give me a suggestion. Oh you think I should listen to "Midnite Vultures" by Beck? I haven't heard that album yet, so sure!" And bam, suddenly I'm having an awesome time hearing an album I wouldn't have thought to listen to and life is good and fun again.
Posted at: 6:47PM on Feb. 2, 2011. [ permalink ]
I've had a bit of time to adjust to the tag system, so I thought I would finally write a bit about the changes. I see that Hunch has once again evolved, which is a bittersweet feeling—yay to something new and hopefully successful, boo to the thousands of questions people created being flushed away. I see the purpose of the tags, but as @catastrophe mentioned, the tags can be a bit random.
My suggestions on tags:
• They need organization. Right now, they are all haphazardly arranged and it does not reflect how clean and slick Hunch is and how it functions. I believe that one person suggested keeping them in columns. That could help.
• Maybe tags should have layers. Questions helped focus user's thoughts by providing them with something to consider, then giving reasonable answers. For example, if you want to buy a shirt, having similar tags grouped together would be helpful. So, the style of shirt (polo, v-neck, sleeveless, etc) would be grouped beneath a "main tag" or "header tag" of some sort. That way, you can still have some suggestions without actually having questions.
• It might not hurt to give users options. People learn differently and they make choices the same way. Maybe for 95% of Hunch users, the instant result is preferred. Perhaps the 5% could have the option of answering questions. Maybe it requires users to make a choice, just as the "Dashboard" is still around for loyal contributors. It could be something decided upon in the settings of a user's profile. (I say this without knowing how much work and coding this will take, of course)
My suggestion on layout:
• Clicking—for users wanting instant results, they have to click to actually see details about them. Instead of having to go to a page, then back to results, why not have a sort of movement occur (view example here: picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/i_VlkQMvUWRjBnO2D7-Gtw?feat...) so that users do not have to go to a page completely for a result unless they want to read reviews or something. You can also add the share icons and such to this "block".
My suggestion on topics:
• I fully support the return of the "Hunch Users" topic. I loved that one. I was sad to see it go.
• The wild card was a great response to the regular topics. Sometimes, the wild card was exactly what I needed. So while you have "related results," maybe you should bring up the wild card too.
That's my 2 or maybe 3 cents.
Updated at: 12:50PM on Feb. 8, 2011. [ permalink ]
I must be missing something here, but I don't quite understand why the 'teach this topic' and 'play this topic' options both allow users to rate results, albeit in different ways, using either stars (play) or like/dislike (teach). On a related note, when I rate results via the stars route (which does teach hunch about my preferences) it doesn't seem to add to my 'facts taught' and I don't get banjos!! :)
Updated at: 9:25PM on Feb. 8, 2011. [ permalink ]
Oh and another thing: when there was still a specific question displayed at the main page that was a great incentive (to me at least) to answer that question, and then the next, and then the next, and so on. After the recent changes the main page simply has a link you can click to get to the questions, instead of a specific question right there. This change discourages people like me from answering questions.
Posted at: 9:30PM on Feb. 8, 2011. [ permalink ]
@rhapsody -- we're working on some ways to make it easier to navigate and organize the tags. still experimenting with things, so too soon to say exactly how it will work.
there's also been a lot of discussion about providing more info about each result on mouse over or something like that. again still being thought through.
also, while the Hunch Users topic may be gone we're going to be introducing some new ways to browse people who have similar tastes or interests as you do.
Posted at: 4:15PM on Feb. 9, 2011. [ permalink ]
I agree that without the questions, hunch is a lot less fun. I think comparing two as opposed to seeing a whole bunch of uninteresting(sometimes) options was more interesting. Tags aren't as effective as questions in narrowing down answers. Now it feels like I am browsing through categories where as before, I used to feel like hunch was trying to figure me out and suggesting things I would like. It feels a lot less personal now. I will definitely wait to see what happens.
Posted at: 5:15PM on Feb. 9, 2011. [ permalink ]
I played a bit with the new tags-approach. I can definitely see its benefits compared to the old questions-approach: It really is faster. You click this tag and that tag and the selection shrinks and shrinks.
But my former critique still holds: The questions were more personal and exciting, and the tags still lack precision. I think with the switch from tags to questions, you traded precision for speed. Maybe you can find a method that blends both advantages.
I, for example, could imagine the following: Several of the old question boxes in the left column, each with a one-line question or description. Below those descriptions are 3-4 rows of tags.
Updated at: 9:50AM on Feb. 10, 2011. [ permalink ]