bit-tech.net

Give us your feedback!

Give us your feedback!

On the left is where we started. On the right is where we are. The question is - where are we going?

It's that time of year again - the time when we crack the whip and tell our resident developer, Jamie, that he can't come out of his office until he's re-written the entire internet to be more beautiful. Or, more accurately, we start thinking about how to improve the design of the site.

It's been a hectic, fast moving year for bit-tech and the last twelve months has seen new (and incredibly good looking) staff be hired, a new site editor put in place and changes to the forums structure.

We can't thank our readers enough for pushing us to continue expanding - don't forget that we're still in the process of hiring new staff if you fancy writing for bit-tech.

So, what can we do to make the site better? Would you like to be able to sort reviews using new filters? Do you want to see more of a focus on console games or handhelds? What about hardware - is there a specific set of subsections you'd like to see?

To help collect your opinions all in one place we've put together a poll thread so that we know exactly what you want the new bit-tech to look like. All we're asking is that you spare the time to give us your thoughts if you can. Head to the forums if you'd be so kind as to do so!

38 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Cthippo 3rd March 2008, 18:29 Quote
I can't honestly give you an answer because I only see the site from the forums.

From that perspective the tagging system is still a PITA.
FuzzyOne 3rd March 2008, 18:34 Quote
An ignore setting would be nice there is a few retards i'd like to add straight away :)
Mankz 3rd March 2008, 18:41 Quote
I want a few more forums back. Tagging isn't useful. We deffo need a forum for software and hardware!

(oops sorry, I didn't see that this was site only)
Mankz 3rd March 2008, 18:42 Quote
And please can we have some more modding articles too!
notatoad 3rd March 2008, 19:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mankz.
And please can we have some more modding articles too!
qft

fuzzy, i believe there is an ignore feature. or at least there was i haven't used it in a while
FuzzyOne 3rd March 2008, 19:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supertoad
qft

fuzzy, i believe there is an ignore feature. or at least there was i haven't used it in a while

Aha just found it, you have to go through the users profile, cheers ;)
Cupboard 4th March 2008, 18:49 Quote
I voted that I wasn't keen on comments below the news articles - I am wholly in favour of comments on news articles, I just don't like the comments section (this apples too all of the comments sections).

The layout, design and features available in the forums bit of the discussion are much better imo. I also find them easier to read, which is a bit odd I suppose.
Krikkit 4th March 2008, 18:58 Quote
I love the current structure, don't change a thing! :D
alastor 4th March 2008, 19:14 Quote
I think being able to filter in to subsections would be good, also a comparison system by score would be useful.
Flibblebot 5th March 2008, 10:11 Quote
Personally, in terms of layout, I only ever visit the front page, articles that I visit from the front page and the forums.
I'm not to keen on the comments section, I'd rather just jump straight into the forum discussion from an article.
Jordan Wise 5th March 2008, 11:13 Quote
i like the comments below articles, thats what hooked me into the forums, as i'm not normally a forum type of guy. I'd love to see more on the DS, i loved the homebrew article and the phantom hourglass review. My favourite section is the columns though, i'm glad that they're more frequent now but i'd like more, being greedy and all. Also stuff like laptop reviews would be good, thats one of the strenghs of trustedreviews. And finally, i love in pc format how they do the month in numbers, i think that'd be great on here
Jack_Pepsi 5th March 2008, 11:33 Quote
I must admit, and I'm quite ashamed to say, but I'm not very active on the forum aspect of Bit-Tech which is surprising considering I'm a forum ghoul, however, I'm constantly accessing Bit-Tech. All of you do a fantastic job and I very rarely disagree with some of the opinions/views you have in your columns.

Bit-Tech has to be the best hardware enthusiast website I know of, I find myself constantly linking to your articles in forums posts I make all over the sticky mess that we call the web.

As of now I can't think of how you can improve the site, if I think of anything, I'll let you know.

Thanks (to everyone at) Bit-Tech!
Orlix 5th March 2008, 11:34 Quote
I love the home page. At a glance one sees all the new articles easily. The one think I am missing now is the main project logs. maye have a featured one each week? I hate it when I see great mods in the MOTM for the first time. :S Maybe I should stop working to keep up to date :)
Bauul 5th March 2008, 11:49 Quote
The main thing for me is an inability to view past articles/reviews/whatever through anything other than browsing through everything, or searching. An index or contents or something is a must I think. Bit's favourite mouse? I hate to think how much reading and searching that would require, and it seems a pretty fundamental part of the website.

I think I mentioned before, but as a daily read Bit-Tech is great, but as a reference site it's pretty poor.
Delphium 5th March 2008, 11:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Personally, in terms of layout, I only ever visit the front page, articles that I visit from the front page and the forums.
I'm not to keen on the comments section, I'd rather just jump straight into the forum discussion from an article.

2nd'ed
Much prefered the days of just jumping into the forums from the article, rather than passing though the comments section.

Bauul makes a valid comment about it the site being a great every day read, but can sometime be a bit tricker to use as a refrence for older articles.
Saying that the search engine does work, and sometimes when searching for articles I may not find the one im looking for (mainly due to forgetting the articles full title), but would find a similar one, of which has related articles at the bottom, this has saved/helpped me on a numbeer of occasions, so dont even think about removing them! hehe

Other than that, I love the current layout, and prob make about 40+ hits to the front page and forums on a daily basis.
Veles 5th March 2008, 11:54 Quote
IMO, I think what would really help, is a database of articles accessible by users. It would be a lot of work but I think it would be excellent and be a big step forward in making the web site appeal to more people, the main problem with the main site is once an article is dropped off the front of the site it can be difficult to find. Would be nice if we could search for articles with several options like you can do when you search for a product in a shop.

You can pick say, monitors from a list, and because you don't want those silly regular monitors, you could select widescreen aspect ratio and 'cos you don't want a tiny one you pick a larger size bracket and click search. Then a list of monitors you have reviewed would pop up, with the date of the review and what score it got, a link to the review and a link to the shopping page if it has one. This could work for the entire site, so say I actually wanted to find news on monitors, like new products coming up or a new tech in development, or an article about monitors.

I think if you made this, I imagine it would be a huge amount of work, but you wouldn't really have to change the front page at all except to incorporate it in.

Oh one point off topic with games reviews I just thought of. When you have a multiplatform game reviewed, I understand why you stick to the one platform as it takes less time, but it would be nice if you can do a short comparison between the versions on the other platforms. Like for instance, at the end of a review before the conclusion (or in it) you could have a short comparison section, for example "The game ran better on X platform and also had better graphics, but the motion controls on the Wii/PS3 worked really well". That kind of thing. I don't think that would mean that you have to play the other platforms for too long before you get an idea of how it compares, so shouldn't add much to the review time.
Hiren 5th March 2008, 12:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
IMO, I think what would really help, is a database of articles accessible by users. It would be a lot of work but I think it would be excellent and be a big step forward in making the web site appeal to more people, the main problem with the main site is once an article is dropped off the front of the site it can be difficult to find. Would be nice if we could search for articles with several options like you can do when you search for a product in a shop.

You can pick say, monitors from a list, and because you don't want those silly regular monitors, you could select widescreen aspect ratio and 'cos you don't want a tiny one you pick a larger size bracket and click search. Then a list of monitors you have reviewed would pop up, with the date of the review and what score it got, a link to the review and a link to the shopping page if it has one. This could work for the entire site, so say I actually wanted to find news on monitors, like new products coming up or a new tech in development, or an article about monitors.

I think if you made this, I imagine it would be a huge amount of work, but you wouldn't really have to change the front page at all except to incorporate it in.

That's exactly the kind of feedback we were looking for.
Jamie 5th March 2008, 12:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Wise
i like the comments below articles, thats what hooked me into the forums, as i'm not normally a forum type of guy. I'd love to see more on the DS, i loved the homebrew article and the phantom hourglass review. My favourite section is the columns though, i'm glad that they're more frequent now but i'd like more, being greedy and all. Also stuff like laptop reviews would be good, thats one of the strenghs of trustedreviews. And finally, i love in pc format how they do the month in numbers, i think that'd be great on here

What's in their month in numbers feature?
Veles 5th March 2008, 12:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiren
That's exactly the kind of feedback we were looking for.

Woo do I win a cookie?
airchie 5th March 2008, 13:15 Quote
Lots more guides, particularly on linux type things.
One I personally would like would be a guide on getting a kick-ass HD HTPC set up running linux.
I liked the eeePC modding guide.

Maybe a section for forum members to submit their own articles to Bit and have the staff approve and post them in their own subsection of the site?
keir 5th March 2008, 13:19 Quote
I think just changing the nav buttons to the style of the shopping ones, would be cool.
Thats it. :)
Leitchy 5th March 2008, 13:20 Quote
Personally, I never visit the main page of the site or the forums (I tell a lie, I did visit the forums years ago, but it's a rare occurrence today).

I rely on the RSS feeds of the website, and if there is a link to the forum or comments below to further my interaction with the article, then 7 times outa 10 I'll join in!

I like Bit-Tech for what it is this now, don't get sucked into the messyness of other tech web sites.
cyrilthefish 5th March 2008, 13:43 Quote
One thing id like to see is having a slightly more mobile friendly front page, or a separate lightweight version, maybe http://www.bit-tech.net/mobile/ or something.

I often check Bit-Tech on my PDA (HTC kaizer) and the front page makes the browser cry
Flibblebot 5th March 2008, 13:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Oh one point off topic with games reviews I just thought of. When you have a multiplatform game reviewed, I understand why you stick to the one platform as it takes less time, but it would be nice if you can do a short comparison between the versions on the other platforms. Like for instance, at the end of a review before the conclusion (or in it) you could have a short comparison section, for example "The game ran better on X platform and also had better graphics, but the motion controls on the Wii/PS3 worked really well". That kind of thing. I don't think that would mean that you have to play the other platforms for too long before you get an idea of how it compares, so shouldn't add much to the review time.
That's actually quite difficult, because most of the time Joe only gets one version of a game.

Not only that, but 9 times out of 10, you could guarantee that the Xbox & PS3 versions will be virtually identical, the Wii version (if it exists) will have poorer graphics and a different control method, and the PC version (if and when it turns up) will look similar to the Xbox/PS3 versions but play like a dumbed-down PC game.

Having said that, watch this space, there should be a comparison review coming soon :D
Firehed 5th March 2008, 14:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
I can't honestly give you an answer because I only see the site from the forums.

From that perspective the tagging system is still a PITA.
I'm generally the same way, though I've become partial to the tagging. Well, I'm not sure partial is the right word, but close enough.

However - between general thoughts and tips I've learned working for a CMS comapny...

Search is kind of iffy. I'm able to turn up the build your own server article, but a lot of mods and such can be tricky to find. Maybe filtering and sorting search results? I don't use it that often, but like so many sites, I'll often end up just doing my classic "go search term site:bit-tech.net" (I've got 'go' bound as a google quicksearch :D)

The subscriptions in the forums where you sign up when you post still doesn't work, last I checked. Only if you go back and manually subscribe - and it selects no subscription by default in the dropdown list. Huh? I've pointed this out a couple times, but it seems to slip by.

What Veles was saying about finding articles... (one of our big selling points we've been pushing) taxonomy. Build out your taxonomy structure behind the scenes, then tag articles into it with a one-to-many relationship. So your root level of it would be the same few categories you have now, and then within each of those you can drill down into something more specific (Hardware > Motherboards > Brand > ASUS, HW>MB>For>Intel CPU, HW>MB>Chipset>865P etc). I doubt my boss would really appreciate me posting screenshots straight into the forum (not because it's a trade secret or anything, but given that I'm in sales, I think they'd rather you buy our software...) but PM me if you want more ideas on how its used, implementation, or whatever.

The good news is that it's actually a relatively simple change as far as site structure goes (two tables in the DB: taxonomy [id, name, parent] and articles_to_taxonomy[article_id, taxonomy_id]). The worst part is cataloging all of your existing articles.


Perhaps integrating in the monthly contests a bit better. Mod of the Month always felt rather awkwardly done, and POTM is of course done offsite courtesy of Nath.

I'll post more as I think of it :)

ninjaedit - iPhone-friendlier version, especially in the forums. You'll get mixed reactions on that of course, but while navigation of the main site is okay, it can get a bit slow over EDGE. vBulletin has too many tiny navigation-related things which is fine on a big screen but even fully zoomed in sucks on the iPhone. Like the page selector, etc. TONS of useless javascript is in there to address features that probably nobody uses. I only found out by accident yesterday that there's a "jump to page" hidden under that arrow on the page navigion thing, and I've been on vB forums for the best part of a decade at this point. And the calendar link... has anyone ever used that? It could use a bit of trimming :/
Jamie 5th March 2008, 15:32 Quote
We already have the taxonomy working in the CMS, we've just not put it through to the site yet.

Mobile versions is something I want to do but it needs some thought in to how best to implement it.

I'm not going to enable subscribe by default on posting, the option to subscribe when posting should work now.
Veles 5th March 2008, 16:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
I'm not going to enable subscribe by default on posting

;););)

That's the main thing that annoys me about the other site, even though I turned it off I still get an inbox full of emails every now and again.
Bluephoenix 5th March 2008, 16:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrilthefish
One thing id like to see is having a slightly more mobile friendly front page, or a separate lightweight version, maybe http://www.bit-tech.net/mobile/ or something.

I often check Bit-Tech on my PDA (HTC kaizer) and the front page makes the browser cry

I agree wholeheartedly.

if you have the opportunity, maybe you could make a lynx-freindly version for those of us who love our CLI. :D
lewchenko 5th March 2008, 17:00 Quote
Things to change / improve on :

1. More interviews with people inside the industry - especially development leads of key games. Hell I would love to read an interview with Gabe or Mark Rein or Chris Taylor with questions submitted by readers. Dont know if you could make that happen, but it would be a visitor magnet.

2. How about analysis about online gaming popularity (eg. stats discussions, new trends, historical compare etc)

3. Comparative analysis. Reviewing one product is good, but getting 2 similar products for a shoot out is better. We all like competition afer all.

4. Every now and again, review a great MOD for a game. Think outside the box and maybe review a PS3 mod for UT3 for example.

5. Review a console game (hey ARSTechnica do all the time), but compare the 360 vs PS3 vs Wii versions directly with screen shots as well. We all love a good fisticuff fight.

6. Have a readers vote - best game in each genre. Run it twice a year or something, with some well written analysis.

7. Love the columns... more of them, with more 'out of the box' thinking.

Otherwise... keep up the good work. :-)
Hiren 5th March 2008, 17:06 Quote
The content feedback is great and all, but the focus of this thread is for site developement and the way things are structured.
Krikkit 5th March 2008, 17:14 Quote
Something came to me earlier, and although it's undoubtedly been aired in this thread already, but an article search would be tremendous. :D

Nothing too fancy, just an article title keyword search would be perfect.
JThrockmorton206 5th March 2008, 17:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
The main thing for me is an inability to view past articles/reviews/whatever through anything other than browsing through everything, or searching. An index or contents or something is a must I think. Bit's favourite mouse? I hate to think how much reading and searching that would require, and it seems a pretty fundamental part of the website.

I think I mentioned before, but as a daily read Bit-Tech is great, but as a reference site it's pretty poor.

I 100% agree about browsing older articles, I have a number of articles bookmarked in case I want to reference them in the future just because I know how much of a pain it is to find previous articles.

Also more modding and hardware. While I am much more of a gamer than modder, it seems to me that ever since the games section has been given more attention, it has taken over much of the other sections. I really enjoy the tutorials when they show up Its always nice to see a watercooling 101 or a how to Linux article.
TGImages 5th March 2008, 17:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
IMO, I think what would really help, is a database of articles accessible by users....the main problem with the main site is once an article is dropped off the front of the site it can be difficult to find. .

This is the only short coming of the site that I too have experienced. Many times I want to send someone to an article here as I remember reading it a year ago... but finding it usually is quite frustrating. Really, just any easy method to access older content would be much appreciated.
airchie 5th March 2008, 18:13 Quote
One thing that might make the tagging more useful would be the ability to do multiple tags.

Iie, I just posted a question about laptop gfx cards.
Should it be tagged, "laptop", "graphics", "Question" or all of the above? :)
Thacrudd 5th March 2008, 18:18 Quote
So very true about the database of articles and reviews of hardware. How many times in the forums do you see "which is better?" or which one should I get?" (which I, too, am very guilty of)

Otherwise, I'd like to see some more reviews on the front page about software. I mean applications and utilities because I feel it is something that isn't touched on all too much. What's good for music? pictures/art? organization?

I know there is a spot in the forums for a case gallery, but what about a straight up, no comment, case gallery. Either users can submit to you or you pickj them out yourself. There is some great work on this site and I feel that they don't get the recognition they deserve by finding them in the forums alone.

I rely on you guys mostly for my reviews and opinions of thing because, quite frankly, you guys know what you are talking about and you make a real effort to please and help the members out, and it shows 110%.
Veles 5th March 2008, 18:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by airchie
One thing that might make the tagging more useful would be the ability to do multiple tags.

Iie, I just posted a question about laptop gfx cards.
Should it be tagged, "laptop", "graphics", "Question" or all of the above? :)

Although not really about the main site I do think this is a really good idea
Flibblebot 5th March 2008, 19:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thacrudd
...Otherwise, I'd like to see some more reviews on the front page about software. I mean applications and utilities because I feel it is something that isn't touched on all too much. What's good for music? pictures/art? organization?
...
This would be quite difficult - mainly because once you get below first tier software (such as Photoshop, Office, AutoCAD etc) there's such a huge selection to choose from, especially once you include all the freeware offerings too.

There are also problems of testing methodology - there are fairly standard ways to test hardware, there's even a fairly standard way to test a game (even if it is just "is this fun to play?"), but you'd have to come up with a standard test for each type of software. And that's just a pain to do.

Someone from bit might correct me on this, but that's my initial thoughts. Not to say that it couldn't happen, just that it's difficult to keep the results standardised in some way.
BioSniper 5th March 2008, 19:51 Quote
annnnd.. done :)

Also, can I be cheeky and suggest that we maybe get a few more apple related reviews too (I know there are loads of places that already cover this kinda stuff but I prefer to just go to bit tbh, its been my home page since 2002 :P)? I know it moves away from the spirit of bit but its something to put out there at any rate.
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