Col_Needham's profile
Employee

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

Fri, Nov 3, 2017 12:16 AM

Ongoing changes to several IMDb features

As you may have noticed, there have been many changes to IMDb in recent months, and many more are in progress now with planned delivery over the coming weeks.

One of IMDb’s top focus areas for 2017 has been to replace the remaining parts of our old software systems with more modern maintainable versions, enabling us to accelerate product development and therefore deliver new features / searches / content to you. In the process, we are continuing to make customer experience improvements, feature simplifications to improve usability, and identifying opportunities to bring consistency across our desktop / mobile platforms.  The ultimate aim is to serve all our customers better and to continue to grow the IMDb content and services in 2018 and beyond.  Once complete, the new system will enable us to more easily address any remaining longstanding bugs as well as faster fix any new ones which may emerge.  An example of visible change as part of this process is the new Parents Guide (for example Blade Runner 2049 (2017)) which moved off the problematic swiki system where only a small number of people could make edits and over to a managed data type.

Some of the features on IMDb are more than a decade old and as part of upgrading the backend technology, we are making a combination of interface refreshes, feature simplification, consolidations and deprecations. These decisions are not made lightly and are driven by a myriad of data metrics; however, we’ve built a very passionate customer base over our 27 years and we have seen some deprecations cause customer confusion/frustration. This is not our goal, but we know we cannot continue to deliver the site and features our users deserve and we aspire without making these changes. 

As a heads up, there will be more changes in the upcoming weeks. We will announce the most impactful changes in the Announcements section of Get Satisfaction. For changes with lesser impact, our team will monitor Get Satisfaction immediately following the change to provide helpful guidance to users. 

Thanks,

Col Needham
Founder & CEO, IMDb.com

Responses

319 Messages

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7.1K Points

4 y ago

Here's an idea: Why not ask IMDb users what kinds of changes they'd prefer before making changes? Like, put up some polls to see what people would be opposed to or supportive of.

It's pretty much a unanimous feeling from the community, it seems to me, that the site is becoming increasingly frustrating to use.

Just an idea.

2.4K Messages

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81.1K Points

@Sparse : let's be fair, Col Needham has announced several weeks ago that there is a extreme need to change the system, which is becoming technically obsolete, and make it consistent, in order to propose new and enhanced services.

I am just baffled that, with the background of Amazon expertise, services and technical framework, this change is so poorly managed. IMDB should have undertaken the technical migration to make it as transparent as possible, proposing "as is" functions, then evolve by proposing improvements. Consulting users, who provide the raw material making the IMDb valuable, would have made sense.

Now, I am so disappointed to witness the ruining of such an image.

7.9K Messages

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181.1K Points

Our site is a neglected stepchild, I'm afraid.

319 Messages

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7.1K Points

I know there's a need to change the system, and I didn't mean to imply that they shouldn't have tried. But before removing essential features with the updated versions, it would have been nice if they asked people.

It's still a work-in-progress though. Things are being fixed little by little. I'll be patient.

20 Messages

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998 Points

4 y ago

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Some of these layout changes are actually reducing functionality -- not enhancing....

These recent changes to IMDb's interface are truly puzzling. When viewing user reviews now, I can only sort them by "helpfulness" -- but what will become of newly written reviews? If I were to write a review of a film that came out, say, one month ago, it would surely never been seen by anyone, let alone read, because it would be buried beneath hundreds of other reviews! I also wonder why I can no longer view all episodes of a television series on the same page, in compact view. It was tremendously helpful to see them listed that way, as it made comparing ratings across seasons much more feasible. For a show like The Simpsons, which is nearing 30 seasons, I'd have to scroll through 30 independent lists now.

It's bewildering that a website like IMDb, one of the most-visited sites in the United States, could dare not only to stall, but to REGRESS in functionality, in a digital age like the one we currently inhabit. Even little things, like the removal of the availability of the filming dates of a movie, gnaw at me.......I mean if I can't find that information on IMDb, where else am I supposed to go for it? IMDb Pro is aimed at professionals -- I'm merely a cinephile. I really wonder how many more "updates" I can stand. It'd be one thing if I were simply being difficult about adjusting to a new layout. But this is an actual LOSS of faculties, making the website HARDER to use.

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

4 y ago

The next advantage from the new system launched earlier this week -- list editing has finally been added to the IMDb Android app, please see https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/imdb-android-lists-update (which was a very popular request)

7.9K Messages

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181.1K Points

Yes, it is a very popular request from people who have not proved their worth. Pft!

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

2 Messages

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196 Points

4 y ago

I'm hoping you'll add a profile view to the app version similar to the website.

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

28 Messages

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1.9K Points

Hi Col, when you try to edit lists, you can't swap them around as you used to be able to, to see where certain items looked in certain places, whether you wanted to keep them there or change them again.  Now you can only type in what number position you want an item to be moved to, and this only actually happens, actually moves to that position after you press edit (twice for me), so you can't see what your changes will look like mid-edit.  A lot of features on the old system have thankfully been reinstated, please consider this one too, it will make editing lists so much easier.

7.9K Messages

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181.1K Points

4 y ago

For those of you who are unaware, a lot of the changes that have been made, are being made or will be made (which have adversely impacted desktop customers and bulk data customers) are for the purposes of bringing more features to mobile customers particularly ones using the previously relatively barren IMDb app. They had been begging for and demanding the ability to submit reviews and create lists for years, but still have not thanked the IMDb company for caving in to their pestering. Why do these 100 millions of people matter so much? What's going is a bunch of populist hogwash!

6 Messages

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350 Points

I'm a mobile user, and have had absolutely no problem using imdb got anything, including submitting reviews. In fact I use the desktop version on my phone, because it's just more user-friendly. So don't make any changes for me, imdb.

7.9K Messages

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181.1K Points

Morgan Sage, even so, there is a difference between the kind of mobile user who accesses the website through web browser on a smartphone and the kind of mobile user who accesses everything through IMDb "app", as it were. In some ways, the matter has nothing to do with mobility of a device. The same problems would exist if the IMDb app was available on Roku or video game consoles. You're fine, in other words, if you're not relying upon that silly little company-provided app. What they seem to be doing is reducing everything to conform to the limitations of the utility-specific app. Anything that it will not be able to do, the website might also not be able to do. That's what I'm afraid of, to articulate the situation more concisely.

4 Messages

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440 Points

Horrible idea. Why shouldn't you be able to list the user reviews by date, like and dislike? With divisive movies with highly motivated haters (e.g. Star Wars the Last Jedi) you will only get to see the hate comments. Why are you doing this? I thought this website was for movie lovers, not for movie haters. Shame on you!

Champion

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5.6K Messages

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254.2K Points

3 y ago

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Keeping track of the changes to IMDb features.

As we have seen, there have been a number of changes to IMDb features and functions, and presumably more are coming.

Would the staff be willing to post a page that will list the features and functions that have been removed, and explain the future status of those items -- that is, whether they are (a) going to be brought back, (b) going to be brought back but with some significant changes, (c) under consideration to be brought back, or (d) not going to be brought back at all? 

This page could be posted in the Contributor Zone and would be helpful in enabling IMDb users and contributors to know what is going on. 

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

Thanks for this. We will post a reply in a moment and tag it as an official response. 

10 Messages

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310 Points

3 y ago

On top of everything else, it appears the "find two people working together" function has also disappeared. Or is it hiding somewhere?

Add my name to the list of those who are unhappy with these changes.

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

This is located at http://www.imdb.com/search/common

You can reach this via the advanced search page at http://www.imdb.com/search/ which in turn can be accessed from the search menu at the top of any IMDb page (see red highlight below):


10 Messages

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310 Points

Thank you, kind sir!

2 Messages

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140 Points

3 y ago

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled What has happened to IMDb??!!!!.

I log on after inactive for a few months and I am shocked by all the downgrades and loss of features. What gives IMDb?? This use to be the best site.

4.6K Messages

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137.6K Points

I log on after inactive for a few months
and I am shocked by all the downgrades and loss of features.
What gives IMDb?? This use to be the best site

by rob

Joined on December 27, 2017

- - -


There are more Announcements of recent Updates in this Announcements section

Not many Users like the changes


Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

Not many Users like the changes
Like all changes, the people most motivated to comment are those who are having the most trouble adjusting to the change or those people who have not yet spotted what is on the short-term bug fix lists.  You know this yourself from observing pretty much every redesign we have ever launched -- funny how "worst change ever" in 2007 becomes a "perfect design" by 2010 -- change is always hard. Please note many of the perceived negative comments are justified constructive criticisms which we are reading, recording and acting upon where appropriate, whether short or long term. Unfortunately we cannot do much with "yeah, everything now sucks" or "just put it all back" type comments (and surely people would not want all the bugs back too :-).  

The numbers we are watching here are all showing improved customer engagement, with even more potential as things like review sort orders and ratings filtering are added back in the New Year.  We now have: a consistent design across all core pages on the web site; list editing on the Android app; all user reviews readable everywhere; consistent (and automatic) character pages; news available everywhere; all data published  everywhere as it is processed and available for instant editing (not random sections running 24-36 hours out-of-sync); an easier data cross-linking format; a better help system; a faster suggestion search powered contribution system; more visible core box office information; more modern list editing (okay yes, drag-and-drop on web is an unfortunate casualty, but the rest is better IMHO); the end of the unmanaged wiki systems (open for all contributors, with FAQ coming soon). This had led to new registrations at an all-time high across 2017; data contributors and data contributions similarly on all-time highs, yet (ignoring temporary holiday backlogs this week) the fastest ever overall processing times plus with the smallest ever backlogs.  Behind-the-scenes almost everything is now on the same modern software platform with simpler, faster paths for future changes; hundreds of (sometimes) years old bugs have been resolved; scores of longstanding requests / suggestions have been implemented; consistency has improved hugely between the nine "on platform" sites and apps which our team directly supports (with more work to do here in 2018).

Of course, not everything today is perfect nor in its desired end state. As mentioned, we had to make some awful short-term trade-off decisions to ensure we completed the technology migration in 2017, but we are confident the short term pain is worth the long term gain. 

Sonny: "Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end." from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1412386/quotes/qt1645298 :-)

233 Messages

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17.4K Points

@Col Needham; Reading your post makes me a little more optimistic for IMDb in 2018. I'm sure the changes you've rushed out now are great news for your team, but as a user I really can't buy things like "and surely people would not want all the bugs back too", as a matter of fact I can't remember the site ever having as many visible bugs as it does right now. We want our old, faster, less buggy IMDb experience back.... That shouldn't be hard to understand. Rushing out not thoroughly tested new solutions is never a good idea, and does not make you look good or professional, regardless of motivations or long-term intentions.

funny how "worst change ever" in 2007 becomes a "perfect design" by 2010 
Isn't it also funny how the 2007 complaints died out relatively quick, yet now nearly 8 years after the 2010 change, people are still complaining about that? Maybe the 2007 design wasn't perfect, I don't remember the design before it too well, but compared to the 2010 design even a Notepad (from Windows) simple text document of a movie's information looks nearly perfect. As such, I really, REALLY hope that now that you've achieved your dreams of unifying all platforms into a single software (which I'm not really sure is as good an idea as you think, but that's a different discussion), that a new and actually better design is in your plans. Considering you're still on a much-hated and complained about 8 year old (a lot in the computer world) design, it is really well overdue! And when doing so, please take all complaints and suggestions (which as I read them are mostly disguised complaints) into consideration, as well as trying to understand why so many users, pretty much all who actually care enough to comment, preferred all previous designs to the 2010 design.

65 Messages

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2.7K Points

I second that as well. Look, I can understand that you wanted a new "backbone" and an interface that looks everywhere the same but from a contributors point of view this new design is just... strange (and I'm saying that as somebody who has been contributing for almost 20 years and remembers the fist design). It is non-intuitive (why are the selections like trivia on the right) and shows topics by default that should be in the background (like the entire "Did you know" section or plot summary at the bottom). By changing line spacing, pages for larger films are now so much longer. And due to bad formatting, only about 40% of the screen is used to display information (look at any movie, scroll down, after "Share this page").
I really hope that you will start making changes ASAP. The contributors view does not necessarily need to be pretty - it needs to be functional.

4.5K Messages

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130.4K Points

I'm not sure that the number of new registrations should be the indicator of the website's growing success... but on an economical level, it makes sens if it does.

I just miss the old IMDb, I used to be very active on the Daily Poll board, and I remember one poll by the end of the day could garner something between 17.000 and 20.000 votes, the lower on the page it got, the less votes it had, but it still managed to make something between 11.000 and 13.000.

Now, you have one lucky poll among many dozens that gets on the frontpage but it is at the extreme bottom with at least 20 sections before you get to it, making 20.000 votes in one week, while the other polls are lucky if they get 300 votes at the end of the day, so I don't know if IMDb has more users but they sure care less about the polls (or the polls lack so much visibility they're almost useless)

I could do without the polls but the reviews' changes were hard to accept, I trust there will be positive changes in 2018, but I'll never consider 2017 to be IMDb's finest hour, the removal of the message boards was like a "beginning of the end" to me.

2.4K Messages

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81.1K Points

3 y ago

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled IMDb updates.

I do not say I support all the changes, but do you offer any slightest evidence that these changes are universally despised?
Come on, it is only a website! And 95% of the former information is still/already available, and the rest will come soon, as promised by Col Needham.

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: All the recent changes to the site.

6 Messages

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524 Points

3 y ago

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled New changes to IMDb.com are horrible.

There are numerous problems with the new changes that have taken place to IMDb over the past month or so.  The biggest issue is that the pages won't load at all, I constant either have to reload the page numerous times or I have to press the back arrow then forward arrow in order to actually see the page I want, be it a movie or a TV show or a person's page.

Other issues I have with the site:
Sometimes when clicking on a person's Awards section, I can't click on the year of their award to see the details of that award.  For example, if I click on James Cameron's Awards page, it will show "Oscars, 1998 Titanic"  I used to be able to click on the 1998 year listed in order to see the info of those Oscars, but now I can't anymore.

I hate that a User Review Comment doesn't appear at the bottom of a Movie/TV show anymore.

A lot of browsing options have been removed from the TV show section (such as Episode Cast, or including the number of seasons on the main page)

I hate that a person's filmography doesn't include the number of their listings anymore.  For example, someone like Christopher Lee had #280 credits, but rather than listing them in order by number where it's easier to search through, now the numbers don't appear anymore.

Overall, pretty much all the updates to the website have not improved the site, it has made it worse.  And believe me, I'm not the only one who hates these changes, numerous people I have talked with who are also frequent users of the site hate the changes.  I know my complaining won't make any difference, but I just needed to vent and let you know that I am not pleased at all.

Champion

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4.1K Messages

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108.6K Points

@Jeff Beachnau
I'm not having a problem with pages loading. What browser/platform are you running? I'm on Windows 10 and Chromebook, usually with Chrome, sometimes with Firefox (on Windows).

When I follow your James Cameron > Awards > Oscars 1998 directions, I'm able to get to the Oscars page with no problem. Are you running some new userscript or extension that maybe interfering with links/loading?

I'm not sure what you mean by a User Review Comment. Is that something in addition to a User Review? I remember that we were NOT able to comment on Reviews before, as we can at Amazon. Are you running Reference View, because 1 User Review still appears at the bottom of a "regular view" Title page? On Reference View, there's a link to Reviews in the second chunk of info, right before the Photos/Videos section. (Also a link to User Reviews at the top of a "regular view" page.)

I don't use the TV episode stuff much, so I can't comment about that. But the main series page still shows the most recent 3 seasons/years in Reference view (seasons right under the poster, and years off to the right), and all seasons/years in "regular view". (I checked on Friends.)

On a person's filmography, I don't remember the titles being numbered, although I do remember the character filmographies being numbered. You still get numbers when you use the Filmography choices under Explore More (right column), which I use a lot because you can Refine & Sort.

Don't get me wrong, I have my own list of grievances about the changes to the site, especially since Dec 6. But some of what you list here is not what I see. So perhaps you have a technical issue that can be resolved.

6 Messages

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524 Points

well, I used Windows 10 as well, and I still used the old IMDb format until this recent forced changed, so maybe I've been using an old format of IMDb for a while.  Though when searching on my phone, it's sometimes forced to search on the IMDb app (which I'm not a fan of, that's where a lot of the issues take place, such as the Awards complaint I made).

And yet, both on my computer and especially on my phone, I have issues loading the pages (and no, i don't have issues on other sites, so it's not my internet acting slow).

What I mean with the User Review, is that before these changes, when you looked up a film, on the main page, under the cast list, there would be one of the User Reviews listed at the bottom of the page.  I know on the side of the page you can click on User Reviews to read them all, but it was helpful to have a quick review to get an idea how people reacted to the movie, rather than clicking on multiple things to get to the reviews.

Which reminds me, another problem I have with the changes, now on these film pages, it lists the entire full cast and crew on the main page, so you have to scroll down extremely far to get to the bottom of the page to even see what country the film takes place or what language it is in (which is helpful when searching for foreign films).  Compared to before when you would click on "Full cast and crew" in order to get the endless list of names and positions.

7.9K Messages

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181.1K Points

That's the new Title Reference View, by the way.

Champion

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4.1K Messages

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108.6K Points

@Jeff Beachnau
So you answered some of my questions, but not which browser, and whether you have extensions/add-ons running. They could be in conflict with something the IMDb pages are doing, and causing your slow response time. (I have some running, but see no slowness).

And you introduced a new wrinkle: the Awards problems you are having is on an App. Which one: Android or iOS? If you want IMDb staff to fix things that are broken, you need to be specific.

The new Reference View is supposedly designed for Contributors who want to see the whole cast/crew in 1 shot.  Over on the thread Updates to Title Reference View you can see some explanations of what they had in mind. Just search for Official responses.

Given that they lengthened the Cast/crew stuff, scrolling down to the bottom of the page to read 1 review doesn't sound as good as clicking a link at the top of the page to me. But I use the standard view, which DOES have that lone review, and I frequently scroll to it. 

If you don't like the App, why not uninstall it, so the browser on your phone doesn't have the option to go there? And I suggest you try the standard view. There's a link at the top of every Title page to "Change View", which takes you to your Site Settings. Just uncheck the dot for reference view, and see how you like it. You can add titles to lists and see the short cast list in the standard view.

233 Messages

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17.4K Points

@bderoes; the person filmography numbers were part of the Name Reference View, and was indeed a very neat, and simple, feature, which I really hope they'll bring back in a future name view. The "Explore More" option you mention is not a poor "replacement", requiring a lot more clicks to refine a list down to specific job types (also needing to unselect one type to watch the next), and even in Compact view taking up a lot more space, not to mention being split up over several pages, than it used to.

@Jeff Beachnau; it seems you're using the Title Reference View, which does show entire cast and crew. IMDb decided that people didn't want to have options like showing or not showing the ENTIRE cast and crew on the reference view page, so they combined the two reference views we had before into a new one, also re-arranging useful fields that used to be at the top to the bottom, etc, which is what you're seeing. If you want to see the movie page without the entire cast and crew you must go to the default view, by clicking the "change view" link just below the title field.

4.6K Messages

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137.6K Points

Which reminds me,
another problem I have with the changes,
now on these film pages,
it lists the entire full cast and crew on the main page,
by Jeff Beachnau
- - -

That's the new Title Reference View, by the way.
by Jeorj Euler
= = =

Around the World in 80 Days  (1956)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048960/reference  ON
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048960/  OFF

You can turn that OFF here

Site Preferences
https://www.imdb.com/preferences/general

Contributors
[X] Show reference view with full cast and crew (advanced view)   ON
[_] Show reference view with full cast and crew (advanced view)  OFF



6 Messages

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524 Points

Thanks for letting me know about the Reference View, that did fix a couple issues, but I'm still having trouble with the site loading.  I guess I'll have to try work my way around it.  Anyway, overall, I really liked the old format much better.

Oh well.