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

5 Messages

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390 Points

3 y ago

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

you are really dedicated to completely destroy IMDb!!! whay are you putting the site in the hands of incompetent developers? the site was perfect a few months ago, and since the end of the movie discussions that you have been slowly destroying the site day after day. what's the idea? are you planing to close IMDb?

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Updates to List Pages.

7.9K Messages

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181.1K Points

Maybe the developers feel underappreciated, and companies like Facebook and Google are all too happy to "steal" them. I don't know. There is no telling what goes on behind the scenes.

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

What's happening behind-the-scenes is we are celebrating the end of a huge successful software migration project.  Hundreds of flaky old unmaintainable systems have been replaced with a modern, smaller, simpler, more consistent platform which can be maintained and extended more quickly.  Hundreds of difficult-to-fix customer facing bugs have been eliminated; scores of new features have been added already  -- we have more content more consistently available and editable in more interfaces than ever before. Millions of lines of up to 17 year old code has been eliminated in under a year.  We are proud of what we have achieved to make IMDb better, faster and more scalable for the future.

We are now working our way through some of the more painful cuts to restore lost important functionality at a faster pace. Keep watching the announcement threads for progress at https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb?topic-list[settings][type]=update 

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

Sorry, we have to do our best to balance the needs of different customer sets.  You may find the mobile site at http://m.imdb.com/ more suitable to your needs and it works fine on a desktop browser. 

Alternatively please see "Title Reference View" on https://www.imdb.com/preferences/general (also see https://help.imdb.com/article/imdb/general-information/site-preferences/GDL9NWJRKWRH5L6K)

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

We have already surveyed the customer set for reference view and they are happy with it, sorry. 

We are sorry you do not like the new design. If there are specific ideas for changes which you would like to see, you are welcome to post on the relevant idea threads or start fresh ideas at https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/categories/imdb_imdbcom?topic-list[settings][type]=idea so other people can comment and vote.  Please note that returning to a 2007 design is not a viable option, and neither are changes to reference view which violate the principles under which it was designed (this is a data-centric view for top contributors); anything else is fine to suggest. 

65 Messages

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2.7K Points

Happy with the new reference view... looking at this forum, that is a bold statement.
Which users did you ask and how did you ask them?

7.9K Messages

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181.1K Points

"The index on the right should have the features of the index on the left." And almost no feedback thus far, implying satisfaction with the new platform.

Employee

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142.5K Points

Which users did you ask and how did you ask them?
We started on Contributors Help; then here; then email to select top contributors; and then early previews of what we just built.  While there are still bugs which we are addressing, it's mostly a case of people getting used to: the new layout; the extra information; the lack of fatal flaws (like 404 on image upload); and speedy updates (vs. 24-36 hours behind) synchronized with the update system. What you see is what you get when you click "Edit page" 

233 Messages

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17.4K Points

We have already surveyed the customer set for reference view and they are happy with it, sorry. 
@Col; point of interest: did anyone in the customer set you're talking about actually use the old reference view? Wouldn't it be better to survey the actual users of the old reference view if they like the new one? It's not hard to do; the datas about who used and uses the reference view, along with their e-mail addresses, are all in your database, why don't you send US a survey e-mail? And send us the results when they are in. Then perhaps we'll believe you.

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

Okay but posts here are subject to https://contribute.imdb.com/charter

233 Messages

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17.4K Points

Yes, all were key users of the old reference view. 
(Col Needham, in a now deleted comment)
What, in your, opinion, constitutes a "key user" of the old reference view? It is already clear, from how your now calling it a "contributor view", in many places, rather than a "reference view", that your opinion of what the view "should" be, and what it actually was to a lot of users, are two very different things. I do believe that you've screened to a select group of users who sees it as you think it should be seen, rather than a representative group of users who used it for what it actually was: a better overall representation of movie data than the default view offered.

I also cannot remember seeing anyone (not affiliated with IMDb) come forward, in the abundance of negative and criticizing opinions posed on this site about the changes, saying that "hey, I was part of the test group screening and approving this", defending you from any of the - sometimes extremely - harsh things said about the changes.

Now, don't get me wrong; I've seen evidence of our ideas and criticism being heard and dealt with, and I'm confident that more will come into place as we go along. I deeply love the site, overall, and want it to be all that it can be, and will do what I can to help. I've shared ideas these last few weeks, and will share more going forward, and I choose to believe you when you say that things will get better. But; I do have issues with a company whose line it seems is to completely disregard how the majority of users used the reference view, saying to their face "this is not the view that is meant for you", and ignoring very honest and true opinions about how the new view is inferior to the old, not only visually, but also technically (for instance; you say it's faster, user reports suggest it is much, much slower). If the old reference view wasn't meant for them, why did they use it? And why do they complain when they are forced to use something else? I'm sure the answer to that does not lie with the "key users of the reference view" you actually did ask, and I'm also sure there are far more of them than there are of users who used it only for what you think it should be used... Your users aren't divided into just those who comes to watch trailers and read reviews (for which the standard view is good) and those who want to get a long page of pretty much all the data available for a movie to ease the process of contributing to the site (I pretty much belong here myself, though); there is also a large group of users who wants something in between - who found the previous reference view, without full cast and crew info, to be the best option in the past, but who now don't have any good view options available for them, and who are pretty much, and very sadly, ignored in their plea for a new, good view option.

Employee

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4.3K Messages

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142.5K Points

First, thanks for the thoughtful and constructive post. 
What, in your, opinion, constitutes a "key user" of the old reference view?
The key users of the reference view for us are IMDb's top data contributors who want (and we very happy to provide) a data-centric view of IMDb's content for every title.  The main features they told us they wanted are: all the data in the credits for swift checking of what is/is not already in IMDb;  enough extracts of other data to give a feel for what else is covered; the smallest possible set of what they consider as distractions from the rest of the data.  

I do believe that you've screened to a select group of users who sees it as you think it should be seen, rather than a representative group of users who used it for what it actually was: a better overall representation of movie data than the default view offered.
This is a fair point to some extent. IMDb covers the entertainment industry, generally visual media, and specifically movies, TV, video games and online video; along with the creators in every role who make such titles. Our opinion, supported by hard data from detailed traffic analysis & soft data from customer feedback through various forms, is that outside of reference view, IMDb consumer site pages should sparkle and shine with our passion for entertainment.  This means plenty of visuals via photos & videos, plus a focus around opinion, recommendations, customer reviews & ratings, news, lists, polls and engagement with other site content. We see this in our traffic -- we know what works and we know what does not work -- we are continuously testing new placements and feature tweaks, especially in those areas of the site not hampered by our now retired old technology (which now means everywhere). Anyone else posting opinions here is guessing based on their own personal usage of IMDb at worst, and at best, posting as a representative of overall a small subset of customers. I frequently endorse building things at IMDb which personally I would never use or do not even understand, yet if the data shows us otherwise then, of course, we should build them. It's only a piece of software so if it does not work as built, we can always enhance it later or remove it. Yes, or remove it -- a good design is just as much about the things it does not have than it is about the things which it does have.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is take something away -- be it permanent if there's no hope or be it temporary so you are more free to recreate it without the constraints of the previous version. The perfection can often lie in the simplicity. 

We accept every design is a compromise, especially when you are designing and building at the 250+ million monthly customers from pretty much every country in the world (and every interest level).  The one sure recipe for disaster is to try and please all people, all of the time, especially at this scale. We also accept all change is hard.  Simply rebuilding an identical copy of the 2007 design on 2018 software is, of course, theoretically possible but it abandons all hope of improvement for future customers. It also ignores the completely understandable knee-jerk reaction of hatred on initial reception; the 2007 design was not perfect, nor is the new reference view perfect and nor is the new standard view perfect.  All are simply the best reflection of what we could build at the time with the technology, people, and importantly, time available. 

My advice to anyone is to decide whether you are more suited to reference view or more suited to the standard view and then make constructive recommendations about the one you use, ideally via the Ideas category here and we will weigh them up with the other data and against other priorities. We are not going to fundamentally change the purpose of either view. Nobody is going to convince us to abandon either view; accept there are customers different from you, chose your option and work with us to make it the best it can be. Please also see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101669/quotes/qt0328172 

Anyway enough talk.  We would rather be judged on what we do than what we say. We remain true to https://contribute.imdb.com/charter always. We operate an open customer feedback platform here (with zero tolerance on trolling though). We have accumulated over 32,000 separate threads here on Get Satisfaction in just five years. You can see the problems solved.  You can see the ideas implemented.  You can see the potential in the future ideas. I am just the CEO and I have posted over 5,000 replies here;  I have filed hundreds of tickets for bug fixes which have been actioned (and, honestly, some where the data told us not to action them so we did not).  The whole drive for all these changes in this thread and the associated announcements at the end of 2017 is based on the frustrations of both ourselves and customers at IMDb not being able to move quickly enough. We drew a line in the sand.  We had to make some awful temporary compromises in functionality, but we are here and ready.  Could we go faster, yes, I remain frustrated at the lack of a magic wand to wave and reach the end point of where we want to go tomorrow, but that is life. As always:

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

7.9K Messages

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181.1K Points

The sentiments of the "top contributors" surveyed may have perhaps been misinterpreted or interpreted out of context, I think. I wish the same people would speak up, right now, right here. Apart from Vincent Fournols, they might be most displeased with the recent outcome, and he is not so pleased either really but somewhat optimistic.

2.4K Messages

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81.1K Points

Thanks for the spotlight! But I would not like being misinterpreted: I am not a top contributor, I have never used lists, I hardly miss the reviews. Actually I am much more concerned by IMDBb as a data repository, than a social, let alone a professional network, and I can adapt to layouts. I have also been working in IT for 20+ years, so I can easily figure what is at stake when such a infrastructure has to changed. And I consider that the change management here has been appalling. But I am rather satisfied with the outcome, and I trust Col Needham's assertion of upcoming improvements.

My biggest worry, by far, is the new proposed datasets with the https interface, which provide only a fragment of the former FTP interface (moreover, as shown in the proper thread, the title.principals.tsv file is absolutely useless).

This being said, I fully understand that some long time and involved users might prove disappointed by the current changes. They have to be heard, because the essence of IMDb is constribution, whatever Amazon thinks about it. But disappointment is no excuse for the contempt, or even insults, that have sparked the exchanges lately. Come on guys, it is only a website....

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181.1K Points

O, in that case, I apologize. All of the bulk data subscribers to speak up, and we, are unhappy with the loss of so many data sets. The responses to the changes to the Reference Views are a slightly varied, but for the most part, we are displeased.

2 Messages

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130 Points

I have for many years been a user of the imdb site. It have always been a great site for us movie interested people. But its auprising that you guys would remove the recently viewed feature. It have for me as for many other users been a key feature. Wich i miss. And before you respond about the list feature it does not cover the use recently viewed did. Lets say i wanna look for a movie i dont know wich movie. But i an remember one of the actors but they played in another film i know i have reasearched earlyer. I could before just follow the breadcrumbs left for me in the recently viewed list. I really miss this feature and i know i`m not alone. Hope you seriously would reconsider getting this feature back as it is a key function for your users. After all the users are your audience and should be listened to if you want to provide the best service you can?!?!

1 Message

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120 Points

3 y ago

I'd like to say thank you to Mr Needham & IMDB staff for bringing back "Prolific authors/reviewers & being able to sort reviews by user rating. I previously protested about it and I'm happy to get these features back. Just yesterday I watched a film which is generally praised by everyone and would have wanted to find some negative comments as well - to support my view of the film... today I noticed I can now sort by user rating again. Good.

There are still some small functionality/sorting issues which disappeared by past updates, at least not being able to sort by decades & genres on "Your ratings"-page... I guess that's possible using "advanced search" but that's a bit time consuming/hard to find for average user. 

I'm closing in on 5000 (film) ratings soon and I think most important feature of IMDB for me is being able to sort my ratings according to several categories. I use "Export" (to Excel file) function a lot.
IMDB offers me ability to keep track on films I've seen (rated), sort those films and read reviews (which I do mostly AFTER I have seen a film). Oh and of course checking film ratings to help me with my watchlist...

12 Messages

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234 Points

3 y ago

Supongo que el error de los 10000 títulos se va arreglar...
Tengo un gran proyecto de clase relacionado con ello, espero que sea antes de que termine

2K Messages

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64.1K Points

Helemaal mee eens, goed punt!

2.4K Messages

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81.1K Points

Je dirais même plus... :)