The time is almost upon us as we near the official release of our redesign. We're now ready to share the redesign with all of you in the hopes that you can help us in identifying the remaining issues before we officially go live and change the site over.
We're doing a very soft launch of this redesign. In September we provided the mod authors with access to the new site to receive their feedback and bug hunting help and a few weeks ago we provided the link to the new redesign in our forums and on the SkyrimMods subreddit. I want to thank all the users who have helped us in identifying and fixing issues during this process. It's been an extremely useful time for us as we've managed to push 88 fixes to the site as a result of the bug reports you've given us (according to our GitHub page).
When we first started this redesign process two years ago the point was to provide us with a much better platform from which we can improve the site and offer new functionality in the future. We're very happy with what we're launching with, but we've got a lot more work to do moving forward both with the UI and UX as well as the backend code. We need to do this launch now so we can stress test our code and move forward. It's now time to increase the traffic on our redesign site so we can stress test our code and increase the number of people in the hopes we can find and fix the remaining bugs.
Right now, for the initial launch, we're only interested in ensuring we're providing the same or similar functionality as the current site. You will find we've added some minor changes and updates in functionality we think might help you while browsing the site, but what we're mainly interested in right now is in comparing the functionality on the old site to the functionality on the new site and ensuring it works as well as or better than it did before. Similarly, we want to make sure we have not missed any functionality out that is currently available on Nexus Mods. These are the two main things we'd like to know most about and what will help us.
Naturally this redesign is a massive change from the current design and it's going to take some getting used to. The last time we changed the design in such a massive way was all the way back in 2011. I'm pretty used to the sort of feedback we receive during these times -- lots of people take to the site comments instantly to express their disgust and vent their frustration, phrases like "why did you try and fix something that isn't broken" gets thrown around a lot. I ask that you stay calm, relax, use the site over the next couple of weeks, get used to it. Things have moved, things have changed and I understand this can be frustrating, but stick with it. You'll learn the new site soon enough. If you feel you have something particularly negative or disparaging to say then do me a favour and hold off for a little while, give it some time, and if you still feel the same after a few weeks then by all means, share your constructive criticism.
Some things of note before you click the link to the new design:
- The redesign site is using live data. As such, any edits, changes, uploads or literally anything you do will be live on the main site at nexusmods.com as well as on the redesign site. Basically -- don't change anything unless you want your changes to be live on Nexus Mods for everyone to see.
- Once again...The redesign site is using live data! This also means that you can officially use the redesign site from this point on if you so wish. Personally, I'd recommend you move over to using the redesign site permanently now (unless there are major issues) so you can get a headstart on getting used to it.
- Anything you can do on the current site you should be able to do on the new site. If there's something missing or not working right, we really need to know about it. Please let us know!
We are using GitHub to maintain a bug and issue tracker. If you'd like to help us out by reporting issues then you will need a GitHub account (very easy to make). Apologies for the extra off-site process but there was no point building a custom solution, which would have taken a long time, when other services are readily available that did what we needed. You'll be able to see issues that other users have posted already and comment on them if needed. The bug tracker can always be accessed by clicking the "Report Bug" link on the bottom of your window when browsing the site.
Please only use GitHub to report bugs or inform us of missing functionality compared to the current site. Please don't use it to ask for new features or things that don't exist on the current site. We'll try and keep the issue tracker as clean as possible, so some issues may be removed if they are not relevant to the redesign at this time. Thank you for your understanding.
Our timeline moving forward is to wait a few days to see how many people are accessing the new design site and using it. Hopefully there will be a good uptake of users who browse on the new site so we can squash any remaining bugs and stress test our new code on the servers. We'll likely make it even more obvious with a banner on the site or similar to notify as many people as possible.
Over the next few weeks we will assess how much traffic the redesign site is getting and the bugs we're receiving. If we think we've had enough testing data and we've cleared our bug backlog we will then switch the sites around; nexusmods.com will point to the new redesign and you will be able to switch back to the old design temporarily during this period. We will then monitor this as another testing phase and, once we're happy with how things have progressed, we will finally turn off the old design completely and everyone will be forced on to the new design. At this point the old design will not be coming back and will not be usable ever again. Hence why it makes sense for you to try and use the new design as much as possible so you get used to it sooner rather than later.
A note on the UI, UX and overall look. When we started this process we worked with a professional designer to create the initial mockups because we didn't have a full-time designer ourselves. The designer we worked with was great, but naturally as we didn't have him full-time and our work on the code took way longer than initially anticipated, it meant that he could only go so far. As such, the current design on the new site is, I'd say, 75% the designer's, following good UI/UX principles and 25% ours, without expert supervision (and likely lacking good UI/UX principles). We've had to change or add functionality that was missed in the original mockups that was not done by a UI/UX professional and as such, we're aware there are some areas of the site that, already, could do with the touch of an expert. Thankfully, our very own UI and UX designer has begun working from our office now. Her initial focus is going to be solely on Vortex, the mod manager to replace NMM. I can tell you right now, I'm extremely excited about her work from what I've seen so far and I think she's going to do great things for both Vortex and the Nexus Mods sites.
Once we're happy with Vortex she will move her focus on to the sites. I tell you this for two reasons. To inform you we're aware there are a few UI/UX issues with the redesign at this time, and to let you know that it will be resolved to an expert level at some point in the not too distant future. We won't be making any changes to the design until she is able to give it her full attention in a couple of month's time and, while we know some of you are budding UI and UX people yourselves and love to share your feedback with us, we'll obviously not be touching anything major until our own expert is ready.
I'm sure that, when she comes around to looking at it, she will appreciate feedback on the topic and we'll likely be asking for input soon enough.
Thank you for any help you can provide, even if it's browsing the site and finding nothing.
PS. We will provide an update on Vortex and provide a timeline for Vortex moving forward in the next week or so. Please don't ask us about it in this post!