Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Smashwords Unveils Major Website Redesign

Smashwords today unveiled our first major website redesign since our launch in 2008.

We made hundreds of changes large and small.  We also made technical changes behind the scenes that will lay the groundwork for us to introduce many new tools and features for authors and readers alike in 2014. 

Among the highlights of the redesign:
  • The Smashwords home page – We doubled the number of books listed on the Smashwords home page from ten to 20, added 27 new book category filters to increase discoverability, added live stats for the number of books published and the number of free books, and organized the navigation elements around logical categories.
  • Responsive design – We adopted what’s called a “responsive design,” which among web designer circles refers to a design approach that optimizes the user’s experience across different browsers, devices and screen sizes.  View the site on your desktop computer and then resize your browser to see how every page’s content resizes and reorients as you make the width narrower or wider.
  • Dramatically enhanced mobile support – Our previous mobile version of the site was, to put it kindly, limited.  The new mobile experience – whether you’re accessing the site from a smart phone or tablet – is darn near beautiful.  Our improved mobile support is enabled by our responsive design.  It preserves user access to nearly all the same features you’d expect from a large browser on a desktop computer, making it easy for mobile users to browse and discover books without pining for a larger screen.
  • Redesigned book pages – The new book pages make it faster and easier for readers to discover, sample and purchase books.  The download links have been moved to the top section of the page to minimize scrolling.  New slider bars display book covers of other books in the same series, other books by the author, and other books by the publisher.
  • Updated Dashboard – The Dashboard features that once occupied the vertical left navigation column have now been moved into grids at the top of the page, organized under categorizes of Sales Reporting, Metadata Management and Marketing & Distribution Tools.
  • Updated Account Page – The Account tab has been reorganized around logical categories to give you quicker access to the controls you want.  The categories include About Me, Buying Books, Selling Books, Payments for Authors and Publishers, and Account Status.
  • Updated Library – We actually rolled this out a couple weeks ago but didn’t announce it.  The library is now faster, prettier and provides better support for power-users with hundreds of books.
Despite all the changes, we took special care to maintain the utility and familiarity of all the main features that our million+ monthly visitors have come to expect. 
 
Did I write “million+”?  Yes.  The Smashwords site receives millions of visits and over 10 million page views each month. 

Do you know writers who haven’t yet published at Smashwords?  If so, please let them know what they’re missing.

Special thanks to Case Talbot (the fine woman who also created Smashwords Interviews) on our engineering team who led this effort, as well as our design consultants Jami and Bryan at 2Wongs Studios, and Smashwords authors, customers and team members who contributed to this redesign.

Our work is not finished.  We view today’s refresh as the first of many iterative steps that will make it easier for our authors to publish, distribute and manage their books, and make it easier for readers to discover and enjoy them.  We look forward to your comments, suggestions and bug reports.

38 comments:

Jenny said...

Congratulations! It looks great and we have a couple of books to publish today, so looking forward to trying it all out.

Cheers
Jenny

Pat Dilloway said...

Meh. It's one of those "upgrades" that looks pretty but doesn't really add any additional functionality.

Scath said...

I DO like the redesign of the book listing pages, as well as the main dashboard's navigation being moved up top.

However, the home page simply looks like boxes were put around already existing elements, the noted increase in books that show, and that's it. Not much of a redesign for it in that regard. Still a lot of white (white is hell on the eyes during lengthy browsing).

The sales report page still has to be horizontally scrolled to look at everything, and my monitor resolution is 1920x1080. There really shouldn't be much I have to horizontally scroll (unless a site is designed to be navigated horizontally).

Shahid Amin said...

Congratulations.....for new look to site..
Dr Shahid Amin

EXCEL lence said...

Looks like it's built on bootstrap?

Good that the standard functions are still there though and the general route around hasn't massively changed.

Has the API been fixed now?

originaloflaura said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the site makeover! Thanks for updating the look and feel at last. It looks much prettier, and hopefully customers will agree.

Teds Ebooks said...

Congratulations on your new look for Smashwords. Posted update in the
Smashwords Forum.


Merry Christmas, everyone.

Greg Strandberg said...

2008? I thought it dated back to '97 :)

Looks good, took me a minute to find the blog. Like all new designs, probably take awhile to get used to but then people will like it.

StephenGoldin said...

In general it looks clean--but some things are missing. My interview, for instance, completely disappeared. And there's noplace at the top of the page to leave notes if we need to contact someone.

Marsha L. Randolph said...

I love it! Brighter more energetic. Of course there are a few things that I will have to get use to but This new look is more inviting.

Graham Downs said...

Pity the web viewer still sucks. I must admit though, it DOES look a lot better!!

Pete said...

Oh yes, much better. Brighter, clearer and more attractive. I can almost see the couches placed artfully amongst the virtual bookcases. Well done.

- Noel Chidwick

Connor said...

While it looks good, so did the old one and they both do the same exact thing. I just don't see the point, sorry.

michellelouring said...

I normally hate new designs with a passion because it takes me forever to figure out how to navigate, but it took almost no effort this time!
Also, it looks far more professional. I can only say it's approved from my side!

ConfessionOffaDateaholic said...

I love it!

Patricia Punchhelpers said...

It looks more "clean", however, I don't see many functionality changes.
I'd like to see some features and a better functionality
1 - Sign out: why is it at the bottom of the page? Common sense (for web design) says that "sign in" and "sign out" must be in the same place and menu (top right).
2 - First page: scroll down through 20 books in order to find the bottom bar? Not practical.
3 - Feature request: add coupons based on a book series, so we can promote "buy the entire series and get xx % off"
4 - Stats: better statistics, including demographic information, keywords, and numbers would help to improve our advertisement efforts and therefore, better sales. Also, as the current graphic stats are based on numbers, it would be nice to read the actual daily numbers.
5 - Uploading files: space for a brief comment to the Vetter (200 characters or less) in order to clarify a topic.
6 - Feature request: an authors' forum...

David Alastair Hayden said...

This is so so so much better! Thank you. I'm much more comfortable directing readers to a site that is modern in appearance. I think this could lead to a lot more sales on Smashwords. And the Dashboard is much easier to use. Responsive design is also appreciated. Thank you.

Karen Arrowood said...

I am feeling pretty dumb, but I do not see where to download a book that was gifted to me. I see the book in my library, but do not see any option to actually download it once I click on the download button. Not an improvement, as far as I can see.

What I would really like is a mobil app for Apple devices.

cdreimer said...

Since I have 50+ SHORT ebooks (i.e., short stories and essays) that are available on ten websites, I have 500+ web pages I need to periodically check. I've been working on a python script and PhantomJS to grab the screenshots of these web pages and present them in an HTML report.

Before the redesign, I got the full Smashwords page.

After the redesign, I got the mobile version of the Smashwords page informing me to widen my browser window to see more text.

Maybe I can change a setting on my end to get the full page. Maybe not. It's not a big deal as I keep close tabs on Smashwords.

Amanda said...

I was happily surpirsed when I went on the site today. From a glance I really like the changes! Thanks for always improving on the site and everything else you do for us authors! I am very appreciative.

Karen Stefaniak Trask said...

Can't say that I'm liking it all that much. It's like playing the 1960's game show, "Concentration", having to scroll over the black boxes to see what they contain (the graphics don't show!) and then hope that I remember what they are when I need them. I think someone needed to think things through a bit more,(log-in at the bottom, really?) but I guess it could always be worse. I love what you all do for us, so it was hard to be less than my positive self about this. Carry on, and thank you!

Jean Sheldon said...

I like it!

Kelly McClymer said...

Just went to upload my newest short story. Really like the new design. Very glad you're mobile friendly now -- so many read on their phones.

Annemarie Nikolaus said...

So, now nobody won't sign out anymore!
Because they don't find,where to got for it.
That's alle the improvement, I can see.

The new design looks weird.

I would have preferred adesing that puts the complete pages on my screen, instead of having to scroll sideways.

Also, I see it as a waste of time to spend time in changing the design, when it would be better to implement new features

Evi Parker said...

It would be great if you could filter the books on language. I would love to discover more books in Dutch.

Ianus Christius said...

Dear Smashwords,

I have big problem with publishing. It seems that I can't click on the Publish button, even do I put a tick on the I agree field. I have older computer and I don't know how to fix this problem. Please help.

Peter, petrabooks.ca said...

I would still like to see sorting books by price, not "$x.xx or less", but: $0 to $0.99, $1 to $2.99, $3 to $5.99. $6 to $9.99 and over $10.

Petrabooks.ca

Joleene Naylor said...

It looks nice! A great update that I think makes things easier to find. I especially like that the series are all organized at the bottom when you view a book that is in a series.

Ianus Christius said...

I hate this new version! Nothing works! I can't publish cuase the command button is shaded, and I can't click on it. I can't pick book category, primary or secondary, can't click on the question mark on the top of the page to get help(it says error on page), and where the hell is the e-mail address of the support team( and they call themselves professionals). I can't contact anyone for help. I hate Smashwords and Mark Coker. If someone don't answer my questions and fix this f'king problems, I'll delete my account permanently.

Jennifer White said...

Ever since the new website design,the system has went back to "The book file you uploaded is in a format we do not support, or it has a filename extension we do not recognize. Your file appears to be a "application/application/pdf" file, and has a ".epub" filename extension." when trying to upload a file using Firefox. Argh! I hope you guys can fix this soon.

Jeyaprakash said...

Looks great! Good luck and Thank you!

SKY said...

Good thinking good product! Great thanks to the management of smashwords. KEEP SOARING THE SKY IS WIDE ENOUGH.

Mark Coker said...

Thanks for the great feedback and suggestions, everyone. Please keep it coming! If you're reporting a problem, the first thing you might try is to upgrade your web browser. Super-old versions of Internet Explorer (IE6, IE7), for example, are not well-supported. @ianus, you might try upgrading your browser, and if that doesn't work please contact our support team via the "?" button at the top of the page, or the "Support" link at the bottom of the page.

@Jennifer - Sometimes the browser might not properly communicate the file type. I've noticed the same issue previously with Firefox (my favorite browser). One solution is to use the Google Chrome browser as a backup. It does a stellar job. Thanks for reporting this, though.

John Barrett Rose said...

Your latest bog ... As usual, such a flood of words that I wind up not quite understanding what you are talking about; what the new offer actually is.

My fault, I know, being old and a bit silly. But, do you think you might cut down the verbiage, simplify, and give we oldies half a chance of grasping the actual meaning?

Otherwise, good to know Smashwords is continuing to back independent writers.

Mark Coker said...

Hi John, is there a particular term or concept that is confusing to you? I'd be happy to elaborate or distill here. If it's confusing you it's probably confusing others so please let me know! In a nutshell, this redesign represents our attempt to make the books at Smashwords more accessible to more readers.

Case Talbot said...

@Karen Arrowood: The download links are directly under the book description. Enjoy!

  said...

Hi,
I'm really glad for this update with it's responsive layout. Finally the web site is usable for mobile :)
But a question: Any reason why you dropped the support for Schema.org that was in the old web site?
Did it not work?
Patrick

Linda Fayne said...

What's a "Retailer Ticket"?