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Suggestions for Database and User Interface


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Hey staff!

I've been following OCR since 2002, and I've always been impressed with how it has developed. Props to djp for the incredible web site programming and database thus far. If I understand correctly, the web design is always a work in progress. So I don't mean these suggestions to come off as nagging. Just as ideas to make it even better.

------- Tabs & Search

I think that the 'about, forums, people, and workshop' tabs are very polished and don't need any major changes. However, the 'games and music' tabs would benefit from an overhaul. In all honesty, I think it would be best if they were combined into one tab, and then the search bar have 'games' and 'mixes' combined as well.

For example, if I'm a new user and wanted to find a 'Phantasy Star game' ReMix, I could either use the game or music search accessed from either the tabs or the search bar on the right. I think most people would use the game search because searching for a mix implies that you are searching for the title of the mix and not necessarily the game it is from. I say that because, as much as OCR has a great database about video games, most modern gamers would do a google search to find that information elsewhere. So if someone came to OCR, it would be almost solely to get a remix.

So I'd do a search and end up here. However, I think it would be much more helpful, if I ended up here. That way, I can immediately see the remixes, and if I want to see more database information on the game, I can still access it from here.

So I suggest eliminating the 'games' search from the search bar and renaming the 'mixes' search. As far as the tabs are concerned, I think it would be good to erase the 'games' tab as well, and replace the 'music' tab's search the same way as the search bar.

I'd also recommend removing the 'albums' and 'songs' sections from the 'music' tab. Instead, show albums under the games in the search results pages in addition to ReMixes. So something like this

(However, I'd recommend not including non-OCR albums here.)

And if someone wants to see the individual songs on a soundtrack they can still access the game page from here. Then, I think it would also be helpful if the new space available in the 'music' tab was used to house a new alpha navigation similar to the old one that would display pages the same way as the new search results page.

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-------------Albums

It seems to me that the purpose of an album project has never been set in stone, and two conflicting ideas have arisen. First, the purpose is to make a cohesive set of premier music that honors the game and helps get OCR's name out on the web (I think of Voices of the Lifestream this way).

Second, the purpose is to allow a wider variety of mixes, some of which, may not be able to be posted on the main site to be brought to light in the form of a less professional, but fun, album project. (Missingo Tracks is somewhat like this).

I don't have a problem with either of these philosophies, but I think that the current site design supports the latter and makes the first difficult to accomplish. I say that because albums get little exposure the months following their release. This is especially true for individual tracks on the albums.

Because these tracks do not get their own forum threads for reviews, the artist must submit his/her mix to the main page in order to get the proper attention. Also, artist pages don't list individual album tracks they have completed. They essentially fall through the cracks.

It's not practical to have a write-up and main page posting for every album project track, but I think a good compromise could be made by posting just the album on the front page. No more selected singles/floods.

On that page., there would be a write-up about the album written by djp and those involved and an embedded youtube video.

All of the tracks would be listed here instead of on independent album web sites. They would be hosted on OCR. They would each have their own review threads as well. Perhaps a special numbering scheme could be used such as OCRA-0009-001.

All of these tracks would now be in the remix database. They would show up in search alongside normal remixes.

That way all album tracks would be on the main site and would not have to be submitted twice. Artists would get their recognition, and it will be easier for fans to access albums. They would find them the same way they find normal remixes.

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If you survived reading that lengthy post, congrats. Take it or leave it. Just some thoughts :D

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