As promised, I wrote some recap of the survey last week.

Overall, the comments were overwhelmingly positive, with some constructive criticism and good suggestions for improvements. There was a lot more free comments than I expected. I’m trying to respond to all that I can.

Background questions, multiple selections

A total of 82 people responded to the survey.

  • What best describes your relationship to Vocaloid/UTAU/CeVIO music? 78% answered “I’ve been a fan for a long time”.
  • Have you produced music with Vocaloid/UTAU/CeVIO, or made art/animation for PVs? 72% answered “No”.
  • How did you find out about VocaDB? 29% answered “Google” (or equivalent). Second most common answers “Reddit” and “friend”.
  • How reliable and accurate do you think the information on VocaDB is? 51% answered “4” and 39% answered “5”.

reliable

  • How useful is VocaDB to you?

usefulness

  • How often do you visit VocaDB?

visits

  • Have you contributed to VocaDB by editing or submitting something? 43% answered “No”, 35% answered “Yes”.
  • Do you think we should advertise VocaDB more? 60% answered “Definitely, not enough people know about it”.

 

Some of the free comments (I tried to remove all personal info)

“I don’t always make it known, but I appreciate the work you do!”

“It’s a great site, good job! :3”

“thanks for your hard work”

“I greatly appreciate VocaDB being there as a source of information which can lead me to song PVs and even CDs.”

“It’s thanks largely to your site that I’ve been able to find producers & content I’d otherwise never known about. Thank you so much for all that you do.”

“Love the site!”

“You rock!”

“I think VocaDB is the very best site to go to for Vocaloid (and more) information and it’s really well maintained.  I hope to see it continue to grow in the future.”

“This DB i just awesome, i know the producers thanks to this page and i suppose it really takes a lot of time to check all that info, so thanks for your effort.”

“One of the best Vocaloid-related websites out there. Keep it up!”

“I really really really value this site and in the future I would like to help out with some of the edits myself. “

“Keep up the good work, this site is among the most important nexuses of the vocaloid community!”

“I absolutely adore the site, and I hope that it stays online for a long time. I’m actually looking to contribute, but I haven’t had the guts to do so yet lol”

“This site is a life saver. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten the name or producer of a song or was simply looking for a good song featuring a certain VOCALOID. And no matter how many times I need VocaDB, it always pulls through.”

“The overall functionality of the site is decent. The mobile platform is something that would help a lot in terms of popularity, but keep in mind the amount and reliability of the information you can provide.”

“Thank you for your work on this project!”

“Good luck for maintaining the site. I really love the site and I would like to see the site is updating and long-lasting. -big hug-“

Improvements

“I know you’re aware, but a responsive interface for mobile devices would be great.”, “The phone version of the website isn’t great”, don’t like: “Mobile site is awful, I don’t use it. NND embeds on the front page require clicking on “song info” in order for the video to actually load up.”

Improving mobile support is one of our top priorities. Unfortunately it’s also a lot of work, and with me doing it alone, it’s gonna take a while.

 

“I think what’s largely missing to the site is some kind of social component. Like with the activity feed on the front page, I think it would be cool to let users share songs or albums to a personal feed that others could follow. While this goes against the very “clinical” nature of a database, I think it would help in bringing in new users.”, “add some sort of point/reward/medal/rank system that makes editing more fun or tempting to do.”

I’d like to improve the social features on the site, but usually those need to be well thought out, to avoid bothering those users who just want information, and to avoid any privacy problems for those who don’t wish to share too much information on their activities. Sharing songs might be a good idea, I was thinking about the possibility of sharing your likes/favorites as well, but it would need to be possible to opt out of this. I was also thinking of some sort of “achievements” similar to NicoNico stamps.

 

“Japanese support”, “translate site into japanese / chinese”

We’re working on the Japanese translation. Majority of the site is already translated into Japanese, although it it still needs fixing and translating the remaining parts. Both Japanese and Chinese users are important demographics for us. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone proficient in Chinese who could translate the site into Chinese. If someone wants to help with that we could make it happen, but I have to warn that there’s a lot of text to translate.

I hope that in the future the rest of the content that for the moment is only available in English would be available in Japanese as well, and maybe other languages, although adding more languages for the content can be a lot of work.

 

“delete the media type “other” in the collection, that means nothing :you’ve got a CD or a file on your Hard drive disk but “other” ?”

Originally the idea was that “digital download” means purchased albums, “other” would be for freely downloadable albums, but I guess in that case there’s no need for that “digital download”. That should probably be thought out and clarified a bit.

 

“Putting more online shops links, with the flavicon, some shops are not recognized when you’re filling the entries.”

It’s easy enough to add those icons and URL autocomplete, if the store has more than a couple of albums. I don’t know what stores you’re talking about here though.

 

“What about a browser extension that notifies when a song is available on VocaDB? This might be useful for editors + non-editors. Non-editors will have easy access to VocaDB information while editors will be able to see whether or the song/album is listed on VocaDB. “

Maybe, but it’d be a looot of work to support all browsers, so I can’t do this now. Of course someone else wants to work on such extension they can do so.

 

“On albums with multiple discs, have the ability to name disc titles.”

Could be useful, not very high priority though I think.

 

“This is not that important but maybe a “Remove image” option for the rare case when an editor accidentally uses the wrong image for an image-less artist.”

I was thinking this case is so rare there’s no need to spend time on it, but on the other hand it shouldn’t be too difficult so maybe I’ll look into it.

 

“I heard there are song playlists. I couldn’t find this feature…”, “The idea to create playlists by just picking the songs you want in it, seperate from your favorites.”

When you register you can create songlists (“add to custom list” on the song page). Then you can open the songlist from your profile. There’s a playlist view with autoplay and shuffle functionality, as well as shared “featured” songlists for concerts and song series. See for example this list.

 

“Recommendations for new composers or new songs based on the songs I liked/faved”

Good idea, but sadly possibly difficult to implement. I can look into it if I have time.

 

“Rate individual songs 1-5 stars”, “Change five-star system of rating to like/dislike rating.”

Technically there’s nothing preventing from doing this, but I wanted to keep it simple, so figured two levels should be enough (originally there was just likes). Youtube too originally had 5 stars system, but they switched to just likes (and dislikes). Most of the time people would just give 5 stars if they like it. Similarly, pixiv has 1-10 stars, but the overwhelming majority always gives 10 stars.

 

“Delete pages you created”

True, this should be possible.

 

“Song page look somewhat empty and lifeless compared to artist pages (´・ω・`)”, “site layout could use some changing to be a little more eye catching.”, don’t like: “site design”

I don’t have much skills in visual design, so it’s difficult for me to make it look good. If someone with more design skills could provide concrete suggestions or be willing to help, that would be greatly appreciated.

 

“Allow users the ability to add comments without having to select the “Discussion” tab. Also add a “reply” button below a posted comment. Same goes for profile comments”, “replying to comments requires more steps than neccessary”, “Add notifications if somebody responds to your comment.”

Posting comments without switching to the discussion tab would definitely be better usability, but it has some problems, mainly synchronizing comments on the main tab and the discussion tab. Nothing major, but still needs work. I’ll look into it though. Replies have their own problems, and that feature would need a lot of planning before implementing. I don’t want to go to threaded comments, it should be kept simple.

 

“Maybe have a way to search for songs by vocalist and producer at the same time.”, “The search could also be a little more free-form, but search is tricky business to implement. I don’t know what backend you use, or if it’s worth it to work on it.”, don’t like: “I cannot seem to search with multiple tags”

It’s a relational SQL database. Adding more complicated query options is definitely possible, but it makes the query generation a bit more difficult, and also requires some more complicated user interface. In short, yes, I’ve been thinking about those, would certainly be useful, but not sure when I have time to implement.

 

“A “random song” button that would take you to the page of a random song in the database when clicked.”

Sure, why not, not a very high priority at the moment though. On the other hand it’d be almost zero work.

 

“Include more biography information and information about albums, for example, mention anything about the releases whether its an anniversary release or if it is part of a series etc. Just a little more information that helps people understand the significance of a particular song/album. Also for artists, it would be good to mention any music they have done outside of vocaloid and link to external sources”

This is all up to the editors. We generally don’t focus on extensive descriptions because we leave that to the actual wikis. Having good descriptions and links on VocaDB is preferable of course. A lot of Vocaloid artists have a page on UtaiteDB as well, and most of the time that page is linked from VocaDB already.

 

“The only thing I can think of is bringing in more traffic, specifically people interested in helping to keep the database up to date.”, “I think you can spread VocaDB for more, because the site is awesome but not too many people know about it”

Yes, that’s what I’ve been trying to do as well, just need to recruit more people to do promotion :)

 

“I don’t like how the filter search always goes back to page 1 of the search when I hit back from browsing a hit. Not really a big issue.”, “I’ve noticed that when you’re on a producer’s page and then click another “tab” (e.g. Discussion, Main albums), the url stays the same.  So, if you were to click on an album, for instance, and then wanted to go backward, you wouldn’t be on the Main Albums page.  You would be on the Basic Info page instead.  It would be useful if this were changed!”

Yes, it would be better usability if it would restore your state when returning back to the page. The way to do this would require client side routing. It’s been done for the discussion pages and user profile pages already, but the search pages are a lot more complex with all those search options, so it’s more work. Artist/Album/Song pages would be easier.

 

“For further features, I suggest a genre”

Genres are implemented with tags on VocaDB, and there’s plenty of genre tags.

 

“having a zappin player would be great to listen a part of the song :)”

A VocaDB player? Wouldn’t work with streaming services like Youtube.

 

“Probably a way on how to buy the albums? If an album is out-of-print? Or any other info about the album like if it’s sold for only one time.”

Sorry, I don’t think we can help with that, we don’t work with the stores.

 

“Is it possible to have a music player say for example, a user would be able to upload an album they own for other users to listen to, without video of course and could not be downloaded. There’s probably a legal issue or else it would have been done already I’m guessing, but it would be nice to hear some music from off the beaten path because I like to buy the stuff but it is an expensive niche.”

Sorry, it’s not possible because of legal reasons, but also hosting and streaming media takes a lot of bandwidth. There are dedicated services for that.

 

“Rankings? perhaps a ‘top ten this week’ or something similar, perhaps, top this week, month, year, and so far all time.”

Maybe, would just need to know what kind of rankings. We already have something like that on the stats page. Additionally, you can of course always sort songs/albums/artists by popularity.

 

“Change form of viewing tags: they are so much tags, so by default they should be hidden and they’ll be shown after click on category.”, “Change order of tag categories. I think “genres” is a lot more important than “copyrights” category.”

The tags page should probably be organized, but I’m not sure if that’s the best way. Need to take into consideration.

Currently categories are sorted by the first tag. Maybe sorting by category name would make more sense. Already changed this.

 

“In Help/about is the “Vocaloid” tab is link for Delicious Cake Project (on the top). The link is dead.”

Right, well, that page has been there since the beginning, I think it should be rewritten completely.

 

“Text “shu-t up and enjoy” is as not nice as should be. It’s just annoying and gives bad feeling.”

I’m sorry you took it that way, it was intended to be a funny pun.

 

“You can not remove an album from your collection.”

Haha, actually you can, but maybe it’s not obvious enough. You need to set the ownership status to nothing and clear the rating.

 

“It would be convenient to be able to download the full album information in txt file.”

I wonder, what format would it be though?

 

“I think having a history of what a person has liked would be good, or even being able to follow users’ likes, I have friends on VocaDB who like really great songs and I’d like to follow what they like and let them follow what I like, I wish it could help finding good songs on VocaDB, I’d also like to know what I’ve liked other than a really small sample of 6 songs.”

You can do that already on the user profile page, on the liked songs tab. See for example here.

 

“I really wished there was an easier way to add new artists. Having to open anther page to add them is quite cumbersome. “, “Perhaps, to allow trusted users to create draft entries for artists without any information except name and type.”

Maybe it could be easier, actually we had something like this in the beginning, but the artist submission page exists for 2 reasons: 1) it allows checking for duplicates, which would be more difficult if you could just enter artist name, 2) we don’t want to have too many “stub” entries with very little information. Having a separate form for adding an artist encourages to enter more information. But I will think about it, for trusted users at least.

Criticism (don’t like)

“Some new albums are not in the DB”, “Not always up to date. Understandable, but website would be better if all albums were updated as possible. Maybe look for moderators for each vocaloid if possible? People are motivated to look after the things they like more than those they aren’t.”

Personally I can’t help much with that, I’m too busy with other tasks already. As mentioned earlier, having more editors would help keep things up-to-date. Remember that if you notice something is missing, you can always add the album entry yourself and let someone else finish it if you don’t have enough time.

 

“Notifications seem to cap at 10, so I’d love to see that increased.”

The thing about this is that there’s many users who register, subscribe to a bunch of popular artists such as the Vocaloids and never return to the site. There needs to be some way to prevent notifications from flooding into their inboxes when the users aren’t active. Maybe the system could check the date when the user last logged in, or maybe even when the user last visited the site (but that’s not recorded at the moment). Or maybe just allow the user to set the maximum number of unread notifications.

 

“The crediting of USTs and VSQs because these are often distributed freely; other than the use of the UST/VSQ, the voice manipulator has no involvement in the making of the cover.”

If I understand this correctly, you’re saying that if the song was using some freely available UST/VSQ it should be more clear who did what. I think such things should be mentioned in the notes primarily. If the maker of the cover just took the UST/VSQ and synthesized the song without making much changes, then I think it would be best to mark them as support. Voice manipulator role is mainly for editing the UST/VSQ. In the same way, if you open a .psd file in Photoshop and save it as .png that doesn’t make you an artist.

 

“Depends very heavily on JavaScript”

Sorry, but that’s how modern websites are designed. VocaDB was using very little JavaScript in the beginning, but I’ve been gradually adding more to improve the user interface, making it more rich and responsive, which wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Essentially, if you want the site to work without JavaScript, but still provide the best possible user experience, you’d need to implement and maintain two versions of the user interface, which is simply too much work.

 

“I don’t like how the search defaults to searching for the type of page you’re on by default, I’d rather it search everything.”

True, maybe I should change that.

 

“editing rules unclear to newcomers”

I know this can be a problem. There’s a lot of rules and conventions. There’s simply not enough space to have all the relevant rules on the edit pages. I’ve compiled the most important ones on the help pages, but even that’s not complete. I mentioned before that the guidelines would need to be reorganized in the wiki, maybe someone could help with that? Before that, older users just need to review edits by newcomers from time to time, to and guide them. You’re always encouraged to ask in the comments if there’s something unclear, or you’re unsure.

 

“I find it hard to list all of the songs/albums of a particular artist/vocaloid.”

That information should be available on the artist page.

 

“I find it bit hard to nagivate”

Would be nice to hear some details about this, what were you trying to find?

 

“Russian translation”

The Russian translation was the first translation for the site’s UI. Unfortunately the person who made it is no longer here, and there’s no one to update or maintain the translation, so it’s badly outdated. I guess it should either be updated or removed.

What now?

Based on the survey it’s pretty clear some more promotion and sharing the word would hurt. As was mentioned in the free comments, raising more interest about the site and thus more editors joining would help keeping the database as complete and up to date as possible. VocaDB is a fan-supported effort after all. Personally, I don’t want to spam forums and such with VocaDB, so I’d rather see the users themselves more openly telling why they’re so excited about VocaDB, like I am. Anyone can do that. And I don’t mean by saying “check out VocaDB, it’s great”, but explaining in this way why they think it’s great.

I appreciate the feature suggestions and feedback, and ‘m taking them into consideration. Most of them make sense, and some are even doable with little work. Can’t promise anything obviously, since it’s not a day job for me. Feel free to comment the results.

2 thoughts on “Survey results

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