A New Look for DriveThruRPG

DriveThruRPG is in the midst of an update and is looking for feedback

DriveThruRPG is in the midst of an update and is looking for feedback. If you are a fan of the digital store front then head over to the site and click the banner at the top of the page or just follow the link (OneBookShelf). I reached out to the design team with a few questions and Ben Ayres-Kerr, the Product Design Manager, was kind enough to knock out a response. Here’s what Ben had to say:

drivethrurpg.jpg

Brandon Chappell (BC): What prompted the redesign/what are the overall design goals?
Ben Ayres-Kerr (BAK):
We have the technology. We can make it better than it was. Better, stronger, faster. :) The aesthetic of DriveThruRPG and our other ecommerce sites, over 20 years old now, has been showing its age for a while. Our publishing partners and users have been asking for improvements and new tools for years that, frankly, would have been too costly to implement on this legacy platform. For those reasons, coupled with a desire to improve the user experience generally, we decided to rebuild the platform from the ground up. This new design lets our dev teams improve the sites continuously over time as well as giving us a modern framework to build on into the future. Naturally, we want our marketplaces to be clean, quick, and pleasant to use, and we want to provide helpful, easy-to-use tools for our partners.

BC: How has your feedback been so far?
BAK:
Overall, the redesign (which we refer to internally as Phoenix) has been well received in testing. We have set up a preview for users to opt into the experience, and we have also run many other tests with customers and small groups of publishing partners over the last year or so. Those folks have given us excellent feedback that has allowed us to iterate on earlier Phoenix design choices. This feedback loop is something we plan to maintain and expand over time because we want users to tell us what they think. That’s the best way we can improve.

BC: What is your expected timeline?
BAK:
We already have most of the browsing experience finished for users to enjoy. We plan on releasing our redesigned checkout system this summer. This new experience is a significant improvement over the legacy version, so we are very excited to get that in people’s hands. After that, later this year and into 2024, we will gradually roll out more improvements and get to work on redesigning our publishing partner tools.

BC: Is there anything about the new design that you are particularly pleased with?
BAK:
One thing we are very excited about is the new checkout system, which trims the flow down to a simple one-page checkout. Folks should feel very familiar with this format as it is standard on most modern ecommerce sites. We are also excited about our new product pages. RPGs pose a challenge in that they tend to be complex products with a lot of information to convey to savvy prospective buyers. Our new layout lets us present all that information in a clean, simple way that remains digestible; feedback has been very positive on this page in particular.

BC: Are there any elements that haven't appeared yet that are in the works?
BAK:
We are still in the early stages of redesigning our publishing partner tools. Our site already boasts a significant number of tools for publishers, but again, they are showing their age. With the redesign of these tools, we are not simply throwing a fresh coat of paint on the experience. We are rethinking them entirely with utility and user experience in mind. The first glimpses of this work should start appearing later this year.

BC: With the 5e SRD in creative commons, is there any plan to create a specific marketplace for non-Dungeons & Dragons 5e material?
BAK:
We have eleven marketplaces currently, only one of which (Dungeon Masters Guild) focuses on 5E D&D content. We also host Pathfinder Infinite for Pathfinder and Storytellers Vault for World of Darkness (and a few other systems), for example. The community content programs we run with some of our publishing partners are another way to focus on specific game systems. Currently on DriveThruRPG, it’s possible to browse using site filters for nearly any game system and find that content on our store. With the new site design, we think users will find it easier than ever to search for the exact system or type of content they desire, be that D&D 5E or anything else. Of course, we are always looking for better ways to get game content to the most appreciative audience. It’s entirely possible that we will open new community programs or even marketplaces in the future designed solely to carry titles from another non-D&D game system. We are just as excited as you to see what lies on the horizon!

BC: Is there anything about the new design that you would like to mention that I haven't asked?
BAK:
This refactoring is not something that we are trying to rush out the door quickly. We are making sure we get this right, that our users feel the new experience is not simply a modern version of what we had, but a true re-design of the experience. Most of us are players and GMs, and we understand how important DriveThru is for our partners and their fans — because we are their fans too! Even when this round of redesign is “done,” our work will be far from finished. With Phoenix, we are also laying the groundwork for many exciting improvements and additions coming further along the road, additions we know will keep DriveThru at the forefront of the industry.

My thanks to Ben as well as Scott Holden (Director, Marketing and Publisher Relations) for taking time out of an undoubtedly busy schedule to catch us up on the redesign. Be sure to head over, take a look, and drop the team some feedback.
 

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Lalato

Adventurer
Things I would like to see...
  • Search needs some tweaks. It's not granular enough. And it doesn't allow for excluding things.
  • Related to that, wish there was some way for users to flag items that are categorized incorrectly. For example an adventure module categorized as a core rulebook.
  • Would love if they would incentivize user reviews in some meaningful way. It's strange to have high selling items with almost no reviews.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Things I would like to see...
  • Search needs some tweaks. It's not granular enough. And it doesn't allow for excluding things.
  • Related to that, wish there was some way for users to flag items that are categorized incorrectly. For example an adventure module categorized as a core rulebook.
  • Would love if they would incentivize user reviews in some meaningful way. It's strange to have high selling items with almost no reviews.
Agree on all points.
Not a fan of the current look; preferred the one before it. The preview of the new one doesn't seem to be enough different to improve the UX, and changing the US is almost always going to annoy the established users.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
this new design has been in testing phase for a couple of years it feels like

I'll have to opt into the new experience and then provide some feedback
 


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