With 2017 coming to a close, it's time to reflect on what we accomplished this year and what our plans are for 2018.
Things we accomplished in 2017
We completely rebuilt our site search. The search bar now auto-suggests content as you type and has a ton of options for advanced searching, including specific date ranges.
We migrated NG to HTTPS, so your connection is extra secure and the whole NG experience is more pro.
We updated the Audio listen and playlist pages to be mobile friendly and utilize an HTML5 audio player. The player now remembers your global volume setting and where you left off on individual songs. You can now loop an individual song OR an entire list of songs. We added a global rights management tool for artists and management options for use in games like Geometry Dash.
We updated the Art view page to be mobile friendly.
We updated Dumping Grounds with the new layout and drag and drop uploading.
We built a new custom storage solution to cut costs while doubling our storage capacity.
We integrated additional software to tackle spam in the blogs and forums while manually removing anyone who gets past the filters.
We rebuilt our follow / favorite system and now have more data to use in upcoming updates, such as time stamps for when people are followed and things are favorited. We've begun the transition of replacing hearts with a more clear "Follow" button for artists. You can see this on audio and art pages currently. Hearts will still be used for favoriting content.
We unveiled Nightmare Cops at Comic-Con. It's still a ways out but it's gonna make waves when it finally hits.
Plans for 2018
The new year will kick off with the launch of new user pages and a new site header. Heads up, the tank logo isn't currently planned to appear in the new header because we could never get it to feel right without taking up a lot of space. We intend to keep working the tank logo into the site in other ways but for now we're in a big state of transition as the layout evolves.
Next we'll be gunning to launch new movie and game view pages as quickly as possible, so all our content pages will be under the new layout.
Then we'll be moving on to the forums, PMs, project system, wiki and various odds and ends. We intend to make the PM system more chat-like, where you maintain individual real-time threads with users, rather than the current system where you send single messages and quote previous messages. The forums will become mobile friendly and include the ability to reply to posts in-feed, something you will see with blog replies in the January update. We're making an ongoing effort to let you do more and more in-feed, so you can interact with lots of stuff without having to jump in and out.
As we wrap up layout updates, we'll be spending time to focus on UI / UX. This is a great time to give us suggestions and to share stories about when the NG user experience has caused confusion for you. We want to improve the initial sign-up process so people are more likely to engage with the site and artists. We want to be sure people are following artists they like because our feed will keep becoming more useful.
We also have plans for helping fans financially support their favorite artists, although the idea involves tracking and rewarding one-time direct payments vs recurring subscriptions, which would require NG to be more of a middleman than we intend to be.
Event-wise, Pixel Day is January 23rd! We're expecting to showcase a site skin by Joakim 'konjak' Sandberg to celebrate the release of Iconoclasts, which happens to be the same day. Joekim is a virtuoso and has been working on Iconoclasts for the past seven years, you won't want to miss it.
In February, expect the release of the NG Dragonball Z collab followed by a line-up of new episodes of your favorite space-themed NG shows. We already have a slick site skin by @LemKuuja waiting in the wings.
If you enjoyed NG this year and are looking forward to our ongoing progress in 2018, it would be greatly appreciated if you become a supporter!
We started 2017 with 1,645 active supporters and are currently wrapping up with 1,651. The fact that the number has grown is good news; most supporter accounts expire over the course of a year and we could have easily ended 2017 with less than we started. Still, we seriously need to double that number asap and make sure it grows year after year, rather than simply maintain.
Thank you everyone who participated in and supported NG in 2017! I'm proud that NG is home to so many talented individuals and there is always so much cool stuff to see, hear and play. Newgrounds remains a completely unique place on the web and is building strength year after year, all thanks to the ongoing efforts of the community. A lot of websites have come and gone over the years and I want NG fans to be able to look at all this with pride and know they picked the right horse.
If you've been lurking, now would be a great time to sign up and introduce yourself! Make 2018 your big year on NG and see what happens.
I'll close this out with a flashy NG Tank Pin, available via SharkRobot!