I never made it to GuruLib the first time around, and I'll have to admit up front it was the user interface (even just the front page) that turned me away. With so many other services to review, one that had this dated of an interface didn't seem to deserve my attention.
After giving it a second chance, and after getting a good feel for where all these other services where, I feel GuruLib is right on par with the rest of the services out there. From a features perspective it can do anything that they are doing, while in some cases it adds extra features such as being able to create multiple shelves for you media storage.
- multiple shelves
- has a wish list
- has a "loaned out" list
- has an export to excel feature
- has an rss feed for your new media
- UI and navigation
To give some specifics of how the UI and the navigational experience can be changed here are some suggestions:
- New User Registration
The registration screen is too much work for someone who just wants to try it, and hasnt seen the app yet. To get users to come in and sign up easily, you either have to show them as much of your app as possible without them having to register, or you need to make a really simple quick registration process.
It won't be clear to users that genres are effectively tags. You've built the functionality, so label it and explain it. This way new users will be able to start using it more easily. Also, if you want people to really use the tagging features you can't bury them in the edit details page of an item. They should be able to tag items right as they add them to their collection. Tags are only useful if you are tagging everything and using a good amount of tags. This is impractical to do on a large scale unless the tagging is really really easy. Every click counts.
- Update Book Button
When i was updating a book by editing the details, it was not clear that the "update book" button was the one i need to click to save my new data.
- Adding a Picture
While editing an item's details It was not clear that the browse button next to the pic of the cover was to load a new picture
- ISBN search
Theres no need to bring up the "serach by isbn" first, and especially with movies, ISBN is just for books. Most people will want to search by titles first, so this is what should come up by default.
- Shelf Explanation
Explain the shelf in your FAQ. Same with your wishlist, trash can, and borrowed items. You've built these feature, now explain or teach the users how to use them to capitalize on your efforts.
- Navigation back to library
While adding items to my library, it was not clear how to get from the search screen back to my library. These kind of navigational issues need to be cleared up for the application to be an attractive choice for novice internet users.
This list could go on for a while because it is the little thinigs that count when it comes to user interface. Each and every click of the mouse matters, and users will feel those things in the overall experience of the application. Now that you have a great framework for a solid application, go through and remove all the little points of friction, and you could turn this into a very interesting web app.