Your new Royal Road™

New Design

Let's start with the obvious. The site has changed. A lot. We felt that it was time to replace our old, custom design with something new. Something more professional. So here it is, in all its glory.

You might have noticed that the design uses bootstrap — yes, the new design is fully responsive and usable on mobile! This has been one of our main goals when working on this update: to create something that's usable on all platforms without being handicapped.

Fiction Dashboard

Authors should notice that they now have a fiction dashboard attached to their stories by clicking Write in the menu, then choosing the appropriate fiction’s dashboard. This adds new features and replaces old ones available in V2. For example, clicking the Chapters tab will give you a list of chapters alongside the viewcount of each individual chapter and the last comment, much like the main forum of a fiction.

Also, the new Stats and Reviews tabs will be sure to delight. It allows authors to see a bar graph and timeline of ratings and their exact values to get rid of guessing why your rating changed. A built-in PM and report system for reviews makes it easier than ever to consult reviewers about their reviews and report rule-breaking ones.

We will thrive to continuously improve this Dashboard to provide you with the best experience and easy access to any fictions you need.

Fiction Reader

We paid extra attention while designing the new reader interface. While all of our features and changes are aimed at improving your experience, we know this is an especially important element.

To accommodate this, the new reader comes with several new settings - font family, font override, font size and content width. It also has no sidebar — all the ads have been pushed above or below the content to make your experience more fluid without interruptions. This also means that the author's details have been pushed under the chapter; please don't forget to show them your love nonetheless!

Trending Fictions

This is a new category that you may have seen on the front page. This category is based on the proportional growth of interest in the fiction in the last 30 days, and requires fictions to have cover art to be eligible for. This requirement is to encourage people to get cover art to enhance their fictions’ attractiveness and to support the artists on RRL.

Fiction Covers

Before, covers of fictions had to be 200x300 in resolution. Now, images being used can be double that resolution, 400x600. 200x300 is still supported, but we encourage users to use the 400x600 size for possible use cases where the bigger size might be needed. The new engine is also capable of automatically downsizing uploaded images to 400x600 to allow you to worry less about uploading just the right size. Nevertheless, this method will never yield the crystal clear images that a well set up photoshop resize can achieve.

Support

Over the last two years, we have witnessed an extreme growth spurt from the community. When we originally created the support forums, it was more than plenty to deal with the problems popping up occasionally.

With the growth of the community, we've witnessed an increasing number of enquiries, and have come to recognize that we need a more organised system to submit and handle these. We have created two separate services to deal with this problem:

The FAQ section under Help >F.A.Q. is a constantly-updated section for guides to answer the users' questions. We felt that the forums are way too chaotic for users, old or new, to find the help and guides they needed, so we've created a central place for them. if you feel that something is missing, don't hesitate to contact a member of the staff with your idea and possibly your guide, and we will look into expanding on it.

The new support ticket system, under Help >Support is there to help us systematically handle our increasing number of requests and enquiries. Password resets, complaints, conflicts with other users, technical issues and other issues have been mostly randomly thrown into their the Support Tickets or the Admin Helpline section; we hope to distribute these problems better by asking the general questions first, and organising the tickets according to their topic so they are answered by the right people.

Forums

The forums haven’t changed much, apart from being moved to a new server and having the fictions and support tickets removed. We encourage you to explore the forums and engage with the RRL community. It is a great place to give and receive recommendations, discuss writing technique, play games, ask for feedback, and generally discuss interesting topics with other users.

Due to technical reasons, hickups might happen with the forum, as we had to also move the database to a new platform. While this allows better scaling, in the short run you might experience unforeseen issues with the forum in the form of SQL error pages. Please make sure to forward these to the staff as Technical support tickets We will ensure that any errors that you might experience will be fixed within 24 hours.

Premium Subscriptions

With this update, we have released two premium subscriptions as well for the site. Let’s be clear: none of the content you already had access to for free before this update was taken away. All the features you've come to love and used so far, and all the fictions on the site, stay free now and for the foreseeable future.

The goal of these subscriptions is to provide users who wish to directly support the site additional benefits. These include an ad-free experience, push notifications, Premium markers, and most likely more cool perks in the future.

We didn't forget about the authors, either. Our second subscriber plan is aimed at them — this includes all the benefits of the regular reader plan, and also features that we simply can't afford to do just from our ad revenue such as detailed analytics based on our own databases and services, optional push notifications for new comments and reviews, a customizable fiction and chapter page (header and background), as well as special ranking listings just for these members. In addition, we are developing a project for a tool to help plan, write, and publish your works, though this is not ready at the time of this release.

While we are excited to develop new subscriber features, RRL is still committed to optimizing reader and writer experiences for all of its users. We aim to ensure that the site remains a great place for readers and writers to get started for free while creating worthwhile features for subscribers. If you use an ad-blocker, please consider disabling it for RRL. We are constantly adjusting our ad placement to not disturb your user experience, and are on the lookout for advertisers leaking ads into our system that might disturb the user experience, removing them as soon as we possibly can.

Next steps

As you can see, some things like the Author Premium is not quite production-ready yet. We will be working to bring these set of features to you as soon as possible within the following weeks. We had to make some last-minute calls on this, as our third-party analytic solution turned out to be unfit for our purposes, and we still haven’t quite finished building our own software for this.

We have a lot of other projects and additions on the table; this update is not the goal, but a new, stronger foundation that we can safely build on. It’s scalable, secure and just about completely self-built to fit our - your - needs. Any bugs that pop up in the meantime will be handled in a timely manner; our new architecture allows us faster response times, better insights and much, much easier debugging than previous issues.

There are also some new features and improvements that will be only implemented in the first few days after the update, as we couldn’t add them before due to technical reasons.

Comments(8)

thanks for making a new better looking rrl

Just have a few thoughts I would like to add.

Main Page

Overall, I like the feel. The page is clean and has great publications to fictions that deserve them. However, I am going to get picky with critiques. Firstly, I dislike the change to the top fictions because, at least to me, it spotlighted the gems of the site. To make top 10 was an achievement and honorable. Now it is only the top five and near bottom of the page. I would prefer it to be at its original position because those fictions that deserve attention at the top of the page. Trending fictions can serve as a horizontal slider as before. The rest is fine; however, wasn't there that pay to advertise fiction deal? I don't know if it was left out on purpose or not.

Forums

Just a nice and simple form. Theme select would be nice but nothing of immediate need.

Search (Advanced)

Near Perfection! The page #, ratings, and ordered by selections make the process heavenly in finding the desirable fictions. One thing to add would be definitions for the additional tags.

Commenting

Again, simple and easy to use. If I were to add something it would be comment voting similar to reviews. Also collapsible comment responses.

Fiction Browsing

Similar to searching but I think it's different enough. In "Best Rated" the fiction icon has a number of pages/chapter, followers, rating, views, and last update date. I think these would be useful to have elsewhere, such as searching. Right now, my process of searching for fictions is to search, find a decent amount of pages, open in new tab (backtracking to search page is a pain if bookmarked), check tags, open stats, checking ratings, open to most recent update, look at reviews, and decide from there. This compared to look at the main info, open in new tab, check advanced rating and reviews is an unneeded hassle.

If I understand correctly, the main programming is done since the "best rated" is this way so hopefully, it would not be that much work.

 

Thanks for reading this! I don't know if everything I suggest is an improvement or needed; however, I hope to make at least made a few suggestions to be considered or thought over. Thank you for your website and everlasting support.

~A happy reader

 

    kanadaj
    Admin

    Hey there!

    I'll address some of your points that I can off the bat right now:

    The best rated got moved down on the homepage because it was taking up precious space and went mostly unused. As glorious as the placement was, it made the homepage's top section almost completely useless and obsolete. The decision to move it to the bottom was fueled by the desire to give actual value to visiting the homepage, and we see much more traffic on it since the change.

    The Featured Fiction got removed since people didn't even notice it. In fact, many people still haven't noticed that it's gone. We have instead implemented a feature to add fictions to the carousel instead as the first element, and will in the future implement an automatized way for using it to post ads for both fiction of the site as well as books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

    We actually receive plenty of complaints about the forums

    We will definitely add the definitions for the additional tags!

    We will look into how to improve the comment system. The current system, apart from the points you've mentioned, does suffer from some performance issues that needs to be looked into.

    Regards,
    Kanadaj

Great new additions! Thanks for much for these updates. Love, love, LOVE it! :) 

Highly appreciate the design and layout.  It's a lot easy to navigate and use compared to other sites. 

Even posting a story is a breeze.

But an itty-bitty suggestion, if I may. When one opens the site, the updates show up at the beginning  (excellent idea!), the trending and top-ranked stories are posted as well as the top reviews.

However, budding writers who need to reach out to readers are not presented. May I suggest another column presenting new writers/contributors? At least those with UP to three months of active posting?

I have seen excellent material but these have been overshadowed by long existing stories. Newer contributions would have a chance at readership if they have the right opportunity for readers to judge them. 

Thanks!

    kanadaj
    Admin

    Hi soloflyte,

    We have hundreds of new stories every month. I can't name a good way from the top of my head to represent that properly :/ Also, the Trending Fictions on the homepage is organised based on growth, which more or less excludes any fictions that have been well-known for more than a month or two.

Your sit was the best. It got even better. thanks

 Can I just say thank you for your hard work? And this update is very much appreciated. I've been browsing the site for a couple years now but because my laptop is very old, slow, and just plan crappy, this site never ran that well. I would contastly have to wait for things to load and reload when it would crash. This update runs swimmingly on my computer and it makes me really happy, I now have an account and everything! Thanks so much for your hard work, I look forward to your future updates as well as the author premium! 

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