Improved Search, Permanent URLs and Introduction Slideshow

We’ve updated our service with many backend optimizations and several user facing improvements which you may find useful.

Improved World Ranking in Search

We improved the way we sort worlds in the Public Worlds tab: we now take into account the number of Facebook Likes the world has, and other parameters which indicate that users will find the world engaging. This change makes it easier to find high-quality worlds.

Despite this algorithm update, other factors still take precedence when sorting worlds: the text the user searched for (if any); the number of visitors in the world; and whether the world manager covers the visitors’ access costs or visitors pay for their own usage.

Sharing Search URLs

When you search for worlds in the Public Worlds tab, the URL now changes to include your search terms. This allows you to share the search with other people. For example, you can search for your own name, and then include that URL in your blog. Anyone who clicks on it will see the public worlds that you’ve created.

Permanent World URLs for Sharing

We changed the way sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn works. Sharing a world means sharing its URL. Previously, the URL that was shared was the URL that you saw in your browser, which includes your name and the world name. For example: https://www.kitely.com/virtualworld/My-Name/My-World. However, this was a problem if you renamed your world, because then the URL changed as well, so all of your Likes and Tweets were lost (the counter was reset to zero). To fix this, each world now has a permanent URL, which includes the world’s internal identifier instead of its name. The permanent URL never changes, even if you rename the world, so the number of Likes and Tweets will continue accumulating.

Unfortunately, this means that all of the Likes and Tweets that you’ve accumulated until now no longer count, because they were done on the old URL, not the new permanent URL. We apologize for this, but it seems better to make sure that Likes and Tweets will accumulate forever from now on, rather than having them reset to zero at some time in the future.

Note that the links you’ve already shared continue to work: anyone who sees one of these Likes or Tweets and clicks on them will still get to your world; it’s only the counter that doesn’t take these old Likes and Tweets into account.

Introduction Slideshow

We added an introduction slideshow that explains how Kitely works. This makes it easier for new users to quickly understand how Kitely can benefit them. If you are reading this blog then you probably already know how Kitely works, but we encourage you to view the slideshow anyway (it’s on our homepage); we spent a lot of time creating it and we think it’s pretty cool!

Thank you to everyone who agreed to have their names show up in these screenshots, and a special thanks to Karima Hoisan who agreed to pose for a couple of screenshots with her beautiful avatar.

Optimizations

The largest change in this release is actually not user-visible: we’ve made important changes internally to make the service faster, and in preparation for adding billing.