Friday, January 24, 2014

In which I attempt to clone Imgur

I've been working on a crowdsourcing project called the Face Frontier for about a year now. It's primary goal is to amass a new database of facial expressions that spans lots of expressions (beyond the basic six ones of joy, fear, anger, sadness, surprise, and disgust) as well as many different types of faces and many different lighting conditions. We're building the database from scratch (collecting it through the crowd by asking people to take photos of themselves) so that we can have labels for expressions.

The main component of the Face Frontier is the website: (The other main component is the server side computer vision, which trains expression classifiers and handles the face swapping.)

I have changed the website's design A LOT. In the past week, I redesigned it yet again to make it look a lot like imgur.

One of the things Face Frontier does is let you swap your face with a meme.
It'll also let you swap memes with each other...

So if you swap the original (er, more like, version 5.67) Face Frontier...
Previous face frontier
 With imgur...
 You get...
NEW, imgur-inspired face frontier!

The basic components I copied from imgur were:

  • grid of interesting and recent and highly rated content
  • being able to interact with that grid and rate stuff and get involved right away
  • clicking on something on the grid to get more information and rating details about it
  • boxes on the side for 
    • adding your own content directly 
    • getting at content from a different axis
  • prev/next navigation with the keyboard arrow keys when viewing a specific piece of content, so it's possible to just browse content forever... 

Short term results:
  • Lots of positive feedback from the friends who pushed me to do this redesign in the first place
  • A little bit of stickiness (30-40 pictures a day), people actually using it, without it being a direct response to me sharing something online

Obviously I need to get those numbers up so that this dataset can be REALLY BIG and REALLY USEFUL. There's still a lot to improve and a lot of features that would probably make the whole thing even more satisfying... but currently, I'm quite happy with it!

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