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Resource previews: an update

Discussion in 'Tes Authors' Group' started by charliep86, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. charliep86

    charliep86 New commenter

    Hello authors, an update for you all on previews (since there’s been a lot of separate conversations and information floating around):

    We recently made a change to the preview experience on the resource pages, to increase the size of the preview window, to allow teachers to more easily see the resources. There were two key drivers behind this change:

    • We’ve had lots of feedback that people aren’t willing to purchase resources without an adequate preview of the content of the resource: if they can’t see what it contains, then they can’t make an assessment on whether or not that resource suits their needs, and without that they aren’t willing to purchase it.
    • Further feedback has demonstrated that large numbers of people either aren’t aware that we have a preview functionality, or that they think it’s too small to properly view the resource. Our data indicates that there is a lack of visibility of the preview functionality, and our qualitative research shows that people don’t think the preview experience is sufficiently big enough to help them make that assessment of whether or not to buy or download the resource (i.e. it's too small to properly view what's inside the resource).

    As such, we wanted to make two main changes:

    • To improve the usability of the preview experience, to make it easier to view the contents of the resource, so as to make it easier for people to make a decision on whether or not to buy or download it. We made a set of changes on both desktop and mobile devices, optimizing the experience for both.
    • Secondly, to improve the visibility of the functionality, so as to encourage more people to engage with the functionality.

    However, once we made these changes it became clear that we had overlooked a key issue: namely, that it was possible in certain instances to copy significant proportions of the resource. As such, we've rolled back our changes while we address these concerns. To do so, we are proposing to do two things:

    • Disable the right-click on preview images, to prevent people from being able to open up images in a new tab or save them.
    • Add a watermark to the image to indicate that it is a preview and is owned by a particular author.

    We believe that these two steps will help dissuade any people using Tes who might be inclined to try to pilfer pages from a resource via the preview functionality. We have mocked up a few versions of this for your feedback:

    1. https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/521282/36305859-ac4d6976-1315-11e8-936d-beb0003b94b1.png
    2. https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/10153610/36724155-379997ce-1baa-11e8-8e5c-f3cbf3f3e7d7.png
    3. https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/10153610/36724165-3c242e94-1baa-11e8-8c41-c6e092538d7d.png
    4. https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/10153610/36724170-40d56872-1baa-11e8-90db-f462c4fe37a6.png
    5. https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/10153610/36724358-e55b0992-1baa-11e8-9d1f-27b6dd818606.png

    Please let us know your thoughts on these – if there’s any you have a preference for, or whether there’s any that you have an issue with.

    Additionally, there have been a number of suggestions of allowing authors to have greater control over their preview, which is something we’ve been considering for a while now. We already see a number of authors adding custom files to a resource to help enhance the preview, and would like to find a way to make this easier for you all. However, please note that it’s likely that this won’t be something that we will be able to deliver in the near future.

    While on the subject of previews, it’s worthwhile bringing up the issue of preview quality, since this is a common question from authors. We use a third-party service to generate the preview image for us, and so, sadly, aren’t able to control the quality of this. We spent a long time researching and comparing the various different services available, and went with this one for its relative degree of quality for the range of documents we see uploaded to Tes. However, none of the services we looked at were able to guarantee 100% accuracy.

    We have been collating a list of the various issues that people are seeing with their previews, and are in touch with the folks at the service we use, to try and find a resolution for these issues. There are a few that are worth highlighting that you should be aware of:

    • If you drag any content outside of the page area while in Word or PowerPoint (i.e. into the grey area surrounding the page), then this will be squished back onto the page when the preview gets generated, thus making it look like there is a lot of extraneous content on the page. You need to make sure that you delete these, rather than simply dragging them off the page.
    • We commonly see issues with embedded fonts (ones that don’t come standard with the editor), as the service isn’t able to recognise these.
    • We also commonly see issues where authors have changed the margins and boarders of the document.

    If you have any other questions, suggestions and feedback, please add them to the thread below, or get in touch with us on authors@tes.com


    tesAuthorTeam and tspeelman like this.
  2. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    Watermarks will help.

    I have no issue with preview images being larger - except that when they're forced beyond their actual size and so become pixellated (as was the case before).

    If that were to be the case it would require such a lot of work to redo existing preview files that I would most likely give up on this platform for the time being. I appreciate that things need to change and develop but there has to be consideration to the knock on impacts and for me personally while I want to use TES it doesn't yet warrant the amount of work needed to keep up to date with changes like this.
  3. PrimaryPros

    PrimaryPros New commenter

    Personally, I like the version where it has a blue rectangle and the TES logo with the accompanying speech: Resources created by...

    As seen here: https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/10153610/36724155-379997ce-1baa-11e8-8e5c-f3cbf3f3e7d7.png

    I think it provides a clear indication of the resource yet makes it painfully obvious it is a preview and to not attempt to copy the resource. This, along with the TES branding makes it obvious and difficult for a perspective 'copier' to remove the watermark. I like it, great work TES and thanks Charlie.
    mrajlong likes this.
  4. mrajlong

    mrajlong Senior commenter

    I agree with the above
  5. shd132

    shd132 New commenter

    I agree. Think these are helpful changes.
  6. EC_Resources

    EC_Resources Occasional commenter

    Good ideas, thanks @Charles. Any except 1 or 2 are my faves. Giant blue rectangle will make it v hard to read some content. Subtle but in the middle watermark best imo :)
    nwilkin likes this.
  7. Littlesherbetlemon

    Littlesherbetlemon Occasional commenter

    Thank you Charlie. I quite like the first one too (the blue box one) as it lets people to still see enough of the image but it quite professional looking too.
  8. laprofdefrancais

    laprofdefrancais New commenter

    I think all are fine except 1 and 2
    nwilkin likes this.
  9. LittleStreams

    LittleStreams New commenter

    I like all except the blue box one as that feels like it covers up too much of the image.
  10. teachercellar

    teachercellar Occasional commenter

    My preference would be number 3 and definitely not the blue box
  11. TeachElite

    TeachElite New commenter

    I like the strip preview the box is too big for a decent preview of the resource. Thanks for listening
  12. hoppytimes

    hoppytimes New commenter

    I prefer the subtle ones - 4 and 5. The big rectangle blob is a bit too much, I spend a lot of time on my cover images for them to be ruined by something that large.
  13. Krazikas

    Krazikas Occasional commenter

    I would like a more opaque, subtle watermark. ... as @hoppytimes states a lot of effort is put into covers to attract buyers. A large obtrusive image detracts from the resource.
  14. Krazikas

    Krazikas Occasional commenter

  15. Krazikas

    Krazikas Occasional commenter


    1. If you were to disable the right click on preview images would there be a need to have the watermark?
    2. Where do you intend the watermark to go - the cover, all uploaded resources etc?
  16. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    I remember somebody once making a comment that they felt like they sold things on here 'despite TES'.

    I'm beginning to feel that way now!

    After the previous change to the previews I made sure recent uploads included a preview file at the (ridiculous) size of 300 dpi (because there's no way that couldn't be legible at any size on screen is there?!)

    I now discover that while files had previously been stretched and distorted to be illegible... now they've gone the other way and those high quality preview images I uploaded are still illegible because they're now too small.

    This is the original file:


    and this is what the current preview does to it (actual size):


    I don't understand why this couldn't have been a 'keep it simple' approach (as works perfectly well with other sites) (and cover images on here). Failing that please can we display images at 100% of the window size to a maximum of say 1080?

    Whatever it's to be can we then have some assurance that it will be stuck with?.. because I've no intention of updating resources only to find things change again shortly after.
  17. charliep86

    charliep86 New commenter

    Hi @thinky, sorry that you're feeling frustrated with things!

    When we rolled out the previous changes to make the preview experience a larger size, we also quickly fixed the issue highlighted where preview images were being stretched and distorted. Given that we've had to revert to the previous state of affairs for the time-being, the changes we made to fix this issue have also been reverted. Once we're able to move back to the improved preview experience, we will also have the fix to the issue you outline above.

    Could you please share a link to the resource you're referring to though, so that we can check things out?


    Charlie :)
  18. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the quick response - you can see the same on any of the recently added resources:

    here's one
    here's another

    If I look at older resources they're too small to be easily read too but they at least look like the quality of the original image hasn't been downscaled.

    My fear is that those preview images that have been resampled as part of the upload process (presumably to save bandwidth & space?) but have been done so at such a low resolution that whenever you do change the preview system they'll end up looking (even more) awful.

    I don't want to moan, moan, moan but it's very frustrating having taken the time to try and provide useful preview files to then discover that they're useless - and then all the more frustrating that I'll need to potentially update hundreds of resources.
    FullShelf likes this.
  19. ClassroomChemist

    ClassroomChemist New commenter

    Don't want to be a moaner but the preview feature from the start has been a shambles and it seems tes are tinkering with something that isn't really fit for purpose. Systems on other sites (notably ***) work much better - thumbnails and a preview file you can download - go with that instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

    Currently the previews of my resources are littered with formatting errors but the biggest issue is that now someone can screen shot an entire resource and get it for free. Really, this needs sorting asap. It doesn't give a fair representation of my work and is bound to cost us (and tes) a lot of money in lost sales.
    Krazikas and FullShelf like this.
  20. FullShelf

    FullShelf New commenter

    I do appreciate that you are listening to us at TES and I was glad about the decision to rollback the larger previews, however I still have many concerns. My sales are well down, including on some resources that were selling well and have now dwindled to almost nothing. I decided to do a preview check on a sample of my resources again today and came across problems with every resource I checked. Many are still distorted - all the content is there but the font is totally altered, making it look oddly spaced out and nowhere near as good as it actually is. Others are still totally mangled, with a series of boxes and symbols instead of words, or empty boxes where fractions should be. Jpeg files look very blurry. Finally, ones that look fine can still be right clicked and stolen. People may not get the whole resource but multiple worksheets etc can be taken and they are good enough quality to use. I don't know where to start to fix all this as there are different issues with different resources and I just don’t have time to deal with it all. I had been so pleased with my experience of selling resources on TES until recently but as I have uploaded more and more resources, my sales have been decreasing. I don’t think this can all be explained by greater competition in just a few weeks.

    I don't know if there's any point emailing you with links as every resource I checked has been adversely affected in the preview in some way. Sorry to moan etc. TES is a great opportunity but it’s such a shame that things were so much better before all the preview changes. I know it must be difficult to find a system that works well with every file type and I know you were trying to address customers' concerns with the preview. However, for me it was far better before the changes, even if it wasn't perfect, and I know others feel this strongly too.
    mrajlong likes this.

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