The Revamped ROBLOX Catalog Arrives

August

27, 2012

by aleverns


Archive

New ROBLOX CatalogOur Catalog has undergone many changes over the years, and we continue to develop it so it’s easier to use, navigate and ultimately find the gear you need for your ROBLOXian. Today, an overhaul of the Catalog launched on Roblox.com, bringing new functionality and a better user experience to shopping on ROBLOX.

New Search Engine and Filters

Powered by Solr, an open-source search platform, our new Catalog’s search engine is more robust than ever before. We took advantage of wide-table search, a touted feature of Solr, and included new search filters, including extra pricing options, genres, gear categories and creators. The new gear category filter allows users to to search gear by type (i.e., “melee weapons” or “explosives”), and the new creator filter allows users to see what kind of models and items ROBLOX users are creating.

Sort by gear attributes, filter by price. Click to enlarge.

Also new: users can now combine genre or category filters with any of our sorts. If you, for example, want to find collectible, medieval, ranged gear containing the keyword “sword”, our new platform will shoot you right over to the Sword of Ancalagon.

The updated Catalog also makes shopping much easier, regardless of how specific or vague users are about their desires. For the quick-fix shopper, the constantly updated “Featured Items” homepage screen will display the items that are hot on ROBLOX at the moment. For the specific shopper, we’ve included a search box for users who are interested in sniffing out items that belong to a particular theme.

We’re also introducing categories — grouping, for example, hats and shirts in a “clothing” category and faces and heads in a “body parts” category.  The “Browse by Category” drop-down menu allows users to choose from a bevy of subcategories (“t-shirts” fall under “Clothing”, “navigation enhancers” fall under “Gear”, etc.). By default, the new Catalog shows items that can be taken by your ROBLOX character, but you can choose to include off-sale items in your search in order fully explore all the past items ROBLOX had available, and take a look at the range of items and models offered to you presently.

Sort prices from low to high, and search within subcategories. Click to enlarge.

Technical Challenges

Getting our new Catalog up and running presented several challenges. As you know, there are millions (and growing) of Catalog items, so re-categorizing them proved to be a massive undertaking that’s still in process. We’re re-indexing every item, hat and weapon in our inventory, while simultaneously ensuring that product data consistency is enforced to address prior data inconsistencies.

We’ve built these new features in a MVC framework sitting side-by-side with Web Forms pages. In addition to various performance enhancements, moving to a MVC (model-view-controller) framework has created a store with a very streamlined user experience, and garnered a noticeable speed improvement.

What’s Ahead

There are a couple immediate changes we hope to make in the coming months. We’d like to be able to show you the amount of item types available per filter — if, for example, you were interested in checking out the “Western” genre, we’d like to be able to show you how many items are available in that genre before you click it.

We also want to update our pricing methods — we want to be able to show users the current lowest prices on all collectible items, and add new logos for new items to distinguish themselves from others.

You can check out the new ROBLOX Catalog today right here.