itcher is a site that promises to give you recommendations based on things you already like; they offer recommendations on movies, music, books and games.
As someone with a genuine need for ideas in all of these categories, I have decided to try it out and see whether recommendations suitable for me can be given based on the movies, books, music and games that I know and like already.
Deciding How to Test itcher…
My partner and I have very busy lives, during the week especially, so I am looking for some recommendations to make our free time more about entertainment and less about “No you choose what we watch this week.” I have decided to put itcher to the test by trying to find a movie that will be suitable for our date night.
We are avid comic fans, very much about DC and Marvel movies, so I am interested to see what itcher recommends for us. I am not content to just try one category offered by itcher, though, so I am also going to be seeing what albums are recommended, for my drive to work in the mornings, as well as a nice new book series to read when relaxing before bed. We also have a lot of long-distance friends who we like to play online games with, so I will be seeing what itcher has to offer for our next gaming night.
Let’s see if itcher gets it right!
As I am quite busy, I will also be testing itcher on the time it takes to go from rating titles that I already like, to finding an entirely new item that I will enjoy just as much. I will also be using all of the above goals and tests to rate the overall experience of each category, and of using itcher as a whole.
Rating Titles to Refine my Recommendations
The first step is to rate items that I already know I either like or dislike. For movies, this began with selecting a category that would fit my interests, in this case I chose ‘Adventure’ as I am looking for something comic or superhero related. The categories are set out along the tops of the lists of titles, as shown below, which really makes them stand out and makes narrowing down the choices much easier.
Rating items on itcher is made very easy by the 1-5 rating style, where you can simply click on the lightbulb that reflects your feelings on the item. After rating a few items, I am shown a pop-up box offering to show me my recommendations, but, as I have only rated 5 items, I decline for the time being, which is not a huge issue as the “Recommendations” tab is prominently displayed at the top of the screen, ready for whenever I am finished rating items.
The Scrolling Experience
While rating the titles, I notice that the page scrolls beautifully, with page-wide displays for each item, meaning that the page is not cluttered and I do not feel overwhelmed by choices. I am able to take my time reading each item and giving my personal rating, as well as leaving a review, if I wish to.
Occasionally, an image will take a few seconds to fully load, but this is more than likely due to my PC being slow, than any fault with the site.
itcher Knows What I Like
As I am rating music, I notice that the items in the genre that I have chosen – rock – are becoming more and more similar, an easy observation to make, given the numerous different types of rock music available.
The bands that are appearing are ones that I have heard of an enjoyed, so I end up rating most of them very highly. This means that the recommendations given to me are actually very accurate, much better than expected.
After listening to a few recommended songs, I finally find my new album – and it’s by the second band in my recommendations!
Itchlist / Scraplist
As I liked so many of the bands being suggested for me to rate, I ended up adding a lot of the bands suggested to me, to my “itchlist”, which is a feature designed so that you can save your favourite suggested items in one place to look back on, at a later time.
This is an excellent innovation, else I would have had to write down the names of bands that I intended to listen to when I have more time, but now I have a list!
The opposite to this feature is the “scraplist”, where you can put items that don’t even deserve to score one out of five, you can just get them out of your sight, never to be suggested again!
My Personal Recommendations
Once I had finally finished having a good browse around my favourite categories of movies, books, music and games, it was time to switch to the recommendations tab, to see what itcher had to offer me.
The recommendations were really quite perfect and I found the final chosen items within the first 6 results for every search. I even ended up choosing the first recommendation when it came to searching for a new book to read.
Finding Our More About Titles I Like
I found quite a few gems while scrolling, browsing and rating, so I wanted to find out more about some of these titles. When clicking on the ‘Show me more’ button of one of my movie recommendations, a product page opened, displaying a general overview of the film, information about cast and crew, video reviews and even suggestions for similar titles.
Whilst searching through ratings and recommendations, I came across a slot of people who had similar tastes to me in each of the categories, and, out of curiosity, I followed some of them. What a brilliant feature!
By going into the “My Connections” page, I can see a list of items that the users I am following have recently rated and reviewed, meaning I get even more quick recommendations for things that I might like, excellent!
The Experience of Getting My Recommendations
Finding a movie was very simple, I really liked most of the suggestions that came up in the “Adventure” category, but as I was trying to find a comic/superhero related movie, I focussed on reviewing and rating movies like that. Through the rating system, I found 3 people with high percentages of similarity to me, so I followed them, and it was through one of them having recently rated and reviewed a movie, that I ended up choosing it.
The movie that I settled on is X-men: First Class, which is something I had wanted to watch for a while, but had forgotten about, with itcher’s recommendation reminding me. It is also very similar to the type of movies that my partner and I like, so it made perfect sense to choose it.
The overall process of finding a movie to watch that both my partner and I will enjoy took less than 15 minutes.
Rating for finding movies: 5/5
The next test was to find an album to listen to on the drive to work. I like to stick to rock music, as it sets me up for the day ahead, and my mood in the car can really affect my mood at work, so it was quite important that the album I chose was perfect.
After rating about 15 bands, the suggestions started becoming more and more relevant to my taste. I flipped over to the ‘Recommendations’ page and saw a recommendation for a band that I had heard of, but not listened to before.
I ended up listening to the top three recommendations on the page, and chose the second one for my drive to work. It really fit in with the music that I already listen to, so mission accomplished!
Now that I’m getting the hang of the system, I whizzed through rating bands and had my recommendation in 10 minutes; the only thing that took any time was listening to the suggestions to pick just one for the car.
Rating for finding music: 5/5
Finding a book would probably pose the hardest task for itcher, as I am very specific in the things that I like to read. I like strong female characters, a bit of fantasy and magic, a touch of romance and a dash of mystery – the recipe for the perfect story.
The journey began much the same as the others, rating titles that were suggested for me, such as ‘How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, two of my favourites, so well done itcher!
Most of the recommendations for me are classics, not surprising, given my tastes. I am also recommended Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals, which I chose and am now reading, little by little before bed.
Finding the books that I like, due to the pickiness of my tastes, took about 10 minutes, and reading reviews for the suggestions a further five, so fifteen minutes in total, with a few suggestions that didn’t rock my world: Not too bad, itcher!
Rating for finding books: 4/5 (probably due to my own fussiness)
I had assumed that finding an online game that all of our friends would like to play on out games nights would be a difficult task, but itcher took it in its stride.
To begin with, I rated all of the games we have played so far, by searching for them, rather than through browsing, which sped up the process and meant that I had rated and reviewed every game we have played this year in about 10 minutes. Then I flicked over to the suggestions tab.
The fifth suggested game is an indie game from a well-known designer; Cave Story. My friends and I had been discussing this game just the other day and now that I have read the reviews that other itcher users have written, we will definitely be playing it this weekend.
itcher also has a ‘share’ feature, allowing you to post suggestions and items to your social media pages, which I used in this instance to let the other players read the reviews and see what we would be playing this weekend.
Rating for finding games: 5/5
My overall rating for itcher is 4.5 out of 5; the site only loses marks for being a bit slow to load on my PC and for the suggestions given in my search for a book. However, these things are probably not even issues for people who aren’t me, so good job, itcher!
Finally, the only way to describe how good itcher was to use is…
Give it a try!
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