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Jun 24, 2006 12:57 AM

Things I don't like about the new site

Might as well get this one started.

Things I don't like about the new site:

* The fonts in the thread list are too large. This means that I can't see more than 10-15 threads per screen, and I am working at a pretty high resolution.

* Building on the previous obvservation, there's a lot of wasted space on each page. The site has a sort of kiddy feel to it.

* Use of newer web technology means the page loads noticably slower than simpler websites (like, in 1 second instead of 0.5 seconds).

* I really wish those responsible had gone with a simple, customizable software like Invision or PHPBB. These interfaces are feature-rich and very familiar to many web users.

The new software has the feel of a feature-driven, or "one-way" type website. Chowhound is not a feature-driven website. It has a few published features but it is not a blog. It is a community forum. The new software feels like it marginalizes the community aspect (by making it more awkward to navigate) while pushing the user toward feature content. For example, the site only takes up 75% of the width of my screen (sitting in a centered column), and of that space, perhaps 25% is used by an ad for the "Tale of Two Chowhounds" feature. It would be nice to see the discussion boards without having features pushed so hard.

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  1. OH-OH!!!!!
    This is NOT going well!!!!

    1. I like the overall look and feel, which won't stop me from suggesting a few tweaks.

      - Luther's right about the thread listing font.
      - I also have problems the basic format of most pages. To see both columns without having to scroll right or left, I have to expand my browser window wider than I'd like. Shouldn't the software adapt to my preferences instead of forcing me to adapt my preferences to it?
      - The 15-minute edit window for posts is too short, especially since you've ditched the preview function. I just posted a couple of long messages on the wine board and didn't have enough time to make all the changes I'd have liked.
      - Why can't we use boldface and italics in our posts? Italics are almost a necessity for those of us who live in and write about places where English is not the first language and who therefore use "foreign" words in our posts.
      - A glitch. While it's great to see the software changing URLs in posts into active links, the sentence punctuation following the link is often incorporated into the link (e.g. In the example, the close parenthesis and period become part of the address, which kind of defeats the purpose of the active link.

      1. Well the worst has happened. Now chowhound is just like every other lousy food site. I especially hate no hot posts and no visible threads.

        1. Miss not being able to get hot posts. Seems more time consuming, can't easily browse.
          Can't get whole page on my screen without using the arrows.

          1. Congratulations on the new site! It's a great start. Here are my initial wishes...

            1. Like the other posters, make the font much smaller for the message list.

            2. The 15-minute limit on edit is really silly. One other forum I frequent has that and I hate it there alao. I frequent another forum with no time limit on edits and it causes no problem at all.

            3. Include the date/time of last reply in the message list.

            4. Include the date/time for each message.

            5. Add a user preference for number of messages per page on the list page (now fixed at 20).

            6. Provide a way to search on a phrase. Searching on "san rafael" (with the quote marks) finds occurrances of "san" as well as "san rafael". In addition, other search features like searching on user name, etc.

            Again, a great start.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Mick Ruthven

              I agree that searching by user name is an important feature ... just my two cents.

              1. re: PaulF

                you can do it. from any search results page, hit the "advanced search" button. It allows you to search by username. Just don't include anything in any other field (for now).

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  Thanks Jim!

                  Nice work on the new site!

                2. re: Mick Ruthven

                  Searching by phrase is key. A search for "O Cantinho" in Cambridge, MA highlighted every instance of the letter "O" in the posts it found, clearly not helpful. In that case Cantinho is a rare enough word that it doesn't matter, but searching for a name like "East Coast Grill" or any other restaurant name with common words is clearly very difficult.

                  Another approach I used to use with the old site was Googling with: "Restaurant name" "city"-- sometimes adding something like "-tristate" or "+Boston" if I was looking for something in Somerville, MA instead of Somerville somewhere in the tristate area. Unfortunately all the old links no longer go to the newly archived threads. (Perhaps this will change as the Google spiders crawl through the new site?) Either putting a google (or google-style-features) box within the site, or allowing google searches from the outside to include the archived content would make the search function more powerful and much more useful.

                  I love track by user, by the way: I'm proud to be one of the first to index the legendary limster.