Search function could be better
If I want to search on a particular board and I don't want to be limited to a single year, I have to type my search into the search box, click on search, click on "show options" and then redo my search with the relevant parameters. Alternatively, I can click on "search this board" and go through the same rigamarole, this time changing the date parameter. Why not just allow me to click on an advanced search button and go straight to the search template with all the options already opened?
Also, I'd like to be able to search more than one board simultaneously. The New England board and the Tristate Board both, cover southwestern Connecticut. This is perfectly reasonable. I wouldn't be surprised if there are other geographical overlaps for certain boards. Wouldn't it be nice if I could search both boards at once?
You can jump straight to search without typing anything in by hitting the search button--you'll still have to open 'more options', but you won't have to wait for search results to come up. Hopefully that'll help a bit.
Allowing search by board group was an attempt to cover off the most common multi-area searches as well as keep the list of boards to one you could scroll through in a reasonable time. It's not quite 'any arbitrary set of boards' and unfortunately, your preferred boards aren't in a single category, but the board group does cover off a lot of the potential multi-board searches. I agree, though, searching arbitrary (especially if you could save them!) board groupings would be a nice feature. The 'board groups' as they exist, though, are an explicit field in our database, which makes that a lot easier to do than allowing you to arbitrarily select multiple boards would be.
"You can jump straight to search without typing anything in by hitting the search button--you'll still have to open 'more options', but you won't have to wait for search results to come up."
But who would possibly be able to intuit this?
Is there a reason why the whole search form couldn't simply be made more user-friendly? I'm sure Chowhounders could improve on the current design. If I may ask, what's holding that back?