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New look on CHOW and Chowhound

LOCKED DISCUSSION

We're launching the site design upgrade on September 25th. Details can be found here: http://www.chow.com/redesign

Please post feedback to this thread.

Regards,
CHOW HQ

  1. I'm mainly interested in Chowhound and it looks as though those changes are more cosmetic than substantive. No problem with that. But could I ask please, while you're at it, to change the name of the South America board to "South and Central America"? Although most people do post queries or comments for the Central American countries on the South America board, Central America is it's own entity and it would clarify knowing where to post for Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

    1. will it be fast?
      will moderators allow sarcasm?

      1. I like the visual changes including the use of white on both CHOW & CH.
        Even the new default avatar is intuitive.
        Overall, attractive neat & clean.

        Question: Where will the sign in page automatically take you... to CHOW or CH?

        1 Reply
        1. re: HillJ

          I'll take a look at it on our test site and see, but I would assume sign-in pages will take you back to the page you were signing in from. So if you're on this thread, and not logged in, and you hit 'log in' you should end up back on this page afterwards. That's how it's supposed to work now, as well.

        2. I don't care about the changes but if you can't make your site load faster I won't be able to use it. I nave no issues with any other site but it takes over 30 seconds to load one of your pages. What happened ?

          4 Replies
          1. re: brookerme

            I'm surprised that the re-design comes now. Does this mean that the cosmetics of the re-design have been the focus of the tech team, and not solving the many error and slow-loading issues?

            1. re: maria lorraine

              The redesign was done by our Design Team, not the Engineering team. It's a whole different group of people than the ones responsible for the infrastructure and function of the site.

                1. re: Jacquilynne

                  But isn't there lots of interaction between the Design Team and the Engineering Team? You know, where the Design Team comes-up with something and presents it to the Engineering Team, and the Engineering Team looks at it, sighs, and points out that the new design element is likely to overload the current server(s) capacity and sends the design back to the team for reworking? And then eventually a compromise is reached and the Engineering Team gets everything running and tested in a beta format, before it goes live?

                  It's kind of alarming to think that the new site design hasn't been thoroughly vetted by your Engineering Team considering all of the "tech" issues (i.e., those that need to be remedied by the Engineers) that the site is currently experiencing.

                  It sounds to me like a scenario ripe for issues, if everything's not been tested and if the Engineering Team isn't familiar with all of the new design elements and how they function / affect site function.

            2. You've GOT TO BE KIDDING!

              Frequent contributors to CH want the months long meltdown to be fixed FIRST. New eye candy is secondary.

              I'd like to see an actual FULL SIZE page before passing complete judgement, surely that can't be hard to do.

              Smaller type faces sounds bad, really bad. My eyesight isn't getting any better. Make it adjustable so I don't have to change my (global) browser settings.

              I'm with JoanN, hopefully the cosmetic changes don't make the site run even slower until the 'new and improved site functions' are implemented.

              However, changing 'Places' to 'Restaurants and Bars' sounds very ominous. This is smelling like a 'consultant' makeover. PLEASE don't turn Chow.com into Yelp or CityShill!

              Thanks for listening.

              6 Replies
              1. re: DiveFan

                I second everything DiveFan has said. In addition, Chowhound has become almost unusable for me in the last few weeks. It has dropped to glacial speed. There are many threads I would have liked to respond to, but the pages just don't load. I don't know what's going on, but I'm very close to being done with Chowhound.

                1. re: Lauman

                  Agree that smaller fonts are BAD! If I were a suspicious sort I might even think this is an intentional move to try to shift the Chow population down to a younger demographic. I just can't imagine why you'd want to do that.

                  Please reconsider, or at least, as suggested already, allow font size to be user-selectable. Lots of news sites do this, it can't be that difficult.

                  1. re: BobB

                    BobB, while using the browser Firefox I hit the View tab, then select Text Size, then select Increase and nearly double the size of the font I'm reading. IE has a similar function. Can this be of help to you?

                    1. re: HillJ

                      IE does have a similar function. There is a "Page" button on the tool bar and the drop down menu lists a series of functions one of which is text size. There's the option of Largest, Larger, Medium, Smaller, Smallest.

                      Here on Chowhound, I use the Larger size.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Very handy, thanks, especially as it has a shortcut (hit Ctrl and +). But I still think that in principle going to a smaller than standard font size is disrespectful of the significant proportion of Chowhound regulars who are well beyond their 20's.

                        1. re: BobB

                          BobB, I agree with you but while the CHOW HQ folks take these helpful suggestions in, you should be comfortable reading posts. Enjoy your day!

                2. the type size is fine for me (have big screens), ditto the white background. but the line spacing is really weird on both the lists of posts and the actual pages - maybe the OPs name could be in different typeface or there could be a bullet initiating each post - the whole thing just looks like a big runon mound of text rather than a useable list - note, I usually work with the hotposts view

                  On the pages, there also needs to be enuf spacing between posts that its clear whose post it is - sometimes the prior poster's name is right on top of the next post - It also seems like we cant make paragraphs with spaces in our posts anymore. It makes for an awful lot of solid text to be readable. this isnt a chat board!

                  PS - is there anyway I can go straight in from my hotposts view to make a new post? It is annoying to have to leave, say outer boroughs, and re-enter through the "normal" view to post there.

                  1. Just saw the link for the redesign underneath the welcome in the upper righthand corner, so I went and looked at the redesign. So far - the only thing I like is the default WHITE background - thank you! (Although I use the beige/white background here anyway. The red background was *never* a good idea.)

                    But Holy SMOKES I'm glad I don't use CHOW.com all that often! It's going to look messier and busier and just like every other board out there - TOO much information crammed into one space! Epicurious, the AOL Food boards - not much different from them and so many others.

                    As for Chowhound - the decreased font size - that should be user-settable, IMO. You have people of all ages here, not just 20yo with perfect eyesight. We shouldn't have to increase the font size every time we come here because you've chosen to go with a much smaller font size than usually used on websites.

                    Otherwise, Chowhound's pages look to be relatively untouched - a good thing. Remember the old mantra of "K.I.S.S." Less is more.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I can adjust font size with my mouse and keypad, Linda. Can you?

                      1. re: HillJ

                        HillJ, I can use my scrolly button on my mouse and the CNTL key and adjust the overall size of the website's pages. But I shouldn't have to do that just to be able to read Chowhound's main post site when other websites are readable at the browser's medium setting.

                        I guess until I see a real revised CH page, I won't know how small it actually is as compared to the current site.

                    2. Will there be mobile support for the message boards? I've sadly become an iPhone weenie and would like to be able to read/respond on the go. Right now other sections of Chow are mobile compliant, but not the boards.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Xiao Yang

                        We're working on a mobile-specific version but don't want to promise a delivery time frame - that was done before and wasn't delivered on. However we know how important and useful this would be for everyone.

                      2. i don't dig the busier, more commercial look of the page, the smaller text, etc.

                        i think changing "places" to "restaurants and bars" is quite stupid, actually, as "places" on my local board also includes food boutiques, farms & farmer's markets, candy stores, tea shops, taco trucks, festivals, the odd movie theater with real butter on the popcorn, and scads of other types of establishments that sell important comestibles but aren't strictly "bars/restaurants." if the marketing wonks behind the redesign want to restrict the discussion on chowhound to merely consumer reviews of bars and so forth, we've already got yelp for that, what's the point?

                        please consider breaking up some of the boards as part of the redesign, and getting rid of some others that are extraneous.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: soupkitten

                          Yeah, there are a lot more kinds of Places added than just restaurants and bars, that seems like a very limiting description, what about bakeries, gourmet food shops, taco trucks, etc. etc? If it was just called restaurants and bars, it would feel like those kinds of places (especially places like food markets, farms, those random drugstores that strangely have great gourmet ingredients) aren't welcome.

                          1. re: JasmineG

                            I'm in agreement - "Places" encompasses all kinds of chowhoundly goodness, whereas "Restaurants and Bars" is limiting.

                            On the other hand, "Restaurants and Bars" is pretty much what's going to appeal to the Yelper crowd (who are, I assume, being courted with the new design).

                            1. re: ElsieDee

                              On the other hand, "Restaurants and Bars" is pretty much what's going to appeal to the Yelper crowd (who are, I assume, being courted with the new design).
                              ~~~~~~~~~
                              Good lord - I hope not.

                        2. I'm excited about the switch to a white background (I love the red, but the new design looks much cleaner), and I also like the new nav bars. Great opp to call attention to cool things. I don't like the idea of changing Places to Restaurants/Bars, although I've never really liked Places as a name...maybe there's something more all encompassing that could be used? Chow spots? I don't know.

                          As for the rest, I couldn't care less about the recipe section unless there will be a stronger showing of project type deliciousness (martini onions anyone?), blog placement seems fine, and the board changes look good to me, provided we can get the speed back up.

                          I love Georgia. Fantastic choice. And I'm sorry to be insensitive, but could people please just buy glasses like the rest of us so that Chow doesn't have to accommodate that particular personal need? I highly recommend the anti-glare coating for web reading ease.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: emmaroseeats

                            I use the red too, and have switched to the oatmeal to try to get used to the new background!

                          2. Will this redesign help with the problems of printing out articles. Much of the time only half of the material or none gets printed out. In addition, it would be nice to be able to print without all of the comments that might be attached?

                            1. I don't know for certain that it's related to the "New Look," but on the "My Chow" page, the "All Recent Activity" file is missing now. I used it a lot, and really miss it.

                              I also miss the "photographs" file on each personal page. Hey, it's how I got my dose of food porn! Some great food photographs there.

                              Will these things reappear? Please??????

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  YAY! M, you are amazing. Thanks.

                              1. First thoughts. Much cleaner. Much nicer. I like the white and gray. But the fonts are *really* small. I have trouble with them and I'm in my early 30s -- I can't imagine what the older folks think...

                                Nice work. I'll bet you get a lot of feedback over the next few days.

                                1. Now that the new design is live, we're going to lock this and refer people here for more feedback: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/560190