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Here comes the new look!

j
jane Sep 25, 2008 09:56 AM

In a matter of minutes, we'll launch the new visual design of CHOW and Chowhound. You'll experience an interruption in the function of the site, but we'll be back online soon.....

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  1. m
    Mila Sep 25, 2008 10:50 AM

    Wow, nice work.
    But I really need to get some work done. Well, maybe tomorrow.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mila
      m
      Mila Sep 25, 2008 11:04 AM

      Still not doing my work.

      But since the majority of complaints seem to be about the font size why don't you...
      Set font sizes in a CSS.
      Provide a link that sets a cookie.
      Pull the users preferred CSS on login, which could include font size and a myriad of other styling.

    2. g
      grillit Sep 25, 2008 10:56 AM

      Ummm... is there a functional reason behind the new look, or is it merely a redesign for design's sake?

      1 Reply
      1. re: grillit
        Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 11:12 AM

        There are functional changes, some of which are the combining of our blog content and exposing search on each board page. Renaming categories in the navigation so they make more sense and utilizing a rollover dropdown in the nav bar because we felt many people were missing the little arrow indicators on the right of each category. Also we have introduced a third column promo unit that exposes board content in a more accessible way.

        On the design side we needed to neutralize the palette of the site so we can display recipes and food related visuals without a large maroon cast on everything. We also added a font called Georgia to mix up textures and increase readability. This site previously used just one font which made creating hierarchies of information in text a problem.

        These are not all the changes but some highlights of whats been changed so far.

      2. southernitalian Sep 25, 2008 10:57 AM

        When i click on Chwhound, the "South" link is below my screen and I can't scroll down to it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: southernitalian
          MMRuth Sep 25, 2008 11:12 AM

          Did you try using the down arrow to get to it - that worked for me.

          Edit - I meant the one on your keyboard.

        2. Mari Sep 25, 2008 10:59 AM

          The font is very small....I guess you need to make more room for the big advertisements on the right of the screen.

          15 Replies
          1. re: Mari
            Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 11:01 AM

            Mari,

            The body font has not changed size. Only the headline font on the regions list came down is size a point.

            1. re: Design_Team
              MMRuth Sep 25, 2008 11:03 AM

              The user names in the threads are much smaller though, and harder to see.

              1. re: MMRuth
                Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 11:15 AM

                Hey MMRuth, What OS and Browser are you on?

                The names are showing up the correct size on my OS (mac osx firefox).

                We will try to fix the issue you are having.

                1. re: Design_Team
                  MMRuth Sep 25, 2008 11:21 AM

                  MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0

                  By the way, I'm referring to the user name in 'non-expanded' posts by the way. It's fine in the expanded ones with the avatars.

                  Thanks!

                  1. re: MMRuth
                    Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 11:26 AM

                    10-4 We will bump that up, it will take us a little while to get to it, but I promise we will take a look and address.

                    1. re: Design_Team
                      MMRuth Sep 25, 2008 11:28 AM

                      Thank you. BTW - are avatars supposed to be visible in contracted posts? Because if they are, I'm not seeing them - don't care one way or the other, but thought I'd mention it.

                      1. re: MMRuth
                        Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 11:39 AM

                        They are not supposed to show up there actually. Our thinking is that they will add to much height to the list. If they are not present you can scan more topics on your screen.

                2. re: MMRuth
                  mnosyne Sep 25, 2008 12:19 PM

                  I agree with MMRuth; and the lack of contrast makes it harder for my old eyes to read anything.

                  1. re: mnosyne
                    ArikaDawn Sep 25, 2008 08:59 PM

                    Does the same to my young eyes. The burden of being a bat in a woman's body...

              2. re: Mari
                m
                ML8000 Sep 25, 2008 03:21 PM

                Gray/black on white makes the font seem smaller. It's a much harsher look and much harder to look at. Lots of white on a screen tends to blow your eyes out.

                1. re: ML8000
                  LindaWhit Sep 25, 2008 07:56 PM

                  Yeah, I was thinking this same thing. At least the cream-colored background didn't harsh your eyes out - but ALL THIS WHITE is screaming at me! Design Team folks - I know you just went through a whole design re-do, but can the Bright-White-White! background be taken to a softer, creamier white - maybe with a hint of beige? It surely would be a lot better on the eyes.

                  1. re: LindaWhit
                    meatn3 Sep 26, 2008 01:05 AM

                    I feel the same - it is fatiguing.

                    1. re: meatn3
                      toodie jane Sep 26, 2008 01:55 PM

                      Me three. squinting hard after about 3 minutes. ugh.

                  2. re: ML8000
                    j
                    jackiecat Sep 27, 2008 10:17 AM

                    +1 on the white background. Way too harsh!

                    1. re: jackiecat
                      m
                      marcia2 Oct 3, 2008 01:12 PM

                      It's horrible to read.

                      It's incredibly slow. I hit Reply and timed how long it took for the reply box to open up. Over a minute.

                      And it's ugly.

                      edit: You know that moment when the post is loading and it shows up as black on a soft yellow background? Much easier to read. Also ugly, but better contrast and I care more about ease of use than how attractive it is.

                2. pinstripeprincess Sep 25, 2008 11:02 AM

                  i like that there's a slickness to it that reminds me of a zine... but i don't think that this is helping functionality. i understand that you haven't likely integrated or improved the engineering side of it, but i'm almost finding the text is now receding into the background more and it's almost easier to see the ads and the boxes around each text bit rather than the info i really want. perhaps a tweak in colour? and reducing the thickness of the lines for the boxes? wouldn't mind either if the text not in the boxes were a scotch smaller. the largeness of it seems to press upon me their importance and cause a distraction though i'm not inclined to link to a place or attach a photo.

                  1. kpzoo Sep 25, 2008 11:02 AM

                    Hiya,

                    Some tech bits:

                    The Canada boards (Ontario, Quebec, Western Canada & "the rest of Canada") are missing from the Chowhound drop-down menu. The heading is there, but the board links themselves are not. (FF2/Mac)

                    Edit: they're also missing from the Boards homepage here: http://chowhound.chow.com/boards

                    Also, the giant Chowhound drop-down menu is so long it's almost cut off on my monitor (1024X768) - might want to make it wider and shorter so it fits better into this standard resolution.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: kpzoo
                      kpzoo Sep 25, 2008 11:27 AM

                      The Canadian boards are back, thanks. :-)

                      1. re: kpzoo
                        Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 11:31 AM

                        re: CH dropdown. We are looking into better ways to tuck this list up for those of you that enlarge your browsers. We will rollout an adjustment as soon as we can. It's going to take a bit of time to research a solid solution but we are on it.

                        1. re: Design_Team
                          kpzoo Sep 25, 2008 11:52 AM

                          Great, glad to hear you're looking for a fix. Perhaps making it 4 columns instead of 3 will do the trick.

                          Not sure what you mean by "for those of you that enlarge your browsers" though - my browser is full-screen for sure, but my resolution of 1024X768 is a pretty common one these days so you can probably expect others to be in a similar boat. I'm not doing anything unusual with my browser as far as I know. Will attempt to attach screenshot to show you what I see.

                           
                          1. re: kpzoo
                            Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 12:02 PM

                            Thanks for the screenshot.

                            By enlarging your browser I am referencing, for instance on a mac platform, when the user hits apple plus or minus to enlarge or reduce the size of the web page.

                            OK we will address this...Our fix that we were looking into during BETA was to extend the drop to four columns...we will however do more detailed research to make sure we put a fix in place that sticks for all users.

                      2. OCAnn Sep 25, 2008 11:06 AM

                        Again?!? =P

                        1. h
                          HillJ Sep 25, 2008 11:14 AM

                          Chowhounds hate change! Could we all just give it a few days?!
                          I must have joined the community during a time of change because every few months another thread comes along to announce a new owner, a new avatar, a new color, a new layout, a new technical glitch, a new layout and most important the change in users...and CH's never like the changes.

                          What is wrong with giving something new a try? When so many CH's love to try new foods, new flavors, new places, new recipes....why oh why does changing this site curl so many toes?

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: HillJ
                            OCAnn Sep 25, 2008 11:21 AM

                            B/c like comfort foods, it's nice to be able to go back to something we know and like.

                            I'm not adverse to change...just bellyaching. =P Give me a couple hours and I'll be over it.

                            1. re: OCAnn
                              h
                              HillJ Sep 25, 2008 11:36 AM

                              Ah comfort food, I can relate and understand your analogy. Yet through all these various site/community changes CH is still here, still free and still a blast.

                              1. re: HillJ
                                OCAnn Sep 25, 2008 11:58 AM

                                Yes, gotta love CH, changes and all!

                            2. re: HillJ
                              carswell Sep 25, 2008 11:55 AM

                              "Chowhounds hate change!"

                              Not true. Several of the people complaining, myself included, were gung-ho about the last round of changes, especially after we had a way of ditching the eyesore maroon theme.

                              "What is wrong with giving something new a try?"

                              Nothing provided the changes are ergonomic. That's not the case here. Most of the complaints are about eyestrain. That's not something that "giving it a few days" is going to fix.

                              1. re: carswell
                                h
                                HillJ Sep 25, 2008 12:04 PM

                                carswell, I hope in the coming days the suggestions are taken by the team and the majority are on board. The team is asking and is responding.

                                I was here the day CH colors went to maroon & cream as well as the inclusion of avatars. Threads like these went on for hours, and days discussing the pros & cons of all the visual changes. It is the same situation now.

                                It's hard to use the word "everyone" in a community as large as this but the CH Team is getting really good at reaching out to the community users and asking & acknowledging their needs in order to have a good experience.

                            3. hannaone Sep 25, 2008 11:21 AM

                              This thread has been set up tech issue/glitches/comments also:

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/560190

                              1. dockhl Sep 25, 2008 11:36 AM

                                Is there a way to get unread posts? I see "Recent Posts" but not "Unread"................man, this font it TINY ! I've already got it bumped up a notch and this reply font looks like a 6.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: dockhl
                                  hannaone Sep 25, 2008 11:39 AM

                                  At the top of the "Chowhound" drop down, there is a link for both "my unread posts" and "recent posts"

                                  1. re: hannaone
                                    MMRuth Sep 25, 2008 11:56 AM

                                    I guess I can book mark 'hot posts', but it would be nice if there were a more prominent link somewhere, other than just on the drop down menu.

                                2. hiddenboston Sep 25, 2008 11:37 AM

                                  Yikes, what a mess, well, at least on a 3-year-old Mac and a Netscape 7.2 browser. I can't begin to go over the issues I'm having with the site. I assume the kinks will be worked out over the coming days(?)

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: hiddenboston
                                    Jacquilynne Sep 25, 2008 11:45 AM

                                    If it's super messy for you, can you first try clearing your cache, just to make sure things are all updated, and then, if that doesn't help, can you post some screenshots of what it's looking like to you? (If you need instructions on take screen shots, let me know, and I'll ... uh ... get someone who has a mac to tell you how to do it ;)

                                    1. re: Jacquilynne
                                      hiddenboston Sep 25, 2008 11:51 AM

                                      I did clear the cache, and I just checked the site on Safari, as well, and it's got a problem or two as well. Attached are a screen shot from Netscape (image 1) and one from Safari (image 2).

                                      One note: As you probably know, Netscape and Mozilla are nearly identical, so if I'm having trouble in Netscape, it's possible that others may be having trouble in Mozilla, but that's just a guess...

                                      1. re: hiddenboston
                                        hiddenboston Sep 25, 2008 11:52 AM

                                        Hm, the attachments didn't take. Let me try again...

                                        1. re: hiddenboston
                                          hiddenboston Sep 25, 2008 12:00 PM

                                          So much for that. Oh well, this should work--I posted the screen shots on my site if you want to go to these links:

                                          http://hiddenboston.com/images/NetscapeCH.pdf

                                          http://hiddenboston.com/images/Safari...

                                          1. re: hiddenboston
                                            Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 01:21 PM

                                            Thanks for the screenshots, very helpful. We have seen that issue of links running outside of boxes and are looking into it. The Netscape screenshot is quite a mess, we will do what we can reagarding that browsers interpretation of the site.

                                            1. re: Design_Team
                                              hiddenboston Sep 25, 2008 02:03 PM

                                              You're welcome! Just to let you know, I went on one of my laptops with Windows XP a few minutes ago and checked the site on several browsers (the latest copies of IE, Netscape, Mozilla, Safari, Flock, and K-Meleon), and it looked ok on all of them.

                                            2. re: hiddenboston
                                              hannaone Sep 25, 2008 01:46 PM

                                              Unfortunately there will be no more netscape browser (It was my first).
                                              Netscape/AOL terminated support for the browser on March 8th this year.
                                              http://browser.netscape.com/

                                              The Seamonkey Browser is very similar to the old Netscape Communicator package (browser/editor/mail).

                                              http://www.seamonkey-project.org/

                                      2. re: hiddenboston
                                        Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 11:45 AM

                                        We are working out kinks for sure. I have to say Netscape 7.2 is in the extreme minority of browsers people use to surf our site..the percentage is well under 1% We try to optimize the site to work properly for the majority of browsers people are using. We will look into this however and see what can be done.

                                      3. amanda3571 Sep 25, 2008 11:38 AM

                                        wow....wasn't expecting this!!!

                                        1. l
                                          LStaff Sep 25, 2008 11:42 AM

                                          Fail. Try again. Or don't and just go back to the last version.

                                          1. c
                                            Claudette Sep 25, 2008 11:48 AM

                                            This is much cleaner, legible, modern look and feel. Good work!

                                            1. beetlebug Sep 25, 2008 11:59 AM

                                              I'm holding off comment on the overall look. Personally, I have to adjust and make sure that I'm not griping just because it's a change.

                                              However, is it me, or is the background white, really white? It seems awfully bright that it kind of hurts my eyes.

                                              16 Replies
                                              1. re: beetlebug
                                                h
                                                HillJ Sep 25, 2008 12:06 PM

                                                lol bettlebug, I thought the same thing at first about the white. I think it's just a big difference from the deep red and softer cream color we all had been using til now. You can adjust your contract button..

                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                  LindaWhit Sep 25, 2008 07:59 PM

                                                  I think it's just a big difference from the deep red and softer cream color we all had been using til now. You can adjust your contract button..
                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                  Exactly - the softer cream color at least made it readable. This Bright-White-White! background is going to give a headache to many after too many hours of looking at it.

                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                    heidipie Sep 25, 2008 10:34 PM

                                                    that deep red color we had been using came about because during the LAST redesign, so many of us complained about the too-much-white!

                                                    1. re: heidipie
                                                      h
                                                      HillJ Sep 26, 2008 05:45 AM

                                                      I remember and then cream was added. The challenge seemed to be then & now finding a color/font/visual layout that the majority liked. Last time, after enough time passed CH's (myself included) just went along with the decisions finalized by the design team. The design team asked for comments. That thread didn't receive nearly as many posts as could have been helpful. I still think we need to give it time while continuing to make useful design suggestions. The deep red never worked on my eyes...but then as now any changes made to CH usually results in an opinion tug o war. I have faith. Enjoy your day!

                                                      1. re: heidipie
                                                        Jacquilynne Sep 26, 2008 05:49 AM

                                                        The deep red was first -- the white and then the cream came as answers to that.

                                                        1. re: Jacquilynne
                                                          h
                                                          HillJ Sep 26, 2008 05:53 AM

                                                          and what followed was the same thing that is happening now. Then a two color option was implemented.

                                                          The New York Times online is white with black writing, a far more crowded webpage than CHOW and I read it every morning. Go figure.

                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                            MMRuth Sep 26, 2008 05:56 AM

                                                            I agree that it's hard to please everyone! The text on the NYT site seems a bit darker to me.

                                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                                              h
                                                              HillJ Sep 26, 2008 05:59 AM

                                                              Perhaps it is darker in the posting area but I'm not sure the articles are lighter here than NYT uses in an article. Different font choice, much more crowded boxes; different ad space can fool the eye. But the white space is WHITE at NYT and it helps my tired eyes.

                                                            2. re: HillJ
                                                              carswell Sep 26, 2008 06:04 AM

                                                              The NYT doesn't tend to have huge swaths of virgin white space. In a long thread like this one, especially when there are many collapsed posts, the effect is similar to staring at a blank white page. Add a small, grey (not black, or so it seems), sans serif typeface and you've got the makings of a whiteout.

                                                              1. re: carswell
                                                                h
                                                                HillJ Sep 26, 2008 06:07 AM

                                                                Okay carswell. I will adjust to whatever final decisions are made at CH. I like visiting, reading and enjoying this free website. Enjoy your day!

                                                            3. re: Jacquilynne
                                                              LindaWhit Sep 26, 2008 07:26 AM

                                                              So if the cream came as answers to the harshness of the dark red AND the white, why wasn't it kept?

                                                              And I agree with carswell (in reply to HillJ) - the NYT's site has more text - where I'm typing right now has a thin column of text, but LOTS of white on both sides. I think that's the major issue. When a thread gets long and past the "main screen" portion of the top of the thread, all of the white is very offputting.

                                                              And I really don't understand the design idea of going to a medium gray text. The Boston Globe's website, Boston.com, did the same thing, and it's straining to read. There are so many variant shades of a darker gray that, while not black, are still more easily readable than this mid-point gray that everyone seems to be using now.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                h
                                                                HillJ Sep 26, 2008 07:52 AM

                                                                Morning LindaW, up thread the design team wrote:

                                                                "On the design side we needed to neutralize the palette of the site so we can display recipes and food related visuals without a large maroon cast on everything. We also added a font called Georgia to mix up textures and increase readability. This site previously used just one font which made creating hierarchies of information in text a problem. These are not all the changes but some highlights of whats been changed so far."

                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                  LindaWhit Sep 26, 2008 08:01 AM

                                                                  HillJ, I missed that post.

                                                                  And while that's fine, "neutralizing" the palette so there's no maroon cast to everything doesn't mean blinding everyone with science/white background. The cream background worked fine with food photos and recipe displays.

                                                                  I never used the maroon background anyway - always reset to the cream-colored background each time I had to re-sign in after a week.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                    h
                                                                    HillJ Sep 26, 2008 08:12 AM

                                                                    I also defaulted to the cream colored background but as of yesterday, I prefer the white. I am as curious as the next 'hound what final design choices will be made but I will (naturally) adjust to those choices in order to continue enjoying the site.

                                                                    Last time these design discussions came up, it took at least a few days before the design team finalized the formatting; tweaking along the way.

                                                                    If every website I visited looked the same or tried to please "everyone" there would be very little to read. Having member/visitor input isn't always offered on site redesigns; CH's team did ask for input.

                                                        2. re: beetlebug
                                                          greygarious Sep 25, 2008 03:08 PM

                                                          Me too....where did I put those sunglasses? I've been here 5 minutes and already my forehead hurts.

                                                          1. re: greygarious
                                                            greygarious Sep 26, 2008 08:23 AM

                                                            Nice knowing you, Chowhounders! Not only does it hurt my eyes, if I hang in it makes me dizzy/queazy...just what you want when reading about food :-{
                                                            I'll check back next month to see it things are any different. If not, goodbye and good luck.

                                                        3. Akitist Sep 25, 2008 12:13 PM

                                                          The font in the reply boxes is pretty small, not senior-friendly.

                                                          Just another case of anti-senior bias. (KIDDING!)

                                                          1. q
                                                            queencru Sep 25, 2008 12:49 PM

                                                            I find the subheadings in gray especially hard to read. I use a laptop and the gray just gets washed out unless I have the screen tilted back at a weird angle or uncomfortably far away. A slightly darker color palette might be better for laptops since every laptop I use tends to wash out lighter colors in the same way.

                                                            1. Icantread Sep 25, 2008 12:50 PM

                                                              the scrolling down to reach Florida - will get used to that. Otherwise, I think I need less light colors, too much white and light gray bugs my eyes and focus after a bit. Guess it will get me to work more though . . .

                                                              1. b
                                                                BurntEdges Sep 25, 2008 01:33 PM

                                                                Overall, I think it looks super clean and slick!

                                                                Just a few suggestions:

                                                                --The drop-down menu lists are overwhelming. Too many options and the small, grey, uppercase text is hard to read.

                                                                Would love to see imagery on the Blog page to break up all the text.

                                                                Thanks CHOW team!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: BurntEdges
                                                                  Design_Team Sep 25, 2008 02:12 PM

                                                                  Imagery is coming to the blog pages. There is some there that isn't being called correctly yet and we are working on it. Agreed that it's pretty dense right now with nothing breaking up the text. ALso there are some formatting issue to be fixed that will clean those pages up.

                                                                  The most serious offender of a large drop down is the Chowhound drop down and we are working on a fix right now for that.

                                                                2. JoanN Sep 25, 2008 02:04 PM

                                                                  Brilliant idea to put navigating links (Back to the Top | Reply to original post and Mark all Topics as Read | Switch Board) at the bottom of the page. It's soooo great not to have to scroll back to the top to access those functions. Bravo! Brava! Bravissimo!

                                                                  1. Arthur Sep 25, 2008 02:09 PM

                                                                    I feel like I'm reading the small print on a lit fluorescent bulb. Absolutely awful.

                                                                    1. Miss Needle Sep 25, 2008 02:12 PM

                                                                      There's too much white for me. It's too bright (and I'm somebody who doesn't own a pair of sunglasses). I preferred it when you the choice to change your skins.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                        coney with everything Sep 26, 2008 05:05 AM

                                                                        Second that. Maybe off-white would be better, or use a different color in the column on the right side--just something to break up the sea of white.

                                                                        On my other screen I have Outlook open--also a mostly white background but with other colors to break it up, and the different "functionalities" are more clearly defined using darker colors. Much easier on the eyes.

                                                                      2. DiveFan Sep 25, 2008 02:21 PM

                                                                        I'm surprised that the redesign isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Looks good in FF3 and Opera.

                                                                        The drop down navigation bars turned out well. I agree with above comments that suggest tweaking better for a 1024x768 display - four columns of CH boards may be the way.

                                                                        I would like to see a 'cream background' theme option. The mass of bright white will take some getting used to.

                                                                        One thing the Design team keeps overlooking - please make hyperlinks a Contrasting Color!

                                                                        I still think changing Places to 'Restaurants and Bars' is just plain DUMB. Who found the word 'Places' confusing? How about 'Placemarks' instead?

                                                                        1. Cpt. Wafer Sep 25, 2008 02:40 PM

                                                                          The stark white background is _KILLING_ my eyes.

                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Cpt. Wafer
                                                                            MMRuth Sep 25, 2008 02:42 PM

                                                                            Yes, I think it's really problematic, at least for someone who spends as much time on the site as I do. I'm going to try to figure out how to adjust settings on this new computer.

                                                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                                                              Jim Leff Sep 25, 2008 08:52 PM

                                                                              Our faithful regulars will adjust their monitors, but I'm worried about newbies. One of the great qualities of Chowhound (or terrible qualities, depending on your persepctive) is that it's really addictive and holds people's attention.

                                                                              The white is really tedious on the eyes, and while regulars will learn to adjust their monitors, newbies simply may not spend as much time, I'm afraid.

                                                                              1. re: Jim Leff
                                                                                Caroline1 Sep 26, 2008 04:10 AM

                                                                                Jim, I think asking people to adjust their monitor for just one site is asking way too much. Adjust for Chow and have all the rest of the web out of whack? Regulars schmegulars, I don't think so...! '-)

                                                                                1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                  Chris VR Sep 26, 2008 05:15 AM

                                                                                  Yeah, I agree, I'm a "faithful regular" and there's no way I'm going to switch contrasts and have all my other sites screwed up. I'll just use the site less.

                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                    Jim Leff Sep 26, 2008 08:28 AM

                                                                                    I don't ask you or anyone else to do anything.

                                                                                  2. re: Jim Leff
                                                                                    LindaWhit Sep 26, 2008 07:31 AM

                                                                                    But why should users have to adjust our monitors *just* for this site? I keep CH open along with Boston.com and several other windows - so that means I have to change my screen settings each time I flip between websites? I don't think so!

                                                                                    Even you, the chief Hound, say the white is really tedious on the eyes...while I know you're not involved in the day-to-day activities of the website, I have to wonder if the Design Team even asked for feedback on a beta site from Regular Users as was done in the past?

                                                                                    Those who are frequent users of the site know what works and what doesn't - and if white was previously dissed (prompting the change to the option of the cream background), why was white brought back with NO option?

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                      Jim Leff Sep 26, 2008 08:57 AM

                                                                                      I'm not the chief anything, I'm just the venerable co-founder (visualize me as a blue-state Harlan Sanders). And, anyway, there actually was a public call for feedback, and a beta test with input from a number of users (not sure how they were selected).

                                                                                      And, per above, yes, the NY Times site is just as white, yet people spend lots of time there reading. So...we'll get used to it. Or the design team will find a way to soothe our retinas while also keeping the site look unified and ensuring the ads look good (fingers crossed!!). Or some of us will leave. Most likely, we'll get used to it, and a few will post frequently and profusely about how they rarely come here anymore.

                                                                                      Look, I'm amazed we're still here. Nearly all the other labor-of-love sites from 1997 are long gone or corrupted. While I hope the design guys figure out a compromise, white backgrounds are not, like, a deal-killer.

                                                                                      That said, by all means, keep up the feedback! Let CNET/CBS know how you feel! Me? I'll adjust my monitor. Though I'm certainly not demanding that anyone do likewise!

                                                                                      1. re: Jim Leff
                                                                                        Jim Leff Sep 26, 2008 09:02 AM

                                                                                        I'll start a new thread with some workaround suggestions....

                                                                                        EDIT: here it is:
                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/560413

                                                                                        1. re: Jim Leff
                                                                                          janie Sep 26, 2008 05:09 PM

                                                                                          Longtime poster here, and I won't adjust my monitor either. Way too white, and font way too small, and sort of jaggedy looking. The other font style and color way better. Perhaps they can do some sort of site wide vote on it, and then take it from there. But, it is a definite turnoff, and doesn't lend one to spending hours perusing, as many of us do on a frequent basis.

                                                                                        2. re: Jim Leff
                                                                                          LindaWhit Sep 26, 2008 09:09 AM

                                                                                          Look, I'm amazed we're still here. Nearly all the other labor-of-love sites from 1997 are long gone or corrupted. While I hope the design guys figure out a compromise, white backgrounds are not, like, a deal-killer.
                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                          On that we definitely agree (except maybe that white background with gray fonts <g>). I was late to the game coming into CH - I think it was probably around for 5 years before I discovered it. I'd be lost without it. But I also hope the Design Team can find a quick and easy compromise on the harshness and tough readability of the white background/gray font.

                                                                                  3. re: Cpt. Wafer
                                                                                    chocolateninja Sep 25, 2008 03:01 PM

                                                                                    Completely agree with Cpt. Wafer and MMRuth on this one. I'll try messing with my monitor a bit, but gack...seems like there should be something they can do with the colours to make it a bit easier on the eyes for everyone.

                                                                                    I'm also in the "changing Places to Restaurants and Bars is ridunkulous!" camp. Places holds so much more than just restaurants and bars, and the new name doesn't reflect that at all. I think "Places" was a good overall descriptor,short, sweet and to the point.

                                                                                  4. Caroline1 Sep 25, 2008 02:42 PM

                                                                                    Okay, I asked for darker (blacker) fonts on the other thread about the new look. Here I'm asking if you can make the light blue frames around posts darker? It is so pale it makes it difficult to see where the signatue belongs. My opinion is that you're going too light on most things. Greys, light blue frames, light orange(?) frames on the response box. All against the white bg equates with serious eye straing.

                                                                                    And PLEASE don't suggest I adjust my monitor. My monitor works just great on every other site I browse. Thanks! '-)

                                                                                    1. m
                                                                                      mselectra Sep 25, 2008 02:46 PM

                                                                                      Just wanted to agree with all those complaining about eye strain. I find the blinding white and gray boring and depressing and cold, personally, plus the grey headers look really faint. The font may not be smaller, but it seems like it is.

                                                                                      I'm a little traumatized by all the change in my online life lately (I hate the new facebook, and that's only one other example), so maybe I just have to deal and get used to it.

                                                                                      And I haven't spent enough time on to *appreciate* other design changes.

                                                                                      So nice how responsive you all are, and I think CH has always had a good design -- don't want to sound too whiny.

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: mselectra
                                                                                        MMRuth Sep 25, 2008 02:46 PM

                                                                                        Yes - I meant to add that I really appreciate all the posts by the design team.

                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                          grayelf Sep 25, 2008 06:03 PM

                                                                                          So far I like the look very well and I've changed my monitor setting to "Day Photo" (whatever the heck that means) which dials the white back a tich.

                                                                                          The thing that I'm having trouble with is the kerning of the fonts. Totally whacky as I'm typing this reply, and in a number of the responses I read there is text over text so that it is unreadable. Very disconcerting. Any thoughts?

                                                                                          1. re: grayelf
                                                                                            JoanN Sep 25, 2008 06:13 PM

                                                                                            I've had no kerning issues at all. What system? What browser?

                                                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                                                              grayelf Sep 25, 2008 06:41 PM

                                                                                              Warning: semi-Luddite here. I'm using Internet Explorer on Windows XP. The kerning thing happened when I typed a reply (but is not happening now) and also when reading others' replies (still happening) and in Restaurants and Bars, which is virtually unreadable. Will try it on my computer at home tonight...

                                                                                              ETA: I am now also getting the double spaces in my posted response...

                                                                                              1. re: grayelf
                                                                                                janie Sep 26, 2008 05:10 PM

                                                                                                me, too. Also, explorer on XP serivce pack 2.

                                                                                      2. bigjeff Sep 25, 2008 06:01 PM

                                                                                        black on white text is horrible. give us choices!

                                                                                        1. s
                                                                                          Steve Sep 25, 2008 06:43 PM

                                                                                          Pretty ugly stuff in general. Specifically, the font and size for OP, Last Post, and Time of Last Post is hard to read. I've gone up a text size on my screen in MSN, and I still have a hard time reading it.

                                                                                          Too bad you couldn't afford one of those legible fonts that other websites use.

                                                                                          1. bigjeff Sep 25, 2008 09:28 PM

                                                                                            anyone catch this article on CNET (owners of chowhound?):

                                                                                            Top 10 Redesigns of 2008, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-1...

                                                                                            what a laugher!!!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: bigjeff
                                                                                              Caroline1 Sep 26, 2008 04:20 AM

                                                                                              Nope. CBS now owns CNET and Chow. Check out the little drop down menu in the lower left bottom of the page and you can go to any of the CBS Interactive sites from here.

                                                                                            2. bigjeff Sep 25, 2008 09:33 PM

                                                                                              anyone reading this feedback, I will not return to chowhound for at least a week and hopefully, magically, it will be fixed. who's with me?

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: bigjeff
                                                                                                m
                                                                                                ML8000 Sep 25, 2008 11:06 PM

                                                                                                I have to say...the black and white scheme actually gives me a headache and makes my eyes hurt. You have to be into S/M to stick around. I hope it gets turned around...if not, I think CH will lose a lot of users.

                                                                                                1. re: bigjeff
                                                                                                  janie Sep 26, 2008 05:10 PM

                                                                                                  at this point, I'm with you, it's really bothering me.

                                                                                                2. c
                                                                                                  Chimayo Joe Sep 25, 2008 11:58 PM

                                                                                                  MUCH TOO WHITE! Please tone it down.

                                                                                                  1. g
                                                                                                    Goldendog Sep 26, 2008 08:27 AM

                                                                                                    I like the idea of the dropdown style of the menus, but I'm going blind after 15 minutes of the glaring white screen. You've got to tone it down or many of us won't be spending nearly as much time on Chowhound.

                                                                                                    1. h
                                                                                                      HillJ Sep 26, 2008 08:35 AM

                                                                                                      Is it fair to say we were all newbies to CH at some point?

                                                                                                      Looking back on the original Board layout; a series of replies on a white background...with no ads...no art...nothing visually to really remark about...but hundreds of juicy food/chow tips. Nestled inside a site of JL's vision. Back then we were just happy to HAVE a place to show up & learn from one another.

                                                                                                      Since then, we've all gotten a little spoiled by new owners and a greater visual plate to "eat" from. However this latest design turns out...I'm still here for the chow.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                        Chimayo Joe Sep 26, 2008 01:02 PM

                                                                                                        I wouldn't say we've "all" gotten spoiled. The new ownership has been a very mixed bag, IMHO. The downside of the new ownership has been a massive junking up of the site.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chimayo Joe
                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                          HillJ Sep 26, 2008 02:29 PM

                                                                                                          Okay Chimayo Joe, not all of us.

                                                                                                          I don't believe that attracting ads to keep this site free is a bad thing. I don't understand why we need to argue against the benefits new ownership & sponsors provide for a large online community. No one is forced to click on an ad. Plenty of software exists to bypass it but for those who want to contribute to the longevity of this site, ads are one way to do it. Since you did not specify what you mean by junking up the site, I'm not clear what you are referring to.

                                                                                                          When I first laid eyes on CH it was not overly attractive but brillant in its vision and as JL said numerous times CH could close without a bigger dog to throw it a bone. (Okay I'm not quoting here, but you get the idea.)

                                                                                                          Well a bigger dog showed up. I'm not going to get overly concerned about the design because what I can fix with software tweaks I will and what I can't change I'll live with in order to continue enjoying the chow tips and the community at large. If my use of the word "spoiled" threw you, I meant no disrespect.

                                                                                                          In the meantime, lots of ideas are being shared and the CH Design Team has been listening and posting back.

                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                            Chimayo Joe Sep 26, 2008 04:00 PM

                                                                                                            I preferred more emphasis on Chowhound being a forum. The additional content (such as links to feature stories, blogs, recipes, videos, etc.) is of no value to me, so I consider it clutter. I can understand a site needing ads to survive, but I wish CH would reduce the size of the ad column. http://www.bikeforums.net/ has ads, but the ads there don't interfere with the forum as much.

                                                                                                            1. re: Chimayo Joe
                                                                                                              h
                                                                                                              HillJ Sep 26, 2008 04:09 PM

                                                                                                              A third of the page; right side @ bikeforums.net are ads. Blogs have ads..and so on. Ads are what keep us from receiving a "surfing" bill each month! As to what you consider clutter, I actual understand visiting a site for a specific purpose. But again, we aren't the only ones CH is providing a service to...not to mention the jobs CH creates. Have a good evening CJ, I enjoyed our exchange.

                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                Chimayo Joe Sep 26, 2008 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                That's strange. My computer screen is about 18 inches wide, and I only get about 1 3/4 inches of ad column at bikeforums.net. I'd use bikeforums.net a lot less if I had 1/3 page of ads there.

                                                                                                      2. n
                                                                                                        nickdanger Sep 26, 2008 11:38 AM

                                                                                                        Maybe I missed the discussion, or maybe I'm the onlyone who cares, but what happened to MY CHOW?

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: nickdanger
                                                                                                          Cpt. Wafer Sep 26, 2008 11:58 AM

                                                                                                          It's on the menu bar all the way to the right.

                                                                                                        2. t
                                                                                                          TulaneJeff Sep 26, 2008 12:57 PM

                                                                                                          Way too much white...the lack of contrast leaves the site very cold and stark.

                                                                                                          I loved the old maroon background, it warmed the site up and made it a comforting destination for foodies.

                                                                                                          Please allow a user-selectable color option.

                                                                                                          1. hannaone Sep 26, 2008 06:39 PM

                                                                                                            Thanks Design Team, for the darker background. It helps.

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: hannaone
                                                                                                              LindaWhit Sep 26, 2008 07:29 PM

                                                                                                              You have a darker background, hannaone?

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                kpzoo Sep 26, 2008 07:48 PM

                                                                                                                The overall page background is now dark grey, but you'd need a resolution of at least 1024 X 768 in order to see it along the right and left edges of your monitor, outside the main white content area. You may also need to refresh your browser to see it, by clicking the "refresh" button, or hitting the F5 key.

                                                                                                                1. re: kpzoo
                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Sep 26, 2008 08:00 PM

                                                                                                                  My screen resolution *is* at 1024x768. I'm seeing the darker grey bars around each post, but everything else is still stark white, except the background color behind the menu bar at the top of the page.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                    carswell Sep 26, 2008 08:12 PM

                                                                                                                    Same here.

                                                                                                                    1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                      kpzoo Sep 27, 2008 05:51 AM

                                                                                                                      Perhaps it's not working in IE, then (too lazy at the moment to turn on my PC to check), but it does work in FF/Mac.

                                                                                                                      This is the colour you should be seeing: http://chowhound.chow.com/images/bg_chow_refresh.gif (it's a tiny square in your browser, tiled & repeated to appear like an area of flat colour

                                                                                                                      )

                                                                                                                      There are 55 CSS errors showing on validation - Design Team might want to go through them to make sure this isn't causing inconsistent display across browsers:

                                                                                                                      http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/va...

                                                                                                                      1. re: kpzoo
                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Sep 27, 2008 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                        Here's what I'm seeing - a screen shot of several of the posts above before this reply.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                          kpzoo Sep 27, 2008 06:19 AM

                                                                                                                          I see that you have a vertical bar of some kind on the right of your monitor. That may be why you're not seeing the grey strips - your browser screen is not quite maximized. (The grey strips are quite thin even at full-screen 1024 X 768) Either that, or there's a display glitch in IE, my earlier theory. In any case, at your resolution the grey strips are not going to make that much difference visually - even if you saw it, it's only about 1/4 inch of grey on either side of your screen. It has more impact for folks at higher monitor resolutions, like hannaone.

                                                                                                                          1. re: kpzoo
                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Sep 27, 2008 06:25 AM

                                                                                                                            Ahhhh - The Office Toolbar was hiding it. I see what you're all seeing now.

                                                                                                                            But you're right - it makes little to no difference to me. I thought you were all talking about this enormous expanse of white to the right of long threads after they've gotten long enough to be past the CH Who's Talking and ads on the right.

                                                                                                                            :::Sigh::: I guess I can only hope that the BRIGHT WHITE is eventually taken down to a soft cream color.

                                                                                                                            kpzoo, thanks for your help.

                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                  hannaone Sep 26, 2008 08:25 PM

                                                                                                                  Dark diagonal lines on a dark gray.

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                  1. re: hannaone
                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Sep 27, 2008 06:06 AM

                                                                                                                    Nope, don't get those.

                                                                                                              2. m
                                                                                                                miss_bennet Sep 27, 2008 02:54 AM

                                                                                                                Please add my vote to the "white background makes posts VERY hard to read" group. Please go back to red! I need to leave now; my eyes hurt.

                                                                                                                1. greygarious Sep 27, 2008 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                  After a previous post saying I was bidding CH a reluctant farewell, I discovered that if I stand a 4"x8" memo pad up against the right third of my screen it takes the glare down some. Still bad, but I'm not queasy after the first 5 minutes. It covers up all the advertising links that CBS and CNET would like me to visit, but serves 'em right for giving us eyestrain and headaches!

                                                                                                                  1. DiveFan Sep 27, 2008 11:12 PM

                                                                                                                    As mentioned on the Tech Help parallel post, there is a useful addon for Firefox called NoSquint that can be a helpful workaround. You can adjust font sizes and save preferences *by site*. I have zoomed (increased) text font size by 10% on this site and it helps.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: DiveFan
                                                                                                                      meatn3 Sep 28, 2008 10:41 PM

                                                                                                                      Thank you - this has helped. Still not great, but better...

                                                                                                                    2. k
                                                                                                                      Karen_Schaffer Sep 27, 2008 11:52 PM

                                                                                                                      Great redesign! The excessive red of the previous design always made my eyes hurt. This design is much more elegant and easier to read. Well done!

                                                                                                                      1. h
                                                                                                                        HillJ Sep 28, 2008 02:32 PM

                                                                                                                        Okay Safari is my "new" favorite browser for CH. The type is super simple to increase/decrease from the VIEW tab and the black against white, blue outline surrounding the post box, red box and grey all look fabulous! And I absolutely love the use of the color blue!

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                          Greg B Sep 28, 2008 06:08 PM

                                                                                                                          Since I don't use Safari, and have no intention of installing another browser to junk up my system just to use a single website, I have no idea what you are talking about. All I see is blinding white and a bit of gray. No blue whatsoever.

                                                                                                                          Not seeing much middle ground here. People are either totally hating it, or cheerleading.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Greg B
                                                                                                                            Chris VR Sep 29, 2008 06:49 AM

                                                                                                                            Well, count me in the middle. And actually I see a lot of people in the middle, contrary to your assertion. I see people like me who generally have no major issues with the design but have concerns about the glare and font issues, and I see the designers acknowledging that concern and working on it.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Greg B
                                                                                                                              h
                                                                                                                              HillJ Sep 29, 2008 06:58 AM

                                                                                                                              Count me among the posters willing to adjust. That adjustment includes installing an update to a browser, waiting for the design team to work thru recommendations and the rest of their design plan and continuing to enjoy the rest of the site.

                                                                                                                          2. meatn3 Sep 28, 2008 10:46 PM

                                                                                                                            Re: The Bright White...

                                                                                                                            I looked at some other sites I visit that have bright white backgrounds also. One uses a med. blue print for the text and the contrast is not as hard on the eyes.

                                                                                                                            The font and shade of the posts becomes slightly raggedy here, and I think that is contributing to the eyestrain too.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: meatn3
                                                                                                                              e
                                                                                                                              Erika RollerGirl Oct 3, 2008 06:19 PM

                                                                                                                              it is wayyyy too bright.

                                                                                                                              There should be an option to change backgrounds if you're logged in. I honestly don't know how long I can read it at this level.

                                                                                                                            2. j
                                                                                                                              jackiecat Oct 3, 2008 04:05 PM

                                                                                                                              This thread not collapsing posts I've already read. And I am logged one!

                                                                                                                              1. t
                                                                                                                                trakman Oct 4, 2008 08:29 PM

                                                                                                                                Not to Jane, but to the WebMasters. I hate the new look. The last version was in a font large enough to be readable. Colors made it also more legible. While the new "white" background may be au courant, it does not give enough contrast to make the type stand out. And the new smaller size sucks. Newness is not always progress

                                                                                                                                1. souschef Oct 8, 2008 06:41 PM

                                                                                                                                  I used to really enjoy CH. Now it is way too hard to read. Please go back to the way it used to be,

                                                                                                                                  1. biscuit Oct 10, 2008 10:23 PM

                                                                                                                                    I don't know if my 10+ years as a successful web art director will matter, but this site is now sinfully ugly and garish to look at. Not that I was a huge fan of the previous, but it was far more pleasing visually and easier to consume. This new redesign is a disaster. My visits here have dropped off dramatically as a result.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: biscuit
                                                                                                                                      eeblet Oct 24, 2008 07:20 PM

                                                                                                                                      I'm no art director, but I'm a front-end developer obsessed with usability... and I find this site unusable because of how ugly it looks. It has that generic "print magazine that has a website" look. The fonts seem optimized for Macs - Arial at sizes larger than 11px looks like crap. The layout is overwhelming (three columns on the front page? really???). Did you do any user testing?

                                                                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                                                                      jackiecat Oct 12, 2008 03:40 PM

                                                                                                                                      I can't spend as much time on chowhound due to the glare. I can read 10 or 15 min max! That is far short of the time I used to spend.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: jackiecat
                                                                                                                                        Jim Leff Oct 13, 2008 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                        jackiecat (and others), until the designers figure out a solution, you might try the workaround suggested by Chuckles the Clone here:
                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5604...
                                                                                                                                        It works great for me, and doesn't affect other sites at all.

                                                                                                                                      2. souschef Oct 13, 2008 07:29 PM

                                                                                                                                        Why do we have to go through all of this trouble to fix the high-glare text? Why can't the CH design team unfix what they broke instead. The system has slowed down considerably. Because of that and the glare I am spending far less time surfing this site.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef
                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                          BubbleTea Oct 17, 2008 02:32 AM

                                                                                                                                          I REALLY can't stand the grey on Bright White look. I don't spend much time here as a result of eye strain. There should be a way to choose the desired background colors. Please!!!

                                                                                                                                        2. j
                                                                                                                                          jackiecat Oct 24, 2008 05:21 PM

                                                                                                                                          Thanks to the chow team for making the background gray. Much easier on these old eyes.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: jackiecat
                                                                                                                                            deelicious Oct 26, 2008 04:42 PM

                                                                                                                                            This is my first time back since my last visit a month ago. I used to be a daily user and contributor but I could not stand the new site. It was impossible to get past the eye strain. So I am back now to try again. I hope some significant new changes were made to make the board usable again.

                                                                                                                                          2. k
                                                                                                                                            Karen_Schaffer Nov 1, 2008 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                            I'm stunned at how many people seem to be shocked by black text on white or grey backgrounds. What color schemes do all their other applications use? Every window open on my screen has black text on white backgrounds. It's not exactly an unusual, groundbreaking color scheme. It was the excessive red of the old design that I found shocking, and I'm glad to see it gone. I like the clean, new look, with red used judiciously for emphasis.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                                                                              bigjeff Nov 3, 2008 01:46 PM

                                                                                                                                              it's not just the color choices, but the choice of typefaces in combination, as well as how the rest of the page is structured, e.g. the name of poster, dates, etc. its getting better now that diff. colors are used to differentiate and certainly, if you compare a very well-designed site like the nytimes.com site, it still uses black text on white backgrounds, but what surrounds the text itself is much more well-designed. look for example at Serious Eats' talk sections, e.g. http://www.seriouseats.com/talk/2008/... the overall design is done differently and there are some different functions that CH has but, what a difference!

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