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Jul 29, 2010 08:55 PM


Changes are afoot.

We've got some changes coming soon! Our August 10 release includes some updates to the site that we hope will make navigation and browsing easier. For a peek at what’s coming down the pike, check out the annotated pages here:

Some things you’ll notice right away: the CHOW and Chowhound parts of the site are given more distinct identities, though CHOW content will still appear in the right column of Chowhound (because we know you love those jalapeno poppers images ...). The drop-down menu to navigate through the boards is going away, and instead you’ll navigate around the site via a module that sits at the top of each page. And you can quickly save your favorite boards to the module so it’ll take fewer clicks to get where you normally go.

Search is changing too. The search box that sits at the top of every page on Chowhound will be specific to discussions and restaurants. When you refine, it’ll immediately refresh without having to click Search again. “Best match” will be the default result; it means that it will return the most relevant and most recent results.

On the CHOW side, the home page is going to look rather dramatically different. We really scaled it back. And the rather useless distinction between stories and blogs will be a thing of the past.

We’ve done all of this with you in mind, and the goal of easing navigation. You’ll tell us what you think when it goes live on August 10. For now, take a look at the annotated pages:

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  1. Oh Dear, :-( We'll survive. Maintaining content over how it looks and how stupid easy it is to find, willl maintain the real CH. :-)

    1. >> For a peek at what’s coming down the pike, check out the annotated pages here

      Chowhounders in the suburban counties surrounding New York City (as well as in places like Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, and the NC Triangle) should be excited by this description of the drop-down feature: "The drop-down menu wasn't everyone's friend. We listened, and replaced it with a more user-friendly option that is visible on the page at all times AND WILL ALLOW US TO ADD MORE BOARDS." (CAPS added for emphasis.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: nsxtasy

        That's great. As it was, I couldn't see everything on the menu on my MacBook, not to mention the problem with stories not appearing when I was reading a thread in Chowhound.

        1. re: rworange

          Hi rworange - the Hot Posts Link will be accessible in your profile, it will be the second link right next to My Posts.

          1. re: lainiecosgrove

            "’ll navigate around the site via a module that sits at the top of each page. And you can quickly save your favorite boards to the module so it’ll take fewer clicks to get where you normally go."

            Will the default display when I click "Hot Posts" show the new posts in only my favorite boards instead of in all boards? That would be a major feature.

            1. re: meatme

              We aren't revising any of the Hot Posts functionality in this release. Thus, It should work as its always worked in the past even though you access it from your profile now. However we will be improving/optimizing the Hot Posts experience in the next couple cycles of releases.

              1. re: CHOW HQ

                That is REALLY great to hear that a revision of hot posts is in the works ... well, I hope the planned revisions are better.

                The reason I pretty much stopped using it was because it times out.

                I read one or two pages, go back to work and then when I come back and I try to go to page 3, I get the no more hot posts message.

                The old way I could go to meetings or even come back days later and in addition to the new stuff at top, none of the old unread stuff at the end was lost.

                Since there is an option to mark topics of read, it is frustrating when the software does that for some reason after a certain amount of time has elapsed.

                Since this is in the works, I'm going to mention one other thing that would be great ... moving the next page from the left to the right. Most of the action buttons and links are on the right hand side and this makes it awkward being on the other side of the page.

                Displaying the original post date wouldn't hurt.

                I liked hotposts when I discovered the site in 2002. I probably would not have visited the site as often without that feature. When it was changed, I started reading the site less and less until I'm pretty much down to reading my home board, General topics and Site Talk when problems arise. Occasionally a new topic at the bottom of the page catches my eye. I just learn a lot less on Chowhound these days

                1. re: rworange

                  That is great to hear rworange, it is our feeling as well! The feature is very useful in theory, but in practice it's almost unusable. Pretty sure that you have figured out ways to work around its limitations but it will be great when we can get it working to its full potential. Thanks for the feedback - keep it coming!

        2. As long as you're making wholesale changes, how about some improvements to Search that make it as functional as the 'old' search engine.

          - Search within cuisine type (recipes)
          - Search for words ONLY WITHIN title
          - Single click on ALL pages to get Advanced Search dialog
          - Better use ot tags in Advanced Search e.g. find tag1 AND tag2

          If mouse-over drop-down menus are being killed, that IMO is a good thing. Too many web *cough* 'designers' *cough* overuse this annoying feature that requires you to 'drive the mouse cursor' AROUND the drop-down spots to get to the link of interest.

          9 Replies
          1. re: DiveFan

            >> - Search for words ONLY WITHIN title

            You can already do that. Just do a search and specify that you want to sort the search results by Relevance. Those with the search text in the title will appear at the top of the list.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              It doesn't work that well and seems like it wasn't thouroughly tested before implementing.

              I'm not sure if it has to do with the overall problems with search in general or just that feature.

              I'm really sorry I don't have a specific example but I haven't used it for a while after about a half dozen less than helpful search results. What ended it for me was when Google turned up the search with the word in the title and Chow didn't.

              At that point I just wrote it off and moved on.

              1. re: rworange

                I would love to see a feature for search that LOCKED OUT all other results EXCEPT for words in the title of the OP.

                1. re: Servorg

                  I don't understand why. Who cares whether or not there are other search results underneath the ones you're looking for, as long as those appear at the top of the list?

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    I don't think there's any guarantee they will turn up at the top of the list without any "Search in" option. In my experience the relevance+date often brings up something with the search word in it a few times and I have to scroll down through pages to find what I actually want to find.

                    1. re: queencru

                      Are you sure? Searching by relevance, I've always had any topics with the search text in the title turn up first, before all other search results. And I've never any with the search text in the title get buried pages below.

                      1. re: nsxtasy

                        Yes, I'm sure. I did a search for "Release" on this board to see if this topic came up at the top. It did, but other topics about prior releases were much farther down the page or on the second page. This board has much fewer posts to go through than others, so I imagine it's worse on the other boards.

                        1. re: queencru

                          >> Yes, I'm sure. I did a search for "Release" on this board to see if this topic came up at the top. It did, but other topics about prior releases were much farther down the page or on the second page.

                          That did NOT happen to me. Unless you're getting different search results from mine (which I doubt), maybe you're confusing what we're talking about (search results appearing in the TITLE ONLY). So let's look at those search results.

                          When I do a search for the text "release" on this forum (Site Talk) and I specify "sort by Relevance", all the topics with the word "release" in the title are at the top of the search results. There are four such topics if searching over the past 5 years, three such topics if searching over the past year. They look like this:

                          RELEASE COMING!
                          Release Today April 21st!
                          Release Tomorrow March 17th at 1 PM PST

                          and, on a 5-year search,

                          Release Announcement: Advanced Search, New Video Player, Mobile Redirect

                          There are NO other topics with the word "release" in the title. NONE. None lower down on the first page, none on the second page. Yes, there are other results with the word "release" in the body of the topic for pages of search results after that, but not in the title.

                          And that's what we're talking about - getting search results with the text IN THE TITLE. When searching with a sort by relevance, those search results appear at the top. Yes, there are more results after that, but none of them have the search text in the title, because all of those results sorted to the top.

                          If you are getting other search results besides these four topics, other topics with the word "release" in the title, please give an example. Otherwise I suspect perhaps you just misunderstood that we were talking about the text appearing in the TITLE.

                          1. re: nsxtasy

                            I've always found that searching by a term in the title has been quite effective.

          2. Happy to see these improvements!

            Any hope of making Chowhound more accessible and usable from mobile devices anytime soon? The current mobile access capabilities are beyond primitive.


            1 Reply
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Amen to that. Since I have an Iphone and can use the real site somewhat effectively. I would like it if I could make using the real site stick and not revert back the the mobile site after say 3 uses.