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Apr 9, 2012 02:32 PM

Chowhound App?

Is anyone out there working on a Chowhound App for iPhone or Android etc.? Someone smart out there has to do this! I am at a loss without Chowhound when exploring a new city!

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  1. <crickets>

    Sad that such a query is stonewalled and left without a comment by the site.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      hard to see how it would work with no database and mapping function

      browser is the only way unfortunately.

      1. re: jen kalb

        Yeah seems we can't drag this horse and buggy site into the Space shuttle era, no matter what.

    2. Currently there is no iphone or android app for CHOW, but it's definitely something we are thinking about. You can still access CHOW via your web browser, and it should be optimized for your phone or ipad. We're also actively working on ways to improve this optimization.

      It helps to hear what people are interested in, so feel free to share your ideas.

      Dave MP

      26 Replies
      1. re: Dave MP

        I'm interested in an iPhone app. Thanks.

        1. re: carolinadawg

          I think Dave might have been talking about features. lol. What would you like the app to do?

          1. re: Stephen_Of_The_Y

            I'd like it to do everything the site currently does. Hello??

            1. re: carolinadawg

              If you're not looking for anything specific, and just want it to replicate the current site, then why do you need an app? As you know, and mention below, Chow already has a mobile version.

              I think that's what information would be useful: what do we as users want an app to do that the moblie site does not, or what do we want it to do differently? Specifics help developers make something the public finds useful.

              1. re: Ditdah

                Have you ever tried the mobile version?

                1. re: carolinadawg

                  Yes, I use it almost every day, from my iPhone. I wasn't saying you should use it and don't need an app. But simply telling the staff "I want an app to do everything the site does" isn't enough detail.

                  You said you want the app to do everything the site does. The mobile site does that. If you don't think it does it well enough, then you need to tell them HOW it doesn't work, and what needs to be better. How can they improve something if we don't tell them what it is we want an why it needs to be different?

                  1. re: Ditdah

                    I think the mobile site is virtually unusable. And CH has received plenty of feedback on both that issue, and what users would like to see on an app.

        2. re: Dave MP

          Total android for me. I smart phone it, so app is preferred to web browsing. If I have to use the browser, I'll just search other sites that I know work well. Simple.

          1. re: Dave MP

            Its pretty hard to find relevant info fast via the browser. the only way to find relevant stuff is via a google search, since the chowhound search is relatively poor (search logic issue) but then you have to read the threads and go back to google to get addresses, etc. this is hardly a quick resource, need to take notes etc.- chowhound is more of a research tool now that it has been stripped of its database than an on the ground resource.

            If the site goes for an App, better not just be I-phone, grrr. We are not an apple household.

            1. re: jen kalb

              Yes the response of "just use your browser" let me know the person who said that, seldom has tried it. If you are android, I heard the Dolphin browser is a good app. You can open tabs.

              1. re: Quine

                thanks for the recommendation - tho I am still limping along with my work-provided bbery. when we travel in the US its easy to find info using that browser on other sites (citysearch, yelp etc) sadly CH just takes me too long to get to useful info. Hoping this market need will drive a rethink of the database/mapping idea and really channel board info to be useful.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  Well, if yoy ever get a personal phone android is the way to go. It does all my food porn. :-)

                  1. re: Quine

                    You don't need an app. Its just a browser. All an app does is hide the fact that its a browser. Yelps app is ok but nothing to write home about. I personally find the mapping functions as a way for the owners of the app to advertise and push you to things you do not want to go to rather than being helpful. I really hope they NEVER develop an app. I am sure I am in the minority however.

                    1. re: cwdonald

                      If you have no interest in using an app, thats fine, but why would you care if CH creates one? Pretty easy to simply avoid using it. And as pointed out, there is a big difference in the actual use of an app versus the browser.

                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        My point is simple... they do not have the resources to create it, so just use the web.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          Huh? How do you know "they" don't have the resources to create an app? If by "they", you mean the owners of Chowhound, I'm pretty sure the resources exist, not to mention that a representative of the owners states above that it is under consideration.

                          And as others have pointed out, the mobile site is far from an ideal way to access CH.

                2. re: Quine

                  For me, an app is useless without the restaurant database. I use the Yelp Android app which works fairly well.

                3. re: jen kalb

                  And don't forget Blackberries, afterall this is a site for food! lol?

                4. re: Dave MP

                  Oh, I'd love to give input on the mobile site. I mostly like it, but there are a couple of core functions that elicit a hearty WTF every time I encounter them, which is daily.

                  I have a hotkey on my Android browser (Dolphin HD) home screen set to take me directly to my Chowhound profile page, so I can see if there are any new replies to threads I've contributed to.

                  If there are no updates, I then want to go to my home board (Los Angeles Area). Doing this on the desktop site is easy-- I just click on "Los Angeles Area" under any topic link on the "my profile" page. (1 click)

                  On the mobile site, "Los Angeles Area" is not separate from the topic link, so it forces me to tap through to a thread I don't want to read. Once I'm in the topical thread, I can click on "Los Angeles Area" under the Chowhound logo to take me where I need to go. (2 taps)

                  The even more ridiculous alternative to get to the Los Angeles Area board from my mobile profile page is to find "choose boards" (tap, then wait), "United States Boards" (tap, then wait), "Los Angeles Area" (tap, wait). (3 taps)

                  Why does it take more taps on a mobile site than it does clicks on the desktop version? It should be the other way around.

                  Once I'm in the Los Angeles Area board, let's say I want to search for panini. The desktop site, by default, knows that I'm only interested in finding panini in the Los Angeles Area board and returns only relevant results. Conversely the mobile site, by default, returns all sorts of irrelevant Chow recipes, reviews and topical threads on panini. I then have to click a second time on the "Chowhound" tab to isolate the results to only Chowhound, at which time it returns results for Home Cooking, Manhattan, Pennsylvania. Chicago, and then Los Angeles.

                  These quirks on the mobile site make it a much more frustrating experience than the full desktop site. With limited bandwidth and slower loading times, sites for mobile devices should be optimized for fewer taps than its desktop counterpart, yet with Chowhound exactly the opposite is true.

                  Back when the Chowhound quick search function had a separate field to specify boards (you made this change a few months ago) this was not as painful to deal with. The mobile site became substantially worse when this change was implemented. And quite frankly I'm not sure why you removed it from the desktop site either. Having the field on the quick search made searching outside your current board much easier to do, without having to do into the advanced search to get what you need.

                  Lastly, entering text (particularly long posts) into the Chowhound mobile site (again, Dolphin HD) is often impossibly difficult. The cursor doesn't go where you tap it, and often the area that I want to type is off the screen and with a lack of a joystick or arrow keys, and an inability to tap accurately, editing and typing can often be an exercise in extreme frustration.

                  I'm not asking for anything different that what you already provide on the desktop site. Just match the functionality and I'll be happy. If you can make it better by minimizing tapthroughs, that would be even better.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    Engineering! PLEASE read Mr. Taster's carefully written and detailed response above. Then re-read it, and do something about it!.

                    Next, send this whole thread to Marketing, and have them read the whole thread, especially the contributions below pertaining to how this site could be used, if written properly. The site's owners are really missing the boat on this one.

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      I agree with Mr Taster.

                      Searching for anything via mobile is terrible. Why default to the all Chow search? Why not the board I searched from within Chowhound?

                      I also find reading a little hard (type feels so small), and replying is a bear.

                      Also on my iPhone, currently, the width of the page keeps changing as it loads. Very disorienting. As someone else mentioned, it really makes me feel seasick.

                      Mr Taster--to get back to your favorite boards, save them, and use the Saved Boards. That's the only part of the mobile interface that seems well designed with appropriately large fonts a d touch targets.

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        Thanks Mr Taster for this very helpful post - lots of very clear examples that explain the user experience.

                        And thanks to others who have responded to the thread - you can be assured that we are reading all Site Talk posts, even if we aren't able to directly respond to every comment.

                        Thanks again,
                        Dave MP

                        1. re: Dave MP

                          Glad to help. I'd like to say that as a longtime user of Chowhound (about 9 years), I remember carrying around printouts of annotated Chowhound conversations in the glove box of my car. It was not long ago that a portable Chowhound was a pipe dream. I remember wishing I could have CH in my pocket, and now I do- and that's pretty amazing.

                          So even with the quirks of the mobile site that I've outlined above, the functionality is leagues beyond anything I could have dreamed of just a few years ago and for that I am very appreciative.

                          Having said that, please fix it ;-)

                          Mr Taster

                      2. re: Dave MP

                        Anything more on this Dave? Seems very weird that you don't have one...

                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                          There's a mobile version of the site for users on phones, and the desktop site should be fully usable for tablet users. There are no plans to create a separate app at this point.

                      3. I was looking for a favorite apps thread, and I found this discussion. I don't respond to CH on my IPad, and I especially would not do that on my IPhone. I can't read the print well enough. I don't like typing answers or asking a question using that tiny little keypad either, although I am getting better with it all the time. If I don't have access to my laptop, then I don't do CH. And, I hate to mention this, but mobile computing is the future. There are people who don't have laptops--they have IPads and IPhones. Or maybe, they have tablets and smart phones.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: sueatmo

                          Yep, mobile is the future and every enterprise needs to have a mobile strategy. Several months ago I saw a stat that one-third of restaurant info searches are via mobile. Then after Valentine's Day, Google announced that 62% of last minute restaurant searches for the big day were from mobile. One of the sound bites quoted with the release of Yelp's first quarterly earnings report said that advertising on mobile was more lucrative than desktop web. Certainly none of those should be accepted at face value and are likely rife with caveats, yet those are large numbers and even after you chip away at them, you'd still be left with a big number.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Id be happy to see it - but it wont have any real utility without database/mapping that will interface with GPS. When im travelling with my bbery, I have to revert to something like citysearch that will help me find something nearby.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                i have the Android version and find it really clunky.

                                the pictures of the iPhone app look like it's easier / more intuitive to navigate around.

                                i didn't even notice th Yelp integration, but i do like that you can now upload from your gallery rather than having to take live pics. that might have happened prior to this last version release. i haven't paid too much attention to the new release features.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              Agreed! I was at my friend's restaurant having lunch when 4 men in business attire came in. As they looked at the menu, was clear from the talk, it was their first visit. Being the extroverted foodie, I am, we all struck up a conversation. Turns out they were going to Atlantic City, where a large percentage of their business was located, driving down from their main office in Conn. Since they were foodies, looking for lunch, they looked at mobile sites. And is the Now and much more in the future.

                            2. re: sueatmo

                              I should have been clearer in my previous post.

                              I don't enjoy using a mobile device for accessing and responding on Chowhound. I have read posts that way, but responding is harder on a mobile device. I wish for a well designed app for Chowhound, and I am sorry that it doesn't seem possilbe.

                              1. re: sueatmo

                                I also have a hard time reading, etc. on my tiny iPhone. I like BIG. No plans to invest in an iPad, will use my laptop with the large screen and keyboard.

                              2. An app might negate the text size issues that I have on my iTouch.
                                I'm currently on CH, on the iTouch, and I cannot add the pic of the screenshot to prove my point. Hilariously frustrating.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                  In my sample photo, look at the TINY SIZE of:
                                  the breadcrumb list
                                  the STAR
                                  Save to Profile
                                  ~~ ALL Difficult to hit with a fingertip.

                                  Look at the HUGE % of the screen used by
                                  1) the ad at the top
                                  2) the CHOW header
                                  3) the selection panel for choose boards/saved boards/search

                                  The mobile should not have these issues anyway, but an APP should fix them.

                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                    It's even worse on my LG Optimus - all header, and when I scroll I keep getting sent to the PInterest recipe page. Worthless.

                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                      Is yours a stylus-based device? Wonder if those are easier for these particular "mobile" pages.

                                2. One big thing an app would do (at least for Apple, I'm clueless about other platforms) is the "number bubble" to indicate that there are responses to posts-like the New Mail number on the top right of the Mail Icon. CH would have to decide if it were to be tied to posts a user Generated or Commented.
                                  Again, when I'm off my mobile device and onto the desktop site I'll post an example pic.