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New site design - epic fail!

I have to say that I hate the new page layout for the site. The title font is way too big and limits the number of topics available per page. I find it hard to believe that this passed any usability testing with PC users.

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  1. It really is an epic fail.

    What were they thinking?

    1 Reply
    1. That's pretty much always the case when a site redesigns, people hate it because their eyes are used to the old format, takes a while to make the adjustment.

      11 Replies
      1. re: redfish62

        It's not just a matter of getting used to it. It's harder to use.

        1. re: redfish62

          I go to many (dozens) of new sites each day. No site makes my eyes hurt. This terrible redesign does. I am just typing in this box right now and it is HORRIBLE. This is my last post until they fix the colour scheme.

          1. re: redfish62

            That's not an argument on the merits. People can get used to the most amazing discomfort, even physical pain. A good web design for a forum like this should feel right the first time you see it, and be immediately usable without the need for help or FAQ.

            1. re: redfish62

              I am sorryy, but I completely disagree.

              This new design is a complete waste of screen real estate. It is also well-know in usability testing that people don't want to page. Why would the redesign cut the number of posts displayed per screen which requires the user to page more to see the same amount of data..

              1. re: NE_Elaine

                Actually, it is a perfect fit to the real estate of an iPad in portrait mode, so a more accurate complaint would be that it is biased in favor of tablet users to the detriment of those with conventional desktop displays.

                1. re: GH1618

                  I do not have an iPad and my laptop is not used much now (thanks to my two year old who pulled off nearly 25 keys), but I have to agree with you on the new format being tablet oriented. Using the site on my Kindle Fire HD, I really have hardly any complaints and I enjoy using it as much as I did the former version. On my Samsung Galaxy S phone, though, it is horrible in that the font is HUGER THAN HUGE. Maybe I will have to rev up my dreadful, half-keyless laptop to figure out what all the rest of the uproar is about.

              2. re: redfish62

                "people hate it because their eyes are used to the old format, takes a while to make the adjustment."

                uhhh no, people hate it because it's done poorly. please see apple products -- people love their changes because theyre done well.

                if you dont understand why showing LESS CONTENT on the screen is a mistake (due to jumbo topic-listing font), nor why the MICRO font in this text-entry box is worthy of user distaste and scorn, then youll never understand good design.

                "good" design. not just any design. as a fellow web developer who previously worked for CBS (MarketWatch), i tell you: study up. learn your craft. this is awfully poor design.

                1. re: kibbles

                  The poor font choices could be merely a matter of poor QA coverage of all systems and browsers rather than "design," because the fonts are fine on my system. Perhaps they will get around to fixing the problem soon, but abuse from users is no encouragement.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    on my office IE system, the font in the reply box has gotten larger - its still a different font from the site text as a whole which is disconcerting, but it has gotten larger

                    1. re: GH1618

                      Oh yeah, blame QA ;) Considering the removal of 'new,' I'd say that overall this cannot possibly be a QA issue.

                      And btw, no, I do not want to watch a video about the new format. The fact that the new format requires training to use should be a clue ... an intuitive web design requires no documentation.

                      1. re: foiegras

                        The QA issue is a matter of testing various systems for the display issues which seem to be the major complaint here. If QA reported that the format was unsatisfactory for certain systems, and the project manager decided to release anyway, then it's not QA issue but a PM issue. That's an internal matter — I don't know which it is.

                        As for the video, you don't have to watch it to use the site. I haven't seen it.

                2. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE........

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: KSlink

                    OH YEAH, NOW I CAN POST. very tempermental.
                    pretend this is in caps too............how do I post a reply using my iPhone?
                    there is no reply button or is it somewhere I just am not seeing it?
                    this is awful. I know you'll all say that it's because people like things they're used to and that's true enough. we aren't used to this and if need be we will have to become familiar with this new design, but why change something that ain't broke.

                    1. re: iL Divo

                      Touch on the post and you'll see a little reply arrow pop up.

                      I had to ask too.

                      This iteration is terrible.

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        I agree. I was very annoyed until I found it. It shouldn't be such a mystery to post. It is like they don't want traffic on the site?

                        1. re: melpy

                          This is my only real complaint when using the site on my tablet. It is really counterintuitive and just plain silly. Not sure why anyone designing a community built on conversation would make users have to look for a reply button.

                          1. re: Justpaula

                            On my tablet, the "reply" button is displayed right at the bottom of your post, along with "link" and "flag" buttons.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              Yes, checking out the site on iPad now, the function buttons for reply, link, etc. display below the text of a reply post. But they do not on my iPhone or full site view.

                              Odd.

                              And I'll add that the changes do seem optimized for iPad or tablet viewing/reading. iPhone view is an improvement in readability over the old site. Looks best on iPad of my three access points. And worst on Macbook Air 11", which is where I sit down to type about where I've eaten.

                              I'm grateful that management finally got religion about the rise of mobile. But at this point, it's at a cost to the community that contributes long-form content.

                  2. It seems like a simple fix, to stop the thread titles from wrapping around to another line. It was easier to scan for something interesting the old way.

                    1. They probably didn't test it on PC users. They should probably just pursue a merger with Yelp already and put Chowhound out of its misery now.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MikeG

                        Bite your tongue! Still convinced Yelp is the anti-chowhound.

                        1. re: melpy

                          It wasn't meant to be complimentary to Yelp, trust me!

                      2. Really uncomfortable to look at and use. Makes no sense.

                        1. I agree - it's AWFUL. Hard to read, way too few posts per page, difficult to tell who you're replying to, etc. PLEASE bring the old design back. If nothing else, at least make the text boxes black and white instead of grey on grey. HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          1. An epic (from the Ancient Greek adjective ἐπικός (epikos), from ἔπος (epos) "word, story, poem") is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation.
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_poetry

                            I'd rather call it an abysmal fail. For all the reasons you mentioned, and then some.

                            a·bys·mal
                            /əˈbizməl/
                            Adjective
                            1.Extremely bad; appalling.

                            1 Reply
                            1. BRING BACK THE OLD SITE, PLEASE!!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lemarais

                                Years ago they did a spectacularly horrible redesign which they obviously didn't learn from. The colours were so offensive that people complained of vertigo and headaches. Instead of listening and switching back to the old colour scheme, they were so stubborn to prove they were right, they offered 3 versions and users could click for the scheme they wanted. Eventually, over time, they had to admit that the new colour scheme was not the people's choice and it was switched. Hopefully this time they will just change it without putting up a fight.

                                Typing in here is BRUTAL! My eyes are freaking out. Such a head shaker as to who did this!!!???

                              2. I can understand why users of conventional desktop computers might dislike it, but from the point of view of a tablet user, especially one who prefers portrait orientation, the layout works very well. It would be best if the site had an alternate format for desktop use, but if they have only one, tablet format is best.

                                Face it, tablets have arrived and they are especially handy for cooks. If you want a recipe on screen in the kitchen, a tablet is the most convenient device to display it.

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: GH1618

                                  There is no reason that tablet layouts and desktop layouts need to be the same, or even similar. Web servers can detect what kind of computer and browser the request comes from and send back different HTML as required.

                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                    The only reason is the cost of supporting two formats.

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      it doesnt cost more to support two formats

                                      1. re: GH1618

                                        using device-type-specific stylesheets is old hat and trivial to a modern web dev group. we did it at CBS a decade ago on MarketWatch.com.

                                        1. re: kibbles

                                          Then perhaps they will get around to fixing it pretty soon.

                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            My guess is that the Mayan-predicted end of the world will come before they admit they screwed it up and fix it. They seem to be doing a good job at the 'deny there's a problem' game.

                                    2. re: GH1618

                                      @GH16 18, excuse me, but I have a smartphone now, and I sit in front of desktops with keyboards made for writing all day and night long (like content posted on chowhound). Why do you think the site should be configured specifically for those who prefer to buy what is still an optional personal accessory that btw entails extra monthly phone expense for full use.

                                      Im not saying that it should not have a configuration that works on a -dare I say it - Ipad - but it should be also configured so that it works on other access formats.

                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                        I didn't say that it "should," only that it suits me. It would be best if every screen format were accomodated, but it's not up to me.

                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                          Not just iPads. The new format is fine on the Kindle Fire too. I could say that they are thinking forward in seeing that tablets are more and more becoming the device of choice (the best combo of a mobile phone and desk/laptop one can have), but, yes, the site should be user friendly to all the PC users out there....we all know that half of CH's traffic probably comes from people sitting at their desks at work. . ;)

                                          1. re: Justpaula

                                            its just that since written contributions are so important, the importance of the non-mobile formats is great. Im having a hell of a time typing on my new smartphone with a virtual keyboard - my bbery is easier, but still not convenient for a long item. Bottom line, if I had to write my chowhound contributions on a mobile device, I would likely write very little.

                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                              This, I agree with, from the old format, even. I posted on this board a few months ago about having such a hard time typing on my phone - to this site - that I often just said, "Oh, screw it" and didn't bother. I didn't have my Kindle Fire then, but now that I do, it is my primary device for visiting this site. I still can't figure out why they didn't release an mobile app AND a user-friendly desktop version instead of what seems to be a mess for many users of either device. Although, after a day of use on my tablet, I feel that is one area they seemed to have gotten it right.

                                          2. re: jen kalb

                                            Ideally, it should display reasonably well on all operating systems, browsers, and video configurations. I'm just happy that it works well on mine, because I've been in the other position many times.

                                        2. The grey on grey is awful. Simply awful.

                                          1. I guess we're just stuck with the new design...it's probably not an 'epic' fail but I don't really care for it much either.
                                            I hope I get accustomed to it. The old design was much more efficient.

                                            Fixing things that aren't broken seems to be a trend these days.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: The Professor

                                              The font size is too big, why do I see fewer threads. Why change things to categories as opposed to boards.. they are boards. I see no evidence of 1) user testing 2) fixing things that needed fixing 3) enhancing the user experience. If they are trying to drive traffic away, they are succeeding.

                                            2. totally agree! It doesn't seem possible that it was tested by anyone who regularly reads and posts on the board from laptops or desktops. It's not a matter or getting used to it - it hurts to look at and it's much less conducive to conversation and browsing threads.

                                              I keep checking back hoping that someone from the design team will address this. If the new design persists much longer, it will be a serious deterrent for me. Sites have been sniffing out mobile vs laptop/desktop and rendering accordingly for awhile now so I don't get why I as a laptop/desktop user have to suffer through a tablet-specific design.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: antennastoheaven

                                                I'll keep most of my complaints to myself, although I will say that they're lucky I don't sign their pay checks.

                                                But there's one thing I can't ignore. I'm on Android most of the time, and sometimes I can get the reply, flag, etc. links to appear and sometimes I can't. An uncluttered design is one thing, but hiding the main method for users to interact with the site is so incredibly wrong that I'm flabbergasted that anyone signed off on it. Had I been in discussions on this, I would have laughed whoever suggested it out of the building.

                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                  I'm new to the Android/Smartphone world so may be my bad, but one reason I like my Samsung is that you can change the orientation simply by tilting your phone. No dice when using the new Chowhound interface though. I could swear I was able to do so last week...

                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                      Hi grayelf. I have an HTC One S/Android, and the "landscape" orientation (horizontal view) works fine for me. Are you able to view other sites in landscape view?

                                                      1. re: DeborahL

                                                        No, and that's weird because I could when I first got it a couple of weeks ago. Looks like it's time for a call to Samsung... thanks for the nudge.

                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                          Did you check to see if the orientation lock is on?

                                                          1. re: Christina D

                                                            That was it. *Looking sheepish* -- I somehow managed to lock it without knowing you could do so. Argh. But at least I figured it out without having to call the company.

                                                2. Usability testing ... are you implying that should have happened? ;)

                                                  I agree ... the 'new' is gone, replaced with two close shades of grey, and who can remember what the heck they mean. Plus the font is huge so you can see only one or two without scrolling, which doesn't help put the shades of grey in context.

                                                  I do like where you can see a tidbit of the posts you've already read in a thread ... but the subscribed thread list is what I use most, that needs to work!

                                                  1. I don't understand the logic behind making a website better for iphone/ipad/etc users instead of making a separate app or mobile site like most other corps. It is almost comical in the sense that whoever thought of it probably doesn't use such devices. I searched for the chow/chowhound app at one point and surprised they didn't have one. Even the archaic imdb forums can be accessed by their ipad app, so it can't be that hard to integrate. Personally I'm indifferent to the "new site design" but why not make an app anyway?

                                                    1. I was really going to try my best to acclimate...that is until the advertisements on the NYS board started flashing and moving little boxes of animation...

                                                      nauseous, dizzy, headache. I have a feeling I currently resemble Marty Feldman.

                                                        1. So the designers have decided that all users must use the mobile-optimized version whether they like it or not? The new design is horrible, awful, really bad. Why throw out a perfectly good, visually appealing, mostly well-designed site that didn't rely on visual cues to functionality (not always intuitive especially if not a mobile user)? I would like to say it's enough to send me away but I know I'll be back. Very sad that this really monumentally stupid design was deemed acceptable. I have not one word of praise for it.

                                                          1. I know it's human nature to defend against change but the new design is just horrible (on desktop at least), fonts are too big, you see less than half the threads on one page, the separators from one post to another within a thread are hard to follow. Just bad IMO.

                                                            1. The little note pointing to the star thingie in the upper right corner says, "Ucg"vku fkuewuukgp." Any idea what language that is? I'm on an ancient iMac, OSX 10.4, using Safari.

                                                              Oh … and as an elderly person, I suppose I should be grateful for the LARGE TYPE, but this is ridiculous.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                In Windows, it says Save this discussion. But what you're seeing looks like it translates You effed up :)

                                                                Just wanted to note that the 'clues in red' do not apply if you're reading a single board. And on my monitor, the white and grey are quite similar, especially if you can see only one of the colors at the moment due to the greatly enlarged size of each topic line item.

                                                              2. 50% of the screen is white space or advertising. Incredibly ridiculous. As Kibble said = less content. CH has gone from fascinating reader-generated chat to pushing its own recipes, videos and "Fun Projects."
                                                                Not interested.

                                                                1. I agree. I hate this new design. Way too big and its hard to tell when the latest posts were and who sent them.

                                                                  1. I clicked on" my discussions" and this new post/response to an oldish thread was posted by the restaurant that the thread was about.

                                                                    20 minutes ago
                                                                    thanks to all for the review... sincerely,spice village management!!!

                                                                    The thread did not however show up on the NYS board where it was originally posted, I'm confused.
                                                                    EDIT:
                                                                    the post is on the tri state board that was closed, very confusing. If it has always been like this the nevermind.

                                                                    1. new site is horrible change it back

                                                                      1. Agree with comments that new design is great for tablets and such gizmos, but bad for those of us who still use regular computers. Or how about give an option for a layout that compresses more onto one screen for PC users, and use this redesign for tablet/phone users?

                                                                        1. Adding my plea to bring back the old format. Really, how much more feedback do you need?

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Rosemary Tagliatelle

                                                                            The negative feedback is mostly from the same few members over and over. Meanwhile, the large majority of currently active members are continuing to use the site in its new format very well. That's the most important feedback, I think.

                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                Really? I guess it depends how you define few. What I see is a number of different threads on this topic with a variety of users posting. "Few" can generally be counted on your fingers. It's far more than that for sure ...

                                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                                  I won't quibble about the meaning of "few." I don't insist on it. But I've been looking at recent activity on the site and checking the threads in which people have participate. It appears to me that a great majority of currently active members have made no contribution at all to any of the recent complaint threads. I take this to mean that they see nothing worth complaining about. Most come here for discussion of topics related to food, not computers, and the new implementation clearly is not preventing business as usual on the site.

                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                    You could also take it to mean that many people have been well trained to suffer in silence.

                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                      its my belief that a lot of people who come to chowhound dont navigate around the site much and may not even know that there is a site talk forum or that discussions on topics like this are ongoing.

                                                                                      I cant think of any better way to evaluate the popularity of the changes than the actual expressed opinions here which have been overwhelmingly negative on certain features, your vote to the contrary notwithstanding

                                                                                      fortunately the site staff have been pretty proactive in responding and things are getting better

                                                                                  2. re: GH1618

                                                                                    And far fewer actually post positive feedback. The fact that people still post on the regional and topical boards is immaterial.