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GREGG: Can you explain the changes?........(20 posts)

GREGG: Can you explain the changes?........Len J
Aug 30, 2001 3:56 AM
I seriously doubt anyone set out to do this "upgrade" with as many bugs as it seems to have.

What happened?
Why was there no warning?
Why was there no user input?
Why was there (apparently) so little testing?
Why did RBR feel that an upgrade was necessary?

I for one was very surprised at the upgrade. I am still not sure that (even when the bugs are fixed) it will be an improvement, juries still out. I'm just curious.

Can you take a little time and explain this all to us peon users.

Thanks
Len
An explanation for the changes....gregg
Aug 30, 2001 8:57 AM
*What Happened?*
We, meaning the whole ConsumerREVIEW.com network, decided to update all of the sites to give them a more consistent look and feel across all channels. In other words, each of the sites was built one at a time and as each was built, it looked different from the previous one. So ComputingREVIEW.com looked a lot different from MtbREVIEW and both looked different from PCPhotoREVIEW, etc...

Also, we tried to make the look more modern as well as make the pages load faster.

*Why was there no warning?*
We posted under the "What's New" section of the old site a link to a page explaning the upcoming changes, our reasons for it, and even included screenshots of this new look. It was up there for about 3 weeks. It was also the first topic in the past two monthly newsletters.

We asked for suggestions for the new classifieds about a month ago. And we alerted people in the classifieds that we would start charging just like MtbREVIEW, about 2 weeks ago.

*Why was there no user input?*
Several months back, I solicited for test subjects to help us do some usability testing. Unfortunately, no one I contacted from the RoadbikeREVIEW community was able to make it. If I recall right, Cliff Oates was contacted, but we weren't able to sync up (do I recall right, Cliff, or am I mistaken?)

*Why was there (apparently) so little testing?*
Actually, there was a good amount of testing, both for usability and QA. This was a long process and not something we just did "overnight". Some of the problems come from things looking and acting differently on the "live" site vs. our staging site. There were definitely some things that should have been caught before hand, and for these things I do apologize. Please know that we are currently working on changing other things as a result of all the input that we have received.

*Why did RoadbikeREVIEW feel that an upgrade was necessary?*
Similar to my answer to the first question, it was to provide a faster, more secure, and more consistent feel.

As far as the classified are concerned, as I have stated on MtbREVIEW, we would NOT be charging if we didn't have to. Advertising alone does not bring in enough to sustain the site.

-All that said, let me just say that I personally feel that our changes are an improvement. Yes, somethings need to be adjusted, and we know that part of it is just getting used to new things also. You guys are our valued community, you are not "peon users" (to quote from you Len J). I am sorry if you feel that way, it was not our intention.
An explanation for the changes....gregg
Aug 30, 2001 8:58 AM
*What Happened?*

We, meaning the whole ConsumerREVIEW.com network, decided to update all of the sites to give them a more consistent look and feel across all channels. In other words, each of the sites was built one at a time and as each was built, it looked different from the previous one. So ComputingREVIEW.com looked a lot different from MtbREVIEW and both looked different from PCPhotoREVIEW, etc...

Also, we tried to make the look more modern as well as make the pages load faster.

*Why was there no warning?*

We posted under the "What's New" section of the old site a link to a page explaning the upcoming changes, our reasons for it, and even included screenshots of this new look. It was up there for about 3 weeks. It was also the first topic in the past two monthly newsletters.

We asked for suggestions for the new classifieds about a month ago. And we alerted people in the classifieds that we would start charging just like MtbREVIEW, about 2 weeks ago.

*Why was there no user input?*

Several months back, I solicited for test subjects to help us do some usability testing. Unfortunately, no one I contacted from the RoadbikeREVIEW community was able to make it. If I recall right, Cliff Oates was contacted, but we weren't able to sync up (do I recall right, Cliff, or am I mistaken?)

*Why was there (apparently) so little testing?*

Actually, there was a good amount of testing, both for usability and QA. This was a long process and not something we just did "overnight". Some of the problems come from things looking and acting differently on the "live" site vs. our staging site. There were definitely some things that should have been caught before hand, and for these things I do apologize. Please know that we are currently working on changing other things as a result of all the input that we have received.

*Why did RoadbikeREVIEW feel that an upgrade was necessary?*

Similar to my answer to the first question, it was to provide a faster, more secure, and more consistent feel.

As far as the classified are concerned, as I have stated on MtbREVIEW, we would NOT be charging if we didn't have to. Advertising alone does not bring in enough to sustain the site.

-All that said, let me just say that I personally feel that our changes are an improvement. Yes, somethings need to be adjusted, and we know that part of it is just getting used to new things also. You guys are our valued community, you are not "peon users" (to quote from you Len J). I am sorry if you feel that way, it was not our intention.
question regarding point #1Jack S
Aug 30, 2001 9:18 AM
the mtbr boards changed to rbr's old format (on the same day, I think), and rbr went with this new one- why? the consistent feel/look is still missing- they continue to look different
all sites have not yet been migrated, MtbREVIEW coming in...gregg
Aug 30, 2001 9:29 AM
...in about 1 week or so.
-g
Thanks for taking the time.......Len J
Aug 30, 2001 9:43 AM
to respond to my query. Your explanation helped. I can't speak for everyone else, but I don't even know where the what's new section is. Maybe next time you can just post a quick notice in the General Discussion group setting. From the comments when you first went live, it appears that quite a few people were surprised.

I think that the strong emotion in the reaction is because so many of us (myself included) have invested a significant amout of ourselves in making this a good place to exchange information & thoughts. It may not have felt it, but I think that is a good thing. People give a s**t. My "peon user" comment was because I felt like this was done to us not with us. As I said in my post, I don't think anyone messed this up intentionally however, I think it could have been executed better.

All that being said, I trust that you will work out the bugs & learn from it. Thanks again for taking the time to explain.

Len
An explanation for the changes....Cliff Oates
Aug 30, 2001 10:16 AM
Several months back, I solicited for test subjects to help us do some usability testing. Unfortunately, no one I contacted from the RoadbikeREVIEW community was able to make it. If I recall right, Cliff Oates was contacted, but we weren't able to sync up (do I recall right, Cliff, or am I mistaken?)

I think that was more than a few months ago Gregg, but you are absolutely right, you did contact me about getting involved in the software changes via email. I think I was thinking of the previous forum software change though, and not this revamp of the site.

FWIW, I couldn't get down to San Jose to participate in the testing (you other folks would have to see the traffic here in the Bay Area to believe it), and I'm kind of a nomad when it comes to work locations and wasn't in San Francisco on the day the Consumer Review person was going to be up there.

I'm a bad boy -- I get the e-newsletter from you guys but I didn't read it carefully enough...

As an aside, I'm glad to see the user profile data fields are back to what they were and apparently loaded. I presume you're still working on data conversion for the reviews section and the missing items (pedals come immediately to mind along with numerous reviews, including some I posted) will return over the next few days. You folks really need to do something about adding new products to the product database though...
thanks for the verification and about the product adds....gregg
Aug 30, 2001 11:11 AM
...we have been way behind even before the relaunch project, unfortunately. I received your email on the Terry seat, I think it was. These requests as well as all of the product add suggestions are on file, we just don't have the resources to add them right now. The relaunch project has been priority #1 for a couple of months now.

Thanks,
-gregg
The email is presumably the slight vent I sent last night?Cliff Oates
Aug 30, 2001 11:22 AM
Gregg, you might think about process changes in the way you manage the products database, which I hinted at in the email. You've got free labor out here if you can come up with a process that can make use of it.

Cliff
actually, Francis tried this on mtbr a long time ago...gregg
Aug 30, 2001 12:35 PM
in regards to adding products to the database. It ended up with a few problems like duplicate products being added, duplicate manufacturer listings, and basically it made the database messy.

It is a good idea, though. In the past, we've hired interns to add products and that seemed to work pretty good. Maybe if we can designate certain categories to certain people....hmmmm...
After the dust settles a little...Cliff Oates
Aug 30, 2001 12:42 PM
Send me an email and we can throw some ideas. I'm a software architect for an insurance company, so data integrity is not a foreign concept to me.
will do (nm)gregg
Aug 30, 2001 2:05 PM
nm
An explanation for the changes....Jay H
Aug 30, 2001 11:41 AM
One suggestion right now... Could you put the "Next 50" link also at the bottom of the main thread list... It's a pain to have to scroll all the way up the page after you realized that the thread you are interested in is not on the first 50 msgs... One link at the top and one link at the bottom would be very helpful. I guess this would apply to allt he *review.com sites as well...

Jay
'Splain Thisgrz mnky
Aug 30, 2001 10:20 AM
How come if you forget to post your name after writing out a reply and the system tells you to use the "back" button and enter a name (ANY NAME!) you lose your entire text. Seems like a POS.
yeah, that sucks...we're workin' on recommendations on...gregg
Aug 30, 2001 11:14 AM
...the next version of the message board software. Your complaint is one of the known issues as well as things like the tab from the subject field requiring 4 clicks until you get to the body field and others.

-gregg
re: GREGG: Can you explain the changes?........Turtleherder
Aug 30, 2001 10:30 AM
Alright, I understand wanting to change the formats so that they are consistant, but why the grey lettering and the small font size? As for speeding up the site it seems to have sloooowed way down for me. I have timed the load times and it is 58 seconds to load a new thread and 78 seconds to get back to the main discussion board. Not really earth shattering in the grand scheme of things but much slower than before. Any suggestions, besides the usual get a better machine?
The slowdowns are due to dialing in the system.gregg
Aug 30, 2001 11:21 AM
Since their is so much traffic on our boards (RoadbikeREVIEW in particular), anytime we launch a new site their is a certain "dialing-in" period after we launch. Our engineering dept. does some load testing by simulating traffic (don't ask me how, I don't know), but there is just no substitute for real traffic.

MtbREVIEW is the biggest site with the most traffic, so it is getting it's own message board server, but even the boards on that site are experiencing some performance issues.

Also, we use redundant servers to help maintain the site, but from time to time there are load balancing problems as well.

Please bear with us. We here in the office experience the slow downs as well. It's like sometimes the response is really fast and a little while later, it is incredibly slow. We are working on it.

-gregg
re: GREGG: Can you explain the changes?........Skip
Aug 30, 2001 11:48 AM
Maybe Gregg is, or is married to an interior designer.
Why has my screen name changed?Mike
Aug 30, 2001 12:47 PM
I've checked my profile several times and it still shows my screen name as mike mcmahon. However, whenever I log in it shows me logged in as "Mike" and signs my messages the same way. I don't think Mike is one of those names like Cher, Madonna, or Liberace that is so unique that I can get by with just one name.
Mike, not sure on this....I'll check...but I'm not sure if ....gregg
Aug 30, 2001 2:04 PM
....I can find out right away.
-gregg