GDP on Wine

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Hey Folks, notice anything different?

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 28, 2012.

Yes, we've rebranded, as well as redesigned our pages.

What do you think?

Cleaner? Easier to work through?

And on top of this we have our list function, which I've notice not many of you are using but we're going to fix that soon enough.

I just wanted to hear what everybody thinks of these new changes. We've been devoting a lot of time to back end work over the past few months, improving the site, cleaning up the database and making incremental improvements that may be hard to notice.

This is a bit more obvious, so.....?

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 28, 2012.

I noticed that it happened quickly and seemingly painlessly from this morning to now.  I haven't been using much of anything outside the forums for a while, but the look is clean and consistent. All I really care about is being able to post quickly, read and respond to the odd column, and send messages to other users once in a while.  But I'll check out some of the functions later.  For now, my TNs and cellar are still on another site that I wish would play nice with this one so I can see my stuff there while I'm here.  Apparently, they won't be making it easy for me to move stuff over.  Which I would probably do if my cellar could be displayed easily in pie chart form. 

Reply by EMark, Mar 28, 2012.

You're right.  I probably would not have noticed if you hadn't mentioned it. 

I'm pleased that things that worked before are still working.  Good job on the cut-over.

It looks like you've changed some fonts.

I honestly can't say that there is anything easier about navigation or ease of use.  So, maybe I'm missing something there.

I would truly encourage you to continue to scrub the wines data base.  This has been mentioned before, but a search on "Ridge Vineyards" (meaning the Los Gatos, CA winery)  returns 243 pages (not hits, pages) of information.  Searching "Ridge Lytton Springs" returns 11 pages of, mostly, duplicate entries.  I have my strategies for narrowing my search when I'm looking for something, but I suspect that many others are not as persistant as I am (or have the time that I have).

I have yet to figure out a reason why I might want to create a list.  SInce you indicate that you've noticed that not too many people have been using them, I suspect that I am not alone there.  So, I look forward to your future action that will encourage the creation/usage of lists.

I really do appreciate the constant effort to improve Snooth.  I enjoy the site, I learn every day and I feel that you are doing a great job.  Thank you, very much.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 28, 2012.

Yeah, Fox, Snooth and CT have had their ups and downs in past relationship. Would be nice if they could make connections in the ways you point to. Would seem to be win-win for both, if a presentation could be made that clarified that.

Greg, I don't particularly like the whiteout boxes for each post with gray background between each and every one. It's herky-jerky and more fatiguing to scan/read through than if you have a consistent background. Kind of like having to navigate slips of paper tacked to a message board as opposed to reading down a single piece of paper. These are the kinds of things that your graphics designer needs to understand. Nobody really wants to read magazine-lengths (or longer with some of these threads) of post-its!

Also way too much sans-serif fontage (like 100% that I can see right now). It may be a trend since Helvetica came out way back when that the mobile world has only exacerbated, but that's only OK if you're reading Twitter tweets or the like. Long blocks of text and the eye slips off the letters and it just gets, again, fatiguing. Need serifs for the eyes to grab. Unless, that is, you don't really want people reading and writing longer blocks of text.

How many books you know that asre printed in sans serif? Think the publishing industry perfected that wheel, over a few centuries, that doesn't need to be reinvented. Or at least go to another font (like Optima) that is technically sans serif but has a few curves in the right places....

I also only use the Forum, the PMs ('inbox') and occasionally the articles. too much frustration in the past with wine searches and tasting note posts, though perhaps it's time to make a revisit. Also the gaming functions haven't grabbed me, but I assume they have others.

Thanks for letting us know about the changes.

Reply by GregT, Mar 28, 2012.

It is overall, cleaner, and that's a huge win.

Interesting point about the serif fonts.  I just explained that to some of my staff earlier today.  When we read, we read overall shapes and that allows us to read quickly. Certain fonts have serifs that are designed to emphasize the shape of the words and that makes it less fatiguing to read large blocks of text.  Sans serifs are clean and perfectly fine for lists, etc.

So two questions come up.

1) if you're the typical poster, it's a line or two.  That's not all that hard to read w sans serif.

2) some of it may in fact be generational. I honestly don't know, but people over say, 40, were raised in a world where people actually read whole books. There were no bulletin boards or internet sites and certainly no Twitter. So there's some thought that the whole serif thing may not matter as much today.

Again, I have no clue. Just something I've encountered recently and had to think about. Reflexively, I'd tend to agree w dmucker.  But maybe it's just my prejudice and expectation? Don't know.

Reply by JonDerry, Mar 28, 2012.

Greg, I dig the re-design. It was something I suggested earlier just from a pure branding/visual standpoint and it's a success. The design team was able to keep enough elements of the new design and update it to a more 2012 appropriate look.  Congrats.

Reply by napagirl68, Mar 29, 2012.

Yes, I ADORE the site redesign,.  But absolutely not in the SEARCH wines feature.   That is my pet peeve with this site... I have made adjustments and they don't show up.  Search a wine, and you get wines that have nothing to do with that certain wine. Areas are wrong... listings are multple...

@GdP-   Honey, I LOVE you and your site and ALL of your amazing staff. You guys totally rock.  I know you have to clean up a landfill in this cyberworld, but somehow do it! PLEASE!!   I am soooooo tired of searching wines on snooth and having multiple (many erroneous) listings, many multiples, show up.  That is really my only complaint..   When looking up wines, I default to cellartracker because of this, or other sites.


Reply by shsim, Mar 29, 2012.

I agree with Napagirl about multiple lisings! Sometimes I end up putting up a new listing because each one has something wrong with them!

And I actually like the old forum better although its just a change that I will get used to!

Overall great job! I love all the changes that have been made! :D Keep it up! I particularly love how you guys ask us our opinions :)

Reply by dmcker, Mar 29, 2012.

This looks like a slightly better rehash of the initial 'redo' several months ago that had to subsequently be fixed because of a number of fundamental design faux pas,  and then gradually evolved into what we've looked at the past few months. Still it has the problems it had then, most glaringly the font misuse (though not as bad as then) and the panes of text rather than full pages. You really need to get your graphics designer to sit down with people who create good new stuff, rather than copycat kinda-like new stuff where they don't get it. Send them to an Apple conference seminar, for example. Or have them try to work in San Francisco for a year or so.

The panes are really annoying to me, and aren't '2012' but rather misunderstanding of the human interface. The attempt to base everything around Helvetica is something that a few years down the line even the designer will be laughing at. Sheepishly.

Sorry for the acerbic tone, but I've had to deal with similar problems in a number of contexts over the past couple of decades (and yes, right now in the mobile space), and seem to have lost my patience.

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I, similarly to what Mark says, also don't get the intention of the 'lists'.

It is good that everyone does seem to be mentioning that the industry/market info hodgepodge and disarray is absolutely the biggest problem Snooth faces in gaining credibility and providing true utility. Fonts and panes are definitely a lesser issue, even if they annoy the hell out of someone like me....  ;-(

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 29, 2012.

Thanks everybody. We're spending a TON of time on data clean-up. It's the hardest, and most time consuming project we could ever embark upon. We get data from retailers, often mis-attributed, mis-spelled, and genrally mistaken which we try to aggregate. That's part one, part 2 is our search algorythm, which we are also working on rebuilding. The faceted search, those buttons and sliders for things like price, region and the like that appear to the left of the search results certainly make search more effective than it had been but I hear you.


I hear you all loud and clear, now it's just a matter of prioritizing work and getting things done.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 29, 2012.

And about the lists, there are several uses, putting the wines you've tasted at a single dinner in one place for example, or creating a list of wines you want to try this year, or wines that worked well with your favorite recipe, wines that you particualry loved.

They point is to be able to easily group and categorize your wines without having to run specific searches for things that you  may, or may not have noted in each wine's note.


Reply by RUS, Mar 29, 2012.

Would be handy if search pulled up near hits when the search entry is very close to a wine in the database (and currently says no matches).  Would  reduce all the neary identical files set up, also would let you see other people's reviews.

The new format is cleaner, easier to read.

Reply by shsim, Mar 29, 2012.

Maybe there can be a snooth certified tag on the wines that have been verified true by you guys? That way, we can possibly just choose the Snooth certified one on top of others. I know there is already verifications for the listings, but so many of them are verified... It is a tough job! Goodluck :-)

Reply by lakenvelder, Mar 29, 2012.

I like the look a lot better and it seems to load better too.

Reply by Bsberlin22, Mar 29, 2012.

Its a clean look and feel.


Reply by Chris Carpita, Mar 30, 2012.

@RUS - that's a great suggestion, and something we're looking to work into the product plan.   We know the duplicates are a huge annoyance, so we're moving on two fronts:  1. reduce duplicates and clean up records (long term) and 2. make duplicates less impactful on the experience, by allowing more direct search of reviews and prices with near matches allowed for queries.

@shsim - I also like this idea, I'm thinking that something might be "Community-certified" if one of us add a wine to the My Wines collection.   It would then give us a slice of the wine info that was controlled exclusively by the community.  Something to think on more as we make improvements to our search functionality.

Reply by kalikavalkade, Mar 30, 2012.

i'm late to the party, but want to say that the site looks absolutely great! it's friendlier, brighter, and more readable. also, the new logo is hip to the twenty-teens jive. i dig it. great job snooth! 

Reply by wine4play, Mar 30, 2012.

The new improved site looks and works great for me. I agree with others that it tends to load much quicker than before. Keep up the good work!

Reply by Chris Carpita, Mar 30, 2012.

I'm glad to hear that people are experiencing better performance.  Our design team really did a lot in this release to reduce the footprint of style information on the site, and it's good to see that work pay off.

Reply by wine o new york, Apr 4, 2012.

Looks great.  Cleaner, vibrant, definitely an enhanced vistor experience.  Bravo!

Reply by Lucha Vino, Apr 6, 2012.

The new look has a clean style.  The list feature is interesting.  But, like Napa Girl says - the data drives the overall quality of the webiste and my user experience.  I just created a list and it was frustrating to type in the names of my wines and not find matches.  Or, a match, but my vintage is missing.

Keep working on cleaing up the data and the rest will follow.  I love the Snooth Forum.  There are some great people that contribute frequently and have fabulous information and experiences to share.  This is where I will spend most of my time on Snooth until the wine database data quality improves.


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