The New Tea Page

235 Replies

Also, I would suggest that if Certifications, or any field, is blank, then they be hidden to conserve screen real-estate.
I also suggest moving the description back up top, maybe with an excerpt limit with a […] if you want to expand to show more.

Also, there is no way to change the “Featured Image” for a tea. See: steepster.com/teas/handmade-tea/27521-chase-mallow

Jason admin said

We’ve since changed how the photos are handled. The community ones won’t change the default photo for the page.

For fields that are blank, we did think about hiding them for the time being but we thought it was important for people to see that they weren’t filled in so they knew they could add the info. Also, if we hide blank ones then the pages would be inconsistent data-wise (one page would have some fields, others would have different fields) and it might be confusing. Lastly, hiding would make the hieght of the page that much more variable, so it makes that a little easier to deal with in terms of the UI/design.

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Sil select said

I had a weird thing happen, maybe because of some clean up of duplicates… OLD steepster tea was in my cupboard

http://steepster.com/teas/river-tea/43840-orange-path while new steepster tea had my tea log from the other night..

http://steepster.com/teas/rivertea/43838-orange-path

Jason admin said

Hmm, sounds strange. If you shoot an email to feedback at steepster.com we’ll see what we can do to figure that out.

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Cavocorax said

I didn’t notice before, but those “like” buttons are really hard to hit on a touch screen! Even with my 10" screen I find I keep hitting the wrong thing instead of that teeny tiny heart.

Sil select said

I keep accidentally hitting my own profile pic next to comment boxes and being taken to my profile before I can finish my comment…

Angrboda said

forget about touch screen, they’re impossible to hit with a mouse!

Sil select said

haha yeah i’ve had a few issues with my mouse too

I don’t have trouble clicking it with my mouse, but it IS super tiny. I actually find it very difficult to tell whether or not it has been selected. I keep clicking teas I’ve already liked and therefore unliking them on accident.

Jason admin said

Ah, good point. We’re hoping to get the mobile app launched in the not too distant future, so hopefully that will take care of all those mobile/ios concerns.

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I would also suggest limiting the tasting note previews to 2 (so it’s the same height as the own it/want it to the left), then showing the rest below a break.

You can see an example of “hilights” vs full reviews here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/house-of-steep-arlington

Jason admin said

Yea, we’ll see how those develop. We want to make thme even more relevant in the future, so hopefully they will be helpful and there won’t even be a desire to hide them, but we’ll see.

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Dinosara said

I haven’t had too many bugs to that haven’t been already noted, but here’s one: the search feature no longer searches the product description (perhaps only the tea name?)

For instance, I used to be able to search for “earl grey rhubarb” and pull up a couple of entries (for Pink Earl Grey teas), but now it pulls up nothing. This is a big deal to me because I have used the search in the past to figure out if a company is selling a blend that is likely from a wholesaler (multiple “versions” of the same tea) versus their own blend (unique tea).

Dinosara said

Also it seems like you used to (like, yesterday) be able to add an ingredient “tag” to the list while entering ingredients, whereas now you have to email to suggest one. That is definitely not an improvement! It would be way more useful if you could just add any tag for flavor or ingredient without having to go through an email.

I agree DINOSARA – Ingredients AND flavors need to be community generated. If I have to suggest an ingredient or flavor every time, I am just going to skip it. Especially since clicking on those e-mail links opens in the same window and forces me to lose the tasting note I was working on.

I thought it was perfectly fine with the predictive search box. Maybe they were overwhelmed by the influx of all of the ingredients?

Uniquity said

I’ve tried searching a few teas and can’t get them to come up. Examples: Spearmint and peppermint (both from Davids). I have them in my cupboard, but can’t find them otherwise to log them.

Dinosara said

Yeah, the dropdown is being extremely buggy in the search. But at least if you input “spearmint davidstea” and hit enter, it brings up a new page of search results that include that tea. If you search for “earl grey rhubarb” and hit enter it brings up nothing. :(

Lala said

I have noticed the same problem with the discussion search. I was trying to find the Great Canadian Travelling Tea Box thread. It didn’t come up with Canadian, or Great Canadian, I had to type in the whole title. This was never a problem before this recent upgrade.

Uniquity said

Thanks for that Dinosara! I never think to hit enter, I have always relied on the dropdown.

Jason admin said

We’re since updated the search and it should be a lot better. Not only should it be faster, but it should actually give more relevant results. Before it was pretty unsopisticated and, for example, if you had a typo early in the word it would throw off the search. Now it should be much better at handling similarly typed words.

If you’re still having issues, could you send us an email to let us know? feedback at steepster.com

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Kirlika said

I agree with pretty much everything said here, but I will add one thing. If you do keep the “snipits” area then the poster name should be the same as the “Display name” that we can set in our account settings. It’s really quite confusing to see reviews from people I don’t “know” and then click on the “read more” and find out that it’s actually someone I’m familiar with.

ifjuly said

yes, agree. the way the names don’t match what they are everywhere else, including actual logs, is confusing/odd.

Jason admin said

Yea, people definitely pointed that out. It was a mistake on our part, didn’t mean to change things from the display name to the username.

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When I add a new tasting note to a tea that already has one I wrote, it shows me the older one right after I submit the new one. But on the dashboard it shows the new one.

I agree. This just happened to me.

Jason admin said

I’m not really following this…can you send us an email if it’s still happening? feedback at steepster.com

Anna said

(This happens to me as well, and many others have reported it.)

Uniquity said

If you’ve posted on a tea previously and make a new note it publishes the new one but instead of refreshing to a screen with your shiny new note it shows your old dusty one instead. Makes a little more work if you need to edit. On a side note, edits don’t seem to stick for me lately? Sometimes it spins and doesn’t save, other times it claims to save but displays with typos. I’m usually using Chrome on my phone if that is a factor. Not a big deal!

Jason admin said

Ok, I think I understand it now. Have you noticed this on all teas or any specific teas? Or maybe it’s only in cases where your original note was before the update and your 2nd note was after the update? I haven’t been able to recreate it, but if you have more any that would help us track it down definitely send to feedback at steepster.com

Anna said

It happens every single time I review a tea. The note that shows up is always the one that has the most comments/likes. I don’t know if that helps. Thanks for looking into it! (Sorry, can’t e-mail right now.)

Yes, it does that every time there is at least one other tasting note for every tea, doesn’t matter if it is pre or post update.

Jason admin said

And this is happening just when it shows the tasting note at the top of the page (above the tea name and everything) right?

Anna said

Yes – then and only then.

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Also, if a tea is “Currently Unavailable”, I suggest hiding that section. It’s a large box that could be utilized better. So, either make it smaller or hidden.

I’m mainly going to a tea page to add to my wishlist, cupboard, or review. Not to buy it/notify me when I can (which is the largest button on the page)

Tea Trade said

I agree, I had a vendor contact me in a state of panic over this because there is no information about what the button means and what its for. Is Steepster going to be selling these teas?

The vendor was complaining that there was no obvious way for him to update the information even though it is wrong (he is still unfortunately waiting to hear back from Jason).

Jason admin said

I responded to this idea in another post, you can check that here: http://steepster.com/discuss/6947-the-new-tea-page?post_id=125633#forum_post_125633

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Tea Trade said

There is a liability issue here, because Steepster is borrowing vendor’s images and publicly advertising that the teas are not available, that’s a problem because it is publicizing erroneous information about the vendor. The new design leads Jason and company down the path of receiving copyright violation letters. The vendors aren’t gaining from it especially since the page has no link to the vendors or their stores. The page is designed more heavily around the tea trading market (called a secondary market) in which the seller’s imagery and marketing copy is being used without permission and without an easy way for the vendor to claim the page and keep things up-to-date

Tea Trade said

I re-read the blog post and saw this:

“Help you track when teas and teaware become available for sale through Steepster”

Which is what the big button is for. Once they acquire the product, they will sell it. I’m cool with that as long as the vendors are getting paid appropriately, however, some information to that effect on the individual tea pages themselves would be helpful (even if it is just a tooltip/mouseover thing). Currently, it comes across that the vendors themselves do not have product available, when you combine that with the use of the vendor’s imagery and product description copy, you start to have a problem. Which doesn’t change the copyright issues.

What about creating a system in which the vendors themselves can claim the teas or pages and keep them updated themselves using an certified user account. Perhaps it could be setup that once the vendors claim the page, the community is locked out from editing it so that the vendors are able to control their branding (this is legally important, especially when you are selling their product) and keep the tea pages up-to-date. This way everybody wins and the copyright issues are mitigated.

Cavocorax said

You bring up some good points. I’d like to see what Jason and the rest at Steepster have to say on this.

Also, that sentence is too ambiguious: “Help you track when teas and teaware become available for sale through Steepster”

Are they telling us that a) we can use Steepster to see when teas are available for sale

or

b) we can buy the teas through Steepster when available?

I had assumed A, but it sounds like you are thinking B.

It is looking to me like Steepster will now start competing as a seller of teas with all the vendors who’s products have made Steepster what it is. Or at the very least, Steepster are not explaining that this is not so.

AnnaEA select said

I’d assumed B, via some kind of affiliate link set up.

Cavocorax said

I don’t know if that’s the case. I think this us an extension of the original buy now (or whatever it is called) on the old site, and I would assume they are trying to make money off people clicking the link – not sell direct. They’re too small company to physically handle products aside from the Steepster Select box.

They should clear up the confusion though!

sansnipple said

Tea Trade, to be fair, the images are uploaded by users not steepster itself. And are usually just pictures of the leaves that could just as easily be taken by a user with the tea. People just usually use the vendor images cause it’s easier, but if a vendor forced their removal (via DMCA takedown i suspect) people would just take their own (likely poorer quality) pictures of the tea. This would be a very hostile and counter-productive action for a vendor though. And there is actually a very strong fair-use argument for vendor images and text here, using them for reviews is explicitly protected fair-use in the US.

Also I (and i suspect most users) would be extremely opposed to allowing tea vendors to lock and control pages. It should go without saying that letting vendors exclusively “control their branding” here would be very harmful for the community and the neutrality of tea pages/reviews. Steepster is a tea reviews and discussions site, not a vehicle for your marketing.

And yeah, i too hate the big buy now/unavailable button, it’s confusing and misleading, It’s still unclear what their intended purpose for it is, but I don’t think it should be there at all.

Tea Trade said

@sansnipple – these are good points, but on the business side of things, wouldn’t it be a good thing to support the vendors? I’m not talking about having any editorial control over the reviews. But, say for example a user uploads a grainy picture of tea and the vendor has a better one? They could add theirs. What about adding picture uploads to reviews to allow users to opportunity to share theirs.

There is a precedent here in other review sites that allow for businesses to “own” the page giving them editorial control over things like primary imagery and basic product description. There are technical/programmatic ways to abuse by vendors (character limits, automatic removal of URLs, etc.)

It’s the balance between the vendors and the users that make Steepster so special and keeping that is important. Steepster is very much the users’ site, but the vendors also have a role here too. On those lines, I disagree that Steepster is a not a vehicle for marketing. There are a number of small vendors whose businesses got a real boost because of their presence here, not only in the tea listings, but also because of their activity in the forums. A quick scan of the forums shows that practice is still in place today. The devs have always been good about small businesses owners participating here.

sansnipple said

those things are already possible, you don’t need to “own” the page, if you see some missing info or have a better quality image for some of your teas just go ahead and edit the page now.

Cavocorax said

Sansnipple – I agree! It’s easy enough to edit it and display the most professional pictures you have to display. I can’t see the average Steepster user swapping it out with an inferior picture if there is one – we’re all just trying to improve the information with what we have available, and I think people tend to leave the vendor’s info! That’s how it worked before the new tea page and I have no reason to think that would change.

Jason admin said

Thanks for all the comments and concerns here. You can see some responses in another reply I posted: http://steepster.com/discuss/6947-the-new-tea-page?post_id=125633#forum_post_125633

Hopefully that gives context on the decision we made and why the page is the way it is.

To the copyright concerns, it is an area that hasn’t really been fully explored and the precedents aren’t totally established. No, we don’t vet the content posted on the our, but we will work with a company (obviously) if they have any copyright concerns. But almost always, the company recognizes the value of having their products listed on steepster and interacting with the community, so the benefit to them outweighs any copyright concerns.

The links are really just an extension of what we’ve had on the site since it launched. We’ve always had the buy links, just most of the teas didn’t have a link because we never got around to it. We have considered allowing tea companies to have more control over/“claim” their pages, but we just haven’t had a chance to decide/build that out. But if we ever go down that path, we’ll be sure that it’s done in such a way that the core of what steepster is, an unbiased review platform, is not changed. We love people drinking teas and sharing their thoughts, we’ve never want to damage that.

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Cavocorax said

AnnaEA – I was thinking something similar where they are only indirectly involved.

Jason admin said

We’re not sure how thing will develop in the future but we’re open to the possibilities. Either way, we know it has to help people find amazing teas and become bigger tea lovers, otherwise we aren’t interested in doing it.

Oh, this tea sipper would not be 97% as much of a tea fan if it wasn’t for Steepster! That is for SURE.

Jason admin said

Thanks!

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