The New Tea Page
We’re busy packing up samplers this week, on top of that I came down with the flu (again…) and we have a lot of customer service coming in that has us pretty swamped. I’m planning to go through all of these comments when I get a chance and respond. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I REALLY wish the old search would return. Before, you could search for a tea partially and it would come up. Now, you basically have to have the entire tea name and brand. (ie: I can not just search ‘david’ and must now search ‘davidstea’.) I don’t want to have to use an annoying search.. it would make Steepster annoying.
Are you still having this problem? We also updated the search (after the new tea page release) and it should be faster and find more relevant results. The search algorithm before was much more strict and limiting.
Update: I no longer use Steepster to shop for new teas. The new tea page is too hot a mess to be practical anymore. Before, I could get a really quick overview of the Steepster rating and the description, and then scroll down and speedread a few reviews.
Now it’s just a hassle to scroll around. The ‘read more’ expansion option for the description is especially painful. Guys, it’s the OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TEA. It’s what I would get if I went to the website of the tea merchant, or read the label. In the vast majority of cases, that’s what the description consists of.
Let’s show the people actually writing that product copy some respect, okay?
I agree that it is a hot mess. Way to confusing to quickly get the info that you are looking for.
I don’t agree that the whole page is a hot mess. It could be a lot worse.
How about switching the location of the Tea Type, Ingredients, Flavor, etc. section with the Tea Description section? That seems easy to implement and would appease those who rely heavily on the official tea description.
I’ve responded to some of your concerns on a different post, which you can find here (if you haven’t seen it already): http://steepster.com/discuss/6947-the-new-tea-page?post_id=125633#forum_post_125633
Sorry to hear you feel the page is now unusable. To reiterate the point I make in the linked post, our thought is that the product descriptions are often a lot of marketing speak trying to sell the tea (no disrespect) and that it’s not necesarily the best way to help someone understand what a tea is like – it’s designed to make you want to buy the tea. We think that the community can crowdsource better, more relevant information to help people understand what a tea is like. Admittedly, at the start it isn’t as good because it will take some time to populate that information, but we have to start somewhere. Hopefully that makes sense, or at the very least you can understand why we made the decision and recognize it was an honest effort to make the tea page more usable for a larger number of people.
“recognize it was an honest effort to make the tea page more usable for a larger number of people.”
There seem to be a lot of people here who commented on wanting that “marketing speak” closer to the top of the page. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but there are a lot of comments about the official tea description. If you want to make it more usable for a larger number of people, maybe you should take a pole and see how the majority feel. Right now it sounds like you are telling us that’s what “a larger number of people want” but the comments seem to suggest otherwise. It’s fine for flavored teas to have ingredient lists and flavors listed (ok I still don’t like opinion over fact), but for straight teas – I want things like region, elevation, year, etc. This can only be found in the description section.
If you are insistent on this is how it’s going to be, then you HAVE to get the ingredients to fall in the order we enter them (by quantity) not auto change to alphabetical. Could be a big difference in flavor depending on the order of the ingredients. Flavors that people enter are their own opinions, how do you choose who’s opinions are displayed. I’ve see lots of tasting notes that I didn’t taste anything that they tasted, and they didn’t taste anything that I tasted. How do you decide who is correct? Or you need to make it easier to find a specific person’s tasting notes. I know that my tastes are similar person X – but how do I find their notes amongst the 178 posted (how do you determine the order of the tasting notes based on comments/likes? – that means nothing, the tasting note could be about the posters new job and there are 27 congrats comments) – or I go to their page and they have 1125 tasting notes – how do I find their note on a specific tea?
I write tasting note for me, so when I go back to a tea, I can compare my thoughts. Again, how do I find my tasting note on a certain tea. All your comments make it sound like you want it to be more interactive, but really it’s not user friendly at all.
These are just my thoughts, and I mean no disrespect, but I’m with Anna it’s not helpful when shopping for tea. It’s fun socially – love the community here, and it’s the people who make the community – not the user friendliness of the site….
I understand that point, and I have read the initial post – however, I think you’re making a flawed assumption here – reviews of something, like our tea reviews, reflect the MARKETED PRODUCT as much as the actual product. One of the most important aspects of said reviews is to discuss this potential discrepancy.
I doubt that you have missed that a HUGE amount of tasting notes address this – ‘For a tea that claims to be blueberry guacamole, I really don’t get much guacamole’.
Hence, the “marketing speak”, equals what the tea is supposedly trying to be. A significant aspect of review writing is addressing this. This is not specific for Steepster at all, but Steepster is pretty unique in that it builds on reviewing something that is highly dependent on an individual’s taste buds, the age of the product, the state of the product, the water the product is brewed in, the previous experience of the consumer, &c, &c. This is uncommon for other review scenarios.
This is why notes of honey, almond, peach, blueberry, guacamole, artificialness, chlorine, wet grass, leaves and moss for one single tea (which is CLEARLY something that might happen) in no way helps define the tea as it’s supposed to be.
In addition, we buy products – we invest in products. Tea is a product! Knowing that the product is marketed fairly and honestly is a really, really big part of the consumer decision.
And, just to clarify, I never said the page was unusable – I just don’t use it to shop for tea anymore, because due to the new UI, that’s just not practical. The traffic Steepster used to get from me, I now invest in the individual vendor instead, which might be a point to consider.
I agree with Dex – I have to go through each page of a tea to find my tasting notes for a tea. It would be ideal if each user’s tasting notes for a tea were first, then all the others go in whatever order they go in (and your tasting notes could be in the list a second time, wherever they would be shuffled for every other account) but I’m not even sure if that is possible to customize on a practical level for the site. And I was just noticing yesterday I have no idea what the tasting notes are ordered as… before it was by the number of likes but now it is impossible to tell.
No, Dex, you said it really well. And you stressed a point I left out here, but put in my original comment:
Overall, I feel the usability of the site has taken a definite turn for the worse, and if the object of the redesign is to celebrate the community, I must say I’m confused as to why so few of the most commonly requested changes remain unaddressed.
…and, something else I forgot – you claim to have looked to Amazon and other ecommerce sites. Amazon have non-user-generated information way up top about most of their products. Not the long sales pitch, sure, but how long does the typical tea description get? I rarely see anything above 3 lines.
Tea Sipper I’d be happy at this point if I could go to my tea log (or someone else’s) and sort by “recent”, or “tea name” or “company” the way we can the cupboard and the wish list. It wouldn’t be perfect but MUCH BETTER than it currently is. (This would also be easier if there were more entries per page 18 is a small number when looking through someone cupboard of 350….would be worse for tasting notes….)
I normally look at the company’s tea description to look for steeping suggestions for that tea (if there are any), and now I have to hit the “show more” button anyway.
Dex – I agree!
Thanks again to all the responses. We know no offense is intended and none is taken. Honestly, the fact that people take the time to login, use our site, have an opinion, and then write so passionately about their opinion is only a positive thing. If the community cares this much about Steepster and its direction, even if we may disagree about some approaches, I think that can only be positive thing. I hope you all know that’s how we feel and the context in which we read your thoughts.
Now to your specific comments…
Dexter: I mentioned in another post, but we actually did spec the original design to have ingredients/flavors ordered by the frequency in which they were mentioned. Unfortunately, that was one of those little things that didn’t maek the cut as we worked to get the new design launched.
To you point about finding your tasting notes, that definitely needs to be improved. We didn’t have time to address that with this update but intend to in future updates. Right now it’s just using basic ordering, we want it to be a lot smarter about how it does that.
Anna: Your point about the difference between how a product is in practice and what it is trying to be is definitely an interesting one. I can’t say I have a definitive answer, but if I were forced to pick a side, I would probably say we would favor how the product is vs. what it’s trying to be. But with that said, we generally like to be flexible and help people understand/relate to a tea in whatever way works best for them. Hopefully the current placement of the description isn’t too difficult as to discourage most people from getting to know a tea better.
With all this said, again, this was our first major product development in a long time (too long!) and it was just a first step in taking Steepster to where we want it to be. I can’t say where the road will take us but hopefully you’ll continue to trust us along the way.
I discovered a new bug today:
If you write a new note for a tea that you’re already written a note for (as in this is the 2nd note you’re writing for a particular tea), then when you submit the new note, the 1st note is what appears at the top of the page as if you’ve just written it. I hope that makes sense. It’s a hard thing to describe.
I honestly don’t think this tea preview thing is useful anymore anyway. I feel like it used to display the entire note, but now it only shows the first few lines. Seems pretty useless.
I know exactly what you’re describing and I’ve noticed it as well. Except for that initial showing, as best I can tell the rest of the prioritization of notes by the same person is working the same, i.e., the note that gets the most likes/comments shows on top with the rest accessible through the grey “Show X more” button.
Same thing happens to me. It is frustrating when you want to review the full note that you just wrote, it just kicks you to the old one.
Hmm, that sounds weird. Is it still happening. I’m pretty sure I understand what you’re describing, but I can’t seem to recreate it…is it only happening on teas where your 1st tasting note was before the update and your 2nd is after the update?
What Charoma is describing is what I was trying to say in my previous post. I just tested your theory about this only happening with tasting notes from before the update, but I just added a new tasting note to the tea I wrote a tasting note for yesterday, but again it shows the tasting note from yesterday on the next page, not the tasting note I just submitted. So it’s definitely doing to the same thing post & pre update.
I would love it if there was a way to indicate that something previously reviewed was drunk again, without having to write another note.
Thanks for testing it out and recreating. I’m not totally following what you mean by “next page”. Is that the next page of tasting notes? Maybe you could send the steps with URLs by email? feedback at steepster.com
thanks for helping us track this down.
…and by ‘next page’ we mean the page that shows up as you post your note. You post it, and the page loads, and wham! You’re on a page. Which now displays the most-liked/commented note you’ve written for the tea. (It used to display the new note!)
I sent a screenshot of what it looks like. My gmail is very wonk at the moment, so you just got the pic, no explanation.
In the ss is the tasting note that shows up. Here is the tasting note that was posted: http://steepster.com/clareborn/posts/235600
By “next page” I mean what comes directly after you hit the submit button for the tasting note.
Weird, I’m pretty sure I know what you’re talking about, but it’s working as expected for me…I’ll check that screenshot Anna sent.
Would there be any reason for your account as admin to work differently? It happens for me as well and I’ve been around for 3 years or so. What if you made a new test account and tried it out?
There shouldn’t be any reason my admin would work differently in this case, but you never know. I’ll keep testing.
So frustrating, I searched in the discussions for a specific topic. The thread is entitled “TeaV”. I typed this exact word into the search discussions and everything but that thread came up. I waded through 3 pages of discussions before I just took the time and go back through all of the recent discussions to find it. I find it odd that the exact title of the thread doesn’t bring up that thread at all. It doesn’t save much time.
The various search features were probably the things that most needed fixing in the first place. Seems like the overhaul has actually made them worse.
I agree. I cannot find ANY discussions using the search feature anymore. It absolutely does not work and returns 56 + pages. Such a pain.
Product search (everywhere but in the discussion section) should be improved overall, hopefully you’re seeing that.
It’s possible that the discussion search got messed up, you’re not the first person to have reported an issue. We’ll have to look into it some more.
On my wishlist, all teas by H&S, among others, are listed with a ‘buy online’ option (a clickable link). Clicking that takes me nowhere – the site just loads and loads.
On the individual tea pages for those teas, however, there’s the same ‘Currently unavailable’ box as always.
What’s up with that? I don’t know if it’s a bug or a glitch or if I just missed something.
Hmm, interesting. I’m guessing the links don’t work because since they were last added H&S has updated their site and changed their URL structure, which is make the links invalid.
I’m guessing the individual tea pages say “not available” because we didn’t acocunt for the buy links being available from the wishlist (an oversight) so those aren’t accurate. We’ll have to update those.
I’m pretty certain I’ve seen it mentioned, but it really bugs me that when I enter the ingredients information on a tea, the order is changed to alphabetical rather than the way I entered it (by quantity of ingredients, as listed by the vendors). The order of ingredients actually tells us a lot about what the tea might taste like.
I also don’t understand the tasting note order and have a harder time navigating the tea page than I used to – it is nearly impossible to find one of my older notes without a google search. I find the vendor information which tells me about the tea is too buried beneath the Steepster promotion information (BUY NOW!) and the snippets are useless unless they can optimize for paragraphs about the tea rather than the start of the note.
Like I said in a tasting note, I appreciate that Steepster needs to make money but I feel like it is taking advantage of reviewers and vendors, in a way. I come here to write and read about tea, and the focus of the tea page is now on purchasing teas (which are almost entirely unavailable through the Steepster database and therefore misleading) rather than our words.
That said, I DO like some of the extra information which is now offered to encourage more of a social interaction – wishlist, cupboard numbers, etc. You can’t please everyone and I appreciate the value of this site which I have enjoyed for free for more than three years, but there are a couple things that I think would be served by another change.
Thanks for your comments, and we appreciate your understanding and willingness to work with us. I’ve responded to some of your comments on another post here: http://steepster.com/discuss/6947-the-new-tea-page?post_id=125633#forum_post_125633
To your point about the order of ingredients/flavors, we originally spec’d it that way (show order based on frequency of the terms used) but it didn’t make the cut during dev. We’d love to add it in a future update.
For the ordering of the tasting notes, there weren’t any purposeful changes made to that, so if things are different it might be a bug/unintentional change. We’ll check that out.
Jason, the ordering issue is a pet peeve of mine because it is really impossible now to find the notes from the power users easily. Before they worked their way toward the top of the stack depending on the number of likes/comments. Now they don’t anymore and you have to go to the end of the list and work backwards to find recently posted popular notes on popular teas. It also makes it harder to find my own notes to refer to when I’m posting a subsequent note on the same tea. I think I’m one of only a few people who cares about this, but what I found before a very useful way of assessing whether I might like a tea and/or whether others had the same experience I did, is now a grab bag with no apparent rhyme or reason to its order and not nearly as useful. (Actually, there is an order to it, it’s just not one that makes sense to me.) See http://steepster.com/discuss/5635-tasting-note-order-changed (last post in thread)
As an example, look at the order of notes in this thread:
And you can see that later posted notes are falling to the bottom even if they have more likes/comments than earlier posted notes.
Morgana – I care!!! Not having an easy way to find MY previous tasting note or someone else’s has always been a pet peeve of mine. I follow people and know that I have similar tastes to user X – I know that they have reviewed a tea, but how do I find it amongst the 236 tasting notes on the tea page, or how do I find in on their log amongst the 1000 tasting notes. Same with mine – how do you easily find them? Not user friendly. I agree with everything you said above, but I would like a way to sort tasting notes on our log. I know that this exists:
and at least you search that – but it would be so much easier to be able to sort or search right from our/userX tea log page….
Aww Dexter. I’m glad you care. I feel less Joan of Arc-y about this point now. :-)
Joan of Arc became a Saint!!! I agree with you that if we can’t have a sort feature, that at least understanding how the tasting notes are sorted on the tea page might help narrow it down. Right now I have not idea what order they are listed in.
Morgana—A thousand times yes! I wish there were some rhyme or reason to the ordering, especially if I’m looking for my review, or glancing to see if someone with similar tastes/experiences has also reviewed before ordering a particular tea. So keep on your crusade. We, the sheltered masses, will rally to your side.
I also agree that if we have no way to sort these notes, an understand of what order they are in would be helpful!
I really care about this issue too. It’s made the site much less usable and useful when I can’t easily figure out what a tea is like. My two top pet peeves: the official tea description halfway down the page and the illogical change to tasting note order. If I had to rank one as more annoying than the other, I’d choose tasting note order. It sucks.
Yeah, the ordering of tasting notes! It’s also a timing thing for me – I’m trying to get the tea to steep at the right temperature, but if it takes me a while to sift through 236 tasting notes to find how I steeped a tea previously, it takes a while, and the water has already boiled. (I’ve been trying to wait until AFTER I know what I’m doing to boil a tea, but that isn’t working either.)
Trust me, I haven’t forgotten about you!!! We have so much momentum behind the curtains of Steepster that I’m still trying to find a good chunk of time to come in and respond to everyone’s feedback. I will, in good time. Filing taxes will make that harder, but I’m hoping it won’t take much longer.
Thanks again to everyone who has submitted feedback, it is much appreciated and we do/will read and consider it all.
The new tea page allows one to include the number of teaspoons or grams. However, I know of at least one prolific Steepster reviewer and one popular tea supplier that use a tea scoop instead, such as this one:
Perhaps this traditional tea measurement should also be included.
We actually did have this in the original spec but were having trouble figuring out how to handle the conversions (showing something in grams and oz, etc). We’ll hopefully get that in a future update.
It’s probably more accurate and easier to just document the number of tea scoops versus attempting to convert it to tsps. or grams.
There may be more than one size tea scoop. Additionally, attempting to covert volume to grams will vary significantly depending on the size and shape of the tea leaves.
Agreed, we just didn’t have our system setup like that at the time which is why it didn’t make the cut. But we do want to acommodate it in the future.
(Carol: that was addressed in the other thread; I think Jason said they’re working to fix that.)