I want to alert you about changes coming to our top navigation bar. We haven't liked it, and neither have you. One of the most common complaints we've heard about the site is that navigation is confusing, and that one of the most confusing parts is that top bar. (For those who have somehow managed to ignore this problem, it's this: when you click from CHOW to Chowhound or back, the buttons in the top navigation bar change. On CHOW they're "Recipes," "Top Stories" and "Video," and on Chowhound they're "Discussion," "Digest," "Restaurants," "Recipes," "Video.") Many people have told us this is disorienting and, worse, that it makes it difficult for them to get where they want to go. In retrospect this may seem obvious, but when we implemented it, it really did seem like a good idea: the CHOW experience was different from the Chowhound experience, and we felt they each deserved their own nav. We were wrong.
So we're changing that top bar and making navigation consistent across CHOW and Chowhound. Starting early next week, we will have a new header, and those navigation buttons will be the same no matter what page you're on. If you're on CHOW or if you're on Chowhound, you'll see top nav buttons that say "Stories," "Video," "Recipes," and "Chowhound Discussions." In addition, we're bringing back drop-down menus, so that you can get where you want to go with one click.
One change that's less simple is this: we will be eliminating the top nav button for "Restaurants." It's the first step toward removing the restaurant pages altogether. This may be alarming to some who have used those pages to post restaurant reviews, tips, and reference data. But please don't worry: the pages themselves will still be around for a while, and any reviews that you posted will be available to you for quite some time. We'll have more information on that soon.
Why the change? We originally offered restaurant information in order to make the Chowhound boards more useful. We thought we'd forestall the slightly annoying need to continually reply to a post with the question, "Where is this place you're talking about?" However, those good intentions have not been well served. We have heard that our restaurant listings have not been particularly helpful to most people most of the time, and they've slowed down the performance of the site. So we're beginning the process to eliminate those pages. More on that as the project commences. You will be well forewarned before any of this takes place.
Those changes are in the future. Right now, we're just changing the nav, and will be launching the new header next week. We hope that it's intuitive and seamless enough that you won't even notice.