I've used restaurantica for years to find new restaurants in my area or when I travel, and it's been quite useful. But their recent site makeover has made it almost useless for that purpose, and I think it's now almost unusable. Here's the main part of the message I sent in response to their request for comments:
I think the new site is a step backwards, and I will demonstrate with an example. Lake Grill is one of the top five restaurants in Durham region, and is located in Whitby. It has over ten reviews on your site. I challenge you to find those reviews --- please come back to this message when you're finished, because the rest is a spoiler.
First, it is impossible to find the best restaurants in Whitby because you only list a handful on the first page and there's no way to see the rest (i.e. to sort all by rating, like the old site). That leaves name and category. Go alphabetical (this assumes you know the name, which you don't when you're looking for new restaurants), Not under 'L'. Type "Lake Grill" into the search -- not found. Try categories -- seafood, grill, fine dining --- not there. Give up? Not me. Search every letter -- under 'T' you find it -- "The Lake Grill". Great. Its category -- Steak and Seafood -- doesn't appear on the first page of categories. If you find it on the "more" page (which doesn't even show the number of restaurants in each category) and click it, you get a 404 error and no restaurants. So finding this restaurant, the best in Whitby, is impossible by category, and effectively impossible by name. Yet I found out about it in the first place on the old site, wrote a review, and have been eating there regularly because of your site.
1. Search needs to use wild cards, so "Lake Grill" finds "The Lake Grill".
2. Alphabetical listing needs to include names with "The", "A", etc. removed.
3. All categories need to be shown on first page (scrolling?), with number of entries for each.
4. Need to see all restaurants sorted by rating.
Fix those, and you'll be as good as the old site. Then you should start work on what's really wrong with the site. For one thing, a few bad ratings by silly people who expected a different type of restaurant unfairly reduce the rating of good restaurants. Perhaps your overall rating should be the median, not the average e.g Median of 10, 9, 9, 2 is 9, average is 7. That way, the number of votes counts more than somebody's ability to write a 0, 1 or 2.
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