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Big Change Today

  • erik
  • on 3/26/12, 12:56 PM.

Chess.com started in 2007 as two friends working out of our garage. In the last five years though sooooo much has happened: we’ve built dozens of features, added 20 full-time team members, and grown to almost 5 million members! But one thing HADN’T changed: the site design. Before yesterday, we were still using the same design and html that was created more than 5 years ago. And in web years, that’s FOREVER ago.

We started working on the site redesign a year ago. We worked through a lot of designs and mockups and iterations. And the one thing I kept telling the designer was “Don’t get crazy. People like it. Don’t change too much!” We wanted to give the site a freshening up, but without doing a complete overhaul – a modernization, not a revolution. And while we know not everyone agrees, we think this new design keeps the best of Chess.com and improves in a lot of ways.

Lots of sites change frequently and in big ways, and that is hard on users of the site. I was recently speaking with the lead designer of a huge website (one that you probably all visit 10x a day). They just did a dramatic change to their whole website and changed everything completely. And some people were really really angry - he even had death threats against him! But now, a few weeks later, most people have become totally accustomed to the new site and people use it even more than they did before the redesign.

But I've also been on the other end of changes from other companies and sites and I know how frustrating it can be! (Heck - I started an online petition to get New Balance to return to an older design of running shoe that they discontinued. They didn't, of course.) More recently I had a site I use a lot change - and it was a HUGE change. And I hated it. So you know what I did? I sent them an email that specified what things were broken, and what I liked, and what I didn't. And once they fixed those things that were broken and I spent a few days using the new site, I loved it.

Now I'm not saying "We've changed. Tough. Get used to it." Not at all. I know that this feels like a big change, and some people prefer the old version. I hear you, and I understand. I want to let you know that we are working hard to fix every single bug. And we are listening to your feedback and trying to find solutions. So please give us a few days - both for us to fix things, and for you to simply give the new look a chance.

One thing that is still broken and we are working on feverishly are the custom themes. I LOVE the themes - they are such an awesome and important part of Chess.com. And we are working to make them look great with the new design of Chess.com. And we are also going to be publishing more official Chess.com themes. So be patient for 24 hours while we work out the bugs. Then we will turn themes back on and you can tinker with the details (logos are a little smaller, etc).

There are other little bugs that are still persisting (like links to Vote Chess, friend lists, some graphical glitches, etc). We have 5 people working non-stop to fix it all.

One other thing that has been brought up a lot is the new "Home" design. Some like it, some don't. But a lot of people are asking why the Notes are in the middle. Well, that is just temporary. Soon that place will be filled up with more of a feed that will give you lots of interesting information like when your friends win a great game, or when you hit your highest tactics rating, or when you got a trophy, or when your friend posts a question, or when a new tournament is starting. It's going to be the activity center of your Chess.com experience.

In addition to the visual changes, we have also made a lot of changes under the hood, including:

  • massive overhaul of our PHP code for faster server performance
  • complete re-write and modernization of the HTML/CSS for faster browser rendering
  • preparation code for complete internationalization of the site in all local languages
  • foundations for making the site more mobile-enabled

Basically, the site is about 2x as fast as it used to be for most people!

Anyway, I wanted to write this to let you know that I have been carefully following nearly every comment and piece of feedback about the redesign. I care about Chess.com more than anyone else (it's my baby!), and I care about each of our members. Everyone at Chess.com is working hard to improve everything. But again, we know that at this moment it doesn't feel like that for everyone. I know some people are disappointed.

All I'm asking is that you give us a chance to make everything perfect for you, and that you give it a few days to grow on you.

Chess.com is a great place because our members are great. I appreciate each of you and what you do for Chess.com.

Erik
Co-Founder, Chess.com 

PS - I strongly encourage everyone to enjoy Chess.com with the fastest browser available - Chrome. get it for free here: www.google.com/chrome  -it will make your Chess.com and overall internet experience much better...

11522 reads 171 comments
24 votes

Comments


  • 4 weeks ago

    Bobcat

    Great site

  • 4 weeks ago

    KingCanute

    In my opinion the changes are absolutely rubbish - I will be going elsewhere. My settings are for invites between 1450 and 1700. I keep getting down to 1200s landinmg on my board and not unaturally I abort the game - then I get purile mesaages and penalties for aborting - who the F*** does Chess.com think it is?

  • 2 years ago

    denty765

    the app wont down load onto phone its a joke

  • 2 years ago

    josephrj

    Since the last update to the iPad app (v2.4.5), I no longer receive audible or visual alerts of my opponents moves on my iPad.  What happened?  Please fix this.

  • 2 years ago

    sprtns

    I have an account in many chees websites and CHESS.COM is the best one by far... keep on the good work fellas

  • 2 years ago

    wormrose

    With all due respect I have to agree with Pircman1. The old layout just seemed more friendly and functional. There are a few things which have improved and a few others that are worse and many things which are about the same. I still don't like the looks or the function of member homepages (or most other pages) and I keep running into strange little bugs here and there. Maybe the the whole thing runs faster and is more efficient from a programmer's point of view but for this user it's not an improvement.

    Sorry. Frown

  • 2 years ago

    Pircman1

    Well it's been a while now. So what is my opinion now?

    I still don't like it and feel that nothing has really be "added". What my grandma would call "All bread and no filling". In other words changeforchanges sake. Showing how clever the writer is is writing the new programme but for the user just a waste of time.

  • 2 years ago

    Saint-Paulia

    I'd like to see a way to segregate rated games from unrated in my games history, so I can get a more accurate picture of my actual win-loss percentage.

  • 2 years ago

    kingofwhite

    Although I've joined after the changes, heare is a really bad feature: the resign button is very close to the draw button and asks for no confirmation. I found out myself while trying to propose a draw to someone... really, really, really bad feature!

  • 2 years ago

    JoseOchoa

    Hi, I just want to share my personal opinion. I like almost all the changes in the site and I think it was a great idea to mantain its essence, but there is only one thing that is bothering me and that is that in the home page now you can only see the latest article and the latest news instead of the latest five in both cases of the older site version. I think that showing more articles and news encourages us (users) to read more and helps also to detect all the new articles and news instead of just detecting the latest one. Thank's for being always thinking in ways to improve the site

  • 2 years ago

    wormrose

    Didn't Staff say that "Notes" were going to be relocated back to the side as they were before?

  • 2 years ago

    chessplayer11

    Bunch o' whiners! ...

    [At least] to those who are not paying members here (including myself), you shouldn't be complaining [of such trivial matters] - this chess site is perhaps the best in the world at the moment, so you should just be very thankful of 'that' and only accept what's offered here; let them do their good hard work - it can only get better from here.

    And that's the way I see it! ...

    ---

    This post reminds me of this guy ->http://www.hulu.com/watch/4303/saturday-night-live-grumpy-old-man

  • 2 years ago

    D0dle

    Bunch o' whiners! ...

    ''[At least] to those who are not paying members here (including myself), you shouldn't be complaining [of such trivial matters] - this chess site is perhaps the best in the world at the moment, so you should just be very thankful of 'that' and only accept what's offered here; let them do their good hard work - it can only get better from here.

    And that's the way I see it! ...''

     

    No, sorry but now, i liked studing games and it helped me but now i can't becuase i have to click on each and every single game that the person done to see if it standard, bullet or blitz, so no thank you. ( i would say apart from that this is yes a good site, oh and apart from the rating system, oh and when the compter resignes for you or aborts to fast, other than that yea i would say this is a perfect site) .

  • 2 years ago

    alemain

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 2 years ago

    Pircman1

    AllogenicMan

    Nonsense! I pay but will not in future. The site is worse. Regarding people like you (non members), they MIGHT join fully in future but the poor "upgrade" may deter them from doing so. So it is in the sites interest not to "upset" them.

  • 2 years ago

    AllogenicMan

    Bunch o' whiners! ...

    [At least] to those who are not paying members here (including myself), you shouldn't be complaining [of such trivial matters] - this chess site is perhaps the best in the world at the moment, so you should just be very thankful of 'that' and only accept what's offered here; let them do their good hard work - it can only get better from here.

    And that's the way I see it! ...

  • 2 years ago

    D0dle

    The Design was better the old way, and when it was the old way you could study games, however now you have to click on the game and look ( witch takes ages ) rather than just scrolling down, i like to study 30|0 games but now i cant do that anymore. I can't.

    And it is really annoying, infact the design is like facebook, just copyed it off facebook, sorry to sound so harsh, but it is quite annyoing.

  • 2 years ago

    chessolite

    A great THANx to chess.com who went thru a great sea change

  • 2 years ago

    g-levenfish

    OK,OK,I'm trying the new format.Will see if I like it like everyone else!

  • 2 years ago

    radu43

    hope you guys are going to work on the ipad version next. great job on the site

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