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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...

11791 reads 171 comments
24 votes

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    ChessisGood

    Learn Tab: getting overhwelming. I suggest a few condensed pages.

  • 3 years ago

    AndyAlcott

    I really am a big fan of the new-look site which genuinely looks much better than the previous version (unlike the changes to the new bbc sports page).

    Great work and keep up the excellent content. Well worth the full membership package.

  • 3 years ago

    knightspawn5

    The graph is pretty, but it wont use the site.  It has no likes or dislikes...

  • 3 years ago

    jhb701

    I like the new site design, but wish I had a halo around my diamond. 

  • 3 years ago

    erik

    here's a graph that shows the site page rendering improvements:

  • 3 years ago

    Lawdoginator

    The home page is awkward and cluttered and poorly designed. 

     

    Give us the option for an old school look to chess dot com. 

  • 3 years ago

    GeniusKJ

    While the site is slightly faster for me, for the most part, I strongly favor the previous format...it would've been better to create a new design that follows closely to the original masterpiece.

    Make sure you fix the privacy issues going on asap, Erik.

    Friend lists and chess mentor ratings are not meant to be information open to the public. Even facebook gives us the options to not make our friends list visible to others.

  • 3 years ago

    wormrose

    @ZBicyclist - [My Vote Chess] has been fixed.

  • 3 years ago

    Xf7Xf2

    I like the new design and it is true now is two times faster. Congratulations, mister Erik, very good job!

  • 3 years ago

    theriverman

    It is faster. I will try it out and see the transformation. Home page looks like the instrument panel on a 747 jet, a lot of stuff in one window. Maybe have the option to move or rearrange the stuff. example; move the notes to the bottom of the page, etc....

    Maybe be able to hide parts of the page that you never use. example; hide the notes, etc....Innocent

    I been here from the beginning, 2000members. Baby is growing up

  • 3 years ago

    PHI33

    absolutely awesome

  • 3 years ago

    odriscod

    Great changes, Love it. 

  • 3 years ago

    guesso

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

    not for me

  • 3 years ago

    ZBicyclist

    1. Looks good.  Must be saving big bucks not paying for serifs Wink

    2. Probable bug: for My Vote Chess games, some of the completed games show up first, some at the end. These include games I have already looked at and which were completed weeks ago.  I think completed games, after the member has looked at them (to see that they've won, lost, drawn) should all be moved to the end.

  • 3 years ago

    wormrose

    The improved [Search Game] utility is nearly impossible to use effectively. I could almost always find the game I was searching for by typing the first three letters of the name (four is a little more efficient). Now it insists on having the full name (last and first) and looks for a perfect match. It takes much, much, much longer now. Some games can't be found but they are there if you use [Explorer] which, of course is very time consuming.

  • 3 years ago

    dzindzifan

    ditto ... lov'n it !! Keep up the great job!!Cool

  • 3 years ago

    chessbeginner77

    Thanks for the new appearance. Much less clicking around nowLaughing

    Can't wait for the next update.

  • 3 years ago

    ChessisGood

    This is great. Love the chat rooms! Would like to have seen time-stamping, though.

  • 3 years ago

    knightspawn5

    Be glad to give you a chance, after a month if it's still not up to what it should be, can we have a choice between the new design and the old design on which we prefer to use????   

    It seem to me that the old format was easier to use, it was stable, and could have been made beta using that design.  Now all this is not stable, not all browsers do or show the same things.  Yes there are bugs, that goes with any new beta site.  I know you are doing everything to get them corrected as I post this.  But those bugs prevent us form doing certain things.

    I use to see all my friend online at the same time, now I see different images of my friends and most arent online, or at least thats what I think the little green box means.  Now the images change and I still dont see who is all online with me.  That is a not good.  Will things like this ever change.  

    I will give it a chance, no harm in that, but I like a choice somewhere down the road as to which I prefer using.  I love chess.com as well, it was the best site on the internet, that may have changed since last night.  That vote is still pending.  People like siimple and easy to undersatnd things.   This so far is neither.  As a customer, I'd like to be able to choose what I like to use.  Thats all I'm asking for is a choice later on......

  • 3 years ago

    Ziryab

    It's faster for me, but the font ruins the appearance. Are there Serifs in the future?

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