Product page improvements and additional features
Apr 27, 2011 at 00:51 GMT
Since we released the major upgrade of our product database pages four weeks ago, we have been hard at work fixing bugs, refining details and addressing your feedback. We’ve reached the point where all the major issues have been addressed and everything is running along smoothly. Our development team will be moving on to work on other new features, but first we wanted to give you an update on what’s been done over the past few weeks.
New features and large changes
- A “My Shortlist” feature, which appears at the bottom of all the pages in the product database section of the site, lets you keep track of products you’re interested in as you browse through the various product pages. This makes it easier to select products to compare to each other as you navigate the brand lineups, the product timeline, and the feature search pages.
- We’ve begun extracting lens information from the photographs that you (and we) upload to our galleries. This allows you to see a selection of photos taken with a particular lens while researching that lens in our database. This is a surprisingly challenging problem — much more difficult than identifying the camera used — and we’re still working on making this work for all the major camera manufacturers. The result should be a boon for those of you wanting to see sample images from a lens you’re interested in.
- With the philosophy that more information from trusted sources is better, we have added more summaries from and links to other quality camera reviews. SLR Gear and Photozone have been added, in addition to Imaging Resource, Digital Camera Resource Page, and Camera Labs.
Other improvements and bug fixes
We’ve been listening carefully to your feedback on our changes, and we appreciate all your comments and bug reports. Here are some of the changes we’ve made in response to your feedback:
- Among all of the positive feedback we received, the one major negative that stood out was that some people seemed to have a hard time finding a list of products for a certain brand. This came as a surprise to us since this very feature is at the heart of the product database. It seems that some users have been missing the big links in the middle of each brand’s hub page, labeled with one of the three categories: Compact Cameras, Interchangeable Lens Cameras, and Lenses. We have made some changes to the appearance of these links in an effort to improve discoverability. Rest assured that we have not removed or hidden products from our database; all the information is there and accessible within a few clicks.
- We improved the camera/lens feature search pages: the search page so now remembers your selections when you navigate away and then return to your search, you can now select all cameras or lenses of a certain type, and iPhone/iPad compatibility has been improved.
- We’ve made various improvements to the timeline: links to the next and previous year were added at the top and bottom, the dropdown lists now indicate whether a certain combination has any products, and there is now an option to view all years at once, for an overview of the entire history of digital photography or that of a specific brand.
- Review/preview and score information has been added to the product lineup pages.
- The product lineup pages now allow you to view “all cameras” or “all products” from a manufacturer, in addition to the narrower “interchangeable lens” and “compact camera” segments.
- The default product list view was changed from list to grid, to more closely match our old format.
- We added the ability to select discontinued items to the shortlist for comparison.
- We have made various minor changes to the specs presentation on product pages, including grouping and order.
- We added the announcement date to product pages — thanks to everyone who notified us that this was missing.
- We fixed misaligned rows on the side-by-side comparison page when browser zoom was changed to more or less than 100%.
- User reviews are now editable.
We won't, however, be reintroducing Pixel Density to the database. Too often we got the impression that it was adding as much confusion as clarity to the issue so instead we've given more prominence to the actual size (in mm) of the sensors.
As a result of our product database overhaul, much more of our database is exposed than was previously the case. Inevitably, this exposed some errors and omissions in our data, which we’ve been correcting as we find it. Thanks to all of you who have written us about these inaccuracies, and please continue to let us know when you see something that doesn’t look right.