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Important housekeeping announcement

27 Aug 2009 by Jancis Robinson

5 Sep First anniversary of the redesign of this site, with all its new features, celebrated by at last being able to change what the deep purple panel on the right says.

3 Sep  See the start of a new series of  Jancis TV videos in which I at last come out from behind the camera.

1 Sep
  Do keep looking at the bottom of this page for frequent updates on inrtiguing wine-related issues. Tweets are not all insubstantial, just brief.


We are delighted to announce that, thanks to our new London-based developers Softwire, with whom we have been working a relatively short time, there are already some noticeable improvements to this site.

Home page re-design  
The most obvious of these is the modification of the listings in the body of our home page. Many of you pointed out that listing the three Latest articles followed by the three Latest tasting articles involved a certain amount of duplication and used up valuable vertical space. We have accordingly changed this to show the four Latest articles, including the most recently published Tasting articles

This is followed, as before, by the three most recent posts on Members'  forum, but below this is a completely new feature, my two Latest tweets. Some of you may think that Twitter is an abomination. I did at first but, as I explained in Twittering last May, I finally came round to the idea of sending messages of up to 140 characters. In fact I have found this an increasingly useful way to communicate brief observations, or recommendations of wines, places, people and online articles that are not necessarily worthy of a whole article but are certainly worthy of your attention. In fact, my latest tweets are now on the home page specifically because I have felt increasingly that I have been short-changing visitors to this site by not sharing with them what I was communicating via Twitter.

However sceptical you are about Twitter as a whole, please take a look at my most recent tweets at the bottom of the home page from time to time.  To see them all, just click on the 'Jancis' link in Latest tweets from Jancis, or go to www.twitter.com/jancisrobinson. Feel free to leave a comment below this article if you cannot bear to follow me via Twitter or if you think the whole thing is a waste of time.

If a tweet begins with an @X, by the way, that means it's an answer to a tweet from X.  RT prefaces a 'retweet' of something someone else has tweeted. You will also notice a lot of strange-looking URLs beginning http. These are just a way of scrunching web links so that they don't take up too many characters.

Tasting notes search
As the oldtimers among you know, our tasting notes database has evolved, and we hope improved, enormously over the last year or so. We suffered a frustratingly long hiatus while our last developers struggled with the new system, during which we were unable to upload tasting notes into the database. Tamlyn Currin and team are racing to make up the time but there are still about 4,000 tasting notes that have not yet been added to the 30,000+ tasting notes that are already in the system for the Tasting notes search to range over.  We hope very much to be up to date within a month or so but in the meantime, do check Tasting articles by region if you can't find a wine using Tasting notes search. This is a complete and more up-to-date guide to all the tasting articles ever published, right up to the present.

Softwire have recently added two improvements to the way in which the results of a search of the tasting notes database is presented.  Firstly, wines are colour coded in the list of wines you are presented with when instigating a search.  White wines are shown in green, red wines in crimson and pink wines - well, we'll leave that for you to guess.

In this initial list of search results, you have been able for some time to choose how they are sorted, by clicking on any of the headings at the top of the list.  What now happens, however, is that if you choose to sort by Score, the  default positon is that the highest scoring wines appear at the top.  (You can of course reverse this order by clicking on 'Score' again.)  Similarly, the default position for sorting wines by Date tasted is that the wines tasted most recently appear at the top.  At the moment, for some wines tasted recently, this 'Date tasted' is actually the date of publication of the relevant Tasting article rather than the strict date of tasting, which we will try to rectify. We hope, however, that  you agree that overall, both these adjustments are improvements on the previous situation, which listed the lowest scoring wines and those tasted longest ago at the top as the respective defaults.

Don't forget, by the way, that to get to individual tasting notes from this initial list of all possibilities, just click any word in the name of the wine you want to view in detail.

'Preferences' becomes 'My account'
And finally a very small change. We have renamed the section at the bottom of any purple page which allows you to change your password and your personal details or to renew your membership. We hope that the name 'My account' makes it all a bit clearer.

Please don't hesitate to comment below on this or any other general site housekeeping matter.

Comments

Hi Daniel,  and thanks for your comments. I would be surprised if these changes had an effect on your being regularly logged in but will query it with the developers.  (It's usually a question of clearing your cache.)

Does anyone else have this new problem please?

28 Aug 2009 19:27 by Jancis Robinson

It seems that I have to sign in to my account every time I start up the internet now.  I preferred the old way of signing in and staying signed in unless I signed out.

28 Aug 2009 17:05 by Daniel Grajewski

Thanks for your suggestions, Gerald, and glad you like the colour coding. Certainly more to think about, especially with regard to the initial order of the results (ie by colour). The trouble is people have different reasons for searching and different approaches to the search (producer, region, vintage etc) and it is hard to find a default order that suits everyone. The same applies to having 'This exact word or phrase' as default. It is very easy to type in something that is not in fact exactly what you are looking for (by mistake or because you do not want to be too specific) and then the results might leave out some wines that you do indeed want to find. Don't forget you can also make the search more specific by selecting eg the appellation as well as typing something into the free text box at the top.

As far as your Lynch Bages example goes, I can explain this: it is because Lynch Bages is mentioned in the description part of the wines where LB is not the producer (though of course you don't see this until you drill down to the individual notes). I think it is better that these are included rather than excluded but again something to think about.

28 Aug 2009 13:01 by Julia Harding

Hi Jancis, Congratulations on the overhaul! You may already be aware of this but there is a problem in the Tasting Notes Search, in that when you type in a wine some unwelcome visitors can also appear in the list. Two recent examples are Lynch Bages (which also lists Haut-Bages Averous, Pichon Baron & Camensac as well as some others) and Angelus (Bellevue, de Chantegrive, Bollinger (!) and more appear in the list) This happens even having specified "This exact word or phrase". Also I would personally have "This exact word or phrase" as the default and first in the list of search parameters followed by "One or more of these words" and then "All these words" It seems logical to go from the most specific to the least.Finally the colour coding is great. Would it be a good idea when you first search for a wine for all the whites to appear first, then Rose, then Reds? (type in Fieuzal and you'll know what I mean)best wishes Gerald Elms 

28 Aug 2009 10:29 by Gerald Elms

The Twitter 140-character format works particularly well for sharing information on wine and travel, so glad you have joined the Twitterati, Jancis. Wink (www.twitter.com/WineTravel)

28 Aug 2009 09:48 by Wink Lorch

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