Love this new format

For years, I have wondered why this site was not more user friendly. I bet all RS travel fans will benefit from easier navigation, better direct reply options. Must make this a question....Everyone agree?

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1427 posts

Since you asked...This board finally makes sense! Great job.

Paul

Posted by Robyn
Queensland, Australia
39 posts

I'm sorry I don't like it. I scanned everything with the old style and learnt heaps about all sorts of places even if they weren't relevant. I don't enjoy having to click in and out of as many screens just to see the latest, and then not being sure what I have and haven't looked at.I no longer look forward to seeing what's been added each day. I may well be alone in my feelings, but thought I'd put my 2 cents worth in.

Posted by Sandy
Maryland, USA
15 posts

I agree with Robyn. Scanning all the entries was a great way of picking up information, sometimes on places and things you might not have planned on seeking information about. I find all the clicking and entering each topic very time consuming and not user friendly. To me, the one nice thing about the helpline was seeing everything "at a glance."

Posted by Jenny
Camas, WA, USA
166 posts

I begrudgingly agree with the last 2 posters, and am glad that someone finally spoke up. I love everything Rick Steves, and have learned tons from checking this section of the sight everyday. However, I find it hard to keep track of what I have and haven’t read each day-which has resulted in me not checking anymore. The segregation of the countries makes it feel like less of a travel community, and more of an impersonal forum broken down to get answers about specific needs-as opposed to learning about travel experiences in general. (I do like the depletion in amount of spam though!)

Posted by Gary Mc
Salt Lake City
716 posts

It comes down to personal tastes. I like Trip Advisor best of the boards as it is even more structured. So, I also like the new format of Rick Steve's site. Most especially I like the fact that answers are attached to questions.

Regards,

Posted by Alex
Gold Hill, CO, USA
69 posts

Totally agree; now we can get specific. This new approach will soon overtake Fodors. Rick, you need to address apartments in Vienna...I have some great ones on my site:
http://austria.starkeconcepts.com/
Next time you go check them out!
Loved your last series. Keep up the excellent work!

Posted by Jared
Tacoma, WA
26 posts

I guess I am about 50/50. With the old format, I also did look forward to seeing what new posts had appeared, and on a variety of topics that I would not have seeked info on. Sometimes one of these topics somehow was similer in a wierd way to what I was seeking, and at the very least, gave me a perspective of the topics that we face when travelling. On the flip side, this new format is a lot easier to zero in on info that I need. When there are more posts, it will be especially helpful.

Posted by mary
hamilton
87 posts

hate the new format and will just go somewhere else for it.i enjoy seeing all postings at once it gave me good suggestions .

Posted by ichabod
atlanta
1 posts

Hate the new format -- will no longer use helpline to give or get advice -- too blooming much trouble -- it was not broken so why did you fix it?

Posted by Mariann
Los Angeles, CA, USA
33 posts

I hate this format and agree with Robyn and Sandy about being able to see and learn from all the emails. If you look at the number of replies to the different areas you will see that there appears that a lot of people also agree even if they have not replied to this posting.
RICK...PLEASE GO BACK TO THE OLD FORMAT.

Posted by Bee
Des Moines
65 posts

It's quite simple to determine which Traveler's Helpline posts you haven't read; just check the "Last Post" date beside each topic. That's the date of the last post added to the topic. Click only on topics with "Last Post" date later than the date you last browsed the Traveler's Helpline, page down, and you'll catch up on what you haven't already read.

If you miss being able to do a "search and find" on the old one-page board, you can still do an advanced Google search by entering ricksteves.com as the only domain to search. From that result page you can drill down further by clicking on "search within results", and entering more specific words or phrases. You can repeat the "search within results" many times, each time narrowing the results. It takes a few days for Google to catch up with new content, but you have the advantage of searching the entire site.

Posted by Webmaster
Edmonds, WA, USA
240 posts

Apologies to all from your friendly neighborhood Webmaster. I have fixed the password problem and everyone should receive an email from me with instructions on how to proceed. Again, thanks for everyone's help in identifying this frustrating problem. Yours, Rachel.

Posted by Norm
Ottawa, Canada
4555 posts

I agree....I hate the new format. I liked scanning all the questions and answers out there...it gave me lots of ideas for future trips of my own. Switching back and forth is a pain...never mind from topic to topic...and it seems to have caused a reduction in questions and answers since it was first put up. I, too, am having password problems....I seem to have to reset it for every visit. I'm using IE 7 as well.

Posted by Bill
Montgomery, New York, USA
11 posts

I totally agree with Norm. It has taken me over 20 minutes to re-do my password. I always enjoyed reading everyone's comments on all subjects. Don't like going back and forth between subjects. A real step backwards.

Posted by Adam
Boston
2630 posts

Three thoughts. First, I enjoyed the scope and possibility fpr serendipity of the old format, but the new format might actually be more useful to more people. It also seem as though it could accomodate more people, and might fill up over time.

Second, the web url provided by the web master for the RSS feed works really well, but only on some browsers! If you miss the old format, give it a try--it lists all the posts to all the subcategories in chronological order.

If the webmaster is looking for suggestions, I'd say make this link more available and better labeled--lots of people are not going to have a clue what an RSS feed is. Also, you might want to troubleshoot the compatability issue--it works fine on Firefox in Windows but not in Firefox on the Mac.

Finally, it looks as though the old helpline url is still active and collecting spam and a few posts from folks who have bookmarked the site or have it in their browser cashe. The webmaster might want to replace it with a redirect to the new page.

I hope these comments are helpful!

Posted by Robyn
Queensland, Australia
39 posts

Sorry I've not remembered who put in about when items were last posted but I understand when they were put in from the time, but being from Australia (and I realise the site was set up for American travellers) there are so many time zones I have to take into account.

Also I don't believe when a new thread is started there are any dates beside them.

I also don't think there are as mony people posting, but maybe that's perception. I certainly don't rush to the site morning and night to get my fix anymore.

Posted by pat
cochranville, pa, usa
238 posts

I for one like it. I was beginning to get really frustrated with the troll who was taking over the board and having to skim pages for info. I think registration was overdue.
Anytime a new format is adapted there are going to be glitches in the beginning but I think it's a step in the right direction. Thanks!

Posted by Mariann
Los Angeles, CA, USA
33 posts

I'll be more specific than my last post. I think Norm hit the nail on the head (others have stated the same point). The fun of the board was not only answers to your questions but the ideas for travel that you may not have thought of. Also, the flipping back and forth is a pain. I'm more the type of person who likes to be in a crowd and wonder from group to group to hear different topics not just my own and that's how the old board was. By the way, have you noticed that post for post more people like the old format than the new?

Posted by Jared
Tacoma, WA
26 posts

So........this is the only graffiti board now. All of the other pages, i.e.: Europe's best beer, Italian Agriturismos, Chocoholics Unite, and the rest are now condensed into this Travelers' Helpline Board?

Posted by pat
cochranville, pa, usa
238 posts

No this is not the only part of the wall. Just click on Graffiti wall on top of page and the rest is still in place.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

I think the new format will prove to be an improvement. But I do miss having the most recent postings at the top of the page. As it is, it is necessary to scroll to the bottom to read the most recent addition.

Posted by Bee
Des Moines
65 posts

To reach the latest post at the bottom of the page, you don't have to scroll; just press the "Ctrl" key and the "end" key simultaneously.

Posted by Cali
SF, CA, USA
10 posts

I dislike the new format. As the majority noted above, half the fun was reading all the posts and learning new things....things you might not have considered otherwise.

It is very time consuming to switch back and forth through categories and then through the posts. If I wanted this format I would use tripadvisor.

I certainly am not logging on as much as I did in the past and am rarely posting replies that may be helpful to the person who posted the question.

For Mac users, the link from the webmaster:
http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/rss.cfm

does NOT work on a Safari browser. Looks like it works on Firefox.

Posted by Darla
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, U.S.A.
376 posts

I love the new format. It takes less time to check out new post and I can read only the post that interest me. Depending on where I am traveling, it's fun to read post on those city/countries. It saves me time. Keep up the great website.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1359 posts

I agree with Pat. This new format for Travelers' Helpline is totally better. When the old format was here, I could not understand why all the requests for help, for all countries in Europe, must be put on one page. Many people preferred to use the website of Frommers, because there the "travel talk" is divided into countries. Now, the "Travelers' Helpline" at this website is equally as good as "travel talk" at the Frommers site.

Posted by Norm
Ottawa, Canada
4555 posts

One of the problems with divvying up the site into specific areas like this is questions in the wrong area...or questions covering more than one area. I noticed one about the Alhambra in Spain placed under "Transportation." With the old format, someone would have come across it. Now, I wonder how many responses that person will get.

Posted by MademoiselleFifi
NYC
17 posts

I'm also 50/50. Well, maybe more like 40/60.

I love the new threaded format-- it's so much easier not having to scroll through all posts to figure out who's replying to what.

However, I hate the separate North/East/West/Boot division for 3 reasons:

1) Although the questions may be easier to find, there will be fewer answers, because most travellers will spend most of their time in the board about their NEXT destination, not the boards about places from which they've just returned, and thus will not come across the questions they're most qualified to answer.

2) This division splits up many pairs of cities which are often combined on one itinerary-- London/Paris, Vienna/Budapest, etc. Where do those questions belong?

3) As many others have already said, it was nice under the old format to stumble across new things that we weren't looking for.

Posted by Kristin
Bellevue, WA, USA
16 posts

I have to agree with all those who dislike this new format. I was completely addicted to the old Helpline -- so fun to read about everything, whether it concerned me or not. In this format, someone not traveling immediately where I'm going may not check that page and see my question that they would have the answer to. I can see what people like about this one, but for me, the old one plus registration would be perfect!

Posted by Norm
Ottawa, Canada
4555 posts

A good compromise might be to have it all on one page, but have heirarchical sub-links to the replies given. That would cut down on the raft of postings showing up on the main page, and give people a chance to see the replies posted immediately below the original question. I don't know if I've described it adequately, but think of it as a directory "tree" type setup.

Posted by Tom
Suffolk, UK (formerly St. Louis, MO, USA)
166 posts

I'm not a real fan of the new format. One of the enjoyable things from the previous format was that you could scan the entire Helpline and pick up info about various places even if they were not relevant to your current travel need. Additionally, if you had just come back from somewhere, and saw a post not related to your next trip, you could reply with ease. I know its only a "few clicks away" to get to another thread, I just prefer to have them lumped together.It also seems like the number of posts that are retained is much fewer (though I am sure that since topics are all thats listed, the posts I am "missing" are the replys.) Just dont care for the new format.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1359 posts

This new format of "Travelers' Helpline" is better than the format of "Travel Talk" at the Frommers website. Do not change this format !

Posted by Robyn
Queensland, Australia
39 posts

I'm so excited! I've just seen the new "link" for reading the posts the old way. I've been reading ones that I couldm't be bothered with looking at before, and have already seen some I have some interset in. Thanks to the Webmaster for listening and giving a choice