Introducing the new BigOven.com, now in Beta

9-24-2013 4-36-57 PMWe are pleased to introduce a major website update — now available at http://beta.bigoven.com.

For the past several months, we’ve been working on a rewrite of the entire website, looking carefully at simplifying key actions, and improving the display on all screen sizes.  We’ve looked at the most common use-cases, from looking up a recipe on mobile, to signing up, to entering grocery list items… in an effort to make each one better.

We’d love it if you’d take a look and then jotted a note to us with your thoughts.

This is a beta-test.  We’ll eventually cut-over www.bigoven.com, but are still running the platform through its paces.  Note though that on the beta site, you’ll still be working with live, not test data — changes (updates, deletions, etc.) you make here will be synchronized to your mobile and tablet apps.  Image upload is not yet allowed on the beta site, but will be enabled when we go live.

New Features You’ll Notice Right Away

  • New support for widescreen monitors
  • Better display on smartphone and tablet screen sizes
  • Much-improved grocery list – better pick-list, support for checked/unchecked items and more
  • Improved recipe tiles on search — richer, simpler, better use of screen
  • Much easier Menu Planner, with your pick-list on the left now conveniently organized by Course (instead of having to locate it in Favorites, or Try Soons, or Added first)
  • You can now add/remove a recipe to or from your favorites, try soons, grocery list or menu planner right from search results – simply hover over the recipe to see the options
  • Dramatically improved recipe picker, used in grocery list (add recipe to grocery list.) It now filters automatically to “My Recipes”.  This improves performance and gets you to the recipe you’d like even sooner.  “My Recipes” equals the combination of recipes you’ve added, favorited, or marked “try soon”.
  • New Browse by Course area
  • New About Us page
  • Better home page which more clearly describes what BigOven is about, and how BigOven helps home cooks
  • More in-line editing tools for administrators
  • Easy navigation breadcrumbs throughout, so you more quickly know just where you are
  • … and more

We had several goals with this major upgrade:

1.  Make the BigOven web experience responsive to screen sizes

Since well over half of the visits to BigOven are via smartphones or tablets, this was by far our biggest objective.  

While we have extremely popular, easy-to-use, native mobile cooking apps for all major smartphone and tablet platforms, there are still many times when people go hit BigOven.com (the website) via a web browser from a tablet or smartphone.  We previously used a “fixed-width” design for the website; this no longer suffices in the age of the smartphone and tablet.

The old platform required us to special-case our mobile views and implement each one separately for smartphone, tablet, etc.  This created inconsistencies in mobile web views, and duplicate effort on our part.  

The new platform lets us build special views that magically shrink and grow as you resize the screen.  That is, mobile screens get just the “need to know” information, and wide desktops get a richer experience.  Screens are first developed for the smallest possible output (the smartphone); then features and items are progressively added as the screen gets larger.  

By making BigOven responsive to screen sizes, it will make the experience across mobile web and desktop web much more seamless.  Ultimately, this new platform allows us to improve the mobile web experience dramatically, and make for an easy, consistent experience regardless of your viewing device.

2.  Support widescreen desktop monitors with richer content

If you’re like many web users, you probably have a wide-screen desktop monitor.  You may also have a tablet and/or a smartphone.

We have moved from a fixed-width design, optimized for a 1024×768 monitor to a fluid design that better uses the pixels available to you.  If you’re on a widescreen desktop monitor, you’ll see a lot more results on the screen.  

For instance, doing a search on “chicken”, here’s what you’ll see on the new site (right) versus the existing site (left):


existing-bigoven
old website (6 recipes visible at a time)
widescreennew website (10-15 recipes visible at a time)

You’ll notice similar information-rich display on all webpages, compared to the current platform.

3.  Refactor several areas of the codebase

BigOven includes many components – recipe search, recipe entry, recipe scanning, grocery list management, menu creation, menu planning calendar, grocery list, nutrition and more.  We took this opportunity to refactor and reshape several of our core libraries, which will make for higher-quality and more maintainable code with fewer bugs.  

We’re now running the latest versions of core web new-format
and javascript libraries.  This refactoring and simplification is an ongoing process, but the platform rewrite allowed us to take a careful look at all code areas and make some improvements under the hood.

 

4.  Deliver a streamlined, modern look

We’re adopting a simpler, cleaner flat look for BigOven, with emphasis on recipe content.  We’re cleaning out the recipe details page to help surface the most important content to you.

Buttons and iconography have been rethought to make it clearer what they’re used for.  New dropdown buttons and other components mimic their desktop counterparts.

9-24-2013 4-21-21 PM

5.  Adopt some important new platform technologies  

For those interested, we’ve moved from Microsoft’s older “ASPX” view model to Razor, which delivers much better HTML validation, much tighter code and better syntax checking.  

We’d love your feedback. 

When we’re done with the beta, this new site will take its place as www.bigoven.com, and the existing site will go away.   

The website is currently in beta, which means that it’s pretty stable and mostly feature-complete.  There are still a few layout and display bugs, and we’d love your help to squash them.  Please send in your feedback via the integrated survey on the website, or via our comments form.

Note that the URLs (web addresses) should generally correspond — simply replace “www” with “beta”.  For instance, your grocery list can be viewed at both www.bigoven.com/grocery and  beta.bigoven.com/grocery.

Thanks, and happy cooking!

2 thoughts on “Introducing the new BigOven.com, now in Beta

  1. I have emailed you many times about Big Oven not being in MAC form. A short time ago I saw a Blog or a message where it is now possible for us to import receipes from our old big Oven that were in .rcb format into present big oven.

    Is this right?

Leave a Reply