New redesign, easier filtering

Nov212008

We just launched a significant redesign of many of our interior pages to make it easier, and more consistent, to filter and explore our information.

We’re big believers in letting people browse our information in as many ways as possible and in the philosophy that “anything that can be a link should be a link.” For example, if you’re browsing our site and come across a report of retail theft in your neighborhood, we provide direct links to other thefts, other crimes in retail stores, other crimes in the same police beat and other crimes on that day — making it easy (and addictive!) to explore crime in your city.

As a result, EveryBlock has hundreds of thousands of unique pages that answer specific questions, like which buildings are scheduled to be demolished in Seattle? or where have abandoned automobiles been reported in Washington, DC? This is a great thing, because you can bookmark and directly link to these specific pages, without having to tell people to “go to EveryBlock, then go to the ‘building permits’ section, then click ‘demolitions’, then enter an address.”

Aside from those thousands of unique pages, we’ve offered a “custom filter” interface for each type of information. This is for the real power users who want to mix and match search criteria and ask very specific questions, like, “Show me which blogs and news sources have written about news in my immediate eight-block area between January and June of this year.” It’s amazingly useful.

But as we’ve evolved our site, we’ve started to realize something about the hundreds of thousands of pages and the custom filter: they’re essentially the same thing! In many cases, we’ve offered multiple ways to get at the same information, and that’s led to a bunch of redundancy on our site. We wanted to make things more consistent and integrate the custom filter features into other parts of the site.

So that’s what we’ve done in this new redesign. In short, we’ve integrated the power of the custom filter to the hundreds of thousands of pages.

Here’s an example — the old version of our Chicago crime “Robbery” page:

Screenshot of old page

Now this page offers a rich set of filters along the left (under the header “Refine your search” in the screenshot below), so you can continue to filter the robberies by location, date, or in number of other ways:

Screenshot of new page

This change has been made across the board, so you’ll notice the filters on more pages as you browse EveryBlock.

We’re really pleased with this change, for consistency, flexibility and usability. Let us know what you think by e-mailing feedback at everyblock.com.

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