Public beta at last


So it’s official: Loladex is open to the world.  Find the public beta of our Facebook application at:

Loladex has changed a lot lately.  Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback during our “friends & family” period — we took it seriously!

Here are some highlights:

•  The overall look and feel has changed a lot.  In particular, we are showing your friends’ faces a lot more.  We want Loladex to feel like a community: Rather than being a search engine, it’s a place where friends gather to swap recommendations.

•  The home page includes a bunch of new features.  We show a nice big scorecard of the picks you’ve made so far, and how you rank among your friends & among all Loladex users.  We’re featuring specific picks and comments from your friends in a few different ways.  And at the top of the page, we show any current pleas for advice from your friends.

 •  We’ve upgraded the search results, both in content and in presentation.  Importantly, we’ve added a bunch of filters that should help you find exactly what you seek: That was a common request.  We’ve also added the ability to “ignore” picks from specific friends and sources, either permanently or on a search-by-search basis.  (We don’t allow you to delete friends, however: Please do that via Facebook’s regular process.)

•  We’ve raised the visibility of our “ask friends” feature, and made slight changes to how it works.  We’ve already gotten some requests to make it even more prominent, so we’ll get working on that.  For anyone who hasn’t used it, this feature allows you broadcast a request for advice — maybe you’re looking for a good local accountant to do your taxes, for instance.

By the way, a frequent question I’ve gotten about this feature is, “Can’t you put a module on the Loladex home page that allows me to skip straight to asking my friends?”  My concern is that your friends may already have entered the advice you seek — that’s why we want you to perform a search first.

I consider this functionality a moving target, however: Ultimately we’ll be guided by our users.  We’ll be looking for feedback in the coming weeks.

•  We’ve added recommendations from your Facebook networks — we aggregate all the votes from Loladex users in your region, for instance, or your college alumni network.  This functionality is very new, and we need to work on how it’s presented, but I think it’ll be incredibly useful.  I welcome your thoughts on how it should work.

•  We’ve significantly improved (I hope) the workflow for first-time users.  Many people didn’t realize that they could rate anything during their signup process, but thought instead that they were limited to the categories in a dropdown menu.  We nixed that menu, raised the profile of the search box, and streamlined the rating process.  The streamlined rating process has been applied in several other parts of the site, too.

I think those are the biggest changes.  We’ve made tweaks everywhere, of course, and we have plenty more improvements in the pipeline.

Let us know what you think, either here or on our Facebook discussion board.

1 Comment

  1. Hey…I saw you announcement in Potomac Tech Wire. Congratulations. It sounds like fun. Hope all is well