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Auffällig unaufällig – the bab.la relaunch

It’s been a while since our last relaunch in June last year. And you don’t really need to relaunch every year as cars do just to be able to sell something supposedly new. The reason for every relaunch so far (OK, including this one it has been only two…) was to increase the usability of the site. Last year, we removed a lot of clutter and put the search box into the centre of attention. We also included additional search functions in the left bar of the search results. We thought this was a good idea and most of our test users agreed. However, when we started measuring how many users actually use the left bar functionality it was a minuscule percentage. Key learning: Don’t think you know the right answer because your gut feeling tells you but measure it if you can.

condition-vergleich-layout
(click on image to enlarge)

So, what’s new? With this relaunch we focused on the dictionary search results as this is the page that most users see most of the time. You’ll notice three improvements:
1. More space for the search results by hiding the left search filter bar (you can still get it by clicking on “show search filters”). Bye, bye search filter bar, it was nice having you around but people just didn’t care that much about you.
2. Simplified and cleaner layout. The search results page is about finding the translation easily and fast so we removed (nearly) all colours, increased the font size of the words and moved most of the additional functions to the right.
3. Our probably most important new feature: New context sentences underneath the translation. We got a lot of feedback from our users saying “Your dictionary is great and offers really a lot of translations. Unfortunately, I don’t really know which one to use.” Unless you are a language expert (which most of you are, of course!) choosing the RIGHT translation can be quite tough. The context sentences help you choose the relevant translation for you. We don’t have context sentences for every translation yet but rest assured we are working on it.

Auffällig unauffällig – as the title suggests we didn’t have any major hick-ups during the relaunch. If you notice anything please let us know. We hope you like the new “unauffälliges” layout and find the right translation even faster now.

Andreas

Just one more thing…

We have quietly added and tested another feature which has been running for some time now. And since it’s so close to Christmas we wanted to share it with you as this actually is something totally new to the online dictionary world. You could also say: a world premiere. [Applause]

One thing our users keep on suggesting to us is to put the most relevant word on top of the search result list. Cool idea, but… When you get several translation suggestions, no translation is more right or wrong than the other. It depends on the context which translation works better and which doesn’t work at all. Therefore, putting the most relevant translation on top is an impossible task as we do not know the context. Now, “das kann doch nicht das Ende vom Lied sein” (German again, translating into something like this cannot be the end to the story). And actually it isn’t. The solution is quite easy: Let the users decide which translation is more relevant and should be on top of the list. Again, there is no right or wrong translation but some translations fit “most of the time” better than others. And the more users vote for one translation pair, the better it probably fits.

Let’s take the German word “sehen” as an example. Both “to view” and “to see” work as an English translation. Generally, I would say that see fits more often than view. So, although both are correct, to see should be higher in the search result list than to view.

And since it’s Christmas soon, I’ve added an appropriate screenshot. You can vote by clicking on the arrows on the right. In this case, I’ve clicked on the up-arrow for “Weihnachten – Christmas”, bringing the total number of votes up to eight.

What do you think of this new feature?

Happy Holidays!

Andreas