Eatout.co.zw launches new look

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If you have visited eatout.co.zw in the last two weeks, you probably noticed that the website is spotting a fresh new look. The restaurant guide and review website has been redesigned, again. We can’t remember the exact number but the website must have gone through about 4 design changes in the last few years.

Some quick disclosure first: The guys at Eatout are our friends and we saw the new design before it became public and like friends do, we provided a few (very few) before-launch comments for the team there.

Anyway, the one great improvement with the latest design for us is accessibility. It’s easier to get around and find the place you’re looking for. The new Eatout has also been designed to enable visitors to make a booking immediately after loading the site. It’s probably been done to save returning visitors (that are on the site to just make a booking) some time.

The social elements of the site have also been emphasized. A “Latest Discussion” section is very visible at the top of most pages and there are “Facebook connect” buttons generously thrown around the site. Comments on restaurants and blog posts (under a section called Taste Spotters) are also powered by the Facebook comments system.

And there’s more social stuff. A whole social network for the site actually. One called Foodbook. Foodbook, Facebook, get it? The Foodbook resembles Sha (A Zimbabwean social network) in so many ways that the web techies amoung you will know it’s because both sites use JomSocial, a Joomla-based platform for building social networks. We don’t like the Foodbook idea. Not the name itself, but having a social network on Eatout. It looks and feels overloaded. There are far too many social networks out there already demanding people’s online time and as we note above, Eatout’s core pages already have social stuff heavily integrated.

In terms of overall design looks, the good is that it feels warmer and foodly. More foodly than previous iterations of the site. The bad is that the design lacks flow. Elements feel just thrown together in some sections. There’s also some badly formatted text around that site; text that looks too big or too bold etc…

Design has been an issue with Eatout for some time now and we feel they are yet to get it right. You almost wish they would outsource the design to a professional web design house or hire more talent so that the Eatout staff that make the content so useful focus more on that. Eatout remains one of the most the useful websites in Zimbabwe.

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  • Dhoni4

    beta fosho. all the links at bottom of site don’t work. FB connect don’t work. and what is “Your Food Inspiration” doing at the bottom. how does it fit with rest of site?

  • Nerudo

    Im not the kind to give out my fb connect details easily so I didnt try out the site. I love the layout and detail. Just one thing. The from foodies in zim looks so out of design!! It just spoils everytthing. ATN to detail!

    Typography is Ok.  didnt care to look at the source. Love it

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DEMB6QUSPJ7VPSDMA37XI3AEEU Loveness

    I use Eatout everytime I need to eatout! Most times they deliver excellent results. a few times they fail.

  • Nerudo

     I love the concept had a run across the site must I say FoodBook!! Awesooooome.
    Like many know a good rating from me should mean allot :-) I give the guys an 8/10 first dev team to not trade on ready run ground. Because you are in Beta Im sure more is to come. Im impressed for once.

    Must I say the top banner spoils everything it doesn’t fit in by design principle.

    Web 2.0 FTW!

  • I Like

    it’s about content, and eatout is by far on of the best sites in Zimb content-wise. everything else is secondary

  • http://destinationkilotango.wordpress.com/ kthaker

    once again…..TZ wielding the axe on another zim based website. regardless…i think eatout has done well.. alot of people use the site.. and they are definitely thinking out of the box to improve on this…and i like that fact. this kind of site has not been done before in this country..so they really are forging new boundaries with their ideas. so…. +1 to eatout

  • http://www.techzim.co.zw L.S.M. Kabweza

    wielding the axe? 
    How’s this for not wielding an axe in the next article we write about them or Sha or any other service that you feel is great: 

    we love it, we love it so much? We so love much it you hate it compared to how much we loved it. Oh its so nice. They got everything so right. The colors, the elements, the flow, this design an award winning design. And the Foodbook, we love it. We love it so much we’re going to join right away and starting foodbooking along with everyone.  Eatout’s the best thing to happen to the web in Zim. We love it soo much we can’t get enough. Please visit the site and use it. Don’t forget. We love it!!!….

  • Nerudo

    Loool FTW!! Mr Kabweza

  • http://destinationkilotango.wordpress.com/ kthaker

    lol! dude see… now thats more like it! :) 

    though, indirectly telling someone via a ‘blog’ that they need to outsource their development or hire more talent is pretty rough. 

    maybe everyone should have white pasty wordpress sites with googleads posted all over the place. :P

  • http://www.techzim.co.zw L.S.M. Kabweza

    more seriously @kthaker:disqus @Eatoutinzim:twitter  really is one of the best things to happen to the web/internet in Zim in the past couple of years. We hope to profile their start-up story soon, if they let us. they have a whole offline/online business model that seems to be working; restaurant reservations & stuff. they also have a great startup culture there.

    there’s so much to talk about concerning the founder as an entrepreneur too Eatout aside.There’s so much right with Eatout (content especially) it’s painful that the design remains a pain in the side when you visit the site. for us here at least. The first commenter on this article noted links not working, and some text strangely placed etc… stuff we didn’t even mention in the article. there’s so much right with Eatout these little things to do with design could be sorted chop chop by a specialist so the talent at Eatout can focus on what they do best. or maybe just ditch looking nice and do a plain no-bells site whose focus is just delivering restaurant guide and reviews content.

  • http://destinationkilotango.wordpress.com/ kthaker

    yeah thats all very true. in the end, these kind of websites benefit the entire community in Zim. im all for ingenuity and unique solutions to local problems..and the eatout guys definitely have alot of that. for such a unique website and its content they’ve done well!

    you right about fine tuning the site and its small issues. but there are just too many self proclaimed experts in this design and development field… who sometimes are not exactly that. i really think the eatout guys can tackle these issues..they definitely have the talent and enthusiam for it as you’ve acknowledged yourself. imagine being able to call in an ‘expert’ everytime there was a problem? no one would ever need to try harder at anything… you know what i mean?

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.bunga Joseph Bunga

    Hey Guys  We really appreciate all the comments – we value your input and we continue to make an effort to improve.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.bunga Joseph Bunga

    Nerudo – we welcome all comments and advice – we agree with Soul that Design has been a real challenge for us and until we can afford “professional” design we really on well meaning users like the guys from in Creation Design who send in tips to help us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.bunga Joseph Bunga

     Loveness – glad that we get it right more often than not

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.bunga Joseph Bunga

    Ha! Ha! Ha

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.bunga Joseph Bunga

     KT thanks for your encouragement

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.bunga Joseph Bunga

     Soul we will be doing this soon.  Looking forward to it.

  • http://twitter.com/KuraiMGT KuraiMGT

    The website really look foodish, crap I visited the site towards lunch and I was up for airpies. lol. Good feel

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.bunga Joseph Bunga

     Kurai – we are looking forward to lauching a Restaurant Week where you can eat at top restaurants for as little as $15 per person for a 2 course meal.

    On the idea of Air Pies where do you get the best PIES (not air pies)?

  • muzukuru

    Another wordpress theme?

  • Zij

    Its another joomla template from RT, check: http://joombloger.com/2011/10/rt-momentum-joomla-1-51-7-template/

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.bunga Joseph Bunga

    We’ve several changes to the site including a search on the home page thanks guys for the continued feedback