Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

The new pros

with 4 comments

With much fanfare, the SAQ launched its new website on February 4. There are definitely some improvements. Below are the things I like about it. A much longer list of things that, in my opinion, need work will be posted in a day or two.

Like the new, these pro and con posts are a work in progress and will be updated and corrected as I get to know the site better and as friends and readers provide input.

  • It’s taken a few days, but I’ve come to appreciate the drop-down mouseover menus at the top of the page.
  • The search engine is far superior to its predecessor: typo correction, suggested completions, fuzzy logic, search on multiple terms (e.g. Alsace Reisling 2008).
  • The options for filtering search results are nicely implemented via a sidebar on the results page.
  • The product size (format) filters are more granular and easier to understand and use (e.g. “750 ml” vs. the former “376 ml to 750 ml”).
  • The Price filter can now be set with a single click.
  • The new On Sale filter lets you display all the discounted products in a category. Similarly, you can limit searches to special categories like Cellier or Courrier vinicole products.
  • Your search and viewing history are displayed (though only the last three products).
  • The product information is often more extensive and includes the constituent grape varieties for many wines (it remains to be seen how regularly it will be updated).
  • Product photos can now be enlarged, often to the point where you can actually read what’s on the label.
  • While far from perfect, the automated food pairing suggestions are better implemented and more useful than on most other sites.
  • Page matching between the French and English sites is finally implemented (on the former site, if you were looking at say, a product page or news release on the French site and clicked the English button, you were taken to the English site’s home page and had to repeat your search. Now you’re taken to the equivalent page.)
  • Product page URLs are shorter and more comprehensible.
  • MapQuest is out, Google Maps is in.
  • The Useful Links and Resources page is much improved though in many ways it remains rudimentary (e.g. no links to English-language blogs, including this one, and only one link to a local French-language blog, Vin Québec).
  • Corporate information, such as policies, procedures, cellar rentals, previous-year annual reports and even director biographies, is newly available or more easily accessible.

Written by carswell

February 13, 2013 at 13:45

Posted in Commentary

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4 Responses

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  1. While I appreciate the vastly improved back-end of the site, e.g. search capabilities etc. that you describe, the actual layout is still busy and unattractive. Furthermore, to come out with a completely revamped website and not think about providing a mobile version is inexcusable. Now they do have iOS and Android apps (no Windows Phone or Blackberry) but why don’t they tell people they exist? It is mentioned, not on the front page, but in the Pairings drop-down for some reason. Typically, if accessing the site using a mobile device one would prompt the user if they wish to download the app. Another gripe about their newly released mobile app is that the first page is “Featured” announcements, but clicking on it takes you out of the mobile app and opens the browser. Really?


    February 13, 2013 at 14:24

    • The lack of a mobile site is a glaring omission, not just inexcusable but incomprehensible.
      Just guessing, but they may be holding off on spotlighting the mobile apps until the rumoured new versions show up.
      And while it’s obviously a question of personal preference, I agree that the new layout is cluttered and unattractive. More thoughts on that issue when I post the cons list.


      February 13, 2013 at 16:40

      • The new mobile app was released yesterday and is even more of a disappointment. For example, as with the new website, there is search capability on food pairings except on the app the recipes are not included and the relationship is unidirectional from food to wine (on the website it is bidirectional). Not really thought through. Do you know if this was done by Sid Lee?


        February 13, 2013 at 17:39

  2. […] horrible on small-screen (e.g. smartphone) browsers. As Thomas commented yesterday, the lack of a dedicated mobile site is a major […]

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