By Matt Thomas, Publisher of Specialty Food Magazine
For seven years, specialtyfood.com has been my go-to source anytime I needed more information on some aspect of the trade. Whether I was looking for manufacturer contact information, specific category trends, the dates of the 2012 Summer Fancy Food Show, whatever<it was always right there.
Yet, all long-running reference sources take on a Rube Goldbergesque quality as needs change and different features get tacked on to the side. It was with great pride that I could find almost anything on that site, no matter how buried, but it was time for a new edition.
After dozens of meetings involving every department of the NASFT, dozens more rounds of wireframes and hundreds of hours of programming, testing and debugging, the switch has been thrown and the new site is here.
As I was thankfully spared most of the development process, I am looking at the new site with what I believe are fresh eyes and can tell you that to refer to the new specialtyfood.com as a relaunch would be a gross understatement. Encompassed on the site are several thousand brands, tens of thousands of pages of content, a seemingly infinite number of products and all of it carefully organized and tagged to make it intuitively navigable for people like you and me. The result of all this intensive activity is a greatly improved user experience.
All the content from our old site is still there but is much more accessible and easy to find. For instance, content from Specialty Food Magazine can be accessed via the foodle™ search engine or through the Magazine Archive in the News & Trends tab. Content has also been tagged in helpful categories such as Retail Operations, Food Trends, Prepared Food Recipes and so on. When it’s time to plan your Fancy Food Show experience, either as an attendee or exhibitor, you can find everything you need through simple tabs. All of NASFT’s education information from the past five years can now be accessed and downloaded under the Knowledge Center. Put simply, pretty much anything you used specialtyfood.com for in the past will be better and easier with the new site.
Where things get really interesting is in the new features. Under the Community tab you will find a wealth of exciting functions. For the first time we will have a dedicated specialty food industry Job Board. There’s also a Classifieds section where you can sell your used equipment or offer services to the trade. If you’re an expert, believe you are or at least have a topic you’re passionate about, you can create your own blog. Or post pressing questions for advice from your peers.
I will miss that old workhorse but the new site looks better, works better and has lots of useful new features. So dive in, explore the new resources and features and let us know what you think so we can continue to improve content and functionality. |SFM|
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