My side project

by mckechan   May 25, 2013  

Hi,

This is a promotional post for a side project I have been working on for the past 6 months. By day, I am a software engineer and I have put together a website that I think you will be interested in. It's a universal online bike shop where you can search multiple retailers at once and hopefully find yourself the best deal.

I've finally got it to a state where I think it is good enough to go public and you can find it at http://leadoutbikes.com . I will not stop there though as I plan to constantly develop the site so that it becomes better and better.

Constructive feedback is most appreciated.

Many thanks,

David

16 user comments

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posted by pjay [220 posts]
25th May 2013 - 12:44

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I think there are a few existing ones. I hope to make my site better than the others Wink

Spare time project - cycling price comparison: http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [158 posts]
25th May 2013 - 12:47

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I think you need to lose the intro text and promo box - your audience is task driven, they want to find things. Search box should be pride of place. You'd do well to learn from rivals like bikehound. Search dominates the page (although they do waste some space that could feature bargains of the day for example).

Most important above all else is to give me what i want and that means a good search engine. If I type jersey into your site the first result is a book. Your rival gives me jerseys starting with those that have the biggest saving. Exactly what I want.

Your site does the search filters very well and this is where you should focus your time, search and filtering. Help me get to what I want. Keep the design clean and simple.

Hope that helps and good luck.

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

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posted by sm [329 posts]
25th May 2013 - 13:14

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Thanks sm - that definitely helps...

Spare time project - cycling price comparison: http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [158 posts]
25th May 2013 - 14:55

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Following on from that, sm, my next goal is to implement pre-defined searches, (so you will be able to click on the words at the top and bring up a menu). I can work on improving my search algorithm, but also in the meantime I can pre-define the searches to give the best results first with the current algorithm.

Cheers

Spare time project - cycling price comparison: http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [158 posts]
25th May 2013 - 14:57

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That's a nice feature (assuming you know what the popular searches will be?) but I'd question if that is a priority for your site. For me the most valuable feature of your site is keyword search accuracy, followed by filters. I'd spend time on other features once you have those nailed. My next priority would be SEO.

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

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posted by sm [329 posts]
25th May 2013 - 15:32

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Ok, I'll take that on board. I have a few tweaks in mind for the search quality, so I hope to improve that very soon. Thanks.

Spare time project - cycling price comparison: http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [158 posts]
25th May 2013 - 15:39

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I won't spam this forum every time I make an update, but I have put quite a few nice tweaks in to the search algorithm since the weekend, so hopefully you'll find it works better if you want to try again. Thanks

Spare time project - cycling price comparison: http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [158 posts]
31st May 2013 - 12:12

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It looks good as a site and I'll use it to look up some future purchases.

How about a 'did you mean?' function in the search.

If I don't spell things correctly then the search doesn't find them.

Derailleur & cassette were two examples I looked at.

Another filter feature I quite often use is the distinction between Road/MTB specific parts, it can quickly narrow down results.

Ben

posted by MrBLH [31 posts]
31st May 2013 - 12:36

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PS. Is that your picture of last years TOB finish in Guildford?

I would have been standing under the word 'Products' Wave

posted by MrBLH [31 posts]
31st May 2013 - 12:39

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Thanks Ben. Yeah, that is my picture. It's a still from a video I titled 'Tour of Britain 2012, Stage 8 - Worst ever video footage of a Mark Cavendish sprint finish':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqaJmGmReJo Wink

I'm mapping common spelling mistakes as they occur, so I'll be sure to add derailleur and cassette.

Instead of did you mean, i will just return what I think you mean. In the current implementation you get the same result if you search for 'sis jel' and 'sis gel'.

Cheers

Spare time project - cycling price comparison: http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [158 posts]
31st May 2013 - 13:06

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After doing a search you give the option of picking a brand or retailer on the left, how about adding a product category? It's an evolution of the MTB/road toggle that Ben mentioned.

posted by madhouse [36 posts]
31st May 2013 - 15:27

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Doesn't work on mobile, well, my android. Will check out on desktop later.

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

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posted by sm [329 posts]
31st May 2013 - 18:28

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Ignore that last comment, think it is my app making mischief not your site.

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

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posted by sm [329 posts]
31st May 2013 - 18:33

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Madhouse/Ben- Yes, category filtering is a good idea and something I already had in mind. The reason I've held back initially is that the category information is inconsistent between retailers, which would make it a bit less useful than might be imagined, but I'll play around and see what I can do there.

Sm - it should work on mobile browsers, but it is not optimised for that format. It's, again, something I would definitely like to get around to implementing. Unfortunately, that will have to wait, especially since the sun is coming back out

Thanks again, as the feedback has already been really useful. In fact, just replaying some of the searches for myself to assess the quality a very useful exercise.

Cheers

Spare time project - cycling price comparison: http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [158 posts]
31st May 2013 - 19:14

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It's a while since I posted here, but I have continued working on my website and I believe it is much improved.

Once again, I would really appreciated it if those of you that are interested could take a look and offer some constructive feedback too.

Improvements since I last posted here:
* Faster page loading
* Faster searching
* More accurate searching
* Common spelling mistakes are understood and synonyms are automatically matched
* Better look and feel
* Improved site navigation
* More products from more retailers: AW Cycles, BikesDirect365, BikeFusion, Chain Reaction Cycles, CycleStore, Cycle Surgery, Evans, Halfords, Leisure Lake Bikes, Merlin Cycles, Pro Bike Kit, Rapha, Rutland Cycling, Wiggle & Westbrook Cycles. (Hargroves to come when they fix their product feed issues.)

Let me know what you think... Thanks

Spare time project - cycling price comparison: http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [158 posts]
30th November 2013 - 18:13

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