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Hope you like the new Start Page?!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Hi Everyone

I hope you like the new Start page!?

You may have seen the official announcement last week (if not, click here if you'd like to see it):

I know this is a big change to an important page, so I appreciate your help as we make this change with the goal to better help you reach your goals. I also thought I'd add my perspective on what we are trying to accomplish since I've been working with our team on this change for the past 6 months or so and feel very passionate about the big picture of this launch. I thought it would be fun to share some of the "behind-the-scenes" goals for this launch since we have always considered our members to be part of the "SparkPeople Team". Thanks again for your support!

There is a lot going on here all at once, including:

1) The new Start page that better highlights what really makes the SparkPeople program and site special for helping people reach goals in all areas of life. Specifically, I'm very excited about:

** The 3-step format that makes it clear to see the different types of features available on SparkPeople (interactive tracking tools, expert articles and videos, a supportive online community, and coaching to reach all kinds of goals

** New features like the Goal Board are intended to highlight the integration of the best from health and fitness with the best from goal-setting, motivation, and leadership. This the real foundation of the program that originally helped me reach my goals and then spark a co-worker to lose 50 pounds and have her tell me I changed her life -- and then this became the original spark that led to SparkPeople. I highly suggest that you set this up including uploading your own photos that motivate you. When I uploaded action photos of my kids it was a great motivator seeing them on my Start page along with my own goals that I wrote.

** I'm really excited about the Team Bonus Points. I've been working on this with our team for a long time now as a way to both motivate people to reach their goals by having a connection to your different types of "favorites" -- but then also this serves as a foundation for spreading the spark to many different types of organizations, including companies, schools, cities, and much more. I'll have much more to share about this soon.

2) A new 60-Second Daily Check-In that anyone can use to reach goals. This means that for the first time ever, you can share SparkPeople with any of your friends and we'll have a solution for everyone -- whether it's the full comprehensive SparkPeople program, or this new 60-Second Daily Check-In that has the best of SP all on one page. We'll be sharing more about this new program soon, so stay tuned. (edit: To respond to a great comment from a member: we do expect that some people who start off using the 60-Second Daily Check-In will then transfer to the full SparkPeople program because of all the benefits. Part of our goal was to have a simple program that can immediately appeal to anyone to get more people involved. Then, they can either continue the simple program, or add some or all of the more comprehensive program)

3) We'll be making a big push for our SparkAmerica leaderboards (including all countries -- one of our goals is to build out these leaderboards one step at a time and expand to all countries over time -- possibly with major partners).

I can't share details yet, but we are also building allianes with major partners in a way that could make all of this huge and give us all a chance to both reach our goals, help our family and friends reach goals, and make a major impact on the world.

This has all been coming together for years. I'll be putting together more writing and video to share more of this story.

Have fun reaching your goals!


Chris (SparkGuy)

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MARKATSPARK 12/25/2015 7:05AM


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TERRIJ7 4/13/2014 5:31PM

    I forgot to post how much I like the new start page--Love it!

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LORIVIOLA 3/27/2014 10:51PM

    emoticon i like it

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MINNIE 12/29/2013 4:44PM

    am enjoying new start page. thanks.

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GRAMPIAN 12/20/2013 10:49AM

  Will have to get used to it!

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TRYINGHARD54 11/18/2013 5:50AM

    all I can say is... hes nuts ... lol

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TRIKERBON 11/16/2013 8:41AM

    Absolutely love the revamp, thank you for all your hard work!

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NO1LSUTIGERFAN 11/15/2013 3:49PM

  I really like it! Thanks, it has me excited about doing this!

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1FEISTYMAMA 11/15/2013 12:35PM

    Love the new Spark page and the link between exercise and food trackers. I have a Fitbit One and a sedentary job. I feel like I get a truer accounting of my efforts this way vs. estimating my weekly average.

Thank you for being there for us and improving an already WONDERFUL site!!

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~INDYGIRL 11/14/2013 6:16AM

    It is very helpful!

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-SHOREIDO- 11/13/2013 2:23PM

    Thanks for the heads up Mr Spark guy!!
Great idea and I look forward to putting it to use for all my Spark friends,team members and my very own self.
emoticon 4 every grateful.

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WOWEETOO 11/13/2013 12:58PM

    i love the new page althou it does not allow me to fast track all my fruit and veggies servings a day (all weighed and measured) i am diabetic and thos usually amount to more that the 10 servings shown next to it in the box and i have no pints anymore from just racking the servings..but that is ok i guess i love the goal section and the bonus points..i fast track because it gives me more time to try and motivate others in the forums thank you for our continued efforts
the lady mary posseing through on the ever faithful camel clyde spreading warmth and sunshine to all
still maintaining my 273 pound weight loss at four years!!

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BRTRAINS 11/12/2013 7:43PM

    I love the upgrades !! For those who threaten to leave , that's too bad for them. I can't believe people complain about something that's free... Keep up the great work Chris, This is truly the best site out there !!

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HLIBBY1982 11/7/2013 9:22AM

    I'm not opposed to the new layout but I wish the sparkwheel was up top. I had a very long log in streak until it was moved and now even though I log in, track my food and exercise I sometimes forget to spin the wheel because it's not right there. It was a bummer to lose my log in streak

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TEMPENATIVE 11/6/2013 6:26PM

    wow mixed bag here! i like it esp. the teampoints. i wish that the link to create a blog wasnt halfway down the page. I also miss seeing my friend feed when i first log it, it is also halfway down the page. but all in all i think its a nice upgrade emoticon

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LILMISSRED79 11/6/2013 3:11PM

    I love it, in particular I just adore the Goal Board. It's an incredibly effective motivator for me- thank you so much!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TEENY_BIKINI 11/6/2013 2:56PM


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CAREBEARS2078 11/6/2013 2:55PM


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ISABELLE31 11/6/2013 12:28PM

    It's a bit of an adjustment, but I'm getting used to the new look, and I think it will get me more involved and accountable. Thanks for always looking forward and keeping things fresh!

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    Still getting used to it. Don't like it as well.

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FRABBIT 11/4/2013 1:28PM

  Overall pretty good but haven't taken advantage of everything yet.

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CHATTYKATHY1963 11/4/2013 12:49PM

    I like the new start page - it took me a minute or two to catch on (that's how easy it was to navigate!) but it seems more organized, or at least in line with my thinking. I guess there's a lot of folks out there who don't like change! LOL emoticon Thank you for all you do!!

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RONNIEHUEY 11/3/2013 5:14PM

    The new page has a few problems.I'm trying to sort them out for now. hope it gets easier with time

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--KREN 11/3/2013 4:09PM

    I have simply stopped using the start page. I seldom spin the wheel. I can't reach the places I want without spending a lot of time sorting through things I NEVER use. Who designed this new Start page? It's more time consuming than helpful.

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CYNNAG 11/2/2013 3:10PM

    And sorry, one last comment, I understand the need for ads, and I support your use of ads if it helps keep the cost down for us. But, it seems there are now so may moving ads that it slows my MacBook down quite a bit.

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CYNNAG 11/2/2013 3:07PM

    I like the new spark page, but have an observation to share.

The endlessly loading articles at the end of the page prevent someone from being able to access any of the options at the end of the page. For example, I was looking for the 'contact us' button and I could see it, but it kept flashing out of reach when additional articles would load.

I like that it is so much easier to see my teams. wasn't really using them much before. And it was SUCH an excellent motivator when I decided to unsubscribe from a team because I didn't have as much weight to lose anymore! Thank you! :-)

Last, can you it make it easier to find and get to our own SparkPage?

Comment edited on: 11/2/2013 3:08:19 PM

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MRFUZZ 11/2/2013 10:03AM

    I DO NOT like this new page at all! Makes me try to find a better Web site to track my goals

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TWINSFITBY40 11/1/2013 9:47AM

    I like the new start page. Although, I can do without the nonstop articles at the bottom of the page. We should be able to have a link that will take us to the articles if we want to view them. My favorite feature by far is the goal board. I was able to personalize it so I can affirm my goals and get inspiration whenever I need it. Thank you for working to improve this wonderful community and for your continued support throughout our journeys to optimal health... Have a great day.... Maria

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Sorry, but I hate the new design so much that I seldom visit Sparkpeople anymore.

While you may have wanted to create a 3-step approach, if users can't get past the poor design, they won't get past step 1.

Here's why it doesn't work for me:

There are 4 sections - steps 1-3 and then the rest below that.

Let's start with steps 1 - 3. There are 3 sections, true. NONE of them have any visual interest, contrast, natural movement or focal points. In each of these sections, we have perfectly symmetrical rectangles, with little visual interest and nothing telling a viewer's eye where to look first. This is all against a white background.

The order of these sections is counter-intuitive. The first thing most Sparkies do after logging in for the day, is to spin the spark wheel, but this is now hidden at the bottom left of the 3rd section, almost as if it were an afterthought.

The next things I typically do on the site are to update my friend feed and track exercise or food. From there, I may move on to other activities. However, the friend feed display is now displayed COUNTERCLOCKWISE from the Spark wheel. Most people in the western world read top to bottom, left to right and explore web pages in a CLOCKWISE manner.

After this, there is a seemingly endless section of videos and articles tacked onto the bottom of the page. Seriously, who has time to roam through this mess to find something of interest? There is no organization or chunking into sections here - just an overload of information that all looks the same, displayed in a perfectly symmetrical format.

I have still not been able to locate my summary calendar. This was one of my favorite features on the site and let me view progress at a glance. I also have not been able to find a CONCISE summary section. I want to be able to see my total, monthly and weekly points and exercise minutes, as before. If this is still on the site, it is hidden where I can't locate it.

Overall, I don't think you have hit the mark of conveying the information, because the design layout is so non-functional. You could convey the message of the three-steps (which I find not necessary), in a visually appealing way that would help guide users through the site.

Finally, the ads are annoying, but I understand that they are necessary to operate the site. I can get past them. What I can't get past is not being able to find features I regularly use and the non-functional design layout.

Let's compare this new design to the former start page. The former start page featured a READABLE snapshot of monthly and weekly spark points and exercise minutes in the upper right hand area. The upper left had the tracking screens, displayed with more contrast and visual interest. These were easy to access and gave BUSY sparkies a quick overview of their progress.

The top center of the page had a small slideshow that featured current articles of interest. This was a great feature, as it was properly timed to display long enough to read it, and moved fast enough to allow viewers to see several choices of articles. It also formed a dominant image on that part of the page, giving the eye something to rest on.

The Spark wheel was centered at the lower part of the page, clearly accessible without having a pop-up window open to spin it. And, the friend feed was visible at the same time.

Sorry, but this new design is a loser. It would have been possible to feature the 3-step approach in a WELL-DESIGNED layout that would draw viewers in, rather than repel them.

Can we please have an option to run Sparkpeople on the old start page layout? For me, it may make the difference in staying active on the site, or just finding another healthy community to be a part of.

Comment edited on: 11/1/2013 8:31:27 AM

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MISSLISA1973 11/1/2013 1:19AM

    It is taking a little getting used to, but I like it.

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MOMMINATOR 10/31/2013 11:36AM

    It took me ten minutes to figure out how to find my spark page to post a blog, and I really don't like the spark wheel being way down the page! Would be ideal if we could move the panels around where we prefer.

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BESTSUSIEYET 10/30/2013 8:58PM

    Why can't I find my Monthly Fitness Minutes anywhere on the new Start Page? Where is it??

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GEORGE815 10/30/2013 7:14AM

    Team spark points looks interesting.

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EFFRAYECHILDE 10/29/2013 7:38AM

    emoticon I really like the new changes. Made navigating the website much easier.

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--KREN 10/29/2013 6:38AM

    I wish we could arrange items on the new page to suit ourselves. I no longer spin the wheel each day because it's not at the top where I can see it. The things I want are way down the board. It's too much, too many details. I don't want to spend half my life online trying to get things done.

For instance, I don't need to see ALL my teams, I want to arrange the order so the ones I like best are on top. I don't want to search for all the things I need.

Sorry, it is not working for me.

Comment edited on: 10/29/2013 6:40:33 AM

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NJSHAR 10/29/2013 12:01AM

    Love the goal board, and quick exercise tracking. Hate trying to find the spark wheel, and I had a 20 plus day streak going with it, but out of sight, out of mind, so I blew it. Can't there be quick food tracking like the exercise?

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MARMAERT 10/25/2013 11:36PM

    Love the new start page. but one thing I have a complaint about are the fattening, sugary advertisements on it! Skittles and potato chips - really? not the sort of food items you would want to see on a diet page!

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I.M.MAGIC 10/25/2013 4:58PM

    My friend was trying to sign up for the first time, and called me because it wouldn't let her past a certain point... it turns out, she had to fill in a blank and click on a Progressive insurance ad in order to submit her information.
I've never seen anything like this on the site before, what gives??
emoticon I know that advertisers are important to the site, but she doesn't want insurance quotes!...


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WOWEETOO 10/25/2013 3:28PM

    since my diet is all fruits and veggies because of chronic disease i miss my quick trak of the fruit and veggies my serving portion controlled add up to 18 on a usual day and the mere 9 you put in the goals doesn;t do it and it;s way too much to track them all the long way please bring that one thing back otherwise it is awesome!!
the lady mary aka woweetoo

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PRESBESS 10/25/2013 2:52PM

    I do not like the new start page at all. It's to much!

1) After step 3, the page goes on and on,
2) If you add a quick track, you have to manaually drag/adjust each time,
3) Step 1 "quick track" adjusts to fitness only
4) Spin the Wheel is something you literally have to "think" to do now because it's not in your face,
5) The thrill of racking up points is kind of lost because you can earn to many,
6) For us that know the site, we don't need "steps"... we already know what to do and where to go, steps need to be for new people that need to learn the site,
7) The new start page should be a sub-page

Overall, I absolutely love, love, love SP and there are a few things I like about the new start page, but, the dislikes are more. Just saying...

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GODSCHILDAMYB 10/25/2013 1:05PM

    I absolutely love the new page. Thank-you very much.

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MOTHER-NATURE 10/25/2013 11:31AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/25/2013 11:32:25 AM

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5BADDOGS 10/24/2013 11:08PM

    I'm really liking it! Seems very smartly laid out and easy to personalize. LOVE the goal board... Nice touch! And the other new tweaks added some novelty to my daily SP sessions. Thanks!

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MONTREAL12 10/24/2013 8:18PM

  I welcome the change and look forward to becoming better familiar with it! Thanks for all the effort that has gone into this initiative. emoticon

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WISHICOULDFLY 10/24/2013 7:08PM

    I LOVE it!

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    I love the new spark page. I love the seeing my own personal goals flash infront of me. I find it alot easier to use as well.

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_BABE_ 10/24/2013 5:40PM

    I am sure I am missing things here and there because it's all new but I guess its all about adjusting to change.

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SHERYLP461 10/24/2013 5:35PM

    I haven't decided as yet

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MINEA999 10/24/2013 3:47PM

    Sorry - I tried to keep an open mind but I hate it. Everything is just spread out too much and requires too much scrolling around. I liked the compactness of the old one. I liked that the lbs lost was in bigger bold print, I liked that the new articles would flip through at the top (now there's only 2 that are barely above the fold at the bottom), I liked to be able to quickly see my friend feed (now I have to scroll all the way down to see it). And why isn't the toolbar available when you're on the Start page? And I really hate that the Sparkwheel is all the way at the bottom! I mean, it could have been made a little smaller on the old page but putting it so far down is a bad idea.

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RENATA144 10/24/2013 3:41PM

  Yes Chris ! It's fun to navigate & be able to do more on one page. It's efficient. emoticon

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Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.