Wednesday, March 12, 2008

We Launched!

Well, it has been almost a year and a half in the making. But here we are. RestaurantZite has launched!

It all started while I was eating brunch at Table, here in Asheville, NC. I started thinking about how difficult it is for the average restaurant owner to obtain and update their own website.

The cost, the pain of getting a web-designer and the inconvenience of going through a web-designer to update the website. With all these barriers its not surprising that most restaurants do not have websites at all. The restaurants that do have websites seem to struggle with keeping their websites current.

I started thinking about the features a busy restaurant owner would need in order to be empowered to keep a website up to date. The requirements would be:

  1. The system would have to be very intuitive.
  2. It would have to be as easy as email.
  3. The website should be able to be edited by restaurant staff.
  4. It would have to allow for lots of little changes fast.
  5. It would have to take care of all the formatting details so that the owner isn't bogged down with making things bold here and underlined there and so on.

Well, I worked on these ideas in my spare time. I developed 2 systems that were just awful. They relied on little links here and there to insert headings and text and eventually the interface was just so ugly I had to say, "No way".

Then it occurred to me that drag and drop may be the answer. With drag and drop I could leave the web page intact and the user could send signals to the web page by dropping things on it. I spent some time, fleshed the ideas out and got the basics working. Then I bought an IPhone.

The iPhone really influenced the interface a great deal. The iPhone does not do everything. You can't take videos. However, the iPhone does things that most people want to do, and it does them very well. The principles that drove the design of the iPhone started to drive me. RestaurantZite doesn't have to do everything. It simply has to do what it does intuitively and well. In other words:
Don't compromise on ease of use, compromise on features!

So, here we are at ground zero of a new venture. If you have the time, please check out our interface. Then send us an email to tell us what you think!

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