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Fish4 launched a revamped version of its classifieds website last week, aiming to provide more useful advice to searchers alongside its jobs, car, homes and holiday listings.
As well as the new section, Fish4 says it has also improved functionality and added a new search tool.
I've been taking a look at the site to see how it measures up...
The Fish4 homepage has been given a makeover to make it look more appealing, as well as being simple, displaying links to the four verticals; cars, homes, holidays, and jobs.
The individual homepages for these verticals are also nice and simple too, with above the fold space dedicated to the search box and tag clouds.
Navigation is consistent across the site, with links back to each section from wherever you are. A breadcrumb trail also provides a useful way back to previous points in your search.
Fish4 has tried to make the site more browsable for users, so has added more functionality to enable this. Users can browse using the tag cloud, by location, car type, number of bedrooms etc.
The effectiveness of the search tools varies across the different sections; the jobs search worked well when I tried it, though I wasn't so impressed when looking for cars.
You can browse or search within different sectors to narrow down your search, while an auto-suggest tool is useful when typing in job descriptions. In addition, as it carries a wide range of job listings, most searches will return a decent number of results.
I wasn't so impressed with the car search section though:
The search feature is easy enough to use but compares poorly with other car search sites like Autotrader, or even manufacturers' own sites, which can be pretty poor.
For starters, entering car type, price range and clicking on the search button launches a pop up ad, despite my having the Google Toolbar, which is pretty annoying.
Worse is the limited range of filters and search options. I can search by car make and model, price range, gearbox, fuel type and colour, but that's it.
One major omission is the ability to search by mileage or age; an essential factor for any used car search, while other useful options like engine size, number of doors and air conditioning are also missing.
Plenty of searches drew blanks as well, even for relatively common cars like the BMW 3 series, which could mean that Fish4 hasn't enough listings to make the car search worthwhile.
I like the look and feel of the revamped site; it is easy to use and navigate around, and some areas, especially the job search section, are very effective.
The addition of more content to the site is a good idea, and users may find some of the advice and things like CV templates useful.
Howver, a lot of the advice doesn't go into a great deal of depth, and users may find more useful guidance on other sites. Also, much of this content seemed aimed at sending users to third party sites like Moneysupermarket.com for mortgage quotes etc.
The site is certainly an improvement on the previous version, but a few more tweaks here and there, and more comprehensive listings in a couple of the verticals, mainly cars and holidays would improve it further.