If you haven’t visited the Consumer Reports website in the past month, you’ve been missing out on some helpful changes. The website not only has an updated look, it now hosts 360-degree video, an at-a-glance ratings key, and highlights recall notices for products on their ratings page.
Before September, the ratings legend used to use black and red circles to indicate how well a product performed. These symbols weren’t always easy to interpret. Consumer Reports has changed these symbols to make the performance of the product obvious at a glance, using circles, arrows, and colors as in the following illustration:
Another change I’m very happy with is seeing a recall notice right on the product being reviewed in the ratings list.
They also have a new video hub, and they’ll be rolling more changes out in the future. Anecdotally, I have seen improvements in the speed of the website, and it seems like the ratings section works a little better on a tablet.
Be aware that not every product listed in their Product Reviews section receives reviews on an ongoing basis. This stands out a bit more in the redesign. Many of the product categories I looked at were no longer being tested. The big category list includes their archive, so it may be frustrating if you keep running into dead ends that way.
The new branding also shows up in print as of the November 2016 issue. The print issue is available to check out from the first floor magazine atrium, or you can use it in-house at the business table by the Info Desk on the second floor. To use the website via the library, go to icpl.org/resources and find Consumer Reports on the list. Click on the link and enter your library card number and password. You must be an Iowa City resident or live in one of our contracting service areas.