I’m sure that by now everyone has noticed that the ChemSpider homepage design changed just over a month ago. A few features moved around, the Molecules of Interest section was retired and perhaps most significantly the Search box was given a dose of CSID: 5791, becoming bigger and more prominent.

The reason for this wasn’t just to make the site more attractive (though I think it does look ‘prettier’). Our motivation for the change is to deliver a site that makes it easier for users to interact with and understand. And by doing so, hopefully make it quicker and simpler for you to get your tasks done using ChemSpider. The refresh of the homepage is hopefully illustrative of this: We think that as most users come to ChemSpider to search for information – it should be easy to get straight into a search, hence the greater emphasis on this feature.

In the next few days we will release another upgrade to the interface which is centered on making it easier to understand the data presented in the compound Record View pages. I’ll post a blog entry dealing with some of the key features in the next few days.

The development of ChemSpider is an ongoing process, and we are aware that even after this upgrade there will be aspects of the compound Record View pages that will need more work (and also other parts of the site that still need development). It’s not going to be easy: ChemSpider brings together a rich and varied set of data from a large number of sources – this poses many challenges. We also realise that there are many different tasks that each of you – as users – want to perform, and it is always going to be difficult to reconcile all of the different opinions/needs.

However, we are trying to make the site better for you. And therefore, we’d really like to know your opinions on the changes (please test new features for a few days first). We welcome your feedback on the redesign either in the form of blog comments or email feedback (chemspider-at-rsc.org).

Over the next week – keep your eyes peeled for the upgrade and my accompanying blog post which will endeavor to give you a good introduction to the new features.

Stumble it!

5 Responses to “The Changing Face of ChemSpider”

  1. James Swetnam says:

    The new homepage is beautiful. Please do keep up the excellent work.

  2. Mostafa Raji says:

    I hope that I can still in touch with chemspider to answer me about many questions related to my research

  3. Michel Guillaume says:

    I hadn’t noticed the change, but your whole platform is really nice to use.
    Here a couple of suggestions:
    1) It would be useful to be able to download directly a structure into chemical drawing softwares (ChemDoodle, ChemDraw,…)
    2) Besides the current online application, a corresponding off-line version would be welcome: this would allow enterprises to store their chemical data internally, which is almost the only alternative to ensure full IP protection.
    N.B. As a matter of comparison, take the example of wordpress.com and wordpress.org

  4. David says:

    Hi Michel,

    Thanks for your post. To respond to your points:

    1. You can download structures right now. Under every structure in ChemSpider there are a number of options, one of which is to Save [the structure] as a mol file. If you click on this you can download the file to open in your favorite chemical structure editor. Depending on how you configure your web browser you can probably even get the browser to open your structure editor when you click on the Save button. for example, in Firefox I get asked if I want to save or open the file when I click on the Save button.

    2. As far as downloading the database goes – we don’t believe that this is a practical or useful thing for most users to do. The database has over 26 million entries and new compounds, spectra and links are added every day, and hundreds of curations are performed weekly. In the modern world static databases that are out of date as soon as they are downloaded don’t seem like the best tool.
    Where businesses are worried about IP protection we would suggest that they email us directly so that we can discuss their concerns, and look at ways of providing solutions tailored to their needs.

  5. Michel Guillaume says:

    Thanks for your kind answer. I didn’t mean to download the database content, but download the blank database and populate it (internally) with our own compounds.
    I am sure it could be a nice idea for the future.

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