Categories on AlternativeTo, how did this happen?

When we came up with the idea that was to become AlternativeTo we were determined to focus on helping people find alternatives to the applications they want to replace. To really make sure this stayed the focus we totally left out categories from the equation. Every application was its own category with a list of alternatives that shared the same main functionality. We believe that we, together with our great user community, managed to keep this focus for the site very well but now we feel it’s time to make small improvement.

The focus is still the same for AlternativeTo but during the years we have learned that many people go far beyond the usual “search for alternatives to application X, find it and move on” type of usage of the site. Many of you spend much time browsing the different application lists, forum posts and alternative lists without having a specific application to replace in mind. To make casual browsing easier we have launched 22 categories that can be attached to the applications in our database. The categories are based on tags so please help us keep the tags for all applications up to date and relevant.

You have probably already noticed the category list in the menu bar and you can use it to show only a specific category of apps when browsing  an application list like Most Likes, New & Popular etc. It’s also possible to combine it with the platform filter and browse something like Business applications for Mac OS X sorted by Most Likes.

To get a quick peek at the 10 most popular applications in every category then head over to our new Category  Overview page. This page can be filtered by platform as well.

As always, we’re very interested in feedback about this new feature so send us an email or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook. Any feedback about the choice of categories is also very appreciated. We’re open to changes and additions if needed.

Forum, Comments and Reviews

A while back we made some major changes in the way comments and reviews work on AlternativeTo. What we did was basically to integrate our discussion forum with the comments so that every time you post a comment you start a new thread in our applications forum. Our goal is to make it easy for people to get a good overview about other peoples opinion about the application they’re looking at, but still easy to browse comments and reviews in general in the forum view.

When you post a new comment or review the post is always about one main application but you also have the possibility to tag other apps in that post. One example where this is useful is when you’re doing a comparison between multiple applications. You can also specify if the review or comment is positive, negative or neutral. This will affect the rank of the “main” application you are commenting or reviewing.

We are proud of this system and we think it’s kind of unique. However there is always room for improvement and we would love to hear your feedback about this or any part of AlternativeTo.