It’s been four years since our last major redesign, and it was time — time to alter the design and organizational structure of our web site and time to completely overhaul the systems behind the scenes that let us bring our stories to you.
In the past four years, the technical and business portions of Macworld’s web effort has gone from an extremely small group to a much larger organization. One of the positive results of that change is that, though we’re launching a new web site today, we’re not done: our team of developers and designers is going to continue working on this site, allowing us to improve it (as well as fix bugs!) as we go.
For the next month or so, we’re leaving the “beta” tag on the site, not just because it’s the fashionable thing for web sites to do, but because we recognize that in transferring all our old data and bringing up an entirely new system, we’ve certainly left a few nuts and bolts on the floor. Over the next month, we’ll be tightening up the machine and making sure it’s running at peak efficiency so that we can go into Macworld Expo at full strength.
Our new forums platform is based on the same system used by many major companies (including Apple) for their communities. The version of the software that we’ve installed has a lot of cool new features, many of which aren’t enabled yet in the interest of keeping things simple. But we hope to dramatically improve what members of our community can do on Macworld.com by using that new technology.
Our site itself has been redesigned using more modern web technologies and reorganized so that you can find anything we’ve written about particular products or topics. Want to only see Mac, iPod, or iPhone coverage? The big buttons at the top of the site will take you to pages devoted to those products. Our sister site, Playlist, has been folded back into Macworld — you’ll now find the stuff that was once over at Playlist within our iPod subsection. In the meantime, Christopher Breen’s iPod Blog has been re-christened as… Playlist.
Fans of the Macworld.com home page will find that it’s been modified to present a few different views of the news. Our Top Stories view will provide a filtered view of the most important items we’ve posted lately — perfect for more casual visitors. If you come to the site often, the All Stories tab is for you. (And there’s even a button at the bottom to make All Stories your default tab.)
And with this new site we’re going to be asking you for more of your feedback. It starts with the thumbs up-thumbs down vote at the bottom of every story page. (Favorite items will float up into the Top User Rated tab on the home page.) We anticipate a bunch of other cool community-related features in the future, too — this is just the beginning.
I’d like to thank all the people at Macworld who worked so hard (and continue to work hard) to put out this web site. From the developers to designers to editorial staff, they have spent a long time getting this thing to work. We haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but we’ve definitely reached a milestone, and it’s due to their hard work.
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who gave us feedback over the past two weeks, during our public beta test. The new site is dramatically improved because of that feedback. And now the beta process continues on the live site. I invite you to leave us your feedback in our Web Site Feedback section — we’ll be watching.
[Forum users: You should be able to log in to Macworld (anywhere) by clicking Log In in the upper right corner and entering in the e-mail address you used to register and your password. We are trying to find a way to make that easier — namely that you could at least reset your e-mail address if you know your forum name and your password. Stay tuned for updates.]