January 2006

From Karla Vallance:

So Amazon plans to get into the webcasting business:


[Scripter] Interesting, especially in light of our recent discussions on search engine requirements.


[Scripter] describes a model of the user search process that goes beyond the user interface, and describes the overall user interaction with the search process. Quesenbery identifies five approaches to information: browse, find, query, structured, guided. The purpose of the model of how people search is to design more “effective and usable search.” The user interaction is described as six steps: formulates a question, create the query, review the results, evaluate the likelihood of success, select and examine an item, and evaluate success.



[Scripter] This is a good conversation. I think Jared makes some valid points, but he has never liked search engines… search is: “only necessary if you can ’t make the investment in ensuring the right links are on the right pages”. BUT what about the users? As we all know, its hard to anticipate what they want. There’s a paradox: information is useful – but the more of it you have, the harder to navigate. No matter how well we design our site navigation, some visitors will always have problems, or need something else. Site search tools help. In our case, we’ve got a broad range of users, with different, constantly changing goals (goals that even change mid-stride). The bottom line is, there is a need. And there are users who prefer this method of finding information. A search tool is especially useful for users in research mode (for archived content) for example.
>With that said, I do agree with Jareds concept of ‘scent’. One thing i think we can say with a high level of certaintly: many, if not most, of our users want news. The new stuff, latest, most current stuff we’ve got. So, my vision for our new navigation strategy relies heavily on what we’ve been calling ‘smart’ navigation components – or widgets – fluid and changing in relation to the topics the Monitor is covering, and thus more relevant and useful – because it more accurately represents what we’ve got to offer.>
>My vision for our new site structure also includes a site index tool on every page – driven by our topics. The scaled down version that appears on every page will include the most active, or current topics. with a link for more or all. ( Here is an example of this – BUT just as concept, i don’t see us breaking out topics under such broad categories, but you never know 🙂 can be found at the bottom of this page.

>[Scripter] Yahoo’s frustration with focus groups – Jared Spools take. I shared this concern in our suvey-planning meeting yesterday, but just to reiterate the point – what users say in a focus group (and what they say in a survey) does not necessarily match what they do in a real-life setting. I think surveys ARE still valid feedback, but only one piece of the puzzle. (And after talking more with Kathy today, I feel better about it.)>

From Karla Vallance —
The New York Times goes to the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.

From Trevor Snorek-Yates: 

Time.com, Washingtonpost.com to free up paid content
The free vs. paid content debate took another turn toward free with moves by Time.com and Washingtonpost.com to make previously paid content more open. Time Magazine’s online arm is experimenting with a day-pass ad gateway, similar to Salon’s, so that users can see premium content for free for 24 hours. ClickZ reported that Time is using Ultramercial technology to serve Chrysler ads to people who want to see the “Person of the Year” online package for free. The magazine might offer day passes for future premium content packages; previously, cover stories were only available online to print subscribers for free.

Plus, Washingtonpost.com has widened its free archives from 14 days to 60 days from the story’s posting date, the better to keep its content alive in online discussions. The site’s editor Jim Brady told ClickZ that links from blogs, search and RSS were bringing people into the site by “side doors,” and didn’t want to lose that traffic by subscription gates. Brady will closely monitor traffic and ad revenue generated by these archive pages to see how the experiment goes. ClickZ noted that ad inventory demand has been so high on newspaper sites that the Houston Chronicle and Toronto Star recently dropped registration barriers that might have dampened traffic.

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