The task identified by ACM in 2005 has come to fruition. Communications of the ACM has been remade both in print and online. The magazine was relaunched in July 2008, and now we are putting the finishing touches on the Web site to launch in March at cacm.acm.org.
To say a Web site is preparing to 'launch' hints at manned spaceflight and adds an element of drama that aggrandizes a site's unveiling. That's unnecessary. The development of the Communications' Web site was dramatic enough.
The drama could be found in the faces of ACM managers when they recognized the developers' simpatico braininess. It was in the musings of stakeholders sharing wouldn't-it-be-nice lists, and then realizing that some wishes do come true. It was in the scrupulous attention that Communications' Web board members paid to idiosyncratic design details such as fonts, column widths, and breadcrumb trails, and in their elation when they realized their suggestions begat change. And as the launch date drew near, it was in the unbending determination of all parties to work through and past every clash, to square the uncompromising conflict between getting things right and hitting each deadline.
The site is ready, but not finished. That's not to say it is not a complete product. It is. Unlike its predecessor, it delivers a daily dose of news, blogs, and opinion pieces from ACM and from around the Web. It reflects the rich history of Communications' 52 years and introduces a new chapter in its editorial scope and global coverage. Indeed, its plentiful content will make you a frequent visitor.
But there are more features, content, and services in the offing. The site's adherence to user-centered design will influence future developments, as will Web trends, user predilections, and hard economics (for more details, see the Publisher's Corner on page 7). The site does and will mirror the membership's diverse and changing interests. Enjoy it!
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