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Time to Change

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The list of add-on features for Communications‘ Web site began to take form shortly after the site was launched two years ago, and was a starting point for revisions now under way. Over the course of the last several months, suggestions to enhance the site were solicited and explored and are now spiriting the changes that will lead to a streamlined and improved site later this year.

Always a work in progress, Communications‘ site has changed in some ways since launch, most visibly with the addition of author-generated videos on the homepage. Some backend changes have also taken place. The upcoming changes are intended to remove elements that some users find crowded or confusing.

Communications‘ 2010 Readership Survey, conducted by Harvey Research Inc., points out some of the site’s favored features. Not surprisingly, the "Current Issue" is the most widely used feature, cited by 57.8% of survey respondents. The magazine archive, cited by 40.3%, ranks second. The News section ranks third, at 32.3%.

The readership survey also shows there is work to be done, particularly to encourage more frequent and longer visits to the site.

Participants in the survey were asked for suggestions to improve the site. It is impossible to implement all suggestions, though not for lack of time, interest, or resources, but for the wide variety of opinions expressed. For example, one 13-year veteran of ACM reads articles online only and asked ACM to "dispense with the print edition," while a 17-year member said the opposite. "I sit at the computer all day for work. I don’t want to sit at it to read magazines." To accommodate such diverse preferences, both print and online formats will continue for the foreseeable future (http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2011/2/104384).

Guiding these site plans are Communications‘ savvy Web Board, ACM volunteers, and HQ staffers, plus site testers and developers. All have a voice in the revised site. Plans are not finalized, but some upcoming changes will affect search functionality, social media features, and the addition of other ACM content. We look forward to announcing the next iteration of Communications‘ Web site in coming months.

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