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Welcome to the New TR

A fresh, flexible design; more news and analysis every day; better blogs and community features – what’s not to like?

Today we’re proud to unveil the new TechnologyReview.com – and to enter a new phase in the history of Technology Review, MIT’s flagship publication. As senior editor and executive producer (Brad King) and executive editor (Wade) of the website, we’d like to tell you a bit about how this latest incarnation of our online publication came about – and what we hope you’ll get from it.

Founded in 1899, Technology Review is the oldest technology magazine in the world. And we’ve had a robust online presence since the beginning of the Web. But, like everything else online, our site has evolved dramatically as our ambitions have grown, and as Web design techniques, browser capabilities, and the bandwidth for average Internet users have improved. Indeed, the design you’re looking at now is at least the sixth – and, we hope, the best – incarnation of TechnologyReview.com

Our Web developers and editors have been working behind the scenes for almost a year on an overhaul of the site – from its engine to its shiny chrome handles. The most important changes:

Heaps of fresh content daily. We’ve hired a team of top-notch science and technology journalists to bring you at least three new Web articles every day. We want TechnologyReview.com to become your first stop for authoritative, provocative analysis of the key trends in information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, energy, and all the other technologies transforming our lives.

Enhanced usability. In building the new site, we leaned heavily on the open-source community (a long-standing tradition at MIT). We believe this will help us to create a better site. Furthermore, we’ve focused on some basic principles: the time it takes to load a Web page should never exceed two seconds; readers should be able to resize their browser windows to fit their screens without losing view of the content; and all of our code should comply with the latest Web standards and meet accessibility guidelines.

A clean, airy look-and-feel. We’ve chosen Verdana, an elegant, modern typeface for most text and Georgia for headlines, and we’ve opened up our pages and supplied more breathing room (i.e., white space) between textual elements. Along with that, we’ve built an image player which will be embedded within our story pages, allowing us to better display images, charts, and pictures.

Easier navigation. The site design includes four simple tabs at the top of the page linking to our four main content “channels”: Infotech, Biotech, Nanotech, and Biz Tech. Additionally, each channel’s home pages will list the most recent and popular Web articles in each category. Other tabs will take you to the latest issue of Technology Review’s print magazine, our official blogs, and MIT News, a special section on research and education at our parent institution.

Better search capability. Looking for that groundbreaking piece we did on embryonic stem cells in 1998? Our new Google Mini search utility makes it a snap. We’ve added a “winnowing” feature to it that allows users to narrow their search by choosing topics areas, authors, and specific content types when looking for articles. As always, you can search our entire archive of Web and magazine articles, going back to January 1997. Access to Web-only articles will always be free of charge. And, as in the past, selected features from the print magazine will also be free, with others reserved for subscribers.

Community-building features. We’ve replaced our old Forums with a new discussion interface. It divides discussions into individual threads, so you can see who’s responding to whom. The discussion area for each article will appear on the last page of the article. To harness our visitors’ collective wisdom and guide readers straight to our most popular content, we’ve also created an easy way for you to rate each article. See those little plus-signs right before the discussion section? Just pick and click.

More blogs. In addition to our longtime bloggers – TR Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Jason Pontin, Executive Web Producer and Senior Editor Brad King, and Executive Web Editor Wade Roush – we’re launching a new blog this week by the publication’s Editor, David Rotman. And soon we will introduce a blog written by members of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program.

Coming attractions. We envision the TechnologyReview.com site as both a news site and a tool for technology enthusiasts. Thus, over the next few months we’ll be rolling out new site features giving readers even more flexibility. We will offer text-to-speech, which will instantly translate every piece of original writing we do into computer-generated audio that can be streamed or downloaded. After that, we’re introducing the TechnologyReview.com RSS Reader, which will reside on our site and allow readers to collect feeds from anywhere on the Web. Personalization and original podcasts are also under development, slated for rollout in 2006.

Finally, our site redesign is part of a broader transformation at Technology Review. Like virtually everyone in the media and technology fields, we’ve seen the advantages of digital publishing. As a result, we have re-envisioned Technology Review as a unified publication that provides both print and electronic channels.

For timely news analysis about emerging technologies, you can visit TechnologyReview.com. Meanwhile, Technology Review magazine, published bimonthly (six times per year), will continue to be a showcase for thoughtful, long-format features, with added visual impact. Furthermore, selected content from each issue of the magazine will be available free on the website, often enhanced with interactive multimedia elements.

So welcome our new site. Thanks for checking us out. We hope TechnologyReview.com will give you information to understand and succeed in this era of rapid (and sometimes chaotic and confusing) technological changes. Let us know how we’re doing, by participating in our discussion forums or writing to us: brad.king@technologyreview.com and wade.roush@technologyreview.com.

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