Late in the afternoon last Thursday, Feb. 24, we finally went live with the new Metroland website we had been working on since last summer. Although the launch itself was delayed by several hours (the site should have gone up in the morning), it was gratifying to finally see the results of all of the hard work, design discussions, training, last-minute changes, etc., at metroland.net. And we were thrilled to hear and read the first trickle of comments over e-mail, text and voice mail, and in person. Most have been positive, some just curious, and one—well, we’ll just reprint here what we heard on our voice mail Friday morning: “What on earth did you do to your website? This is a nightmare! Unbelievable!”
We can take the bad with the good—in fact, we would like more of your comments and constructive criticism (and we certainly do invite the irate gentleman to get back in touch and be more specific about what was causing him so much anguish). Because even with the new Metroland site up and running, it remains a work in progress—and will be for quite some time.
Of course, we had certain goals in mind when we set out to redesign our website. Naturally, we wanted to improve the way it looked, but with the viewer’s needs in mind. Most of you who were familiar with the old site will recall that it was static; we wanted the new site to be more fluid and searchable. We wanted metroland.net’s users to be able to navigate the site easily, and to offer a layout that clearly shows what is new each week. Most of all, our goal with the new site was to make all of our content as accessible and user-friendly as possible.
As soon as the new site went live, we immediately noticed things that were missing, or that needed to be tweaked or even changed substantially. And we are already at work on making some of those changes. We know that we need to improve the way the calendar of events is presented; for example, you can currently view the listings by date, and also by category by using the drop-down menu, but it is less obvious how to search by venue. In the near future, we may choose to add more information to some of the listings, and make links from reviews to listings.
We also encourage you to comment on the events listings; the top-five most commented on events will be featured on our home page.
Finally, we plan to add some new features soon, including (but not limited to) new blogs, event reminders, contest information, a MetroMarket page, and a newsletter (which you can already sign up for by registering on the page).
We’re telling our readers all of this in an editorial in part because we wanted you to know about the new website and what we are trying to accomplish with it, but most important, to solicit your feedback. We want to know anything you might be thinking about the new Metroland website: what you like about it, what you don’t like about it, what you think could be improved, plus anything you don’t understand or any feature you would love to see added. If you are reading this online, please feel free to comment at the end of this article; if not, go to metroland.net, follow the simple registration process (among other things, this prevents spam), and post a comment anywhere you would like.
We hope to hear from you!