No, no, don't fret, I'm not announcing we will have flashing & rotating advertising banners like anyone else on the globe ;-)
The small revolution I'd like to write about is related to the interface between you and your favourite online mag.
I'm well aware of the fact TNT-Audio isn't easy to "navigate", both because it has become soooo "fat" and because the information, starting from the first page, is organized in too many links that can confuse more than one reader, especially novices and newbies.
First of all, you may have noticed the usual search engine that crawled the TNT-Audio pages searching for relevant keywords is no longer available.
This was a sort of a commercial service, in the sense it was managed by an external Company, and it has been deactivated without notice. Though this fact sheds some light on how "professional" are some professional services ;-) it is a severe loss of service for you readers.
TNT-Audio grows week by week, constantly, so searching any particular review-article-project can be confusing and tough for readers in a hurry or novices.
We are currently beta-testing a REAL search engine that will run and reside directly inside TNT-Audio and will be completely managed by us, no commercial stuff here, thanks.
A team of TNT-Audio readers (and programmers :-)) is panting and sweating to offer you a fast, reliable, easy to use search engine. Whenever you will feel the need for an accurate search within our site...our search engine will be glad to answer to your request. Your interface with us will be made easier.
For the same reason, and just to prove you we are not always damned retro-grouches :-), I've completely re-designed the first page - the one with that terrible collection of links - and the main page of each sub-section.
The interface will be easier to read, faster to download and navigate thanks to an improved user-friendliness. Though this seems an easy task, considering how ugly, outdated and cumbersome may appear our first page :-) actually it takes DOZENS of trials and errors, literally.
First of all, and this is the toughest part, you need to build a page that will look the same to ANY reader, regardless of the browser (Netscape, IE, AOL, Opera or others) and of the computer he uses.
Then you need something that will result search-engine-friendly, so that the major search engines (Altavista, Excite etc.) will LOVE our pages - as they have always done - and index them regularly, placing our articles in the Top Ten of every "search". This is a hard task, so far we have succeded...but we'll try to make better :-)
Then we have another problem to face with: with the ever-increasing popularity, more and more readers are accessing our pages...this means the download will be slower. For this reason the TNT-Audio hardware (Cisco routers, mainly) have been updated with hi-end technology and in the meanwhile I'm trying to make everything is possible to reduce the size of the pages, cleaning the HTML code - for example - or using faster images.
The new first page (not online yet) will be faster to download than the previous one and I'm also considering to publish a comparison chart of the download time for any other HiFi mag on the Web. You'll be surprised by the results. Many magazines simply don't care how much time (and hence money) do you spend waiting for their pages to download.
Oh yes, it is true they have those fabulous flashing advertising banners...but I'll prove this isn't the sole reason for such unbelievably slow downloads.
OK, someone may start wondering why I am so obsessed by "download speed". First of, being an insane lover (and owner) of FAST Italian sport cars...speed has been my obsession since I was a child :-)
More seriously, a slow download time makes you spend more money on the phone, at least here in Europe, where you pay "by the second": the longer you stay online the higher your phone bill. So, what would be the benefit of a FREE online publication if you need to spend so much money to download it? For this reason I can guarantee TNT-Audio will remain one of the less inexpensive mags to read :-)
Secondly, it is a well known fact, among professional online publishers, that if a site takes more than 1 minute to donwload (and many competitors are even slower!!!) a large percentage of Internet users will press the STOP button of their browser and go to another site.
Surprised? How many times have you stopped a download because it was too slow?
Thirdly, the number of TNT-Audio readers grows day by day. This means our pages are more and more requested. This translates in a slower donwload for everyone. Our Mission is to offer easy to read and understand HiFi information to everyone, hence our obsession for fast downloads.
If you feel, like me, the need for speed, stay tuned with us!!!!
Last but not least, you may have noticed the usual monthly updated access statistics to our site are no longer...updated. This problem does not depend on us, since it is another (!!!) commercial service that doesn't work as it should. I hope to solve this problem as soon as possible so to update our stats again.
Well, that's all folks, but stay tuned because the "small revolution" will affect even the "human" resources here at TNT-Audio i.e. the reviewers of our Editorial Board.
I'll let you know what's going on (just good news, thanks God!) soon on these pages, so stay tuned.
© Copyright 2000 Lucio Cadeddu - http://www.tnt-audio.com
How to print this article