Our web site gets a new look

Feb. 1, 2001
Back in 1994, then assistant managing editor Bonnie Heines and I started the Laser Focus World web site, the first web site for any of the PennWell magazines.

Back in 1994, then assistant managing editor Bonnie Heines and I started the Laser Focus World web site, the first web site for any of the PennWell magazines. We had seen a remarkable growth in the use of e-mail by the magazine's readers, which seemed to indicate that many people had the equipment that would allow them to access the Internet. I had also discovered the Mosaic browser, developed by Marc Andreesen and his colleagues at the University of Illinois, that eventually became the Netscape browser. One didn't have to be a genius to recognize that the World Wide Web was going to have a huge impact on media communications.

Today, the extended Laser Focus World web site (www.optoelectronics-world.com) gets several thousand unique visitors every day, a figure that climbs steadily as more users discover the site. In fact, about half the web-site users are not Laser Focus World subscribers, although we would probably like to have many of them sign up for the magazine. A large fraction of our web-site visitors are from outside the United States and can obtain much speedier access to news than by waiting for the mail delivery of the printed issue.

Free e-mail newsletter

As editors of the print version of Laser Focus World, we regard the web site as a complementary extension of the magazine. While the web site does offer most of the print content, it also offers timely news of business and technology, Laser Focus World article archives and an extensive product guide. It also allows readers to subscribe to the magazine, renew online, and subscribe to our free weekly e-mail newsletter. Incidentally, we've been doing the e-mail newsletter since before we began the web site but we've recently extended the readership to most of the magazine's 65,000 subscribers. You don't have to be a magazine subscriber to get the newsletter; just click on "Free E-Newsletter" in the left-hand navigation bar and give us your e-mail address.

Just as we make evolutionary changes to the magazine's content, so we work hard to add more features to the web site and improve the design of the site's contents to make the site more accessible to its viewers. The previous "makeover" occurred last December. We think the site is now much easier to navigate but we'd like to hear from you if we are not meeting your needs. You can send an e-mail to senior editor Paula Noaker Powell ([email protected]), who is responsible for managing the editorial content of the Laser Focus World web site. This is a new assignment for Paula so she will be happy to hear from you (compliments are welcome, too!).

One of the more recent improvements is the addition of daily news (under "WEB EXCLUSIVES" in the left-hand navigation bar). PennWell subscribes to a news service that provides story feeds from more than 100 news sources worldwide. These feeds are passed through a keyword filter that is unique to each web site and is modified on a regular basis to improve the story selection. Each morning Paula checks the filtered news and selects the stories that are to be published on the web site that day. Let us know if this service is not providing the news you need; it's a fairly simple matter to adjust the keyword filters and improve the story selection.

You can also use the Laser Focus World web site to access other PennWell web sites such as Solid State Technology, Portable Design, Lightwave, and Computer Graphics World. They also have free e-mail newsletters that can be subscribed to via the web sites.

Send us your feedback

At Laser Focus World, we recognize that the Internet is a constantly evolving medium. We are committed to providing both the magazine's readers and the web site's visitors with timely and relevant information. We do appreciate your feedback and we realize that you depend on our services, both print and electronic, to assist you in your work. So don't hesitate to let Paula and me know how we can meet your needs more productively. We look forward to hearing from you.

About the Author

Jeffrey Bairstow | Contributing Editor

Jeffrey Bairstow is a Contributing Editor for Laser Focus World; he previously served as Group Editorial Director.

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