Jobson’s 'Vision Monday' relaunches site

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The launch of the new Web site for Jobson Medical Information’s Vision Monday went beyond the ordinary with a novel set of online and offline promotions to introduce readers and site users to the changes. Like many online initiatives, the revamped version of launched in beta form about a month before its official debut. An unusual part of the launch was the way users were proactively introduced to the new site while the older one was still up and operating.

Bill Scott, VP-group publisher of Jobson’s Retail Optical Group, explained: “We had a live beta version behind an animated peel-back, and we invited the users to try it out.” Then, when the user went to close out of the beta to return to the original site, a questionnaire box would pop up to survey the user, so that last-minute tweaks could be made.

“You’re never completely out of beta. You are always making changes,” Scott said. “But in our minds we were 96% done, so we went live officially in the beginning of November.”

Another unusual promotion was the eight-page insert introducing the new Web site that ran in the October and November print issues of Vision Monday.

Marge Axelrad, senior VP-editorial director of the Jobson Optical Group, said the new site was so different that the company treated it as a launch. “There’s a whole new structure and many new features,” she said.

The print supplement highlights such enhancements as Vision Monday Web TV, a video channel that’s an industry first, Axelrad said, as well as photo galleries, slide shows, at-a-glance industry statistics and exclusive online features.

Through the use of Google-powered search, site visitors now have better access to Vision Monday’s archives, Axelrad added. Content is now organized by optical industry topics and categories rather than print-centric constructs like features and latest news. The site also has horizontal and vertical navigation bars that didn’t exist in the prior iteration.

Vision Monday has been considered a major source of optical industry news since its debut 20 years ago. “In the new version of the Web site, we’re really screaming out news,” Scott said. A new tag line, “The home page for optical industry news,” replaces the former “News Analysis Now.” has been one of the rare business sites to successfully charge a subscription for news. Since 2003, subscribers have paid for “VMail Extra,” a twice-weekly e-letter with the latest industry news. With that subscription, users get unlimited access to the Web site. The annual subscription currently costs $74.95 and will rise by about $10 in 2008, Scott said.

The site content is currently being updated at least twice a week. “We know we’re going to increase the frequency over time, but we haven’t quite decided on the specifics,” Scott said.

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