Bill Scott, VP-group publisher of Jobsonâ€™s Retail Optical Group, explained: â€śWe had a live beta version behind an animated peel-back, and we invited the users to try it out.â€ť 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.
â€śYouâ€™re never completely out of beta. You are always making changes,â€ť Scott said. â€śBut in our minds we were 96% done, so we went live officially in the beginning of November.â€ť
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. â€śThereâ€™s a whole new structure and many new features,â€ť she said.
The print supplement highlights such enhancements as Vision Monday Web TV, a video channel thatâ€™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 Mondayâ€™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 didnâ€™t exist in the prior iteration.
Vision Monday has been considered a major source of optical industry news since its debut 20 years ago. â€śIn the new version of the Web site, weâ€™re really screaming out news,â€ť Scott said. A new tag line, â€śThe home page for optical industry news,â€ť replaces the former â€śNews Analysis Now.â€ť
VisionMonday.com has been one of the rare business sites to successfully charge a subscription for news. Since 2003, subscribers have paid for â€śVMail Extra,â€ť 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. â€śWe know weâ€™re going to increase the frequency over time, but we havenâ€™t quite decided on the specifics,â€ť Scott said.