You’ll notice a few changes today, please tell us what you like and don’t like. The project was a team effort — special thanks to David, Harvey, Meryl, Alexey, Thomas, and JP.
Visual ads on home, results, and detail pages. We’ve lasted years without any ads or revenue. To support the teams of people it takes to keep RadioTime getting better, it’s time to start generating some cash. We are using Google which means a few ugly ads for ring tones. But we plan to sell sponsorships for more selective ads that fit our brand and create more value. They should be prettier than the silly ring tones.
Besides the big Google ad, we’ve defined a second home page ad slot to pitch RadioTime-powered products, plus a third for RadioTime messages. Hint, if you download and use RedButton you won’t see ads. RedButton is free without the recording feature. You can try the recording feature free for 14 days.
Simplified all over. We’ve been ruthless and killed anything that wasn’t popular or essential. More below.
Simplified home page. The home page has only four featured radio slots instead of six. We replaced the list of world cities with browse options for location, talk, sports, and music. With this update done, the next major improvement will be integrating featured channels with browse.
Simplified header and footer. The header consolidates Sign In/Sign Up tabs and moves My Info from a tab to a link near logon name. Instead of a dozen options, the new footer has five essential links.
Simplified results page. The search and browse results have big checkbox on top to easily filter results for stations, shows, available now, and a link for more filtering. Additional filters on the left are re-organized and simplified. Before this update the site showed all filter options on the left (like eBay). Few users noticed the filter option. The new approach is better, but most new users still don’t see or use it, so we’ll keep after this. Let us know what would work better for you.
Simplified Local, Listening Options, and Preset pages. These pages have fewer columns to make them easier to understand. For example Presets don’t show the call sign or location columns because most users only have a few presets and don’t need to be reminded about the location. The program Listening Options page combines Frequency and Band and removes the Country column Simplified listen button. Our updated Listen buttons attempt to set expectations better. We have fewer styles and colors. Yellow is only used when streams are unreliable or have location or current program restrictions, a tooltip will explain why. Stations that require an external player are shown with an external window symbol instead of yellow.
Loud orange “Fix-it” button. The hardest part of making RadioTime great is understanding when we have wrong or missing information. The new button is yet another attempt to encourage more user feedback. Less than one percent report a problem, but with our growing popularity you submit thousands of changes per week (a new home page message touts we make over 100,000 total changes per month).
Favorites are called Presets. The feature is identical, just renamed to be clear. You’ll be able to set presets on new devices or radiotime.com, and easily manage them in one place. An updated RedButton now integrates Presets with the site (a few bugs remain).
Simplified Station and Show detail pages. The new detail pages have most of the same information, but fewer boxes and headings. It may be too stark, we’ll continue refining. We’ve also tried to be more clear RadioTime is not the station, but a guide – with a clear link “visit station web site”. Other functional changes:
- No more ratings. “Our rating” caused confusion. It was never any judgment about the content quality, but integrated about a dozen factors like popularity on radiotime, traditional listeners, and streaming availability. It is still an important internal measure but we are not showing it. You already tell us your rating by viewing and listening, so we don’t need to ask.
- No social bookmarks or “Add to Google Desktop”. These weren’t popular, but will return in a better form and integrated with an improved RadioTime tuner and widget approach.
- Single “update info,” instead of tiny edit links scattered across the page. The submission form is more obvious and sets expectations we are not a wiki. Submissions are moderated because about 70% contain bad info, many lead to another problem.
Simplified Help. Help content is quickly improving, we’ve killed the old support page and re-structured help content to make it easier to use. Help is still a work in process and will continue to improve quickly over the next few weeks.
New inside.radiotime.com site for our growing set of powered-by development partners along with broadcasters and the press.
New widgets page Information on our widgets in one place, over the next few weeks we’ll make it easier for consumers to grab them.