Will's Web Watch: Introducing the new look silicon.com

It would be rude not to...

It would be rude not to...

Over the last few years I've written about so many other websites it would be remiss not to mention the story surrounding developments on our own site. Hopefully you've noticed by now there have been some serious changes.

Some are purely aesthetic, of course, but many are functional and some are introducing brand new content types and redressing what we've recognised as a shift in the balance of power in terms of the content users are looking for from us and from the wider, now dominant, world of online news.

silicon.com version 4.0, as it has been known in-house for the past six months, is something we are all incredibly proud of. I have been involved in all three major silicon.com site relaunches over the past six years and believe this one is certainly the most ambitious in terms of what you will see 'front of house'.

The colours remain the same, we've not changed the fonts and much of the look and feel is the same but you shouldn't mistake consistency for a lack of innovation.

Over the past year we've acknowledged some changes in the way news exists online. We're still several steps ahead of the paper-based titles producing yesterday's news next week and we also believe strongly that we present news in one of the most compelling formats online - not just in our sector.

We believe we bring style and a voice to stories which our readers need to be aware of. The amount of plagiarism we've recently fought - the bane of internet publishing - proves we're doing a great deal right. But similarly news is becoming commoditised by developments in the blogosphere and by the vast number of sites which aggregate news - most notably Google News.

News is still our lifeblood and will still be our main focus but increasingly what sets us apart is that which surrounds our central news coverage. You'll hopefully notice silicon.com 'Crown Jewels' such as The Weekly Round-Up, CIO Jury and a number of our columnists have been given prominent and expanded sections of their own.

The CIO Jury area, for example, now includes interviews with some of the leading CIOs in the UK. It also includes quick-fire Q&As with leading IT decision makers.

The reason for this - and the majority of our other developments - is because we are keen to build upon the strong community feel silicon.com has created over the years. We want to get closer to the readers and put more of you 'in front of the camera'.

To this end we've worked on our feedback sections, flagged up more clearly the current most popular stories (as voted for by your mouse clicks) and revamped our polls section to make sure we get your opinions on all the latest breaking news and hot topics.

One of the most noticeable changes is the appearance of something called 'silicon.extra'... resplendent in a never before seen (on silicon.com) green.

This is also a question of community. We accept we're not the only place you will come to for news and we wouldn't have it any other way. In fact we're making it easier for you by linking straight to recent stories carried by news services which we respect and which we think continue to make the internet the first choice for news. Expect to see links to major UK newspapers and the BBC as well as worldwide news services and specialist IT and business publications.

In many of the new sections, such as The Weekly Round-Up, you will see links to the outside world. There is a Round-Up.extra for starters - along the format outlined above - though expect more links to The Onion than to the BBC. There are also links to the weird and wonderful things which have passed through our browsers and inboxes in the past week.

There is also a new CxO section for all top brass in the company - not just the techies - and there is a CxO.extra section. You'll be getting the idea by now.

We've also moved to embrace richer media content. If silicon.com was once a pioneer with online video at a time when too few users had sufficient bandwidth to see it - and we hold our hands up on that one - then now we are embracing the expectation for a richer media experience with photo stories.

There are times when the IT industry is of little visual appeal but there are also times when a story can be told in pictures alone or with strong visual back-up. We will increasingly be looking to bring those photo stories to you.

And the best thing about all this is that we're not done yet. There was so much written into the specs for silicon v4.0 that we've kept some back in reserve (read into that euphemism whatever you will).

Hopefully you have noticed the brand new Case Studies section which is a first for silicon.com and a reflection of our growth in numbers and ambition. It is also the precursor for some major content developments pencilled in for later in the year.

And in the coming weeks you will see a number of our most ambitious developments ever to hit the site, including one which we hope you will find invaluable and a greater bridging of the space between us and you, our readers - which is the most important goal we can achieve.

Watch this space.