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ActiveWin: Where do we go from here?

Written By: Byron Hinson
Date: 4th October 2002
Sources: ActiveWin Content

Way back in 1997 we started a little known site called ActiveIE, a site built around Internet Explorer technology and news items specifically about Internet Explorer. ActiveIE was, even back then, one of only a few web sites that dealt with Microsoft related news. Pretty quickly we built up a small following thanks both to good tips and news articles, along with various write-ups and awards for design and content from both online and in-print magazines. Quite quickly ActiveIE grew in terms of readers, content and staff with me taking on a number of great people, from Cliff who did some of the sites graphics to Sean and Delwin who helped out with news items.

"Once again we started to win awards and praise for the site, and this time not only in design terms, but more importantly in content, tips and loads of exclusive news articles."

As time moved on and the site got bigger and bigger, I started to realize that I needed to work on something even bigger. As the first announcement of Windows 98 came out I realized exactly what that “Something Bigger@ should be…A Windows news and tips site. This is where it all started.

I got together with Robert Stein and someone that only a few of you knew, Wayne Flyers. We worked out a name for the site that we hoped would attract people; we went with ActiveWindows for close to year before a letter from Microsoft’s legal department forced us to change it to ActiveWin or something similar. The next change we made was in our award winning design, which we knew could be risky if we didn’t manage to get it right. We decided to go from a site that was basically black and gray to a far brighter looking white site similar to what we have now.

Once again we started to win awards and praise for the site, and this time not only in design terms, but more importantly in content, tips and loads of exclusive news articles. We even got mentioned on TV a few times!

We continued to stand true to what we believed in, creating new original site designs, content and gaining exclusives in the world of Microsoft. For most of ActiveWin’s life we (The staff) used to write the whole site by hand, this gradually got more and more difficult to do as time went on and as more and more news sections were added.

In 2001 we made our biggest change yet thanks to Will, we created a news engine system for the site so that we could increase the amount of news posted across the whole of the website and generally make it easier to update. Later on we also produced yet more original work in the form of version one of our forums, and the excellent and soon to be updated comment boards for news articles.

"As many of you have probably noticed, we have been making great progress bringing in more users over the last few months."

More recently we have been making further strides forward. Staff have come and gone but we are still here and going better than ever before, we have brought in new people like Chad Myers who has since become our main .NET and ASP guy, he has with a little help from myself managed to completely revamp our forums in .NET and added news feeds for both other sites and our readers to use. We have our biggest group of news staff ever now across all sections of the site. We have also expanding to include a new site all about the Xbox over the last couple of years which has been growing bigger each week and is now basically a site of its own.

The big question now though is, where do we go from here? And this is where you, our readers can help.

As many of you have probably noticed, we have been making great progress bringing in more users over the last few months. We are working on various ideas behind the scenes at ActiveWin and would like you to comment on them and to also suggest your own ideas for enhancing the site, as we strive to stay original compared to various sites out there.

So what do you want from us?

  • More news sections like software etc?
  • More exclusives such as screenshots etc?
  • More tips?
  • More reviews?
  • Streamlined navigation (coming soon)?
  • More interviews with Microsoft staff?
  • Articles written by ActiveWin staff?
  • News filters?
  • Online chats?
  • More user interactive such as rating articles?
  • Mailing list returning?
  • Competitions?

Things like a new site design are already being worked on as we aim to redo our database and site engine to make this the best Windows and Microsoft news site around!

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