AutoSpeed Changes

Posted on September 2nd, 2008 in AutoSpeed,Driving Emotion by Julian Edgar

We’ve recently made a few changes to AutoSpeed. Most are in response to comments that we’ve been receiving in the new feedback facility, but others have been in the pipeline for a while.

Here are the changes:

Articles will henceforth be released in a different way. Now when you receive the newsletter, you can immediately view all the articles in the weekly edition, rather than only being able to see them as they are released day-by-day.

The tag line that appears when you put your cursor over ‘AutoSpeed’ in the browser tab has been changed to ‘Technology, Efficiency, Performance’ – something that much better matches our current direction.

The menu structure has been re-organised. More emphasis has been given to technical content, and a whole new menu item has been created – DIY Tech Features. At the moment this section has within it no less than 416 articles, probably the largest single repository of automotive and general technical DIY content on the Web.

In it you’ll find hands-on DIY content on building your own shiftlights, building your own electric bike, how to weld, how to build (and test) your own free-flowing intake system, how to tune diesel mechanical injection, doing engine swaps, making your own system to listen for detonation, tech tips, modifying engine management, electronics, metalworking, building your own undertray  – and a lot, lot more.

The DIY content is added to at an average rate of about one article a week – in fact, as I write this, at a rate of two a week for the next 9 weeks.

We’ve decided to give much more prominence to our most popular articles. The biggest problem we face is that many who come to AutoSpeed read only one article. With over 3000 other articles on the site, there’s absolutely certain to be something else that interests these ‘oncers’ – but more often than not, they don’t see those articles. By rotating ~150 or so articles through ‘More of our most popular articles’ panels, people will see more of our content.

We’ll be approaching car manufacturers for more press test cars. We’d especially like to test more diesels, LPG and hybrid vehicles. But don’t hold your breath – if an increased number of new car tests doesn’t appear, then those cars have not been made available.

We’ll be introducing better links between the articles in a series, so that someone coming in to a series at the mid-point will more easily be able to navigate in either direction.

We’ve placed this blog on a quicker server so problems of slow page loading and losing comments should be gone.

Finally, we’ve made some tweaks to our weekly newsletter and to our home page.

15 Responses to 'AutoSpeed Changes'

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  1. Tristan Roberts said,

    on September 2nd, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Well done Julian, glad to see that you are responding to the more constructive criticism with some positive and valuable change. I love the shed series, BTW.

  2. Brendon Black said,

    on September 2nd, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Can you please clarify the changes to when articles are released? Are you saying that the weeks worth of content will be viewable ahead of time from the newsletter only? Will the daily releasing of content on the front page contunue?

  3. Julian Edgar said,

    on September 2nd, 2008 at 10:31 am

    The whole of the week’s issue will now be released on Tuesdays.

    The home page will have some changes to reflect this; these will be visible probably later today.

    My point with the newsletter is that once readers receive it, they can immediately look at any of the articles listed in it.

  4. Brendon Black said,

    on September 2nd, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks for the answer, but I am somewhat confused by this change and would be very interested in the thinking behind it.

    Over time, you have moved toward positioning yourself a constantly evolving and interactive online presence (blogs instead of columns, getting rid of subscription fee’s, talkback sections, live article rating and daily content) as well as being an automotive magazine. When you do this, you capitalise of the flexibility offered by the internet and move away from the constraints imposed on paper based publications.

    Clearly Autospeed has capitalised on this flexibility and interactivity very well by giving people a reason to visit often – something that fits in well with an advertising based revenue model.

    Given all of this, I don’t get why you would move back toward the paper magazine concept of ‘issues’ and not give people reason to visit on a daily basis. Like I said, I am very curious about the thinking behind it.

  5. Dave R said,

    on September 2nd, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    great work on moving to a new server – speed has improved significantly.

  6. Jay said,

    on September 2nd, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    If getting current press cars to test is not possible could you get cars that are a little older to test? A test of a car 12 months after its release may be of more use to some buyers.

  7. Julian Edgar said,

    on September 2nd, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    “Current” means any model available as a new car from a manufacturer.

    Yesterday I turned down a new car launch invitation (they’re pretty pointless); picked up a new car for test, and agreed to the booking of two more.

    So we have a few new car tests on their way.

  8. Bob Wilson said,

    on September 4th, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    I enjoyed the 3d and 1st articles about the electric bike but haven’t found the 2nd article, yet. I noticed the 3d article only linked to the first and once there, no forward links were found. Just a suggestion but perhaps every article in a series could include a link not only to the first but also the preceding article in a series.

  9. Julian Edgar said,

    on September 5th, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Doing a site search under ‘electric bike part 2’ immediately finds it. When the series linking is complete, all parts will have all links for the rest of the series displayed.

  10. Mike said,

    on September 7th, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    The changes look great, and I think the new tag line “Technology, Efficiency, Performance” is very fitting. Good to hear car tests will be forthcoming.

  11. Mal Land said,

    on September 10th, 2008 at 7:01 am

    And the next step should be to provide video based articles.
    You could even run some video turorials….
    Fundumentals of fuel injection, vehicle dynamics etc.
    A friend of mine who is also an ex-TAFE teacher is frustrated because he has been pushing TAFE to implement this as an on-line learning system for years, and their too Thick to implement this. Of course video learning should not replace practical hand on experiance but it’s the thin end of the wedge to get people to learn…
    There is so much knowledge in this institution that is under utilised!!!

  12. James said,

    on September 10th, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    “We’ll be approaching car manufacturers for more press test cars.”

    How about letting us know when a request is declined. At least that way we know what you’re trying to test (and consider worth testing) rather than ‘assuming’ that you have abandoned vehicle tests.

    It would also let us know who isn’t prepared to have their vehicles subjected to real world testing.

  13. Ford Man said,

    on September 10th, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Please keep reviewing new cars. I enjoy reading your objective assessments.

    It is interesting to compare your reviews with those on or theage / SMH where every vehicle scores 3, 3.5 or 4 stars.

  14. Rob Lawrence said,

    on October 22nd, 2008 at 7:15 am

    I wonder when modifying hybrids for fun will start to emerge as a cottage industry?

    Surely grippy tires and adjustable handling are not eliminated from the possibilites just because a car is a hybrid.

    We have seen a turbo Prius at Autospeed, I would love to see a tubo’d Insight (especially given it’s extraordinary resistance to detonation running lean mixtures). It is also small and light enough to be built into an agile sporty car I would hope

  15. Julian Edgar said,

    on October 22nd, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Someone in the US has turbo’d an Insight.

    I have looked at this idea very carefully, to the extent of having acquired the correct sized turbo, developing a water/air intercooler and working out the packaging. However, I’d really like to have a second Insight for radical modification – airbag suspension, upgraded electric motor output and turbocharging.