Peter has disappeared for a well-deserved break. I can’t replace him. I can’t even see myself getting to the place from which I could see the path which would allow me to tell you something about music or audio which he hasn’t already covered at length and in depth. However, I can tell you plenty about the inner workings of the CDM sites. So I’d like to give you a bit of an update on where the site has been going, ask for your feedback on how you use the site, what you’d like to see from us in the future, and pave the way for Peter to talk about some cool new stuff we’ve been working on when he returns.

According to our Basecamp account it has been exactly 1 year since we first started working on the CDM redesign. You remember how CDM used to be don’t you? Internet Explorer users having to scroll down 2 pages before reaching the first content item? Great times! According to our stats only 41% of CDM readers are on IE. You know that it works in IE now, right? You can change back if you really want to…

Around 90% of our visitors are from the USA, followed by the UK, EU, Australia, Canada and Netherlands. Our biggest search terms include “garageband for windows”, “create digital music”, “ipod mixer”, “pro tools”, and “ableton”. This, and the CDM comments feed leads me to believe that this site’s biggest readers are savvy, bleeding edge digital tech gurus and base level newbies who have just learned to type, decided to call themselves DJ SHINY and hunt down an iDJ.

We’re more or less continually working on the site (ok, so we take a break occasionally to laugh at press releases from phone ringtone companies), but occasionally we get really excited and decide to do something big and cool. Last time that resulted in CreateDigitalMotion, which I’m rather proud of. More recently we’ve been working on some new features we hope you’ll like, but that was put together without any consultation from you, dearest reader, you might hate it. So I’d like to get a little feedback on what you’d like to see from the site. How do you use it? What would make coming here a more pleasant experience for you? Which bits of the site do you use/not use. Do you use RSS? Are you happy with Feedburner? Do you have trouble finding information outside of the blog chronology?

Actually, I’ll give you my current list of possible future tweaks and edits, then if there are any other burning desires happening we can work them out in the comments:

Search and Archives:

  • Live, AJAX-y search
  • Compact search results, fit more on the page
  • Enable search by multiple tags
  • Less cumbersome archives page(s)

Templates and Design:

  • Stronger top category navigation, more tags to choose from
  • CDM Mobile Template (Peter’s request, does anyone else browse the site via PDA, phone or DS?)

Comments and Community:

  • WYSIWIG editor for comments
  • RSS or Email subscription for particular comments threads
  • We’ve talked about CreateDigitalNoise member blogs. Would anyone use something like this? Do you already have enough neglected blogs, community sites and social networking experiments without us adding to the confusion?

There are also some things which I’ve considered mothballing. I don’t use them, but I’d like to check whether others do before I destroy your favourite part of the site. I’ve been thinking about removing Gravatars as they seem to add quite a chunk of loading time to individual entry pages and not many people seem to use them. I’m also a bit down on the inter-post navigation links. These took quite a bit of WordPress hacking to implement, but I’ve never touched them. Does anyone use them at all? Did you even know that they exist? Does anyone actually use buttons or scroll bars for navigation anymore?

What about Digg/ buttons? I personally feel that I’m quite capable of deciding whether to bookmark a site without being prompted, but they seem quite popular. Does this mean popular with site users or is it just webmasters who like them?

If there’s anything you feel I’ve missed out I’d love to hear about it. I’ll be leaving on a 3 week jaunt to Vietnam just as Peter returns, but it would be great to have a nice neat list of to do items ready for my return.