The New York Times has released a new set of browser extensions that will allow eager readers to try out experimental features on the NYTimes.com website.
The project, dubbed Test Drive, is from the newspaper’s experimental arm beta620. Some of the features of Test Drive include NYT Accessible, which optimises the site for readers with visual impairments and TimesInstant, similar to Google Instant search, that produces results as you type.
The features have been available for a while but on a separate site, the new browser extensions, available for Firefox and Chrome, allow the projects to be viewed in context on their main website.
Marc Frons, the New York Times’ chief information officer, told Nieman Journalism Lab:
We love beta620 — it’s been a great experience and a great way to get our innovations in front of the public before they’re fully baked.
Recognising that people who install browser extensions are not your average sample, he adds:
It’s not like a traditional A/B test where you’re actually just throwing something else up on unsuspecting readers and measuring your clicks.
I think the quantitative data will be less important here than the qualitative, where people’s comments and our own understanding of how we’re using these tools and experience will be more important than measuring clickthroughs or that sort of thing.
Full story at Nieman Journalism Lab.