Occasional posts on subjects including field recording, London history and literature, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

16 June 2012

Third annual report

THE LONDON SOUND Survey is now entering its fourth year online. Two substantial new sections have been added over the past twelve months: the Waterways sound map and the Radio actuality section. The latter wouldn’t have been possible without the kind permission of BBC Worldwide.

The site’s main audio player has been updated to an HTML5 version, which means it works a lot better with iPads and iPhones, although I can’t really imagine many people visiting this site via smartphone.

A more significant change has started thanks to an email from a blind site visitor. The email was bluntly titled ‘Problems with your website’ but the arguments in the body of the message couldn’t be ignored. This site simply isn’t well designed for blind and partially-sighted visitors.

To try to put this right, I’ve started to make text-only pages designed for use with screen-reading software. Here’s one example: the text-only version of the daytime soundmap. More will be added over the next few weeks.

The numbers of site visitors and page views continue to creep upwards. AWStats is a log analyser which comes up with fairly conservative estimates as it excludes automated visits by webcrawlers. This is how the trend for unique visitors per month has played out since the end of May 2009:

Chart showing unique visitors by month

Page views have averaged around 90,000 a month for the past three months. That’s alright for a niche hobby website, although the most successful blogs for popular subjects like fashion and sport can get that in a single day, no problem.

Many people deserve thanks for their help and encouragement over the past year. Special mention must go to my colleagues at work, to Nick Hamilton of Lost Steps, to the Londonist for their brilliant support, to the London Historians and the Sonic Arts Research Unit for the invites, and to Margaret Briffa for her advice on intellectual property law. Thanks, too, to everyone who sent an encouraging email.

What’s coming next? Two new soundmaps, one of them for a collection of top-rate wildlife sounds by the Stoke Newington-based recordist Richard Beard. Also, the start of a new section taking a ‘deep history’ perspective on the changing soundscape of the Greater London area.