Put your ethics top of your shopping list
New Ethical Consumer website
With 40,000 people now using our websites every month for information on what to buy, more people are reading Ethical Consumer online than in print. After more than a year of planning and work, our new website went live at 4.30pm today. It has three big improvements:
• easier to use and customise
• greater depth of information
• more opportunities for participation
Easier to use and customise
One key aspect of Ethical Consumer’s work has always been to present information in a way that allows you to make decisions based upon your own beliefs and priorities. One of the most obvious changes we’ve made is to put interactive ‘sliders’ next to the live score tables on our website Buyers’ Guides. These allow users to customise rankings by adjusting the relative weighting of the five ethical ratings categories. Anyone visiting the site can now move these sliders left and right and watch the brand names re-order themselves as ‘Animals’ or another issue becomes your most – or least – important ethical ranking issue.
A good way to watch this all work is to set all the sliders to zero. All the companies will score 14 and sort themselves alphabetically. Then gradually introduce your most important issue first to see who falls away down the list. Do visit the site to explore these features and let us know what you discover.
A greater depth of information
As you may know, every mark on the Buyers’ Guide tables in our magazine corresponds to one or more detailed ‘stories’ that we have written explaining exactly why a company receives the rating that it does. As our stores of information get more and more extensive, it’s always been difficult to make this very important data accessible, rather than just buried in a telephone-directory style list of dense type. Now, on our new website, subscribers are just two clicks away from seeing the full text of any story just pop up on the screen as in the example above.
Have a look at our sample laptops buyers' guide to see how it works. Click on the brand names on the score table to drill down to more detail.
It is also possible to visit even deeper pages (see left) which let you explore the sometimes hundreds of stories we hold for individual companies. Previously this core data has only been available to users of our professional research database – Corporate Critic. We are confident that no consumer ethical rankings anywhere in the world can compare with this for depth or transparency.
You can find out more about some of the sites new features by visiting our 'quick guide' section.
More opportunities for participation
As discussed in this issue’s Editorial, as well as being a research co-operative, Ethical Consumer is also, from another perspective, a community of all its users. One change we have introduced on the new website is to allow our subscribers – many of whom also run or work for small ethical businesses – to put a link to their own projects onto one of our Buyers’ Guide pages. For more information see our Subscriber Ethical Business Directory page.
We have also increased the opportunities for comment and feedback across the whole site, as well as improved our Forums area. And our unique ‘email the companies’ feature – to tell them you do or don’t like their ethics, a key element of making change happen – is here on the site too. We have also linked our website to our subscriber database, so you will be able to visit the website, log-in to your subscriber account, change your address details and soon you'll be able to renew your subscription as well. All these functions are located in the subscriber area.
To start with, you can let us know what you think of the website. Are there bits that aren't working, or taking too long to load? You could post a comment in our Forum?
In the first week or so, some current subscribers may experience some problems logging onto the new site. Do let us know if this happens to you by emailing us using the online contact form or give us a call on 0161 226 2929. Because of this we will be running the old Ethiscore site still be for a month or so, but we do intend to retire it in due course.
We hope you enjoy the new site.