I’m proud to announce that we’ve just launched a new look for our website, which completely overhauls our welcome page and brings a fresher, more modern appearance to the site.
Since our website was hacked in May, I’ve been working to clean out the years of code detritus that’s gathered, old experiments that have gone awry, and even shut down our much maligned UFOP Personnel Database System, built in 2001, which served as our primary member management tool.
As part of cleaning out those cobwebs, I revived a project I had shelved just a few months ago to give our site a new look. And, over the course of the past two weeks, I worked with Captain Nicholotti of StarBase 118 Operations to choose a new look for the site, install it, and even give our logo a new look. What we ended up with is beyond my wildest expectations, and from the feedback on the forums, it sounds like our members are enjoying it, too.
This is now the fifth version of our website. Here’s a quick review of our past designs:
- Jeff Pelletier’s design: This captain of the USS Freedom built our first website, which was a one-pager that looked a lot like most pages of the day — a patterned star background with grainy animated gifs.
- Shaun Marlin’s design: Foundation-builder, Rear Admiral, and former Captain of the USS Isannah built our first functional website, complete with custom imagery. As a testament to his budding abilities, it would probably still be usable today, albeit a bit out of date. Some pages remained active on our server until just a few months ago, which I sometimes referenced for old versions of the Reporter.
- Ian Laang’s design: Up until a few weeks ago you could also still see the vestiges of this design, which were still in use on the UPDS. Using muddy greens, browns, and dull grays, this site was highly compact and suffered from difficult and hard to use menus, unfortunately, but was nonetheless our longest active version of the site.
- Our first WordPress design: When WordPress had finally become a respected Content Management System, I made the decision to move the site onto the platform so that — God forbid anything should ever happen to me — our staff would have a much easier time of updating and managing it, and would not be required to code everything by hand in HTML. The look was a custom mish-mash of a few different WordPress themes from the vendor WooThemes. We launched this version in November of 2010.
- Our current design: Still on WordPress, and now hosted on WP Engine — a WordPress only host — our new design uses much more white, tacking away from the trend of Star Trek RPGs to focus on dark and starry themes. I’m looking forward to this current design serving our site for many years to come.