Site Version 1.5 (1999)

January 31, 1999

I hope you enjoy the new look — I personally like it much better! A redesign for this site was something that I've long been meaning to do, and a few weeks ago it just happened — I sat down after work and started playing around with graphics and hammering out the way I wanted it to look, and before I knew it, I was past the Point of No Return. I had put in too many hours over too many days to turn back or continue to put it off for the future. I wanted it finished and posted, and it quickly became an unstoppable freight train: I would have it unveiled as soon as my schedule would allow. It took a few weeks of tedious, multiple-hour shifts to get everything fine-tuned. But here it is!

I aimed for something that melded old and new — improved visual design and somewhat simplified navigation while maintaining the same overall feel of the old site. In other words, although the site has received a facelift, it's more the same than it is different. There was a lot I liked about the old site. And, of course, there was plenty I didn't like. The stuff I didn't like has been removed or replaced with stuff that works. The organization was something that worked and has not been changed. Except for the Star Trek: First Contact review, not a single page has changed URL. (Almost all graphical-image files, however, have been shuffled around, so in the unlikely event that you, for whatever reason, maintain links to images on this site, you will have to update them.)

The main-menu page has received the most attention. It used to involve too much vertical scrolling and too much empty space. Both problems have been corrected. The center of the page now contains all the information, organized in more visually logical and compacted menus. I also changed the background, which has long annoyed me. The old background was subtle on most PCs (and subtle was the original intent), but on most Macs and some other graphics platforms it looked awful. In any case it was mostly just dumb-looking. Now it's gone forever, replaced with the more simple and practical sidebar. I've always been a fan of the sidebar — whether it serves a functional purpose or not. Here it serves no specific functional purpose, but rather just an aesthetic one. Also, the main menu now makes use of image maps, perhaps the most advanced feature on the site. Not to worry: The textual site map navigator is still available at the bottom of the menu pages for those who experience problems with the image maps.

I have also added the (not yet complete) text-only archive. In keeping with my philosophy that this site should be compatible with virtually any Web-browsing platform, the text-only review archive is for those of you who (heavens forbid) don't like graphics on the Web. It's rudimentary (the graphical version is of course the primary focus of the site), but it should facilitate printing for those of you who prefer to print out the reviews rather than read them on the screen. It might be awhile before I get everything in there in text format. Right now it's a work in progress.

I have revised and rewritten parts of the overview page, as well as made some minor revisions and additions to the FAQ page, but other than the aforementioned and some general cleanup and minor tweaking, most everything else is the same. Please note that redesign efforts have not turned me into an Evil Web Designer. I still refuse to use frames (they simply aren't necessary or practical here), and I still don't employ animated GIFs, sounds, or pointless scripting. Keeping it Simple is still my intent here, so I hope you find this site simpler and more appealing at the same time!

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