website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

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website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

Post by spacefem » Sat Aug 8, 20:23 2015

I accomplished something this week: finally got to a new years resolution to make the spacefem.com homepage mobile-friendly. It was a struggle, friends. I wanted to keep it simple but the world seemed... not simple. I wondered if I should go to wordpress or install some other huge CMS. I found all these templates with "installation instructions".

Finally I found this tutorial by Mat Helme: Create an Absolute Basic Mobile CSS Responsive Navigation Menu

It involved abandoning my very long held menu > submenu navigation. but a very high percentage of my visitors now come directly to sub pages through links and searches - it's rare to start out at the homepage. and if there's any confusion there's a search box on top of the page. so I made it work, and here it is today:

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but just for fun I stepped back in time a bit, with the help of archive.org, to simpler times. When there was only HTML. Yes that time existed for me, because I started this page on geocities in 1999. There's not much of the old geocities stuff... it was in the wellesley neighborhood, I had a starry background and was making lots of my own images but I was against themes because, well, geocities!

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then in 2001 I got my own domain name... sadly it was not spacefem.com, someone had taken it, but a year later they did nothing with it and let me buy it back which when I think of it was a very odd and lucky turn of events:

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by 2002 I was at my own domain, and a cool "every other row" background:

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and then I redesigned every few years. I have to say I totally love this 2004 kinda retro line art thing. And it's the first year that the forum with all its members started being the driving force of the website instead of just me. And do you love the dedicated space for 88x31 buttons?

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I had this 2007 design for a pretty long time. I liked the semitransparent boxes:

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but it wasn't shiny enough, so 2008 I had more fun:

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then in 2012 there were these columns, and started adding more social media links out:

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I redesigned in the middle of 2014 to get more of a stripped down look with the "card" layout that's trending, and added a manifesto at the top that's an ode to homepages:

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Looking at these I actually worry that the internet is all trending to boring... neutral backgrounds, no color. If I was gutsy I'd go back to some old design but I'm not. Maybe in a bunch of years I'll love the 2015 site.
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Re: website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

Post by Nae » Sat Aug 8, 20:49 2015

Wow, really interesting to see the transitions!

Personally I like the simple planet icon and the 2 column layout. The latest one is really nice and clean.

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Re: website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

Post by Sonic# » Sat Aug 8, 21:27 2015

Oh wow! Thanks for sharing these.
Looking at these I actually worry that the internet is all trending to boring... neutral backgrounds, no color.
You're not alone. I had the pleasure of hearing Cheryl Ball speak. She's a professor who does a lot with digital publishing, including running the online journal Kairos. She showed off and discussed the evolution of her professional site. Her site used to have more color (that pink!), but over time the color went away. Now, an image of herself provides most of the color.

I like some of the design changes (we use space better now I think), but I still like the color. :) I used a plugin for the default 2014 theme in Wordpress to allow me to customize the default black/green color.

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Re: website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

Post by monk » Sun Aug 9, 13:17 2015

It won't start trending to more color until people start putting in more color. Be the first, put some color back in! My suggestion is the purple planet logo super imposed under every page but I have no clue is that is feasable especially considering how it still needs to be mobile friendly.

My other suggestion is equally weird, what if you installed pop up pages that weren't ads but affirmations? Everyone hates pop up ads but would they hate a pop up that said "Thank you for visiting Spacefem, You're awesome!" or "Don't let the media influence your self esteeem. thank you for visiting"
or "Spacefemmers think Pants are important!".

yeah, I know it's a bad idea, but I would love to see some site do it if only so I could read the complaints someone would post "I can't stand xxxxx.com, all those pop ups giving me positive messages, blech".
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Re: website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

Post by DarkOne » Mon Aug 10, 5:58 2015

Very cool to see how the site has evolved. I think the 2012 planet is my favorite, but the latest formats are betterer. I'm all for shaking things up every once in a while.
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Re: website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

Post by Rainbow Dolphins » Fri Aug 14, 3:13 2015

The 2004 layout was my FAVORITE. I miss it to this day. Do you remember how we would get so upset every time you changed the planet logo? (Or just every time you changed anything.) The new one is cool, but I agree that it kind of blends with everything else on the internet. Not necessarily a bad thing. I just loved that chunky retro shit. I was really confused about how to get to the forum at first but I am still kind of stuck in Unix days, not really used to having a mobile device.
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Re: website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

Post by great girl wonder » Fri Aug 14, 12:50 2015

I'm a fan of the 2007 layout myself. I concur with Monk, be the trendsetter. Minimalism is for monks.
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Re: website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

Post by monkeypoop » Tue Aug 18, 17:35 2015

I love this, thanks for posting! It's so fun to see all the redesigns. 2004 was also my favorite - I think that was around the time I started getting into HTML and making websites, and I always thought it was super cool and clever how you did the wavy sidebar.

FYI, the new home design breaks at certain screen sizes - the nav wraps on top of the intro text. You might want to add another media query for screens 640-960px wide, or change it up so it wraps more gracefully.

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Re: website redesign and an illustrated history of spacefem.com

Post by Nachos » Thu Aug 27, 12:17 2015

I remember half of these :) Ah, memory lane.
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