Blog Scene Point Blank: July Relaunch

Scene Point Blank: July Relaunch

Posted July 7, 2007, 11:02 p.m. by Matt

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You have no idea how wonderful it is to be finally typing these words.

Not that my work is done: a SPB staffer's work is never done! But seriously: typing the blog out means that the big tasks are done, at least until someone discovers another critical bug hours before launch.

I've been Scene Point Blank's webmaster for over 4 years now (well, since SPB began, really) and I can safely say that the current site is the most ambitious and feature-packed it's ever been. One of the best parts for me as a programmer is that so much of the site is automated now that I can sit back and relax a hell of a lot more. My next goal is to program a review-writing robot so I can gradually replace the staff, one by one. I don't think anybody would notice if I swapped Neil out...

But I digress. What you really want to know (I hope) is just why the new site is the greatest thing on the internet. So without further ado, here is an enormous list of all of the changes, improvements, new features and other miscellany relating to Scene Point Blank in 2007.

Aesthetics

  • Beautiful new layout (duh)
  • Design that gives prominence to content and allows expansive viewing rather than cramped screen real estate.
  • Some pretty fucking awesome CSS techniques including dynamic graphing, rounded corners friggin' everywhere, tab boxes, modal boxes, image galleries and more.
  • Snazzy Javascript effects (try clicking some of the SPB Network icons).
  • New news icons (with sneaky geek references).
  • Nicer reviews layout with info panel and link area.
  • Better pagination for both news and features (that's right, we introduced a "Next Page" link!).
  • Sexed-up staff profiles (check out Graham, he's hot! Particularly compared to the mainly ugly other SPB staff)
  • Ads are slightly less intrusive than before. Yeah, nobody's going to get excited about this one, but hey, we gotta pay the bills!

Improved Capabilities

  • Advanced and intuitive content sorting (now for features as well as reviews).
  • FINALLY view all reviews by a specific staffer including multiple reviews.
  • Distinguish between 200 Words or Less, Multiple and normal reviews in the main review index.
  • See related reviews when browsing interviews.
  • Users can automatically enter contests through dynamically-generated forms.
  • Tons of admin/backend changes that you mortals won't appreciate but trust me, they're good.
  • Better displaying of multiple author reviews.
  • Ability to see all 200 Words or Less reviews, or all Multiple Author reviews.
  • Search the entire site at once using new "Whole Site" option on the search bar.

Brand New Features

  • Podcast! ... okay, so at the time of writing, this isn't up yet, but believe me, we're working on it behind the scenes and it's going to rock your ears.
  • New links section to allow us to fiendishly boost our Google PageRank by engaging in link exchanges.
  • Staff Blogs - keep an eye out for these for some more informal music journalism, inane ramblings, or photos from staff's recent shows, interviews, or new haircuts.
  • Updated news categories (TV, General News and Videos)
  • "Breadcrumbs" (I didn't coin this term) navigation at the top of content - the internet equivalent of a "You Are Here" sign by a map.
  • Logo now links to the homepage! Okay, kind of an obvious one, but you'd be amazed how far into the new design we got before it was implemented.
  • Integration with message board. While we're not using this right now for anything beyond staff access, watch this space for future user interaction.

I could go on and document every little code change made over the last six months, but the odds are you don't care. Hopefully you'll like the new stuff mentioned above, and find it useful in your site browsing.

SPB Redesign: the documentary

Since we now live in the age of YouTube, it seemed only right for us to go amateur filmmaker and produce a brief short documenting the redesign. Click below to watch a quick documentary of the redesign process, including rejected designs, logo prototypes, production testing and a particularly exhausted Matt, laden with caffeinated beverages.

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