We’re excited to announce that coming this May, we’ll be rolling out a new website design for The Escapist.
Those of you who’ve been with us since Issue 1 know that as The Escapist has grown, our site design has grown and changed with it. We launched with a PDF-based magazine layout that we maintained from July 2005 until July 2007. During that time we added a blog, and started to expand our content outside our weekly release.
In July 2007, when we wanted to be able to present our weekly issue, two regular columns, and a dozen newsposts per day in a better way – not to mention the forums – we switched to our current design. Over the past two years we’ve expanded this greatly, adding more than a dozen new video series and columns, and pushing out breaking news all day every day. Add in our contests, reviews, and special events and it’s easy to see that there’s a lot more going on now.
Topping it all off, with all this new content, our community has also grown by an order of magnitude. In the time since our current site has launched, we’ve had hundreds of thousands of new users and over 1.5 million comments in nearly 50,000 threads. And with our expanded profiles, we also have a lot more information than room to present it (how about the Xbox Live leaderboard).
So, as we come up on our fourth birthday, we think it’s time for another upgrade. It’s not as dramatic as last time, but we’re still very excited about it. Some features of the new layout are:
- A more flexible front page that can accommodate a larger variety of all our content.
- Improved navigation throughout all the pages of the Escapist with an expanded menu system.
- New ways to find our existing content. Find the most commented news, the most popular articles, and the hottest forum threads in new areas of the site.
- A better presentation of our most popular stuff, including completely new index pages dedicated to different types of content.
- Improved archives and searchability (including the updated forum search, which we snuck out early).
- … and a slew of new pages and features we’d like to keep as a surprise.
Keeping with tradition, we’re planning on unveiling our new site design next Tuesday, along with Issue 202. There always a small chance of a delay, but it’s looking good for launch. We hope you’ll like it as much as we do!
In preparation of the launch, we’re also going to be upgrading some of our servers starting this evening. We don’t anticipate any downtime, but there’s always a chance.