Dear Escapists,

As you visit The Escapist today, you’ll notice we’ve made a few changes. We feel, and think you’ll soon come to believe, these are improvements – in performance, design and usability. These changes have been tweaked and tested and purposefully broken, repeatedly, so as to give you all the best experience possible while you’re here.

That’s not to say something won’t be a little wonky. Things as massive as a site re-launch are nigh impossible to test fully without the usual millions of people pounding the site with different internet browsers and hardware builds. If you run into something a little … weird, let us know! We want to fix it. We want you to be really happy here, even more happy now that we’ve updated the site! Here, we’ve even created a whole page in which you can tell us about the problems you encounter:

Speaking of those updates, now that you have the new site in front of you, wanna take a quick tour?

Tabs – You’ll see a lot of these throughout the site. We’ve made the organization of goodies around the site a lot more transparent with tabs. You’ll find these tabs all over the site, from the menu bar across the top of the site, to the forum box on the front page, down to the Feed of Awesome (my personal name for the blog-like roll of all our content) on the lower half of the front page. Two types of tabs are:

  • Top menu – What kind of stuff are you looking to enjoy during your visit? Videos? Start at the Videos tab. Review for that new game? Reviews tab. Also, be sure to check out the new “Community” tab – you’ll find out what your fellow Escapists are up to with our site-wide Twitter feed, as well as to whom you should spam happy birthday PMs. Do note, the blue submenu on each tab will provide more information for those of you who hate wandering and just want to get right to the point.
  • “Hot” and “Popular” – Pretty much all the other tabs around the site are filters that allow those of you who only have time for the hottest news, forum threads, articles … and so on. Only want the stuff most people are reading? “Most Popular” is for you. Want to chime in on the most exciting conversations? Hit “Hot Threads.” Just a note: We’ve also pre-filtered these for stuff from the last two weeks only – even if you only want the top news items and forum threads, we want to keep you up to date!

Top Feature Box – Most days, you’ll see a big box under the menu bar and under your profile information. (It’s moved! And it shows which of your friends are online!) The big box is similar to the old “Current Issue” space, but its content will change most every day. If you only check one thing at The Escapist every day, you’re missing out! But if you must, this is your go-to space.

The Grid – The space under the Top Feature Box, and the returning Forum Box, is filled with articles and news and videos and announcements … everything that is good and holy about The Escapist. The staff has direct control over everything in this space: the specific pieces shown, the size and shape of those pieces and even the colors of the text. Basically, our darling tech people have made this space such that if we say jump, it does it. Check this space often, because it will be updated all day, every day, whenever we find nifty stuff we want to share with you.

Escapist Quick Links – Along the right-hand side of the site, you’ll see a column of boxes that are links to your favorite branded features on The Escapist. For those of you who are a little worried about all the ch-ch-ch-changes, both to the site as a whole and the constantly updating section to the left, these are your anchors. When you need your Stolen Pixels or Zero Punctuation fix, not to worry! We understand. These boxes are for you.

Total Feed – Or, the aforementioned “Feed of Awesome” is so-named because this is where every delicious bit of goodness that goes up on the site is listed. If you just want it all, this is for you. News, articles, announcements, videos, comics, conference coverage, reviews – everything lives here. Note: The tabs here, “Most Popular” and “Most Commented,” will filter from the last two weeks of content only. This is purposeful, as news is best served fresh, and we don’t want to lead you into accidentally “necroing” a thread from 2007 in the forums just ‘cuz it was commented on a lot. That would just be mean.

The rest of the front page should look pretty familiar. Hmmm, unless you’re new, and in that case, welcome! I’ll not go through the rest of the site, as I don’t want to ruin the mystery. Here’s a hint: If you get the idea on the front page, you’ll probably have a pretty good notion of what’s going to happen in the other sections. If you have questions, please ask us; we like to talk. But for now, go forth, young Escapists, and … Escape into the new site!

Julianne Greer

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