September, 1998

Shakespeare Resource Center screen shot from September, 1998

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I did the first major redesign for the site for a number of reasons. One, I was a bona fide Web professional by then, and that's what Web professionals do—they do site facelifts on a regular basis. Two, there were more things to add to the site (notice that the content areas have grown from nine to an even dozen; more on that later). Three, I was just learning FrontPage 98 (not an endorsement), and I kept having these visions of themes running through my head. Plus, I had decided that the site was going to be around longer than I had previously thought.

One of the things I hadn't originally anticipated was the e-mails that began coming in around the beginning of each April (coinciding, as I quickly realized, with final term papers being assigned at schools all around the nation). In order to get a slightly better handle on that, I incorporated the feedback feature into the site using the generic script provided by the ISP.

Then, because every site at the time seemed to be incorporating a search engine, I figured the SRC was due. This led to a well-intentioned but misguided inclusion of a JavaScript "search engine" that required hard coding the text of each page into an array. Of course, I was stuck without true CGI functionality while I was on a membership site, so you get what you pay for.

The site FAQ essentially came along because of the number of questions I received on how to cite the SRC in a bibliography. It was another good idea that never quite realized its full potential. Unfortunately, most of the questions I would receive over the next couple of years were so unique that an FAQ never really blossomed. That's the reason you don't see an FAQ on this version of the site.

I've also realized with the benefit of hindsight that the overall site theme was a mistake. It wasn't that it necessarily looked bad. On the other hand, the type was too small and tended to blend too much into the "fall" background of the page. The resulting look was a bit too dark and lacking in visual contrast to be a good reading experience.

The site change itself has a lot to do with my life at the time. I left in February of 1998 to concentrate on my last quarter of schoolwork for my Masters degree. I passed my comprehensive exam in early September of that year, and as I was A) overjoyed, and B) unemployed, I had a lot of time on my hands again and no other way to creatively express myself. So I began the site redesign. This design would last until my next steady job, which took about eight months to find. The lesson? Unemployment doesn't discriminate against the overeducated, either.

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