August, 2000

Shakespeare Resource Center screen shot from August, 2000

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This design was a synthesis of two concepts:

  1. I wanted to incorporate an image map into the splash page to give it a little more contrast to the "interior" pages of the site.
  2. I decided it was necessary to start creating some affiliations with some other sites, which meant incorporating some additional graphics into the site.

The image map itself underwent a couple of transformations. I was experimenting with JavaScript mouse-over images at the time, and thought it would be cute to add a rollover image map with little blinky buttons that lit up when you moused over a link. That is as close as I've ever come to designing eye candy for eye candy's sake. After a short amount of time, I decided the additional code and image overhead on the page simply wasn't worth it, and it really added nothing to the user experience anyway. I eventually decided on the static-but-much-simpler quill design that is displayed above.

The affiliate stuff is another story altogether. The SRC storefront was added to the site in October of 2000. There hadn't been much content to add since the play synopses were introduced nine months before. Added to that, I decided it was worth a shot to try to break even on an overall site cost of $240.00 per year (every little bit helps, hint, hint). The two affiliations that made the most sense were and the History Channel. Both were free, and both provided a commission on sales originating from the site. I didn't have to worry about distribution, processing, order tracking, etc.; it seemed like a good deal. eNotes came along later. I've been meaning to talk to eNotes about their utter lack of any middle ground between a plain text link and a 480-width banner.

At any rate, I was adding things here and there (e.g., the grammar section and the CGI glossary) to keep my chops up, and the site was actually on target to break even until this August of 2001. That's when Commission Junction dropped their pay-per-click (1¢ for each click on a banner) program like it was a live grenade. Just another example of the man keeping me down.

This design lasted until I decided that it was no longer feasible for doing easy sitewide updates. Plus, the basic look hadn't radically changed since moving to the bardweb domain, and I had learned a few new tricks since then. Going through the renewal process for the domain got me thinking about it, and I started thinking about how to implement a few different ideas into the site. That led to the newest incarnation of the Shakespeare Resource Center, which went live on September 5, 2001.

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