redesign: the frontend

(Part 2 of my recap of the redesign. Part 1 is here)

Layout-wise, I made a few changes to First, a much wider default width (from 800 to 1024 pixels) allowed me a second sidebar. After a lot of experimentation and feedback from the VGVA board, I displayed our sponsors in two cycling blocks (thank you, jQuery Cycle Plugin!), plus a separate block for new “official supplier sponsor” Team sponsors should be pleased, at least; their logos had previously been stuck below the footer.

The left sidebar displays news and matchmaker listings, two things previously confined to a couple pages each, as well as section sub-menus where appropriate, for easier navigation. Speaking of News, I decided to scrap the news archive page from the previous design. I’d gotten the idea from the Out on Screen site, but after a while archiving past events felt pretty useless (especially since almost all these events recur every year). I don’t have the numbers to back up my guts, but it makes for a simpler architecture and nobody’s complained yet, so there you are.

The matchmaker section hasn’t changed much, as far as the user would tell, except I did implement an AJAX-based login/signup process (which falls back to plain synchronous forms if the browser isn’t running JavaScript).

Lastly, I tried my hand at this responsive design thing I’ve heard so much about. Nothing too fancy, just narrowing or removing the width of the left sidebar for smaller screens, plus taking out some stylistic frills (e.g.: rounded corners) for mobile browsers.

So there you have it! This redesign consumed so much of my free time for months, but now I can finally relax a bit…