Evolution of the WebReference.com Home Page / Page 3 | WebReference

Evolution of the WebReference.com Home Page / Page 3

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Evolution of a Home Page [con't]


Jan. 14, 1996 - 11 awards
This version is a speed-optimized version of the last one. Note that the compound logo has been consolidated into one graphic (still too tall vertically), and the graphic text is now text with one cached spider head used as a pointer. Feedback from users caused us to put "Enter here" as the first option as people were unclear where to enter the site proper. This is the first appearance of Web Headlines, an automated daily news feature run by a "newsbot." Won Cool Site of the Day on New Year's Eve and our hits went through the roof.

Jan. 21, 1996 - 17 awards
Screen height optimized version. Note how we've removed the large graphic text Webmaster Reference Library and combined it (using Chicago 12 aliased) with our banner. Our usage studies showed us that people didn't like to scroll, and were not clicking on links below the first screen nearly as much as the first. The cool interlocking logo remains, and we've changed our main categories yet again. "This just in" is Web Headlines and "Local news" is what's new on the site. Cool Central makes its first appearance here as a hotlist of picker sites within WebReference.com. Old Internet Connect employees will recognize our old logo at the bottom of this page.

Feb. 2, 1996 - 23 awards
Free speech black version. I really liked this version, as it looks quite sleek. Our logo has changed, with a couple legs trimmed off. Web Headlines is back, and Feature Articles makes its first appearance on the main menu. "How can you be in two places at once" is a teaser for our new remote search capability using Excite for Web Servers. We start to experiment with tempting titles to new articles and features to draw people into the site. The JavaScript ticker makes its first, and last appearance.

Mar. 2, 1996 - 800 sites - 27 awards
Developer's Corner makes its first appearance. To attract attention to Cool Central we put an animated blue spider head above the link. It works. Cool Central becomes one of the most popular parts of the site. Removed the ticker by popular demand and replaced it with a marquee for Internet Explorer users.

Mar. 3, 1996
Name changed to AA webreference.com. We started to concentrate on how we appeared in the major search engines. Using AA (for Athenia Associates) would lift us higher in alphabetical lists. It works in some cases. This version has a new description. We refined the description over the next few months to include keywords.

Apr. 5, 1996 - 29 awards
Our first ad from Adobe appears. Note the white on white keywords at the bottom of the page, this is called keyword spamming, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now a no-no (spiders actually penalize sites that use it).

Jun. 6, 1996 - 39 awards
Our logo now has extruded text plus our drop-shadowed spider. This logo was optimized using HVS Color and is only 16 colors and 4090 bytes. At the high shading setting HVS Color can reduce continuous-toned drop shadows and graphics 1 to 2 bits beyond conventional techniques.

Sep. 18, 1996 - 45 awards
We now highlight new content with a thumbnail graphic and a dated description below the first screen. This marks the debut of JavaScript Tip of the Week on WebReference.com and an increase in the original content regularly added to the site.

Nov. 3, 1996 - 50 awards
Book excerpts start. For outstanding books we feature them on the front page with a thumbnail graphic and a link to chapter excerpts.

Dec. 16, 1996 - 52 awards
Speed optimization, new look. In response to user feedback we eliminated the thumbnail for each article and use colored text. We used alternating pastel colors using font color= size= text. Started reporting on key events on the Internet and the Web (Internet World).

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