The countdown has ended, and the goods have been duly despatched to us as promised. It’s a new website, it’s very good and you should slap yourself round the face if you thought it was going to be The Movie.
As with most things, the project seems to have over run so a not entirely finished version has been launched which seems to have effected the finer details of W3C XHTML validity and some of the section’s layouts. However, this new version is certainly a big step up, with well structured and ordered mark-up, complete separation of styles to external Style Sheets and a much cleaner layout. It’s certainly heading full pelt in the right direction.
Anyway, enough about all that. What most people will be concerned about is how it looks and how easy it is to use. Personally, I think it scores well on both of those counts there’s a nice sleek title, clear text links to various sections of the site and the MUCH clearer organisation of the news items are all present and correct. I think the news archive could be reworked from the current list into a more calendar based navigation, though. It’s good that it was released in its current state and we can now watch as the kinks are duly ironed out as the design is polished off.
I’d say the main issues I have with it at this early stage is that the three column design doesn’t always work very well and some re-tooling into a two column design with more space given the main content would be a good idea and that the aforementioned news archives should be re-worked into something more than a big paginated list.
I know there’s already a backlash going on, and this honestly isn’t some concerted backlash against the backlash. I genuinely like the new design. I think a franchise like Red Dwarf whose web presence has always been centred around news and articles should have a design like this, not some loud collection of images and Flash better served to disguise the fact there’s been no new content for years.