So what is version 11.5?
So by now you'll have seen the changes made to UKA. The new dropdown menus, the dedicated review sections for games, live action and figures, and the general tidying that I've implemented site-wide.
And yet, despite the work that's gone into this change, it's all going to vanish as we replace UKA with version 12, the first in a new generation of sites that will have more functionality, better integration and more areas for readers to interact with. UKA will be evolving in form and function, in a change that will be as big, if not bigger, than when I first rebuilt the site to work with a database driven CMS over 10 years ago.
I still balk at the memory of having to take what was then 300 pages of reviews and enter them all into a database. Still, it was preferable to having to update every single page on the site when I came up with a redesign! With over 1,500 articles across the site, I'd hate to have to do that job now...
Since the change to a CMS system, we removed the bottleneck (me) and the site started to grow. We had new writers, artists and even comic strips on the site. The forum further enhanced the old girl (still can't believe I actually fought against that!) and after a total of 17 years, UKA is one of the widest-read UK anime sites on the web. Not bad for a half-baked idea a 16 year old came up with.
So, why even bother with 11.5? It's that darned database. Because of the radical changes, I needed to create a stepping stone version of the site that would allow me to make the full version transition easier. It also allowed me to experiment with some nice CSS3 effects and even add those very cool dropdown menus and get a reaction.
This all feeds into version 12. Oh, there's so much going into this :)
Some specifics? Oh go on then...
Ignoring all the back-end stuff that will bore you rigid, we're re-organising our content. Every series (or near as dammit) will have a hub page. Love K-On? Want to see all our K-On related content? Well now you'll be able to, as the site will group all of our coverage together for you.
Will it look different? Oh yes. Mizuki's gaining a new wardrobe, the site will have a new colour scheme and everything will be spring-cleaned. But wait, you like how it looks now you say? Well, maybe (just maybe) we'll cater for you too...
And for interactivity? Following on from adding Disqus to the site, which has led to some excellent discussion on the main pages, we want you to have more interaction with the content - awarding your own score, marking a product as one you own and maybe even having your own site profile too. I want to make UKA completely inclusive to all our readers, and version 12 will be the first time that it will be possible. In fact, it will be vital to the site's DNA going forward
So that's a few tidbits for what's on the way. Of course, we're always happy to take suggestions in the forum, and you can follow developments on our Twitter feed too.
Watch the skies people... or something ^_-