It's a new year and, as you may have noticed, there is a new coat of paint on the old joint. Welcome to the all-new Theater Hopper!
People who know me are aware that I've been kicking around the idea for a redesign probably since last October. At least, that's when I started working on it. I've probably have ideas or at least loose sketches lying about since early last year! But, of course, life gets in the way, you self-publish a couple of books and, well... where does the time go?
Part of the goal behind redesigning the site was purely cosmetic. As you can see, I've widened the content area of the site to a little over 900 pixels wide. My counter statistics were telling me that the majority of you were viewing the site at 1024 x 768. So many of you were, in fact that the two resolutions below it (800 x 600 and 640 x 420) COMBINED couldn't compare. To me, that's a lot of wasted real estate. Especially considering that those of you viewing the site at a resolution LARGER than 1024 x 768 outnumber those below that resolution by a margin of nearly 3 to 1.
That's kind of technical. And I'm getting away from my point.
The other goal behind the redesign was to get the site to a point where it could kind of generate it's own activity and help maintain traffic flow. As you may recall, Cami and I are having a baby in February. Clearly my resources will need to be dedicated to my family at that time. But I also didn't want to abandon the site or come back to comics faced with the challenge of rebuilding what I had lost.
To that end, we have introduced several new features!
First is the Mailing List. Sign up and I'll be sure to notify you every time the comic updates. This is a great little reminder in case you don't check the site every day. Don't worry, I'm not going to spam ya'. It's just a little extra customer service on our end!
Second is the "Mail This Comic to a Friend" feature. This is so those of you who are already fans of the comic can help me spread the good word. It's a very easy e-mail form that lets you include a message along with the link to the specific comic you're referencing and a great way to tell people about that HILARIOUS Theater Hopper strip you read today without having to open your mail client!
Third is the excellent "Rate This Comic" feature. (I'm really thrilled about this one.) It's simple - just navigate yourself to the comic you want to rank, click on the link and place your vote on a scale of 1 to 5. This is a great piece of instant feedback that I can use to figure out what you guys like to see in the comic! Eventually, once we've collected enough votes, we're going to post a link to a Top 50 page so you can see the most popular Theater Hopper strips of all time!
Again, this will be a great advantage to bringing new readers to the site. Instead of seaching through the archives as a means to being introduced to the site, they can check out the Top 50 page and see if there is anything to their linking! Hopefully, with your feedback, we can hook 'em and bring new readers to the site!
Last, but not least, we are introducing a brand new Commenting feature in the blogs. Now you can leave INSTANT feedback for each of the comics and the individual blogs. This is a major coup for me. For a while now, I've been posting a lot over on my LiveJournal page. Mostly because I enjoy the feedback I get from the readers. I thought to myself "Why can't I have something like this for Theater Hopper?" So, with a little help, we brought the feature to the site! My goal is to post more often to this space and really bring the blog back to the foreground again.
This feature will be great for people who want to leave feedback about the comics who might be a little intimidated by sending an e-mail or joining the THorum Of course, my hope is that if you're posting, you have a strong enough investment in what's being communicated to return to the site more often to see how others have responded to what you've left behind!
There are also some smaller touches we've added to the site including a the weekend box office office estimates for the Top Five films of the week, courtesy of Box Office Mojo as well as a few new pages that haven't been added to the site yet - permanent homes for information about the history of the site, the cast, my contact information, press I've done and which conventions I'll be appearing at. You'll see announcements about these new areas as they are added!
Also be sure to check out the new store! All of your favorite goodies are there, but we're streamlining the ordering process and also adding a permanent section that allows you to bundle different items together at a reduced cost! That'll be the first part of the site besides the home page to be up on two feet in the very near future.
If you guys are feeling up to it, I would love for you to take advantage of the commenting feature to get your thoughts about the new site design. Test things out. Play with it a little bit. I'll be making changes and additions to the site all month and I would love to get your opinion about what we can do better.
With all of that said, I need to take a special time out and call attention to all of the help I've been given by a wonderful guy - Dave Buist, creator of the online comic Taking the Bi-Pass.
Dave has been an invaluable resource to me over the past month. He's the guy that actually wrote the code for all of these wonderful applications. He helped me out immensely by creating databases to manage everything and he did it with great enthusiasm and efficiency. Often times, Dave went above and beyond creating features for the site that I hadn't even considered.
As a small token of my thanks, I have attached a permanent link in the footer of the site to give credit to Dave for his enormous contribution to the site. Without him, none of this would be possible. Please show your support for Dave's hard work by visiting Taking the Bi-Pass, bookmarking it and adding it to your weekly reads! Thanks, Dave!
That about does it for now - although I'm sure more will come up later. Again, take a look around, rank your favorite comics (use the archive search function if you need to!), leave comments and let all of your friends know about the exciting changes happening to the site.
2007 is going to be better than ever!
UGH! Why bother? The first movie was bad enough to make me stop believing in the magic of comic books.
A FEW MINUTES LATER...
So what did you think of the trailer, Tom?
Was it enough to make you a believer again?
HOLY CRAP! THE SILVER SURFER IS REAL AND HE'S COME TO DESTROY US ALL!
Heh, heh... Uh... His New Year's resolution is to be a little more outgoing.
I gotta warn my Mom!