The History of iSoaker.com .:
Start: May 1, 2004.
May 1st 2004 Reboot initialized. New styling, new articles, new layout, new colouring, new feel, new SOAKER SEASON!
2004 is the first year iSoaker.com participated in the May 1st Reboot and marks one of the more ambitious site-wide changes attempted.
As can be seen, the splash page has been extremely simplified to give visitors a sense of curiousity upon visiting the site. However, one is only a couple of clicks away from accessing the remainder of the site thanks to navigational elements available in the main page's Flash movie. Inner pages' headers and side bar navigations have also been redesigned to match the new feel of the site.
Splash page aside, the majority of the water fight articles have been upgraded and updated with a much greater emphasis on the game aspect of water fights. Many more images and figures grace the different pages as well, improving the overall look and feel of the site.
The Armoury and Articles databases access pages have been reformatted in order to make browsing simpler and faster. As well, iSoaker.com's Armoury images have gotten an upgrade, significantly improving the picture quality in the detailed review pages for the majority of the products iSoaker.com has in its current holdings. While the overall information provided in the detailed review pages remains the same, some aspects of the detailed reviews' format has been refined for a better viewing experience. iSoaker.com Ratings have been moved into the text portion of the review while different Views of the products have been deconvoluted from the Details part of the Flash movie.
In terms of products, the iSoaker.com database has been significantly increased, now including many more different makes from different manufacturers. While iSoaker.com definitely does not cover every water blaster that is out there, it is sampling a greater number.
Lastly, the Soaker Network aspect of iSoaker.com has also been enhanced. The Events page has been moved into the Soaker Network section as it only seems more fitting there. Registered individuals and groups are also increasing in numbers. iSoaker.com remains committed to improving and increasing the positive activity in the online communities.
Start: June 1, 2004.
While the May 1st Reboot changed a lot on the site, somehow, the new design just was not properly conveying what iSoaker.com is all about. Thus, corrective measures were taken and key graphical aspects of the site were altered, making the water warfare nature of the site more obvious.
The redesigned splash page, while offering a choice of links in the Flash movie, also contains quick links to featured pages on the site. Inner pages have had their title bars tweaked to make identifying sub-sections simpler. Main sub-sections now have image maps to highlight the inner pages.
Start: December 23, 2004.
Pleased with the general structure of the iSoaker.com site and file structure, the 'for 2005' update focusses more on some layout elements as well as streamlining of the various sections of the site. Page designs and cross-linking between pages has been further developed as well as some subtle, but uniform colours added into the three major sub-sections: Information has a blue undertone, The Armoury has a reddish undertone, and The Soaker Network has a greenish undertone.
The Site Index has been severely revamped to now include a book-index-like method of navigation (i.e. inner pages sorted alphabetically by subject). As well, the side navigation bar has been extended to include more relevant links in other sections depending on the page one is browsing.
Content-wise, the iSoaker.com Product Gallery has been relaunched, pushing up over 200 soaker images onto the site. As well, some older, but lost humor image files have been found and added into the Humour section. Experiments have also been done to the Flash Blaster Inspector template for use in 2005 blaster reviews. Presently, it's undecided whether or not all the older review Inspectors will be converted to the newer form.
Overall, iSoaker.com greets 2005 in ready form for the soaking-season to be.
2005: Somewhere along the way...
Start: Summer... sometime...
Sometime mid-season, 2005, iSoaker.com underwent several minor changes to aspects of the layout with some new graphical elements added as well as having the header background graphic changed to a darker image.
Past experiments with the Flash-based Blaster Inspector has yielded a more streamlined Inspector that launches in a separate window. This allows the blaster review pages to load much faster as it appears only more interested individuals make use of the Inspectors; most just wish to see initial images.
The iSoaker.com Forums likely underwent the greatest amount of changes in terms of organization with the old sets of forums regrouped and reorganized into more fitting categories. As the rest of the site appears to function well, little else had been tweaked.
2006: Start of something new...
Instead of offering the product database browser right off top, instead the main three sections on iSoaker.com are presented by the really BIG icons. As well, the header has been lightened again since, somehow, it better fits the feel of the site in general. The main goal for 2006 (apart from reviewing the latest soakers on the market) is simplifying things further on the site to make the inner information easier to find.
The biggest change for the 2006 site so far has been the huge revamp of the product image gallery. All soakers have newer, higher-res images for browsing. As well, some older items (pre-dating Super Soaker (tm)) have been added to the database. More changes are planned as the year unfolds. It is still winter right now. More to come as the weather gets warmer.
As always, soak on!
2006: Continuing to Evolve
Welcome, Spring, 2006!
A week ago, it definitely felt like Spring, though as I type this entry, the local weather had gotten somewhat cooler (not to mention a touch of flurries). However, Spring is undoubtedly en route and, in the spirit of Spring, iSoaker.com is undergoing some changes, giving birth to two new sections: mySoaker and the Training Grounds The Training Grounds section is similar to the old 'Tips and Tactics' section that was merged awhile ago into the 'Information' section. However, after some thinking, it was decided that the training area will make it easier for those newer to soaking to find the tips and get ideas on how to hold games/tournaments. The 'mySoaker' section is introduced in effort to further promote interest in water warfare by showcasing members and individuals who enjoy the activity. In addition, the order of the sections have been rearranged also in hopes to promote interest in water warfare.
As always, soak on!
2007: Reviving Water War
Somewhere along the way, community members and sites in general began focussing more on soaker technology and soaker performance and less on soaker usage. While water blaster tech and knowledge is great to have, their value is lost if they are not used and enjoyed for their primary purpose: Soaking others!
For 2007, while iSoaker.com will continue to post up as many reviews on the new stock soakers as possible, much more emphasis will be placed on soaker usage with a series of new articles planned for the year as well as more discussions planned in the forums.
From a design perspective, iSoaker.com has been streamlined and simplified. The previous side-bar navigation has been replaced by a pop-up drop-down menu, thus freeing the bulk of the page for content. Even the top navigational header has been shortened to leave more space on the page for content presentation. Of course, layout is only the start of things coming in 2007. A series of new articles describing more aspects of water warfare are already being created and shall be posted as they reach maturity as we head towards the 2007 Northern Hemisphere soaker season.
As always, soak on!