In which I herald glorious wonderful change

In this open letter from 2003, I try to persuade our readers not to fear our major redesign of amarillo.com. Despite my pleas, there was some fear. Change is hard. Especially when you move the obits.

To our readers

In July of 1996, the Amarillo Globe-News took a step into the future when we launched our Web site, amarillonet.com.

It was a modest effort by today’s standards, but exciting: our reporters’ words, our photographers’ images, suddenly available to anyone, anywhere.

The Internet has been through high and low times since that year. The promise of an economic revolution gave way to the hangover of the dot-com bust, which was followed by the sober and honest assessment that while the Internet may not save the world, it has certainly changed it.

Throughout the Internet’s rise, fall and rise, amarillonet.com has been a consistent presence. Each year, we added more features and content. We worked to improve layout, ease navigation and decrease errors. And we developed a relationship with many of our online readers who came to rely on us for their daily information.

What began as plain text on a white background (as seen in this early story) evolved slowly into what you see today. By December 1996, we actually had a logo! In 1998 we were in our famous Lighthouse-floating-above-Earth phase. The year 2000 saw the expansion of our logo and the takeover of the familiar blue theme.

(Showing these old pages feels a bit like displaying naked baby pictures.)

By May of 2001, our pages looked very similar to their current appearance. And so they have stayed.

Until November 2003.

A fresh new amarillo.com is on its way

In a few weeks, we will launch our newly re-designed, re-engineered and re-imagined amarillo.com.

Note the new address. We will combine the content and resources of amarillonet.com and our current amarillo.com into one powerhouse of a local Web site. It’s our first major revision to the site since its launch. Most of the changes you’ve seen have been incremental, evolutionary. This one is big.

We had a few goals with this redesign. First, we wanted to take all the latest and best thinking on usable and friendly Web design and put it into practice. We also wanted to give our Web site a fresh new look and make it worth visiting throughout the day. And finally, we wanted long-time users to feel comfortable and at home.

We think we’ve reached our goals, and we hope you feel the same. Here are some other things you can expect from the new amarillo.com:

Fresh content throughout the day, tailored to meet your needs. For example, we’ll emphasize business news on weekday mornings. We’ll showcase great TV picks on Thursday nights. And Saturday morning, high school football results will be front and center.

Everything we offer will be easy to find within the amarillo.com domain. Prep sports, local news, city information, movie times, classified ads and much more will be in one place.

Future plans include a better, more effective search function; Web-based Classified ad ordering and payment; and easier reading through related story links.

Please take a sneak peek at our new Web site. We still have some last-minute adjustments before launch, but you’ll get a good idea of the new colors and layout.

Rest assured we’re not changing for change’s sake. We believe the new amarillo.com will be a valuable and enjoyable resource that Amarilloans can be proud of. We know it’s a big responsibility to represent our city to the rest of the world. And we are proud to be amarillo.com.

You’re welcome to use the form below to let us know what you think of the preview, and to give us any ideas or requests you have for our new site.

And please keep watching. Good things are happening at amarillo.com.

Thanks for reading,

Justin Shumaker
Amarillo Globe-News Webmaster

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