The ghost of Cardinals past: Our websites through the ages

By on June 13, 2013

By Simon Isham–

Ladies and gentlemen, you would not believe how the Internet has changed the way you view your news.

Yesterday, after about a week of website outage on the end of our server, the Louisville Cardinal launched its brand-new, shiny, freshly redesigned website. We’d love to know what you think, and hope you’ll leave your comments below.

But yesterday’s unveiling is only one of a great many in a series of redesigns that the Cardinal has undergone.

We took out the registration on the domain, Louisvillecardinal.com, in July of 2000, back when Netscape was still the browser of choice and the Cardinal was using floppy disks instead of SD cards to store photos. To put things in more perspective, the incoming class of 2017 were still in kindergarten. And somewhere out there on the World Wide Web, an archival server was taking discreet cached images of our website — back when having one at all meant you were way ahead of the curve.

The following is a comprehensive tour of the Cardinal’s design evolution throughout the ages.

 

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This is a screenshot of how the web version of the Cardinal looked in it’s infancy, when “online” was a buzzword, dated August 2, 2002. The site appears to have looked this way until sometime in late 2006, when it was replaced by the following glaringly pink website. The story about Bush’s visit to the McConnell scholars, along with several about the SGA, remind that there is a timeless element to all such journalism that transcends the constraints of the design trends of the day.

 

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In late 2008, the Cardinal transitioned to yet another phase — one in which the logo never displayed quite right until April of 2010. The photos from this period have also come largely unlinked. Throughout this phase, the Cardinal actually garnered some prestigious awards for its website at Kentucky’s journalism conferences, signifying that at that time, this stuff was cutting-edge. More services were offered through the Cardinal at this time than any other in its web history, and the judges were particularly impressed by our online Classifieds section — a feature we still offer, FYI. During this time, the Cardinal was also a Twitter pioneer, was a member of the College Media Network and was uploading the print version of the paper regularly via Issuu.

 

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The early 2011 logo change was noteworthy for this report …

 

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… as was the period when we evidently became the “College Times” (circa July 2011).

 

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Later that same year, the Cardinal employed a more graphically involved theme that made use of a featured slider to showcase the most important posts.

 

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If you’ve been with us a while, you’ll remember this next version — the penultimate. This one was former Editor-in-Chief Rae Hodge’s baby, customized for us by Michael Kennedy (also a former EIC). It built on the idea of prominently featured photos, while still retaining a classic newspaper feel. Indeed, the “The Louisville Cardinal” logo came from our print edition masthead back in the broadsheet days (2006-ish).

 

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And now I get to brag on myself, but only because I’m so excited to share the latest features with you. This Cardinal is unlike any that have come before, in that it is both responsive (rather than creating a pared-down version of the full site, this one shrinks itself to fit on your mobile device) and retina ready (meaning that you can zoom in quite a bit and it’ll still look fresh on the most HD of screens). It offers a heart-shaped “Like” button that is not tied to any social network, and that any unique visitor can take advantage of. (Go ahead and try it out on this article.) The new theme also offers a Breaking News bar and support for a better Twitter feed, meaning that you’ll know what’s been going on as soon as it happens. Plus, we all think it’s super attractive. Not to mention that it comes with our snazzy new logo, designed by Mason McFarland. So check it out!

 

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To conclude all this, having seen these images of sites from antiquity makes me think of all the Cardinal editors who came before me, and it makes me wonder what they could have accomplished in terms of a web presence had our times and terms been switched. Whatever the future holds for the Cardinal, I hope they will smile down on me from the big newsroom in the sky.

About Simon Isham

Simon Isham is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Louisville Cardinal, where he has worked since 2012. For his reporting at the Cardinal, he has won awards from the Kentucky Press Association and the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has also written for LEO Weekly and Insider Louisville. He graduated in December 2014.

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