Welcome to ANN 5.0

posted on 2013-11-28 16:18 EST by Christopher Macdonald

Maybe you haven't noticed yet, but Anime News Network looks a little different today. Not much, just a little. We decided to move a few things around on the front page, add some pictures, change the marquee, completely revamp the site's back end and.. okay, so maybe it looks more than a little different. We call this new version of the site “ANN 5.0”

2013 is ANN's 15th anniversary. Justin Sevakis launched Anime News Network in July 1998 with an article about Disney's 1999 theatrical release of Princess Mononoke. In order to celebrate our 15th anniversary, we decided to redesign the look of the site. No other reason...

Well, maybe it also had something to do with improving the usability of the site. Truth be told, ANN 5.0 was planned a long time before we started thinking about our 15th anniversary. Usability remains the key reason for any change we make to the site.

With ANN 5.0 we had a number of very specific goals:

  1. We wanted to make the site more usable on different devices and screen sizes. Rather than creating a crappy mobile redirect, we went for a single responsive design that would adapt the site to almost any screen size, and a set of menus that actually work on touch devices.
  2. We created a completely new backend, something we call Smorgasbord, for the site that will allow us to make future changes faster. We'll now be able to plug-in off-the-shelf software packages with much less modification, develop more of our own code at a faster pace, and outsource new features to independent developers.

Those were the major goals with ANN 5.0, but we've added in a whole slew of other features, and there are more to come. Here's a bit of what we've added to ANN 5.0

  1. Twitter and Facebook logins (if you already have an ANN account, be sure to enable this through your account settings page), otherwise clicking “login with facebook/twitter” will create a new account.
  2. We brought user skins back! You can now make your own skins. Check out the Skin Editor and some example skins here.
  3. 4 different layout options for the front page. Our favorite is the default layout, but we know many of our readers have different tastes. If you don't like the grid layout, you can turn it off, and if you don't like all the pictures on the front page, you can get rid of those too.

There are more changes planned for ANN in the coming months. Smorgasbord will allow us to push out more update more often. So we hope you like what you see today, and enjoy what's to come.

On another note, there is one other thing we did to celebrate our 15th Anniversary. We decided to send one of our readers to Japan with Pac Set tours. Today, to coincide with out launch of ANN 5.0 and to cap off all our 15th-anniversary actvities, we're also announcing the winner of that contest.

Thank you for all your support these last 15 years!

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