Domains ’19: 21c Durham

With the Domains 2019 conference location finally released yesterday, I thought it would only make sense to share a few photos of the venue. I visited the space back at the beginning of September and it’s been so hard to keep quiet! If you can believe it, 21c Museum Hotel in Durham is arguably cooler than the 21c in OKC, but shh, don’t tell Domains ’17.

First thing’s first: the museum hotel has been built out of an old reconstructed bank, so you’ll find this push & pull between creative art installations and corporate architecture throughout your entire stay. 

I absolutely love that you can find art at every turn– whether you’re waiting on the couch in the hotel lobby, sneaking a penguin into your hotel room, or grabbing a bite to eat at Counting House

Similar to Domains ’17, presenters at Domains ’19 will speak in/around art galleries like the ones pictured below:

Even the stairwells have their own installations, which I like to call Head in the Clouds.

Without a doubt, I’m incredibly pumped for Domains ’19. Taking the year off from conference planning sure was nice, but it feels good to be back in full force with the bigger & badder conference theme, Back to the Future. I’m looking forward to blending in our Domains content with that of our way-cool conference venue, and am anxious to see what our crazy-talented artist friends come up with.

My personal hope for Domains ’19 is more or less identical to the expectations that I had for my 21c visit: to have an interactive experience, to be challenged by what’s in front of me, and to leave with a greater appreciation of the extreme talents of others. I was impressed in September, and now I can’t wait for next June.

To stay in the know about all things Domains ’19, make sure you’re subscribed to notifications.

Website Redesign for Reclaim

As you have likely seen by now, reclaimhosting.com got a serious facelift last week! I’m completely thrilled with how it turned out, and super excited to see these designs come to life. There were many goals for the new site, but I’ve summarized them into 5 categories: 1) freshen up the general design; 2) create a stronger VHS tape metaphor; 3) highlight our schools; 4) add more detail about products for potential customers; 5) roll out new services.

I’m going to use this post to share some of my favorite before/after images that will not only highlight that the above has been accomplished, but so I have a reference to look back on later down the road. (I can’t tell you how often I’ve ended up going back and looking at our before and after images of CoWork Fredericksburg.)

Homepage

Before:

After:

We kept the header image and three blocks of text to create a sense of familiarity for our existing users. The top menu bar is also similar, except for a few new added services. But instead of using the majority of the homepage to showcase institutional logos, we’ve replaced that with a slideshow of logos at the top, along with a link to all schools. Other additions to the homepage include a “yourdomain.com” VHS tape (which is similar in design to our new Splash Page & headers of other site pages), brief descriptions of our primary hosting packages for folks that are brand new to the hosting world, and testimonials from a few of our DoOO schools. I feel that it’s a great overview of what Reclaim Hosting is and what we have to offer.

Applications

Before:

After:

Aside from obvious design differences, the biggest change with the Applications page is that it is simply visible now. While the old page was published, it wasn’t linked anywhere so folks didn’t know it existed unless we pointed them to it in a support ticket. The Apps page is now present in our top menu bar, and is shown more as ‘features’ page for Reclaim vs. an answer to a question we often get in support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before:

After:

I’m super excited that we’ve now made our FAQ page much more involved and up to date. We’ve separated Q&As into sections for Individuals & Institutions, and will be adding to these as needed.

Domain of One’s Own

Before:

After:

My biggest issue with the original Domain of One’s Own page was that potential schools weren’t really able to see what DoOO looked like right off the bat, nor could they get a sense of pricing/what’s involved without starting a conversation with Reclaim Support. Though I definitely didn’t (and still don’t) want to diminish that conversation around DoOO, I thought it was important to bring the same element of ‘self-service’ to this page that can be found on the rest of the Reclaim website. Now with more detail than ever before, potential schools can click through screenshots of current DoOO instances, peek into admin views, get an overview of our pricing model, and even preemptively read through documents like our SLA or User Agreement.

Contact

Before:

After:

The contact form got an update as well. We were using the main Client Area contact form before which definitely wasn’t terrible, but it’s nice to have something on theme with the rest of the site now. And it may be naive, but I’m hoping folks will look through the links in the header before submitting a ticket. :)

And just because…

The 404 Error Page is a definite favorite.

Anyway- there are plenty other changes not mentioned here so I definitely recommend checking out the site for the full experience. Also planning another post on our new services, so that can be expected soon! 

Reclaim Video Artwork

If you’re not already familiar with Reclaim Video, I suggest giving Jim’s post a read. But in short, we’ve decided to turn a storefront adjacent to our Reclaim office into a fully operational 80’s-style VHS store. We’ve already begun collecting tapes & VHS players, and have already broke ground on renovating the space: That’s all good and well, but why? Aside from making Jim’s fantasy a reality, we’re actually using Reclaim Video as Reclaim Hosting’s first *official* marketing campaign. I’ll save details about this for future posts, but will go ahead and note that we’re planning on using VHS tapes to get the word out about Domain of One’s Own. It’s gonna be fun. So in an effort to move towards this next chapter, we also felt that a natural next step for Reclaim would also be to update the artwork on our website; to “modernize” from a record label storefront to (you guessed it) an 80’s VHS storefront. Video killed the radio star, right? While the actual campaign, website, and VHS storefront will stay very true to the 80’s aesthetic, we wanted reclaimhosting.com to embody these changes while still bringing about familiarity for our existing customers. We reached out to Bryan Mathers, the awesome fellow who created our existing artwork, about our ideas. Our visual thinking session (i.e. 2 hours of us brainstorming while Bryan drew our thoughts) was insanely helpful. We were able to nail down our goals for the future & our plan for achieving them, all the while paying tribute to the individuals, organizations, and institutions who have helped us get to where we are today. We talked about building capacity, both internally and externally, but making sure this is done the right way. To stay familiar as we grow. Using the storefront metaphor: even though the “start-up” mentality seems fleeting, Reclaim will always and forever embody the idea of a local store that anyone can walk into, ask questions, speak to a knowledgeable human being, and receive quick support. As we grow, we will grow out, not up. Reclaim will never be a large, 20-story corporate building that offloads support to a third-party company across the globe. Reclaim will, instead, have several small mom & pop shops that will provide you with the same service as that original record label store. Enter new artwork:

Logo

^You can see the similarities, right? Same font, color scheme, and even the same record squiggles. It looks like the record logo has been cut in half to make way for the VHS tape, and I love that.

Logo with Tagline

^Same feel but adds a tagline & switches out the colors.

Website Header

^LOVE this piece. We’ve still got our record albums, but this time instead of those having the application names, they now have some of our shared hosting server names, which just so happen to also be band names. We’ve also made room on the shelf for some VHS tapes, or popular tools in cPanel. Intermixed with those are a few DIY tapes, which I’m all about. Want to build your site on WordPress or Omeka? Or perhaps use your own HTML? Maybe watch a Zombies movie instead?

Up Close

^Here’s an up-close version so you can see titles a bit better. (Just now realizing that MediaWiki is one word, so we’ll get that fixed. :)) Which got us thinking…what if every domain was a VHS tape?

Blank Tape

^Tim had the brilliant idea to use this as part of our new splash page when someone signs up for a domain. Their newly registered domain could automatically generate on the tape when they refresh their page.

Interactive Video Tape Versions

To say the least, I’m thrilled with the work that Bryan has done so far. And I’m pumped for what’s to come! If you’ve got ’em, I would love to hear your thoughts on growth, metaphors, or art in the comment section below. And stay tuned for more artwork. :)

Community Artwork

Over the last year or so Reclaim Hosting has been working with Bryan Mathers to help us rebrand as an independent record label. I’ve already shown my love to Bryan’s work in other ways, but today I wanted to take a minute to showcase some of the really incredible work that Bryan has done for Community. In the last few months, we’ve slowly switched over from a Github external documentation site (previously at docs.reclaimhosting.com) to a Discourse Community forum page. Not only does this new space contain all external documentation, but gives users an area to ask for advice, post feature requests, and keep an open dialogue about all things Domain of One’s Own.

Continue reading “Community Artwork”