The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5
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<title>Welcome to the New Lurker's Guide</title>
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<h1>Welcome to the new Lurker's Guide!</h1>
If you've visited before, you probably noticed that things look a wee bit
different now. The Guide has undergone a near-total overhaul; no page was
left untouched (unless we've missed something!)
Why the change? A few reasons. First, as the Guide continued to grow, it
started to burst at the seams in places, and the need for a more
structured organization (for instance, of the Other Resources section) became
increasingly apparent. Though you may have looked at the home page
and thought, "Aha, they've added a bunch of pictures to slow things down,"
there's actually a considerable amount of change to the structure of the Guide.
If you've spent much time in the Guide in the past, you know it's big. Big
enough, in fact, that it was often difficult to track down information you
were looking for. The new look and feel should make navigating around the
Guide a lot more straightforward. You always have a clear view of where you
are in the Guide, with a consistent set of navigation tools. It's simple
to hop from place to place, even to completely different sections.
And, of course, I'd be lying if I said appearance had nothing to do with the
change. We think we've come up with a fairly pleasing look for the Guide,
functional and appealing without being garish or hogging obnoxious amounts
of bandwidth. A bit more on that below.
Who's "we?" Primarily, me (Steven Grimm) and
<a href="">Dan Wood,</a>
who contributed
enormous amounts of time and energy iterating through literally hundreds of
different design elements, seeing what worked and what didn't.
<a href="/~funkster/">Larry Hastings</a>
also provided some valuable usability feedback early on in the game.
<a href="">Christian Mogensen</a>
put together one of the major features (and perhaps the most useful one) of the
new Guide: the "Find" function. If you select the "Find" icon in the title
bar at the top of every page, or follow the "Find" link on the home page,
you'll be able to search every JMS message from Usenet and GEnie, as well
as all the episode synopses and guide pages -- a wonderful tool for folks
who're trying to figure out where the story's going before it gets there.
There are still some rough edges, places we haven't fixed up as well as we'd
like; if you spot any truly embarrassing ones, please
<a href="">send me mail.</a>
The new Guide will continue to evolve over time, just like any other Web
site. If you have comments on the new graphics, you can also
<a href="">send mail to Dan.</a>
We hope you'll find the new Guide a worthwhile, interesting, and fun place to
<h3>Some technical notes</h3>
As a general rule, I've tried to stick to widely-implemented parts of the
HTML 3.0 draft standard. The one exception you'll see nearly everywhere
is that I use the Netscape extension to remove the borders from linked
inline images. As soon as HTML 3 stylesheets are common,
I will of course switch to them to control that aspect of the
presentation. I have no desire to make the Guide browser-dependent.
At the same time, using that extension improves the appearance of pages with
lots of buttons so much that I thought it was worthwhile. (For various
reasons, imagemaps aren't suitable replacements for the rows of buttons. Trust
me, I considered them.) I've done my best to include meaningful ALT attributes
everywhere so text-only people can take advantage of the new interface as well.
Those of you who're on low-speed or high-latency net links may object to the
use of inline images rather than text. We've done our best to keep the
navigational images as small as possible, and to reuse images wherever we
can so you'll be able to take advantage of caching. You may find your visit
speedier if you visit the
<a href="nav/">Cache Loader</a>
page before exploring (you'll also find a link to it toward the bottom of the
home page.) In the
near future, I'll also begin soliciting mirror sites around the world, so
there'll be a fairly close copy of the Guide no matter where you are.
If you find the current setup unbearably slow, please let me know.
Investigating a text-only or minimal-graphics mode is on my to-do list,
and if there's enough demand I can do it before some other things. Be sure
to tell me where you are and what your connection to the net is like; it
may turn out that your needs will be met by a well-placed mirror site.
(I can't guarantee you an answer, since I expect I'll be getting a lot of
mail about this change, but your letter won't go unread.)
<p align=right>
Steven Grimm<br>
October 16, 1995
<a href="whatsnew.html">To the What's New page</a>
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