A refreshed look for Domain of One’s Own and StateU

Perhaps it is fitting that I’m writing this on the 10th anniversary of Reclaim Hosting, but I wanted to take a quick minute to share some of the changes now live on Reclaim’s Domain of One’s Own (DoOO) product page. Earlier today I met with a few colleagues to celebrate Reclaim’s 10th birthday and we started reminiscing about one of the first iterations of the site:

Screenshot taken from Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine – September 15, 2013.

The screenshot above from September 2013 has one hosting option available at Reclaim for $12 total. Pretty amazing. A year or two later, Reclaim services were a little more defined:

^This was the website header by 2015 with a defined menu of services for Shared Hosting, Managed Software Hosting, and Domain of One’s Own

Here’s a screenshot of how I remember the DoOO page looking when I joined Reclaim in June 2015:

Screenshot available on Wayback Machine

In 2018 I published a refreshed version of the Reclaim website to something that more closely resembles what it looks like today, and actually blogged about the process here: Website Redesign for Reclaim. (So many great before & after screenshots on that post!) Since then, I’ve been slowly working to update product & landing pages even further, given some of the original font choices were harder to read and our services/team/needs have only become more varied and nuanced. As we’ve taken on more projects, events, and services, I’ve also tried to keep in mind the importance of having a cohesive and recognizable brand (i.e. consistent colors, site copy, artwork, etc.). There have been a lot of minor adjustments through the years to help with this, and I touched on this most recently in my blog post, Reclaim Community, which unveiled a lot of the new TV monitor artwork for, you guessed it, all things Reclaim Community.

Really leaning into the VHS tape / retro TV metaphor through the years has helped us find our footing with all the different moments of Reclaim artwork (Reclaim Roadshow, Reclaim Cloud, Rockaway Hosting, to name a few) and now I’m excited to be one step closer in bringing those pieces together under one roof. There’s still more to be done (I’m looking at you, Reclaim Cloud & Institutions pages) but to have Shared, Managed, and DoOO pages done feels pretty nice! Onto DoOO…

Here’s what we were working with before:

The “Before” DoOO page

It was high time to give this page a much-needed refresh. As mentioned above, some of the font choices were harder to read, and the screenshots were outdated. I also think this page didn’t do a great job of quickly defining what Domain of One’s Own is or what’s possible. The site visitor had to do a lot of digging to get the information they needed, and it was muddied further with linking directly to our formal policies and agreements on the product landing page. So, I set out to simplify and clarify everything. It was actually good practice, too. What is DoOO in 2-3 sentences max? How does someone get started? Can they test it out before hand? What does it cost? Well, I’ll tell ya:

The “After” DoOO page

There’s still some zig-zagging that happens visually as you scroll through the page, just as all iterations of this page have had, but I got rid of the monitors and site screenshots which felt cluttered. Instead, I focused on the the artwork, clean definitions, and available support resources – a lot of which weren’t really available during the last design round. And as always, these sorts of updates are not possible without the amazing artwork from Bryan Mathers, and I really love how he blended the green spider web from one of the early DoOO visuals with Reclaim’s current logo.

This page also highlights new artwork for stateu.org, our Demo Domain of One’s Own school, which I updated as part of this project:

The new logo & banner on stateu.org, courtesy of Bryan Mathers
An updated banner & monitors for new Domain of One’s Own schools, should they so choose

I had fun with this project, and I’m looking forward to making more improvements on the Reclaim site over time. Happy Birthday, Reclaim!

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