Hello, 1715 Fleet Society members and enthusiasts.
This is Craig Grella writing you. I’m the designer of the current website and Fleet Society member #22!
Ben asked me to write a quick note announcing a few changes we’re making to the website. As of January 2019, the current design of the website will be 4 years old. When we went live with it in 2015 – the purpose was to give the site a fresh look to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the sinking of the fleet.
Since then, we’ve posted more than 250 original articles on fleet history, news and updates, and, of course, super high-quality pictures of recovered treasure.
Did you know there are only 195 countries in the world? I didn’t. I researched that after reading our website analytics and discovering that in the past 4 years we’ve had more than 40,000 unique visitors from exactly 160 countries. That means the Fleet Society is read in more than 82% of the world. Together, all those people have consumed nearly 200,000 pages of content on our website. Amazing!
Before we did the redesign, the site was not responsive. That means if you tried viewing the site on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet it could be tough (or impossible) to read. It’s not hard to imagine that mobile viewership of the site from those devices was almost zero. Today, more than 40% of our traffic comes from mobile devices. That means the Fleet Society is read nearly as much on mobile devices as it is on he the desktop.
The success of the site is in the dedication of the Fleet Society Directors, Ben, Ernie, and Phil, each of whom have contributed a significant amount of original content. Again, more than 250 new posts bringing our total article count on the site to more than 400. We’ve added more than 3,000 new coin images, more than 3 hours of exclusive video interviews with Real Eight Company members, and never before seen articles and document collections that go back nearly a century. We’ve even buried a time capsule in Florida that will be dug up at a later date.
Since 2015, we’ve quadrupled our online membership to nearly 90 members who, through their contributions, help to support the continued development of this site, the high-quality writing, and images that go into it, and the fun conferences and seminars that happen in Florida every year. Amazingly, one of the larger growing segments of membership and our online readership is people between the ages of 24-34, which means there will be a few of us still around when that time capsule gets dug up!
Now, for the 2019 redesign…
We’ve been working hard to make it everything our discerning readers expect: informative, stylish yet refined, and with lots of beautiful pictures of treasure. We’ve listened to your comments and those notes drove our redesign.
The new website features a cleaner interface, more user-friendly navigation, and a more integrated color pallet. We’ve also separated the newsletter from the general archives, giving readers much easier access to frequently updated posts. New articles are also featured on the home page, so readers can dig into the most recent content without navigating away from the first page they land on.
But that only scratches the surface of the changes to the new site.
In the existing site archives, different categories of material are found through sidebar links. The new website does away with the sidebar and keeps the navigation in a clean menu that docks to the top of the browser on desktops and tablets and tucks away for more screen reading space on mobile phones. This maximizes the reading room for articles and allows for larger, more high-quality images across all post types.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll introduce you to a few more of the updates, and then on January 1st, we’ll be launching the new site design live.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for being a Fleet enthusiast!
Fleet Society Member #22