We launch an updated design, a new logo and some new features for the site.
We don't talk about the site itself much in the Cultism blog, but with the launch of a new visual design, a new logo and some extra features on the site, it seems like a good time to talk though a little of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into Drive Cult.
When we relaunched the site in November 2010, the main technical challenges were to import and format all of Jamie's old content from the original Drive Cult Wordpress site, all of Matt\s old Grand Touring entries from his Blogger site, and all of the good blogs that we collectively wrote for Driver's Republic. This was all munged into a new content management system, and the site design was something of a bodge, cobbled together by a non-designer (me) in order to get the site live.
Fast-forward 18 months, and the site is in need of a refresh. With some overdue security upgrades required for the content management system, it seemed like a good time to make a few other changes around the site. The homepage now surfaces content from within the site in a more visible manner - Cultism blogs in particular used to get lost in the mess of the old homepage design, but with some great articles coming from new contributors, these should always be highlighted on the homepage.
You can now view all articles written by a particular author, so if you find that Dave Pook's series of tech blogs are just your cup of tea, you can see all of his work on one page.
We've also added a more robust tagging system to allow articles to be related to one another more easily; you can click the appropriate tag at the top of a feature or news post and see more articles on the same subject. If you fancy trying this out, here's the tag for our Nürburgring 24H coverage.
After some discussion amongst the team, we've moved to using the Disqus commenting system. This will allow comments to be posted more quickly and with a number of accounts including Facebook and Twitter. The old system suffered from a lot of spam, forcing us to move to a moderated system which discouraged interaction. Disqus's built-in spam proection should improve this situation so that moderation is no longer needed.
Photo galleries are now displayed in a pleasing slideshow fashion rather than the old grid layout, and videos are displayed in the full width of the page where possible. No more postage stamp-sized YouTube embeds!
We updated the design with something a little more pleasing, and unveiled a new logo designed by honourary Drive Cult-er Matt Mahoney. We'll be getting some stickers and t-shirts done too, so watch out for those in the coming weeks.
If there's anything about the updates that you want to comment on, any features you'd like to see on the site, please let us know in the comments below. We hope you enjoy the new site!