January 18, 2023 • Web

The Red Line Project, website edition


Websites are weird, insofar that something that looked nice and worked just fine in, say, 2014 will wake up one day in 2022 and look slightly horrid, or simply not work correctly, or usually both. Not even video games from 2014 age as poorly as a website from the same time span…

…and it’s doubly strange when people generally loathe using websites made with modern tracking scripts I mean conventions versus something from 2014 or even 1994. But such is the way things are. I don’t necessarily recommend this as a career, FYI!

Anyway, The Red Line Project — a digital student publication created by data journalism students at the University of Illinois Chicago, woke up one day in 2022 and found itself in need of a haircut, some new clothes and a half-dozen casts and slings for various serious injuries. Using a technique from the DataIndiana.news playbook, I took a functional theme they wanted and a visual design they wanted and made them sit in a room together until they worked out their differences and pulled from on same functional and visual rope. (The theme itself is roughly four years old, practically a Stegosaurus in WordPress theme years, so getting it to function according to plan and look the 2022 version of pretty took some surgery.)

And then I did what I most enjoy doing and created some art to give the site its own distinct visual personality, which you can read about over here, in an entry I wrote 7 months ago before I bothered to document this part, which checks out because making the art is still my favorite part of building these things.