Happy 4th birthday, Protagonize!

Protagonize is 4!It’s hard to believe that it’s been four whole years since I launched Protagonize one cold winter night in late December, 2007.

In 2011, we saw the launch of group submissions (and in fact the whole of the groups feature), as well as a number of other smaller improvements spread out throughout the site. Performance enhancements and optimizations were the focus of the fall. Statistics-wise, our community has grown to nearly 20,000 authors, with over 25,000 works published and over 104,000 pages of content written on the site since its inception.

All-in-all, it’s been a quiet but progressive year for Protagonize.

While it may seem that I’ve been keeping with the site overhaul I promised a few months back close to the vest, I’ve actually been working away on it since the summer. It’s a pretty massive overhaul from a visual and user experience standpoint, but it also required a lot of work behind the scenes to make the new interface work with our existing site structure.

Now, the announcement I mentioned a few days back in my holiday post: the new interface will be going into testing with our beta group sometime before January 15th. This is a pretty major step in the process of launching the new look, and I’m glad to know we have an awesome group of ~70 beta testers from among our site’s authors.

This time around, we won’t be accepting any new beta applications, but anyone who purchases a Plus subscription ($50 CAD) prior to the start of beta will be automatically added to the the tester group. Once the beta test officially kicks off, automatic beta membership from Plus subscriptions will end. If you’re in the fence, this will be your last chance to help out the site and get to experience the new interface early!

Note: If you already have beta access, you’re all set to beta test when I flip the switch. I’ll be posting more information about how beta will work once we get closer to mid-January.

With that in mind, here are a few actual screenshots of the new, fully-functional reading interface running on an iPad 2. You can click through each image to see the full-size version. (Some bits are subject to change, as usual. :)

You’ll notice some familiar faces, too, I’m sure. Enjoy!

New reading interface (part 1)

New reading interface (part 2)

New reading interface (part 3)

New reading interface (part 4)

Photo courtesy of Joccay on Flickr.

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12 Responses to Happy 4th birthday, Protagonize!

  1. Ooh … I think now I’ve had time to get around to the idea of change it’s less scary. And I’ll probably write more just so I can test the site lol :) One question though – is there a mobile version, or do you have plans for one? For example, I’m reading and commenting on this on my good old Kindle (which isn’t old, but isn’t like a Kindle Fire or anything because they don’t have those in the UK yet) and that’s not too bad for blogs, but I can’t manage the site itself on here. With Twitter and stuff use the mobile version and it’s easier.
    And it would be nice to read Protag stories on my Kindle :D

    • Nick says:

      Hey Del,

      A mobile site is coming after the main site launches, yes. It won’t be available immediately, but the new design lends itself much better to handheld screens, so it will be much easier to scale it down at that point.

      As for the Kindle, I don’t actually own one, and I don’t think Amazon makes a full Kindle emulator suite available. All I was able to find was their Kindle Previewer, which is only for testing out reading Kindle book content, not browsing sites.

      I would need to purchase a Kindle to properly test it out… which I may do when it comes to the mobile release, we’ll see. If you can run Twitter mobile on it, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, though.

      • Oh, that’s good to know. I’m hopefully getting a new phone, with internet as part of my contract, in the next month or so, too. So even if it doesn’t like the Kindle (my Kindle just detests Facebook, mobile or not, and I can’t work out why), I will be able to get online on the move! And since I’m trying to get back into using the site after a long semi-absence, that will be good :)

        Thanks for the update!

  2. Trish says:

    Oh my this looks exciting!!! :D
    I’m looking forward to this kind of interface though I will miss the ‘classical view’ of Protagonize.
    You rock Nick!

  3. Elorithryn says:

    Nifty Nifty. Looking good. *thumbs up*

    :} Elo Liegh
    (*giggles* name experimentation ha ha)

  4. SumnerzAngel says:

    Wow, can’t believe it. Well done Protag! This means I’ve been on for about two and a half years! :)
    Angel S
    As for that which Del said above ^^^ I agree, though the images of the new layout still are very overwelming for me.

  5. Anthony Garcia says:

    Hi Protag,

    Sorry to leave an unrelated comment, but I couldn’t find any contact info for you. I’m wondering if you’d be interested in a guest post. Please drop me an e-mail.



  6. Nosi says:

    I miss the lobsters and the ponies =/
    Btw congrats on the four years, this is an amazing thing you’ve got going in so many ways. Although I’ve only been around for two years.

    • Nick says:

      Thanks Nos! Sorry, this year I’m way too busy with getting the new interface ready to go live to deal with April Fools’ pranks. Next year, though. ;)

  7. Jsimmons says:

    Okay, something is happening on my account, and the link on my itouch changed from a small screenshot to the new protagonize’s icon. Is the update happening at last for us regular people?

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