Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Website!!! New Website!!!



IT'S DONE!!!

As we've hinted at a few times, APS' website has gotten a serious paint job. Actually it goes a little deeper than that -- we dropped in a new carbon rig, got brand new sails, extended the keel, went hi-tech with the lines and tossed all the extra weight overboard. Sure, it hurt our PHRF rating, but it was worth it...

For well over six months, James and I have been working on a new website for APS. It's been a massive undertaking -- we had to get it done on top of our day-to-day responsibilities and integrate a decade of functionality from our existing site and make it all work with our order taking software.

There aren't many times that I'll be nice to James here on the blog; it's not our thing. But we couldn't have gotten this done without his help, so for that -- thanks for not screwing it up, James.

Now that the mushy stuff is out of the way, let's take a look at the new site and what we've got for you.

Customer Accounts
Yep -- you can store your billing and shipping address, save a shopping cart, create a wish list, see all of your previous orders, see the status of a pending order and create a wish list or gift registry.

Wish List/Gift Registry
Personally, I think that one of the cooler functions that we've added is are the Wish List and the Gift Registry. FYI: you'll need a customer account for either of these features.

While you're cruising our site you can create a wish list of items for the future - whether you're just not ready to purchase now or need permission from your "better half", this function saves any item of interest in one place for you. Simply click on an item like you're going to order it and hit the "Add to Wish List" button instead of the "Add to Cart" button.

The Gift Registry is similar, but this gives you a link that you can share with others and they can purchase the items for you. This is great for birthdays, anniversary's or any other occasion. It's also great for boat owners or crew to put together a list of needed items.

Better Searches
The size of our site only continues to grow -- with that in mind, it became necessary to improve the search function of our site. We've made it easier to execute searches and, mercifully, our search function actually allows you to hit the back button and come back to it...

No More Timeouts!!!
Yep, no more timeouts... well, that's technically not true. There is one, but it's way longer and much less annoying. If you've ever gotten one, you know what I mean. If you haven't, ignore this because it TOTALLY wasn't a problem on the last site.

Improved Checkout
It's cleaner, shipping is calculated now and it's easier to use. We measure the gains on this part of the site in light years... because we're dorks.

Cleaner Design with More Flexibility
At the end of the day, this is the most important part. Our old site, which did really well by us, was impossible to change sometimes. This one is incredibly flexible and we'll be able to do all sorts of cool stuff with it.

So head on over to apsltd.com and check it out... feel free to buy something if you want to help offset the buttload of the boss' money that I spent.

But the birth of a new website means the death of our old one. Over the two plus years that I've had this job, I nicknamed the old site Aquarius because of the aqua color scheme. Yeah, it doesn't make much sense, but whatever... deal with it. While it lives on for a little while, behind the scenes on a server in case we ever need it for some reason, our old website will likely never be seen again. It's weird getting sentimental for an inanimate object like a website, but I'm a little sad to see it go.

So, in the words of Jim Lovell on Apollo 13 as they jettisoned the lunar module "Aquarius" that served them well:
"Goodbye, Aquarius, and thank you...".

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