Aboard SS Willis B. Boyer

| Willis B. Boyer | Titanic Toledo |

Website Refit
(   &   B r i e f   H i s t o r y   )

Very Brief History
This Willis B. Boyer was first activated as a simple photo gallery in the evening of Tuesday 5 June 2001. I had gone aboard the great ship that afternoon for a memorial event, which is outlined in greater detail on the Boyer gallery page. The photo gallery was updated twice more in the next few days following another visit to the ship the next day and a photo I too from across the river some days later. A year later, the first Titanic Toledo was held, so a gallery of that event was added. A year later still and the second Titanic Toledo was held. While I didn't take any photos, Rob Ottmers did, so I created a page to contain these two galleries. The site was initially opened on my Angelfire account, which did the job nicely until that service became unbearable and I moved to joshgulch.com. The Boyer site transferred to the new server on 19 November 2003. This was to be the extent of my work until the refit.

Original Incarnation
The page originally had a very simple solid black background and white text (fig. 1). The photos and their descriptions were centered down the center of the page, forcing the text descriptions to be odd-shaped blocks, with line breaks to keep the page semi-neat (fig. 2). It was thrown together very quickly because I wanted to get it online and finished. It was satisfactory for the time being, but that was because I doubted there would be many more updates. When it came along some time later, the Titanic Toledo pages were done in the very same format (fig. 3). The following three images show the website in its final, pre-refit state.

I will address the page graphics later.

     Figure 1:
Website v.1
     Figure 2:
Website v.1
  The original .index page. This was the front of the site.   Scrolling down, the photos and captions were in rows.
     Figure 3:
Website v.1
  The Titanic Toledo page.

The Refit
I had long wanted to return to this website and give it a major overhaul. I had become a much more proficient webmaster since 2001, and was increasingly unhappy with the site's design. In late March 2005 I finally began the refit. The first thing I did was add a background graphic to dispose of that boring black matt (fig. 4). I'll admit that out of laziness I adapted a background image I had drawn in November for a now-defunct website. The next order of business was to arrange the photo galleries into tables, with the pictures on the left and their descriptions on the right (fig. 5). This allowed for actual paragraphs! The Titanic Toledo pages were also given a very similar treatment (fig.6). The text was also changed to a 10% grey, which makes it easier to read, and all hyperlinks were made a lighter, more pleasing blue. Graphics will still be mentioned later.

Another new addition was a title page (fig. 7). Rather then entering the site directly into a huge gallery that takes time to load, the home page now has a small directory: Do you want Boyer pictures or Titanic Toledo photos?

     Figure 4:
Website v.2
     Figure 5:
Website v.2
  The new Boyer gallery, no longer the front page.   Scrolling down, the photos and captions are now in tables.
     Figure 6:
Website v.2
     Figure 7:
Website v.2
  The revamped Titanic Toledo page.   The new home page.

Website Graphics
Initially, when the site first went online, there were no title graphics. The title consisted of large, white letters in Times New Roman (the default font, this was later changed to Arial):

S.S. Willis B. Boyer

Pretty boring, right? When Titanic Toledo came around, I wanted to do some sort of title graphic for it, and while I was at it also created one for the Boyer gallery. Unfortunately, the program I used, Draw2, always left the images looking pixilated, something I disliked but had to accept. Now, with Illustrator, I've gone back and redrawn the graphics using the same font, allowing much cleaner, nicer looking versions of these graphics (fig. 8 & 9). The Boyer title was scaled down a bit and both now have a metallic shine.

     Figure 8:
Boyer title graphic v.1
Boyer title graphic v.2

The original (top) and new (bottom) Boyer title graphics.

     Figure 9:
Titanic Toledo title graphic v.1
Titanic Toledo title graphic v.2

The original (top) and new (bottom) Titanic Toledo title graphics. The original wasn't a transparent gif, so it had a black background.

One final graphic was used on the Titanic Toledo 2002 page for three years until this refit when I decided not to include it anymore. After the meeting, it came time to upload the photos. I didn't want to just write simple descriptions for each picture, but instead had the idea of writing a big, entirely made-up story and then illustrating it with the photos of the event. It had something to do with Boyer being torpedoed by a renegade U-boat skipper and then Captains Brown and Wood fighting pirates and saving the day or something. I don't really know. It sounded funny in my head, but then was really lame when I tried to write it. This graphic, "Titanic Toledo: An Illustrated History," with "I Was There" scrawled across it was to relate to my status as a survivor who made it out intact (fig. 10). Long story short, I never wrote the tale. In fact, I never wrote anything ... it was over two years later before I finally got to writing those simple descriptions that I should have done from the start. Oh well.

     Figure 10:
Titanic Toledo (I Was There) graphic

Titanic Toledo (I Was There) graphic. A model of changed premise.

End Matter
I had been thinking about refitting this website for several months before I actually did. Sadly, it was during this planning period that Eddie Goyette, Boyer's executive director, a wonderful human being, and a good friend, passed away. It was with renewed determination that I rebuilt this site, to make it the very best I could, and then some. This is for Eddie, because he probably would have appreciated it.

Despite that, I did have a fun time working on this site. It's so much more efficient now, and can have more sections easily added to it. Besides, that, I think it looks infinitely better. Thanks for reading my little ramble!

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Engaged 24 March 2005 Updated 24 March 2005
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