Update on the new look, new features for AfterEllen.com

UPDATE (June 28, 2013): 

Our relaunch is now scheduled for Tuesday, July 2.

There’s a good possibility that new member accounts created this week, as well as comments posted this week, may not make the transition when we relaunch on Tuesday. So new members may need to re-register come Tuesday. Also, if you’re concerned about losing any comments that you’ve posted this week on the site, please copy them down somewhere so that you can re-post them next week in the event that they are lost.

We were originally scheduled to relaunch in May, but our design team listened to your feedback about the look of TheBacklot.com and have been making some changes to their plans for our site in order to better accommodate your needs.

We’ll keep you posted as we get additional updates. Thanks for letting us know what you think and for your patience with us as we go through this process!

Our original announcement:

AfterEllen will be getting a brand new (and we think improved) look and some great new features. These include better display on smartphones and tablets, as well as photo galleries. However, some of the social features of the current site will be lost. Those of you who are also readers of our sibling site TheBacklot.com (formerly AfterElton.com) will recognize these changes, as we are following their lead in our reconfiguration.

Here’s our new logo:

While our site will not be renamed as TheBacklot.com has been, it does need to be on the same platform as most other Viacom Media Networks websites like MTV.com. That means giving up some features in order to build others around a shared platform. While these changes won’t have much impact on casual readers, AE members who regularly log on to our existing site will be affected.

If you have an AfterEllen account, here’s what you need to know:

The new site, at least initially, will not have a private messaging function. That means if you have any private messages currently stored on AfterEllen that are important to you, you should copy them down before the changeover. Those messages won’t be retrievable afterwards. And if you’re one of those folks who rely on the private messaging system to keep in touch with other AE members, then you’ll also want to figure out an alternate means of private communication with your buddies, such as Facebook or regular email.

The new site will have a member tracking feature, so even if you can’t PM fellow members, you will be able to follow the activity of your friends on the new site. (In fact, more easily than you can on the current site). But the old AfterEllen buddylist system won’t feed into that. You’ll need to create a new “Following” list.

Active AfterEllen members will automatically have a member account the site. If you’ve logged in to AfterEllen at any time in the last few months, then you should be able to log in to the new site with the same password and email address now associated with AfterEllen. (Your display name on the new site will be the same.)

We’ve been assured that the text of existing comments will migrate over to the new commenting system, but for security reasons images/videos in comments will not make the transition.

We’ll have new forums to match our new site. (A brand new forum service for the site will launch, but the existing forums won’t migrate over to our new system until some time later.) That means if there’s content in any of the existing AfterEllen forums you wish to keep, you should copy it down before July 2.

And please be sure that the email associated with your AE account is current/updated before July 2. This will ensure a seamless creation of your existing account in our new system.

I apologize in advance for any inconvenience or headaches this is going to cause our active members. But we’re hoping that after we make the transition, you’ll enjoy the site even more.

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