Two and a half years since startrek.com went dormant, the official site of the Star Trek franchise has been re-launched with a new look and a new mission. More details and thoughts on the new official site below.
StarTrek.com is back
It is great to see that the Star Trek franchise will once again get the attention it deserves with an official site. The new look for StarTrek.com, from web developer Funny Garbage, is a nice improvement over the previous design. The site is broken into five main sections: News, Videos, Database, Galleries, Boards and Store.
The news section of the site has launched with a number of articles, with the emphasis so far being recently announced Star Trek products. This emphasis is not surprising as the site is now being run out of the CBS Consumer Products group. There is one news item announcing a new licensee, Earlooms, who are now making a Star Trek branded bluetooth earpiece. And of course the site still continues to integrate an official store.
The site also promises to add more exclusive news content in the future including interviews, event reports and more. And in a welcome sign that CBS is embracing the fan community, the site is now integrating non-official sites by featuring headlines "from the blogosphere" from TrekMovie.com, TrekToday.com and TrekWeb.com. There is also a page with links to a number of other specialized fansites. Another way that StarTrek.com is embracing the fans is with the Galleries section, which now allows fans to upload images. And of course the discussion boards are still integrated into the site, but previous users need to reset their passwords to use the forums.
The Star Trek Database is back, now enhanced with info on the Star Trek 2009 movie and a new intro to Star Trek. The Database is pretty thorough, however it needs more updating, especially the biographies of real life Star Trek celebrities. Memory Alpha, with its team of dozens of editors, will likely continue to be a more extensive and up to date source. Also, I wonder if new fans and non-regulars will know to click on the ‘Database’ button to learn about episodes and especially about the new movie (and inexplicably this beta version sorts episode descriptions alphabetically instead of in airing or production order).
Probably the biggest enhancement to the site is the videos section. It now includes full episodes (ad supported) from the original Star Trek and Star Trek: Enterprise. The episodes are organized better than they are at CBS.com, however unlike CBS.com the episodes are not available in HD (at least for now). There are also previews for all the episodes for DS9, Voyager and TNG, plus the previous library of interviews and documentaries. However, once again I wonder if “Videos” is the right term or if there needs to be a “Watch Episodes” tab or button at the top level of the site. The term ‘videos’ is often thought of as a place for clips and shorter features and not full episodes.
Overall this ‘beta’ version of the official www.startrek.com is very welcome. The addition of full streaming episodes and fan content is a big plus. Also, the new design is simple and clean, although it may be a bit too simple. Hopefully this is just the beginning and we will see more from the official Trek site in the future.
POLL: So you like the new StarTrek.com?
What do you think of the new design for the official site for Star Trek?