A Web-Letter: Retrospected.com

This Christmas, I wanted to make something for my parents.  I like to write letters, and they have probably received hundreds of cards and thank you notes from me.  But a letter would not be enough, and it didn’t seem like the right genre.  Basically, I wanted a way to share with my parents some thoughts and memories that I was having, little snippets of past moments, things said, feelings felt, that sort of thing.  And then I thought it might be a good chance to get all of my siblings involved, too.  My amazingly talented brother Brendan agreed to help build the site, and my sisters Allison and Claire offered to share memories and add to the site’s content.  Then the countdown to Christmas began.

The site came together beautifully, I think.  It was fun to see a vision I had come together in PHP. HTML, and CSS with the help of Git and Heroku.  Here’s a list of my favorite features:

1. Opening Screen.  Bren suggested we do something to make the opening a little different, and I am so glad he did.  So when you first come to the site, Dear Mom and Dad appears nice and big in the middle of the screen.  Then, using some cool CSS, the text slides up and shrinks and gains a comma.  A few seconds pass and the first memory appears.  I get chills just describing it.

opening screen for retrospected.com

2.  Changing Text.  While I love, love, love scroll effects, they didn’t seem appropriate for this project.  These thoughts that we wanted to share come in flashes, brief glimpses.  By clicking linked text at the bottom, the background color changes and a new memory appears.

changed screen for retrospected.com

3.  Slide-out modal.  I wanted a way to add some additional explanation to the site, a way to continue the letter.  Bren pushed the content to a modal and I worked in the slide-out feature.

modal for retrospected.com

Going into Christmas Eve, Bren and I had nailed down the code, but we still needed more content.  At Christmas Eve service, I jotted down a good seven snippets while Bren and Claire at home added a ton.  By the time we presented my parents with the site, we had amassed 67 memories.

I bought retrospected.com for my parents.  The site is theirs for two years.  I hope in that time we keep adding to the content, and I hope they continue to visit it, to return again and again to the moments they made and continue making possible.

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