SlapYoFaceOff Launched

At 0002 Eastern this morning SlapYoFaceOff opened its doors to the world.

SlapYoFaceOff is one of the newest Short Consulting clients and I was more than happy to take on this project.

SlapYoFaceOff is a comedy site that finds people willing to be slapped and pairs them up with people that are more than willing to slap them. It sounds simple but it’s probably some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen.

There are four main sections of slapyofaceoff.com:

Slaps – This is the main page of the site. From here you’ll be able to find all of the slaps featured at SlapYoFaceOff. The client’s goal is to put out at least four slaps a month.

Slap of the Month – This is where you can vote for your favorite slap. Polls are updated monthly when new videos are released.

Send Us Slaps – This is one of the more unique features of SlapYoFaceOff. It allows visitors to upload pictures and videos of slaps they have footage of. Next month prizes for the best submitted slaps will be given out.

SlapYoFaceOff Forums – Pretty self explanatory here. The site is highly integrated with the forum. Categories are setup so that you can discuss every aspect of the site with others.

The Pre-Launch Hype

slapyofaceoff.com was a “work in progress” for a while and when it was done the owner and I decided to delay the launch a week so that we could get the word out about when the site would be ready.

The first thing I did was to modify the “Coming Soon” page by placing the Wednesday, July 14, 2004 launch date on it.

After that, I started the ball rolling on a small scale advertising campaign. The campaign included getting a banner ad on fark.com, ads for targeted keywords on Google (which were later cancelled because Google doesn’t like to do business with sites that ‘advocate violence’), and an e-mail addressed to dozens of people inviting them to visit the site.

This e-mail was sent to a few radio station DJs, other web site owners, friends, business partners, etc. I made very clear that the e-mail was sent to them because I thought they would take interest in the site. I also made very clear that they weren’t on a mailing list and that this would be the only e-mail they received from me about SlapYoFaceOff.

Tomorrow’s stats will show how well the pre-launch hype worked.

The Technical Details

The layout across the site became interesting due to the need to support a few older browsers and Apple based browsers. The site’s initial design was 100% CSS but after some cross browser compatibility testing the need to use tables became abundantly clear. So the layout is a combination of CSS and tables. All version five browsers and higher shouldn’t have any major issues displaying the pages.

The Slaps page is simple XHTML with a few PHP includes; nothing too big there. However, this will probably be the most utilized page on the site so it’s probably a good thing that it’s not very complex.

The Slap of the Month was an utter nightmare. Creating a voting system is no joke. I realized that I didn’t have the necessary time to develop one on my own and that there wasn’t a voting script out there that met the requirements. Short Consulting outsourced the development of this system and it has turned out very well.

The script was aptly named slapvote by the developer and it has numerous features. The script uses a management interface to create and edit new and existing polls, user tracking system so that someone can’t easily inflate vote counts, and the ability to cast a vote from elsewhere on the site and not just on the Slap of the Month page.

Send Us Slaps was also an outsourced script. I had time to fiddle with a few systems that were recommended to me but none of them met the requirements and only one was open source. So I couldn’t even work from a foundation of solid code and mold it into something that met my needs. The same developer that pushed out slapvote also developed this script name slapup.

slapup is a very nice system that allows users to upload potential content to the site to be later reviewed for inclusion on the site. There are file type restrictions and in-depth logging capabilities in slapup that make the Send Us Slaps page a very intriguing section of the web site.

Last but not least are the forums. There was no high need for a custom solution here so I went with the open source phpBB. The default theme satisfied the client so other than tweaking a few things here and there my time was well spent organizing the forum as opposed to making the forum look right.

The forums are highly integrated with the rest of the site. Every page of the site can lead you into the forum in one way or another.

The forums are an important aspect of slapyofaceoff.com due to the high need to develop a community as opposed to just developing a web site with a forum.

User interaction is going to be a key to the success of SlapYoFaceOff.