In the dark days of the early Internet, there was one Star Trek fansite so beautiful and well crafted that it served as an inspiration to all Trekker webmasters: Medical Log: Supplemental.

Dedicated to Deep Space Nine‘s Dr Julian Bashir, the website was divided into four sections:

The motivation for the website was a single episode, “Statistical Probabilities,” the first of the third Star Trek series which its creator, “Verania”, saw.

“The young, handsome doctor caught my imagination immediately,” she wrote on her “About this site” page.

Anyone must allow that Dr Bashir is charming and very appealing to female audience but there was much more than just visual appeal in the form of Julian Bashir. The juxtaposition of the light and dark, somber and humorous, serious and absurd that subtly shades Deep Space Nine thrilled me like no other series.

Even if Bashir played a less prominent role in subsequent episodes, that first encounter with the series and the character determined for Verania the theme and subject of her website. “In retrospect, had I seen another episode, this site may never have existed.”

Before I had seen DS9, I had envisioned doing something on The Original Series or The Next Generation, both being old friends. But whatever I intended to do will have to wait until later.

Verania didn’t expect that Medical Log: Supplemental would not only teach her “the rudiments of web design and graphic design techniques, but also favor me with the attention of so many fellow Trek fans.” Back when it was custom for websites to give out “awards” to other sites they admired, Verania’s won dozens.

By the standards of early web design, navigation was smooth with the ability to jump to the home page as well as main sections from every page. Even by today’s standards, the layout is impressive.

While not uniform, Medical Log: Supplemental‘s design was characterized by a harmonious color scheme and elegant graphics which were the envy of fellow Star Trek website makers.

The website was first uploaded in June 1998, but the earliest version in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is from May 2000.

Updates continued into 2004. The main structure of the site didn’t change into 2009, the year from which the most recently archived version can be retrieved. That was when Yahoo! shut down its GeoCities hosting service.

A largely functional version of the site is still available at OoCities, another web archive service. Let’s hope they keep it up, for as Verania wrote, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine may have ended; “its legacy will be kept alive in my small corner of the web.”

Medical Log: Supplemental spawned a separate website about Deep Space Nine‘s Legate Damar, also archived at OoCities.

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November 20, 2012

Comments

What a beautiful website! As you said, beautiful still by today’s standards. I’ve always been a fan of teal and cyan, and the silver accents (and text) offsets it so well, while not sacrificing contrast for readability. Wonderful.
It’s also nice to see a Trek fansite made by a woman, since being one myself I can so often feel strangely outnumbered in “The Fandom”. As much as I love the LCARS look in isolation, I feel it didn’t translate very well into a website very often. But this website is clean and simple, it has its own design, and it nicely ties into the teal colour of DS9’s medical/sciences uniforms too.
I definitely agree that being introduced to DS9 with that episode is a good one. There’s a decent amount of exposition that doesn’t feel forced, due to these characters being new to the world. You get to see a wide range of Bashir’s personality & behaviours, without having to put up with his “friendzoned by Jadzia again :(” phase first. He interacts with a lot of the other crewmembers, but the story still remains focused on him and his relationships.
And with regard to her comments on his attractiveness, well.. I’m a lesbian and Alexander Siddig is one of the very few men I do indeed find attractive! He’s that powerful… (especially now he’s got some grey in him, and oh when he has a beard. I’ve watched entire TV series just because I’d read he featured in them, such as Peaky Blinders.)
I know I’m just basically nobody, but it really was a breath of fresh air to read those interview segments, and I think it would be nice to chat with Verania now and then if the chance ever arose.

Speaking of the difficulty in making LCARS be a legitimately functional interface while retaining its aesthetic qualities…
I’ve never owned an iPad, so I’ve never use the app at my leisure, only on a shop’s display iPad which happened to have it installed once; but there was a Star Trek encyclopedia app CBS developed for the tablet that was heavily LCARS based. I don’t even know if it’s still available today, what with the phase-out of 32bit apps and so forth.
I feel that it did a pretty good job in being functional, pretty, and looking like it wouldn’t be out of place on the Enterprise or a runabout – in my opinion helped along by not having to enable navigating a website, and just like the graphic designers for the shows it wasn’t afraid to abandon the “main ribbon” motif when necessary for disseminating written information or showing pictures.
I feel that was one of the pitfalls these other websites could fall into; that “main ribbon” could look far too cluttered with more than 3-6 buttons down the side, but many of the fansites had far more sections than that.
But sometimes a simple “title bar” strip sufficed just fine, with the colours and pill-shaped buttons remaining in keeping with the aesthetic.
I also enjoy Star Trek online’s rendition, once they overhauled in 2012 or 2013 or so to the colour schemes we saw on-screen. But again, that’s not serving a website, in this case being a game.

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