Skin Feedback

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Skin Feedback

Postby technopatra » Mon Jan 19, 2004 12:40 am

Britton's been working to get a new, relatively graphics-free skin up for testing. We've had some hinky moments, and are still working on it. You can see it on our staging server, but PLEASE remember not to post anything there - those are not live discussions.

http://eplaya.burningman.com:81/

We are working on the CSS to reomve the gridlines and lessen the contrast between the white and khaki.

Please give all feedback on the skin here, so we are sure to see it.
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Postby precipitate » Mon Jan 19, 2004 6:03 pm

> relatively graphics-free

Relatively must be a relative term ;) I count 62 images on the index page,
and 83 on a randomly chosen thread page.

Having played a bit with creating a text-only template, I appreciate the
difficulty phpBB can place on a developer by the kinds of stuff it returns.
But I found that there were only two places where phpBB returned
information that had an image hardcoded into it (the last post info for a
thread, for example). In every other case, it is possible to include a
text-only link instead of the linked image.

If this is a design choice, let me register my objection to using the huge
icons at the left of the index page and the icons at the bottom of each
post linking to the user's profile info, etc. and at the top of each post for
quote, delete, etc. If it's an issue of the developer(s) not having found
the phpBB variables that can be used to display text-only links, please let
me know and I'll be happy to provide the resources I found.

And I'm really not trying to rain on anyone's parade here. The primary
difference I see between this skin and the default is the lack of avatars,
which, frankly, weren't the biggest of the visual interferences, though
they might have been the worst bandwidth hogs. As noted above, I'd
love to see the removal of the icons on the index page as well as the
user-specific info surrounding each post.
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Postby Dork » Mon Jan 19, 2004 6:44 pm

I've been trying to reach the server but haven't been able to.

If you're trying to speed up the pages, setting expiration headers could help quite a bit when you have a lot of little recurring images. Browsers typically check for newer versions of these images on every page load which slows things down even though the images themselves are small and aren't changing. If you send an explicit expiration date far in the future, the browser will stop making these checks and just keep using the cached files.

PM or email me if you want more details on this. It's a pretty simple fix that can help a lot.

p.s. when I first saw the subject line I imagined you were adding some sort of feature that allowed users to physically feel posts instead of just reading them. Too bad :)
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Postby Chai Guy » Mon Jan 19, 2004 6:46 pm

I'm wondering what feedback prompted the idea to change?

I'd love to see the removal of the icons on the index page as well as the user-specific info surrounding each post.


Ditto!


Also, I like the contrast between the White and Khaki, I think it helps me see the posts better, just my opinion.
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Postby Tancorix » Mon Jan 19, 2004 7:36 pm

I happen to like the icons on the main page, they serve as a flag to what's new. Now if there was a way to decrease the bandwidth they use...great.
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Postby precipitate » Mon Jan 19, 2004 10:14 pm

> I happen to like the icons on the main page

But not in a text-only skin. There's more than one way to indicate that
there are new posts, and it doesn't require a 44x35 pixel gif. One of the
things I like a lot about the 3playa is that it shows you how many unread
posts you have in each thread. Unfortunately, this requires a significant
mod to phpBB in order to be meaningful.

Tiara's got a web-enabled phone, and the eplaya is nearly unusable on it
because of the images. A text-only skin would go a long way (though not
all the way) towards making that access medium usable. Plus it'd reduce
the average size of a page from 100+K to maybe 25K (there are still a
buttload of nested tables - replace those and use CSS instead and you're
down near the 10K that 3playa and other mostly-text-based forums
achieve).
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last post

Postby nipples » Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:40 am

Hello.

I would find it helpful if under the "Last Post" heading, the first word (Day) were bolded. Time also, but not date.


Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:05 pm

Mon (bolded) Jan 19, 2004 (standard)1:05 pm (bolded)
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Postby spanky » Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:05 pm

When you go to the staging server, you have to change your skin to "Burning Man Lite" in your profile. Otherwise it's exactly the same except no Avatars. (avatars are borken on Staging for some reason)

~Spanky

\<>/
~Spanky

\<>/
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Postby spanky » Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:32 pm

Just for kicks I completely removed the images directory from the skin. Looks fine, but some of the replacement text sizes need to be changed. I can tackle this later.

~Spanky
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Postby precipitate » Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:03 pm

> you have to change your skin to "Burning Man Lite" in your profile

Well, that made absolutely no difference that I could see. It's still got the
same number of images per page (and in the same places) as the
default, it's just missing the banner image, but that was missing the first
time I logged in yesterday as well. Could you, on the staging
server, set Burning Man Lite as the default skin, just in case
the issue is phpBB not allowing skins to change? Or maybe add some
temporary text to the top stating that this is the Lite skin so we know
we're looking at the right thing?

> Just for kicks I completely removed the images directory from the skin.
> Looks fine

In my browser (Opera 7.02 on Win98), on the index page the leftmost
table column now takes up fully a third of the page because of the length
(not the size) of the alt text. In fact, all of the places where there's alt
text now take up way too much space. Might I suggest that instead of
just yanking the images directory, you make use of the phpBB-standard
variables that provide you with the link values that are currently around most
of the images, and provide your own text or symbols in the other
variables that provide alt text? If I were given a choice between this
(screen shot) and the default with all its images, I'd have to choose
the default.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Feb 03, 2004 4:34 pm

< bump >

In looking at what I believe is the Burning Man Lite theme, I'm not seeing any significant changes except the lack of banner graphic and lack of avatars (which Spanky said were broken on the staging server). This could be because templates are broken over there, or because there just aren't that many changes.

If you'd care to send me the template, I will make a version that reflects what I (and a few others) would like to see. I will document those changes and how I made them so that even if my template is not implemented, your developers can make use of individual changes.
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