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Post by Sharp Dressed Man on Jul 14, 2018 5:04:07 GMT
Hi there, i'd appreciate feedback on the skin i've been working on. You can find it here.
I am mostly looking for opinions on readability and for anything that might be sticking out for you that looks wonky, I am semi-noobish at coding from (mostly) scratch and i've tried to use media screens to address any sizing issues that might come up but worry that different screen sizes might cause things like clipping. Another place that has been somewhat annoying for me are the 4 font-awesome buttons under the mini-profile icon that i've been having trouble getting to stay in their 2x2 rows; I believe this is fixed but i'm worried at other resolutions it might flop. I am also kind of stubborn using background images that might be a bit busy but i've tried to work the skin around it to make it fit.
Hello Sharp Dressed Man I've been meaning to get to this the past couple of days, but finding time is hard. Anyway, since you're just looking for skin reviews right now I'll focus entirely on that. If you'd like me to take a look at your content or any other part of the site later, just let me know and I'll be happy to do that too! I hope you find this useful and if you have any further questions don't hesitate to ask.
I'll be focusing less on aesthetic and more on user experience here. Web pages are unique in the sense that they're a form of visual medium that isn't so much meant to be looked at as it is to be used. What I mean by that is, is that unlike a painting, which is only meant to be looked at, people are going to be interacting with your forum and are going to want to do certain things and know about certain things. It's not meant to be stared at, it's meant to do things. It's more about communicating with your users than it is meant to be pretty.
So let's start from the top! The banner is nice and the navigation is pretty clear. Making the nav tree transparent has some issues though, most notably when it starts overlapping text below. It's transparent, so I can still see what's behind it to a degree, and when it overlaps that white text or brighter backgrounds, the text in it becomes nigh unreadable. I like the pop in effect on your information, it's just a bit slow. Users are notoriously impatient and aren't going to want to wait for your information to show. The effect is nice because it'll draw their attention to it, but by the time I could actually read the text I was already getting bored staring at it. I think you'll have to poke around with it, but making it about half the time (around 2s) might be good? Your staff images are poking out of their box for me right now, which looks a bit awkward, but I think everything else looks good. The contrast is strong enough that I can read all your text. About the only other thing I can suggest is to add in some quicklinks since it's become an expectation of the RPG community and people are very lazy.
To the boards, the first time I looked at this shortly after you posted, I didn't see any last post details, so it actually took me a really long time to realize that they were your boards (by user standards). I was wondering what it all was at first, and didn't realize what was going on until I scrolled all the way to the bottom. This is a bit awkward because your boards should be one of the selling points of your site.
I'm going to talk about visual hierarchy for a moment. As a designer, you want to draw the user's attention to the content you consider most important. This is often done with text and color, but images can help as well. By making things really big, or using really contrasting colors, or an image, you can draw the user's attention to that spot. So it's important to think about what you want the user to see and which details aren't as important. For a lot of RPG forums, that's going to be things like the board name and the last post, whereas the board description or the number of posts in it may be less important.
When I looked at your boards my eye was immediately drawn to that big image in it. It's a bright red against gray background, and it's a big image, so it really stands out. It meant that my eyes skipped past the board name and description immediately, as they are both small and low contrast, and focused right on that. It takes up about a fourth of real estate there, so it's really emphasized. But is it what you actually want people to look at? Aren't the board names and what they're about more important? I legit didn't even notice there was text further to the left until I stared at it for awhile, that's how much attention that image draws. It might be worth reconsidering how you're using that image so you can draw more attention to the boards themselves. The boards are also lacking in some information users might want to see, most notably when the last post in the forum was posted. Right now you have the last thread that was posted in and who posted, but not when it was posted. People like to use those stats to gauge activity and tend to get suspicious when it's hidden. It might also be worth including the total number of topics and posts.
On the color end of things, I can barely read your board names, and I straight up can't read the name of the user that made the last post. The white text I can mostly read, though it gets a little hard as it gets close to the center. The blue in your category titles doesn't really match any of the other blues you use. It might be worth grabbing one of the dark teals from the banner to use that instead, just so everything matches a bit better. It's already a bit busy in a lot of ways, minimizing random color usage will make it look a bit less busy.
Looking at the thread list and the mini-profile, I have the same issue with the group colors you picked there as I did on the board list. I think it just doesn't work with that metal texture you're using. It's a bit hard to use such a drastic gradient and still have everything be readable. If you really like the gradient, putting a background behind the text, even a translucent one like you did in the header, would go a long way I think. The banner going away was a bit jarring at first, but I don't think I actually mind it. It's nice not to have the extra scrolling, and your navigation is still easily identifiable.
In your posts, your font size is readable and the color is high contrast. I can read it all fine. Your link color and your font color are pretty close to the same though, which is going to make it difficult for people to differentiate link from text when you do something like this. I think it'd be worth changing the link color up a little bit to make that distinction easy.
The mini-profile has a lot of the same issues boards do. What's the most important thing you want people to see? Is it that random red image that exists only for aesthetic purposes and doesn't actually say anything about the user posting? I hope not, but it kind of dominates again. Your user name and group is really tiny, the icons for the various threads they can link to are about half the size all combined, and even the 100x100 icon is smaller in that hover. You're also missing some things like post count to fit it all in there. I don't think you necessarily need to remove that image entirely, but I doubt you want it to be the focus either. That said, the hover effect is nice, exactly fast enough I think, and I can read all your icons and text in the hover. I still have a bit of trouble with the username, but that's it. Though I can't tell what all those icons do. It might be worth adding a title="some text" to where you set the icons so that when I hover over them it'll tell me what it's for.
I can't see the main profile as a guest, so I think that's all I can comment on. I think you're off to a good start! Just keep in mind what you want the users to look at. This is especially important in a skin that's on the busier side. Good luck with your site!
Post by Sharp Dressed Man on Jul 24, 2018 21:36:57 GMT
Hi Kitten4u, thank you for the feedback! I think I ended up deciding against opening because i'm not married to the concept but I did make quite a few changes to the skin itself that I was happy with. Towards the end I got a little lazy and used a premade miniprofile with minor edits instead of a skeleton with major edits. I think it came out looking a lot nicer than before with the crazy triangles and whats its, even if it was a bit simple compared to what others can do. I learned a lot though so I appreciate your help ^_^
No problem, glad you were able to develop something you like. :3 I hope it didn't discourage you too much. I always like it when people try something weird and different! A lot of skins are kind of samey looking, so it takes a lot of guts to try to branch out beyond that.
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