That's one good plan full of good ideas. The only thing I have to advise is caution you against making a design too graphics-heavy as it might make it sluggish for people with limited bandwidth and those who access the web via mobile networks (either using mobile devices for browsing or 3G modems). Though I guess you know it very well without any reminders. Perhaps wiki design should be somewhat simpler that DarkMatters and Sacred 3, because no matter which Sacred it is about, a well-written wiki article always contains a lot of context illustrations, in-text icons and other imagery related to the topic of the article. Having such articles surrounded by heavy interface can be distracting, and I guess if we have to choose between using images for articles or for interface, articles are preferable.
Great point! Our last two purchased skins have been quite graphics heavy. I'd like our new one to load quickly so I'll certainly be careful about that.
I completely agree about keeping Sacredwiki more simple than the DarkMatters and Sacred 3. That makes a lot of sense to me. For the wiki I'd like to add just a bit of graphics. Like border framing and buttons. But I wonder if it might be worthwhile to create an "editors" skin. A very basic skin for editors that would allow them to work more quickly than the default skin... On the whole I agree that reserving our resources for article graphics content vs skin graphics is a priority. I'll do my best to keep it extra light on the wiki.
Sounds good to me. I really like the idea of using the wings! Will that narrow vertical menu be something that scrolls down the side of the page with you? In all that black space that you get with a screen res greater than what the forum is designed for I mean.
And is there any chance of doing something about mobile browsing on the site? Currently on the Ghost Ship theme my phone which doesn't do text rewrapping to fit the text in posts better on the screen means I have to move swipe side to side to read a full post. However, the basic IP.Board skin appears to do this itself so I was wondering if it would be possible to display the IP.Board skin if as phone is set to request the mobile version of the site and then whichever skin I have selected as my default if I set the phone to request the desktop site?
Cheers DB! Yup! That menu will scroll with you. I could get pretty creative with the vertical menu. The general idea I'm following is like the tiny menu of user links we have on Fallen Angel at the top right of the page. I set that menu up to follow the reader whenever they scroll up and down the page for easy access. So My initial thought was to make a vertical menu that follows but now I'm starting to imagine a top horizontal menu based on the Windows Taskbar with auto-hide... Any way I do it though I think making it an auto slide in/out type would be functional.
As for mobile. I'll be setting up a separate skin for each site, specifically designed for mobile that will auto detect and implement itself. The detection and loading process will be like DarkMatters does it. It's a function that's built into most site softwares. By default, the first time a mobile arrives at darkmatters the forum "should" feed that mobile the IP.Board-ish low-fi skin. I hope that's still working! haha. That's the goal for our new look.
I'm glad this is happening. I don't know the history of the site (would be cool to know), but this is not a dark place. The subject matter (both Sacred and casual topics) is not dark, the community is not dark... just the color scheme is. Skin of gloom. I have no problem with dark color schemes, just the current look is like a gothic poetry site.
I have no suggestions on what kind of changes to make. I'll try to think of something.
I couldn't agree more. The primary reason that our look has been dark the past two skins is because I couldn't design something and that whatever was available to buy has been far and few between. There just aren't many options out there for a gaming site in terms of well designed skins. This is about as good as it gets, haha. Both me and gogo prefer a light skin and we feel a light skin is a better reflection of the highly productive and kind community here. To give you an idea of our history though... This is what I designed. In 2007. We had to drop the skin because our IPB forum software changed so drastically that the skin as it was designed was completely incompatible.
A couple things I would love:
1) Signature displays at bottom of post, not directly below post text. This could help make all the empty space (caused by the height of our avatars/titles) at the bottom not seem so odd and empty.
2) Thumbnails for external images. I always upload to imgur, and the forum resizes big images, but they still end up displaying as large as possible, so a multi-image thread takes a long time to load (it also ends up taking up a lot of space). Is there some way to allow for thumbnail display instead?
#1 has been problematic for yeeeeaaaars. It's a tricky one to resolve. I've tried over the years but when you adjust one thing something else falls out of place, lol. I feel the exact same way though. Has bothered me in the past. I had forgotten all about it actually.... THANX Flix for reminding me. rofl
#2 Continued in External Image Thumbnail Sizes
This is sort of a nitpick, but have you guys had problems reading walls of text? As in, white letters on black background cause white lines to appear when you close your eyes? I have, and it cant be good for the eyes.
YES! I'm right there with you. Been bothering me for a few weeks now actually. This is largely a contrast issue though which means it's not too difficult to resolve. It was really bad in the editor while typing a post because the text in the editor was nearly white on black which is terrible for the eyes. I started working on that issue in this skin a couple days ago along with the missing quote box styling while using the editor. Many of you probably haven't seen this yet. Primarily because we need to clear our browser caches.
Also, can we get "size width" when adding Image URL? The default width is sometimes too big.
Sure thing! Not sure what I can do in the future but I'll try.