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Last Post 08/09/2010 12:51 AM by boleane
Critique my skin please...
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DanBall
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02/07/2009 10:35 PM
    Okay, I'll jump in here and test this out.  I need some constructive criticism of my website skin.  Feel free to tell me whatever you don't like about it, but please be more descriptive than my kids are, they just tell me "it sucks" and walk away. 

    This is an html/frames-based skin that I wrote myself, with special modifications for Active Social and the DNN360 CSS menu.  It is not compliant with the new standards, it is strictly html right now until I can figure out how to make it compliant.  Nor have I gone through to modify it for the DNN 5 requirements.

    The containers are from Nina's free flower skin, because they fit in with the general look of the site better than the containers I wrote, so I'm just working on the skin itself right now.  Eventually I'll replace those also.

    The skin is more of a free-form design than a strict column look.  The modules "float" above the background (which is why the container design is also important), because the only parts of the skin that are visible are the logo and menu boxes on the top, and the copyright box on the bottom.  The background is a single tiled GIF file so I can change it extremely easily (I had some convoluted plan to change it on a regular basis). 

    One issue I know about right now is that I have to fix the poor graphics around the boxes.  I'm not all that good with graphics editing, so I've been trying to find someone who can fix those images for me (I drew them myself in about a half-hour).

    Oh yes, the website address:

    http://www.oicnetwork.net
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    kxdhost
    I'm the boss!
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    03/07/2009 12:28 AM
    Hi Dan - I'll give you some feedback - I know what it's like to put your hand up and say - what do you think...

    I love bling - I actually think the background image on your site is very very cool - I saw this a while ago and thought - I wonder if he'd notice if I borrowed it for something.  You should see the wheels on my car - that's bling all over. So the background looks great and affective.

    I think, having looked at the print options, that the containers should have the print icon in the body of the container, and really  - probably not at all - so perhaps removing the print icon and re saving might stop it looking a bit pixelated.

    The men - it's a bit squashed - I know you're using the 360 menu - is that because you don't know how to make a compliant menu?  You could take one of the free skins - the later ones with the 'links' skinobject and use that for your top level menu, which is compliant and then have the hidden solpart menu when logged in - that's just a suggestion.

    The logo - it's a bit pixellated - that generall comes when people open up a .gif file in photoshop without setting it to RGB - that removes the pixel affects when you modify or shrink it.

    I think what I would do in relation to the menu and the logo - I would make sure the panes they were sitting in were the same height - it gives a more even line when looking at it.

    I would also make the font size quite a bit larger - that's the trend these days - I wonder if it's because we're all getting old!! Perhaps it's just me..

    I do like the freeform concept - I see where you are going with it.

    I hope this gives you some constructive feedback so you can continue with developing it more and thanks for sharing.

    Nina

    Life is too short to be unhappy!
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    DanBall
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    03/07/2009 6:20 AM
    Thanks for your input...

    1. The background image is something I got from the web somewhere.  Right now I cannot think of where I got it from, but I was searching around a lot of sites that were posted as "free" backgrounds awhile back so that is probably where I got it from.  I try to avoid grabbing copyrighted images, so I'm not too worried about anyone complaining.  Anyways, like I mentioned earlier, I had planned originally to make it so that I could change the background on a whim, so I designed it with a generic approach so I could change it without having to modify any skin files.  I think that is like the 5th one I've used so far, it has been Red, Blue, Gray, Black, etc, at different times.  With the floating concept, the background actually becomes a major part of the skin.  So, feel free to use it if you want, I've seen it in a lot of places on the web so I certainly cannot claim it as my own.

    2. Yes, I am guilty of not knowing how to make a good menu.  I purchased the DNN360 menu because I wanted to get away from the SOLPARTMENU, and wanted something that was more professionaly done than I could do myself.  I have had some iPhone users in the past that could not use my site with the stock DNN menu, and needed to have something that was more usable.  I could add some more spacing in that area to make it look a little roomier.  The think I like the most of that particular menu is the two-level menu design.  I don't want to go to the extreme that some people have of refusing to use sub-menus, but do want to keep it simplistic.  The two-level menu approach fits this design nicely in that you have only a few options available at any one time.  If I could figure out how to make a good menu other than the stock DNN one, then I'd do that instead.    This topic is probably worthy of much more discussion on how to do that...

    3.  Yes, the logo is pretty messed up... I forgot to mention that as a known problem in my original post.  I had someone promise me they'd make me a really-really nice one to put up there, so I just threw a ten-year-old graphic up there until they had it ready.  Here it is a year and a half later and I still haven't seen it... *sigh* 

    4. Pane heights... Hmmmm...  The reason they are different heights is that each of the three panes on the skin itself (logo, menu, copyright) are free-flowing in design, centered vertically.  They'll adjust themselves to whatever size needed to fit the content.  So, I resized the logo so that it made the logo pane the same height as the menu pane.  But, apparently I didn't take into account that when not logged in the menu pane height is shorter, thus the difference in height.   When logged in, the login prompt is replaced with the Active Social Message Center (you might have seen a screenshot of it posted on the AM forums), making it a bit taller so they are the same height.  So....  In order to make it look not so awkward, I should either force them to be the same size or make them so different in size that it becomes obvious that they are not supposed to be the same size?  Easy enough to do...

    5. As far as font sizes go, which ones are you referring to?  The menu text and/or the module text?  Some things are easy to increase the size of, others are not quite so easy.  Now that you mention it, I do see a difference in font size in the two menu levels...  I'll have to poke through those files to see how to fix that.

    I'm glad you like the freeform concept, I wasn't too sure how well it would go over in the professional arena.  All of the containers and skins I have done over the last few years have all been dynamically scalable to fit the size of the contents instead of trying to fit the contents to the container.  Come to think of it, I think I have a mod of your Flower skin that I did a couple of years ago that scaled also.

    One of my pet peeves is a website that is using a fixed-width design that, whenever viewed on a wide-screen monitor (or, like on my work computer, four monitors), shows up as a narrow band down the center of the screen, and the background is 2-3 times as wide as the actual web page. 

    I'll work on the skin a little this weekend, and post my results.  Perhaps I'll finish some of the containers I have partially done also.


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    DanBall
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    07/07/2009 12:52 PM
    Well, I re-worked the skin a bit, cleaning up the image edges and some of the alignment issues. I then took those same border graphics and used them for a theme-matching set of containers. I also replaced the logo with one that is not so pixelated and a bit larger so that the pane heights are obviously "supposed" to be different heights (eventually I'll get a really good one). So, that finishes up almost all of the planned skin tweaks.

    I haven't figured out how to modify the menu so get the font sizes better yet though. I'll keep looking into it. Perhaps I'll dig into the free skins (per your suggestion) and see if I can figure those out.
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    kxdhost
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    09/07/2009 8:31 PM
    OK - now I have had a chance to look at this - sorry I've really been quite unwell and still recovering from the worst flu I've had.. I'm sure I said that last time I fell ill, but this time it's been nearly two weeks. Oh well, thank goodness I have great staff in my office.

    Now, back to your site - I can see you've worked on making some improvements and its looking better, but the container is broken and it shows..

    How about you send me the skin and container package and I'll get Paul to wave his magic wand over it and we'll help you get it looking like you want it to.

    You've done a great job so far and I think we can help you get it looking as you want with just a few touches.

    Nina
    Life is too short to be unhappy!
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    DanBall
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    10/07/2009 6:14 AM
    Okay, thanks for your assistance. I'll package those up tonight and send them to you the next time I see you on IM.
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    tentenforum
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    23/09/2009 1:02 PM

    hi there,

    okay let me start..

    Background - plain, a little bit boring but i can consider it as good... why not try putting up a more siple background that is not animated just to enhance the content of our site...

     

    Content - do you consider putting up some ads on your site? and adding up a little color of your text's background?

     

    Logo - using neutral color such as black and white is good but it's kinda boring once a visitor sees our logo... why not emboss it a little bit or put a little shadow or play it's color. you can stick up on neutral colors but be sure make your logo more capturing... AND don't overdo the design...

     

    all in all, i can it's average...and it's good..

    i hope you won't mind how i crticize your skin...

    it's just an opinion...

    thanks

    Corporate Rescue

     

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    kunio2012
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    23/09/2009 7:57 PM

    I think your site looks great Dan.
    I love your idea for the overall design. Especially the "floating" features you implemented.

    I somewhat agree with you on the graphics though, you're gonna need to find someone who can make you some decent ones.

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    justindougman
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    01/10/2009 7:26 PM
    Wow! I love the background but i think you need to add some colors in there. Also, i think that you can outsource your logo. Try crowd sourcing just type it in google.

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    dsbente
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    14/10/2009 6:46 PM

    for me it is neat enough.... all in all it is good.. but try also to work out on the background used on your skin...
    good luck

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    Couristmark
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    26/10/2009 9:11 PM
    It's really nice. Very emo, very beautiful. I think it's a bit too poetic in places, which is fine for online and underground stuff but not so good for mainstream publishing. Check out deviantart.com, I think you'd like it there.



     
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    leejane30
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    16/11/2009 6:18 PM
    well, I mysn say it is neat to say but it is a lot better i you let the background to be plain.
    It will be a lot good to see if it is plain...

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    jangcastillo33
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    27/11/2009 5:12 PM
    yes! i strongly agree to that. it seems there is no problem on the content.
    just work a bit on the design part. choose at least  3 colors that you will use as the default for your skin.
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    DT6011
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    30/07/2010 2:49 PM
    Nice work Dan, your site looks Good!
    Great design specially that floating features.

    Just change the graphics, there are someone who can make it better.
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    boleane
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    08/09/2010 12:51 AM
    hi im new in this site...

    http://www.iapptester.com
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