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Forums: Grand Lodge > Wikia's new look


For anyone without Admin privileges, you may be unaware of the pending changes coming to all wikias, including our project. Some elements of the change will require quite a bit of redesigning on our part, so it may be in everyone's best interest to look over the Community Wiki. I'm not quite sure if the changes to the terms and conditions will require us to completely redesign the Main Page or any of our portals, and I sincerely hope not, as they have required a lot of work to get where they are and meet the site's needs without changing. If anyone has any insight into the specifics of what's listed there, please discuss it here. Aeakett, can you double check our custom CSS and java apps to make sure we're not violating the new terms?

I know I've been more absent of late since I got on with Paizo here last month, but with this major change coming to the project, I plan to devote as much time as possible to redesigning anything we have to and aiding in the visual transition of the site's look. Anyone can leave me a message on my talk page if there's anything you'd like me to take a look at or assist with. Thanks to everyone for keeping the site going and making so much headway in so many areas.

yoda8myhead 20:28, September 28, 2010 (UTC)
its doesn't look like the new look is going to be too much of a change. It should be relatively easy to convert (looking at the beta wikis, they haven't changed much). But as always, I will put in as much time as I can to help as needed when the time comes
Cpt kirstov 17:46, September 29, 2010 (UTC)
OK, I've cooled of some. :-) I'm going to give the theme builder a look and see what we can do. I'll report back in a while
Aeakett 23:00, September 29, 2010 (UTC)
Broken:
  • Article badges (not visible)
  • show/hide links (not visible)

The good news:

  • Page structure (code-wise) seems pretty sane... should be easy to customize

Other:

  • Taking this as an opportunity to try out a tweaked colour-scheme that I've been tinkering with (should be easy to go back old colours if everybody hates it).

More to come.

Aeakett 23:35, September 29, 2010 (UTC)
The TOS don't really say much. Basically, we can't remove any of the new crap in the public css/javascript files. What we could do though is maintain a common set of files that registered users could include in their own css/js pages. There is also a possibility that we could offer a button/link to unregistered users could use to load the custom-common styles. That last bit is just conjecture at this point though, and we won't be getting around to it any time soon. For now, I guess we should just concentrate on getting things to look as good as possible with the default look... *sigh*
Aeakett 00:10, September 30, 2010 (UTC)
That's a start. Lots of tweaking left to do. Can anybody see what I've done? Bein in the private beta, I've lost track of what the public can see.
Aeakett 00:49, September 30, 2010 (UTC)
I can see what you're doing if I look at the css code, but the site looks the same as it always does.
yoda8myhead 02:30, September 30, 2010 (UTC)
As this project wasn't part of the beta program, I don't think we'll be able to see the new look until October 6.
Heaven's Agent 03:55, September 30, 2010 (UTC)
OK then... have a look here. Clearly there is still a lot of stuff that needs styling, but I'm curious to know what everybody thinks of the colours.
Aeakett 12:09, September 30, 2010 (UTC)
I like it. It reminds me more of a leather-bound tome, similar to the look sported by the 3.5 rulebooks; I always did like that design. The dark-red wikilinks also add to the look, but are still unique enough that one can pick out links leading to nonexistent articles. I think it's a really classy, high-end design.

The color and background design aspects aside, this is also the first time I've been able to compare the new article space to our existing space. Frankly it's got me worried; It looks to be roughly half of the text space we currently boast. Additionally, it appears all text is automatically bolded. Some of our articles are lengthy even with the article space we're currently working with, and I am afraid they are going to be ridiculously long under this new style. Would it be possible to get a screen of one of our larger articles, maybe one with a table of content of average length, as seen in our article on Absalom? I'd be looking at how the ToC, the map image, and the double-column references section appear under the Oasis skin.

Heaven's Agent 15:44, September 30, 2010 (UTC)
I'm also not digging the new look. I like the css style you've implemented, but I am not so keen on all the junk taking up so much space on the page's body. It is very apparent that Wikia hopes to become just another social networking site. What a disappointment.
yoda8myhead 17:39, September 30, 2010 (UTC)
OK, don't worry too much about the font. The computer that I took the screenshot on has a wonky copy of Helvetica installed that doesn't render to the screen too well. I've shot the Absalom article as you requested. It's HUGE... you've been warned. I'm glad you like the leather and parchment look. I was totally going for a book-like feel. If we're generally OK with the color scheme, I'll have a look at making a new, more horizontal logo tonight.
Aeakett 18:07, September 30, 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the updated image; you weren't kidding about its size.

Luckily neither the double-column ref section nor the images seem to cause too many problems. However, the article really is too lengthy under Oasis; to put it nicely, that fixed-width content area is going to be a pain in the neck. I'm afraid that the smaller text area, combined with the presence of so much wasted, unused space, is going to drive me completely insane. I can understand why Wikia wanted to go with a fixed-width skin, but it is such a backwards design for wiki projects.

We're likely going to have to reconsider how we start many articles; the combination of infobox, table of contents, and text is simply too much. It's too crowded, it's too cluttered. Though I dread the number of articles we'll have to edit to correspond to any new style we decide upon. Hopefully we can set the bots to work on the task.

Heaven's Agent 06:31, October 1, 2010 (UTC)
OK, since we're losing all of that space to the side bar, I thought I'd make it look like an separate piece, instead of part of the content. Have a look here. Ignore the ugly seams in the book edge pattern... I'll fix that if we decide we like it. For now I'm looking for comments on the whole notion of the constrained content column, and the idea of the new picture pod (and the "xxxx pages on this wiki" pod in the future) looking—hopefully—like a scrap of paper.

Finally please notice the super-ulgy "Pathfinder Wiki" wordmark at the top of the page. I tried a bunch of layouts for it, but the length of "Pathfinder" makes things tricky. I'll revisit it again, but I'm afraid that this may be the best I can come up with for now.

Aeakett 02:58, October 4, 2010 (UTC)
I like the torn paper look on the widget, but not the book edge along the side of the page; it's quite busy and really distracting. As for the wordmark, what if you left justify the words and place them on top of the compass rose? How about if you right justify the words and have them overlap only a little bit on the left with the compass?

Another thing we need to make sure we do with the new layout immediately when it goes live, is to get the legal CUP text that appears at the bottom of every page added to the new skin. I hope that falls within our abilities under the new T&C. If not, we'll have no choice but to move to a different host, as the CUP requires that to be visible.

yoda8myhead 04:14, October 4, 2010 (UTC)
I like the idea of the book edge, but have to agree with Mark; that particular graphic is a bit too much. Maybe if it was simplified, perhaps designed to resemble a book with gilded page edges, or even just a clean deckle edge, it wouldn't draw attention from the content area as much.
-- Heaven's Agent 08:26, October 4, 2010 (UTC)
In the harsh light of morning, I must agree that it is a bit much, though I do still like how it draws the attention away from the sidebar (especially as the various pods scroll off the page and you're left with negative space). I'll head down to the library at lunch and see if I can find a nicely patinated book to introduce to the scanner. I'll also look into getting the CUP text included... that's a biggie.
Aeakett 12:04, October 4, 2010 (UTC)
OK, different book edge texture here. Filed support request with wikia to help us get the CUP at the bottom of every page. Re: wordmark, nothing seems to really help. The text is pretty much as big as I can get it given our size limitations.
Aeakett 17:03, October 4, 2010 (UTC)
  • Show/Hide links are working again.
  • Book-edge displays only when it should (ie the rail is present).
  • Parchment scrap backgrounds done (poorly) for the recent activity and recent images pods

Still need:

  • CUP message at the bottom of each page.
  • Header needs a different backgound when the rail is present
  • Lots of smaller elements still need to be styled
  • Most of the new images used in the style have seams where they tile
  • I'm not real happy with the colour of the headers on the nav templates/forum post footers
Aeakett 02:10, October 6, 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, looks like Wikia's changed a few things (nothing major). I'm seeing now that the backgrounds for the pods in the rail need to be scalable. I guess I'll have to come up with something different (though a scalable solution will be better since we can apply it to all pods). I still haven't heard back from the Wikia folks about adding the CUP text to the bottom of every page, but I had an idea before I drifted off last night, and a bit of quick messing around this morning seems to indicate that it will work (I'll try implementing it over my lunch break). Finally, I think today is the day that everybody can start using the new look. As painful as it may be, I'd suggest that everybody do so. It takes a while to find where everything is, but you'll get used to it over time. Also, I can verify that over time your rage and hatred of the new look will subside.
Aeakett 12:51, October 6, 2010 (UTC)
First of all, a big thank you to Aeakett for dealing with this mess for the past few weeks. I have little experience in css coding, so your help is greatly appreciated. Today is my first day seeing it all for myself (even though I submitted myself for the Beta, but oh well) and I don't like it at all. I think what I hate the most is the fact that we have so little room with those huge, annoying, way-bigger-than-they-need-to-be boxes on the right-hand side that are practically useless. Okay, that's enough whining from me. Thanks again to everyone for helping us deal with this stupid transition.
--BrandingOpportunity (Alex) 17:36, October 6, 2010 (UTC)
Yes, a lot of thanks to Aeakett; your efforts have made Golariopedia one of the best looking projects on the network, at least initially; we'll see how other communities adapt over the coming weeks. :D

My general distaste for the skin remains, but I won't address my reasons any further; I've mentioned them earlier in the discussion, and Oasis is here to stay, so there's really no point.

That said, now that I've had the chance to actually navigate the project in Oasis, I find I don't care for the page-border graphic. There are too many boxes and advertisements, and they interrupt the image too frequently for it to appear an integral part of the content space. I think it's a situation where simple is probably better, and I would prefer the simple background used in the earlier screen shots.

I do have some thoughts as to how we can better convey the feel of the project being a book, though. Perhaps we should look into acquiring a series of themed illuminated letters with which to begin major articles. Additionally, for the sake of readability, I'd like to recommend we consider bolding all wikilinks; I really like the red links, but currently they can be difficult to pick out of an article if they are standard weight.

-- Heaven's Agent 18:12, October 6, 2010 (UTC)
You're right, it is too busy. I've pulled the border back into the article space, but I'll do up a borderless graphic tonight. I still ike the idea of having only the article having a paper background (it makes it easier to ignore the rail). I've also bolded the links. Also, didn't get a chance to do the CUP text at lunch... I'll do that tonight as well.
Aeakett 18:56, October 6, 2010 (UTC)
Ugh. We have a lot of work to do, or rather, you guys do; I no longer have the time to manage the look of the site, much as I wish I did. That said, I think it looks very good considering the magnitude of changes Wikia implemented.

A few things I'd like to see relatively quickly are the return of double-click editing. Maybe this is a preference that I need to reselect, but at the moment, I can only edit by clicking the button. Also, we lost all our borders on infoboxes and navboxes. Check the code for the tantable class, which may need to be moved into the current css file.

yoda8myhead 19:38, October 6, 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, it's going to be a long month. I'm just headed home, but I wanted to note that I started a complaint list here. It will be easier to make sure stuff gets fixed if we have one master list. If you have a complaint/bug-report, please put it there. If you see a complaint somewhere else, please move it there and leave a note on the original source saying that it was moved.

denial -> anger -> bargaining -> depression -> acceptance

We'll get there.

Aeakett 20:18, October 6, 2010 (UTC)
Just thought I'd drop this here. It's got a good breakdown of what the costs and benefits would be of leaving Wikia. I think it's a discussion worth having, especially since we can still do so without sacrificing the name, pathfinderwiki (which Alfred owns). I'm just really irked by the push against individual community building and control and the push toward terrible layout and redirecting to other wikia sites. The more I navigate sites with the new skin, the more I realize that it's designed to take you to as many Main pages as possible. This gets wikia the most hits to pages that always have ads, even for logged in users.
yoda8myhead 02:54, October 7, 2010 (UTC)
Did they disable the new skin again? I have my preferences set to the new skin, but am seeing the old one.....
Cpt kirstov 15:50, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
I still have the new look fwiw
Aeakett 16:01, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
I no longer see it, either. Here's hoping Wikia decided it was a bad idea, but I imagine it's only the result of something new they're implementing or some bug they're hunting down; I imagine the new skin's absence is temporary, at best.
Heaven's Agent 16:07, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
Ugh. It's back!
yoda8myhead 20:55, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
I hate to be negative about the new skin, but it's really starting to bother me more than just aesthetically. I find it causing me eye strain and headaches and keep switching back to monaco to search and navigate when I really need to.

Can we seriously look into some other hosting options? We were ad and Wikia free before moving here, and there are still few enough of us that we could move pretty easily without much problem as far as splitting the community goes.

yoda8myhead 08:32, October 15, 2010 (UTC)
Fine by me either way. Should we put up a facebook/twitter thing asking people if they have suggestions, or just start looking ourselves? I don't really have any experience anywhere else to have immediate input
Cpt kirstov 11:57, October 15, 2010 (UTC)
You hate being negative? Please, being negative is the only fun part of the new sking :-) Seriously though, "eye strain and headaches" makes me wonder if it's not so much the new layout as the new colour scheme. The darkness of the red leather against the article background is a pretty high contrast. Conversely, the main body text is a little light and I've been meaning to darken it up some. Finally, though it's subtle, the article section's background is textured, and that may be playing with your eyes. Those are three things off the top of my head that might be causing your pain. I'll try and whip up some custom css for you this weekend to see if it helps your problem.

Has anybody else noticed any physical issues when viewing the new skin? If so, now is probably the best time to speak up.

Re: new hosting. It would probably be a good idea to know what our options are. Would anybody like to volunteer to look into this? We should probably start a new forum thread for this discussion, but here are some points to prime it with:

  • Why did we move to wikia in the first place? Too much hassel maintaining a server and mediawiki install? Too costly?
  • What other services are available? ShoutWiki is one. Others exist. If they use the mediawiki software, that would be ideal since importing would be much easier.
  • Moving images is always going to be a pain... lots of work there.
  • New service may not have all of the mediawiki extensions that we are used to/rely on (I can't think of a concrete example, but I'd be willing to bet that we're in pretty deep with at least one feature that isn't stock). Also, no monaco, no achievments, no shoutbox. We'll almost certainly be back to basics with the mediawiki stock skin (whatever it's called).
  • What happens to the wikia wiki? Rumour is that wikia staff have been known to lock out admins of larger wikis that attempt to make a move.

For now, I'll continue to concentrate on making the best of the worst situation here at wikia. I am, however, open to a move (despite the work) if we find a good solution elsewhere and/or can't get things sorted out here.

Aeakett 12:06, October 15, 2010 (UTC)

I've moved the last couple of posts to a new thread hwere we can discuss the issues around possible making a move.

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