momijizukamori: (dreamsheep | styles)
Cocoa ([personal profile] momijizukamori) wrote in [site community profile] dreamscapes2012-12-07 01:36 am

Brainstorming/Request for Feedback: Style Categories

Our theme and layout designers have been really busy lately! At this point, we have over twelve hundred styles (exciting, isn't it :D?), which is, well, a lot.

The one downside of all this is that we don't have a lot of organization on the style selection page to help users sort through layouts to find one they want. 'Featured' showcases new themes, and 'Base Styles' gives one example of each layout, but that's about it right now. So, someone who's trying to find the perfect layout for their journal has to look through each of those twelve hundred styles individually, and we're brainstorming ways we can make it easier for people to find the journal look they're looking for.

We can calculate some of the more objective parts of styles automatically, but not everything can be solved with math, which means it falls to the people reading this, the people using these styles, to tell us how you would like to see things sorted into categories -- things that would make it easier for you to find what you're looking for, or ways you'd find helpful to have things sorted.

Some examples of things we can make the servers do automatically (and please do suggest more of these if you think of them!):

* Grouping layouts by color
* Grouping layouts by whether they're high- or low-contrast
* Grouping layouts by how bright the colors used are

And some ideas for categories that would have to be determined by people, on an individual basis (and these aren't necessarily the ones we'd use, but just to start the brainstorming):

* Layouts that work particularly well with very large font sizes
* Layouts that work particularly well on mobile devices
* Layouts that are optimized for one-column or three-column mode (almost all of our layouts support all modes, but many of them default to two-column as 'standard' and can behave a bit oddly in other modes)

Or categories that are more about the subjective "feel" of the layout:

* Layouts that are nature-themed
* Layouts that are "cute"
* Layouts that are minimalist/"clean"-looking
* Layouts that are "fancy"/more ornate

The more people who give their opinions on this, the better! What are the sort of categories you'd like to see when looking for that perfect layout for your journal?

EDIT: Here's a similar, older brainstorming post to jumpstart ideas

[personal profile] gone_fishing 2012-12-07 10:33 am (UTC)(link)
First of all, I would like to say how grateful I am that this is finally being brought up, because yeah, that's a lot of styles to wade through. (I think we may have more than LJ at this point? Idek. 1200 is still an awesome number, though. :D)

For me, personally, I think it would be easiest to have categories of

*by style - so you can see ALL the themes for Abstractia, Ciel, Crisped, etc (which you can do if you click on the style name, on the Select Style page, but it doesn't have its own category in the style bar. There's the Base Styles, but they only have the default theme for each one.)

*dark-on-light, or light-on-dark

*cool colors, or warm colors

*minimalist v. fancy

Really, ALL THE CATEGORIES you suggested are good ones (like what's optimized for mobile devices, or one-column or three-column), but if we had to narrow it down to a few to start, those would be most helpful to me. I don't know about other people, tho.

(for example, one thing that I personally prefer in a layout is light text on dark background, because I find the reverse too glare-y and I get headaches otherwise, so when I change out my journal theme every now and again, it would be super helpful to have the light-on-dark and dark-on-light as categories so I know what to look for. ymmv.)
beatrice_otter: Are you challenging my ingenuity? (Ingenuity)

[personal profile] beatrice_otter 2012-12-09 05:40 am (UTC)(link)
Or like a thing of ticky boxes. So you could check "three columns" and "icon on the left" and "sidebar" and "light on dark" and "minimalist" and "blue" and you would get a list of ten or twenty styles that fit, and then all you have to do is choose between them.

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unmowngrass: An avenue of trees in pink blossom (Default)

[personal profile] unmowngrass 2012-12-09 02:32 pm (UTC)(link)
I like the "all the themes for the style name".
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)

[personal profile] jjhunter 2012-12-07 10:54 am (UTC)(link)
I'd love the ability for the average DW denizen to be able to curate 'Favorites' or 'Recommended' lists a la Amazon or other sites, where the list could be a browse-able, try-out-the-preview-able, choose-this-specific-one-for-my-new-layout-without-navigating-away-searching-able category page of its own. I think if the people had the ability to curate their recommendations in such a way, they'd be eager to share those recommendations and others would enjoy browsing them & giving them a try.
jjhunter: closeup of library dragon balancing book on its head (library dragon 2)

[personal profile] jjhunter 2012-12-07 10:57 am (UTC)(link)
p.s. it would also delegate some of the 'trying to figure out all the possible permutations people might want to search by' stuff (which would hopefully make it easier on your end!) and increase the number of people actively involved in making this accessible and more pleasurable for everyone.
sally_maria: (Vala age)

[personal profile] sally_maria 2012-12-09 10:39 am (UTC)(link)
I really like this idea. As it is, people are probably only exposed to a small number of the possible styles available here, and I know on LJ that I've been inspired to adopt a style after seeing someone else using it.

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dancing_serpent: (Default)

[personal profile] dancing_serpent 2012-12-07 11:19 am (UTC)(link)
It's not up to date at the moment, but I like this here: http://styles.memewidth.org/stats
elfin: image:  olivia;  text: invincible (Default)

[personal profile] elfin 2012-12-07 01:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I'd love to be able to filter by the location of the navigation, whether it's in the header or the sidebar.

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rhi: Light pouring down through a crevice in the stone, red and orange and lovely. (stone light)

[personal profile] rhi 2012-12-07 03:29 pm (UTC)(link)
'Seasonal' or 'holiday' would also be useful. (Free example: Battle Raven might be great for Halloween.) So would 'Hobbies' if we start getting more themes with graphics.

ETA: Those are the categories I tend to check at LJ when I'm wanting to change my theme for a little while over there.
Edited (Clarity) 2012-12-07 15:29 (UTC)
cloudsinvenice: sepia photo of man at typewriter with cats on his shoulders and desk (Default)

[personal profile] cloudsinvenice 2012-12-10 03:54 am (UTC)(link)
Same here - I usually get inspired to change my theme by the time of year or a specific event like Hallowe'en or Christmas.

I can imagine there being some overlap between the categories, too - like, a layout in shades of orange could appear in both the "warm colours" and the "seasonal" sections, because it's an autumnal colourscheme. Or am I confusing layout with theme? (I never really understand the distinction between layout/theme/style and that gets me quite muddled up when I'm trying to find something new.)
Edited 2012-12-10 03:54 (UTC)
musyc: Silver flute resting diagonally across sheet music (Default)

[personal profile] musyc 2012-12-07 04:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Font size and mobile devices, yesssssssss. I think that would be great. Color categories (all green-based, all blue-based, etc) would be nice too. I know several people who don't care what their layout is, as long as it's purple. XD

Minimalist versus fancy, that would be great.

One thing I'd love to see is "the base layout design has done THIS to the default/expected" sort of thing. Like, "all the blockquotes are italicized" or "all the icons are small".


OT rambling, possibly:
Things like the icon size, or that there's a background/no background, or that the nav is in the header instead of the sidebar or vice versa, we can change all of that VERY EASILY with the wizard, but a lot of the frustration I see is that people don't know that. Especially newcomers to DW, who are used to the vagaries of the LJ wizard. Most people I know either aren't technically capable of or are totally unwilling to fight with the LJ wizard to get a 'pretty' layout, and they expect the same troubles here. It's automatically assumed that "oh, the nav is in the header, I don't like that, pick a different layout", instead of "oh, that's there, I can MOVE it myself!". They're used to either picking something base from the customize page and just ... living with it OR to c/p'ing a layout whole and entire from a comm. In both instances, never knowing that they can make changes or how to go about doing so. (I once spent two hours walking a user through how to change their entry backgrounds to white.)

[personal profile] gone_fishing 2012-12-07 07:09 pm (UTC)(link)
we can change all of that VERY EASILY with the wizard, but a lot of the frustration I see is that people don't know that. Especially newcomers to DW, who are used to the vagaries of the LJ wizard. Most people I know either aren't technically capable of or are totally unwilling to fight with the LJ wizard to get a 'pretty' layout, and they expect the same troubles here.

This. I also see people complaining a lot about the font sizes being so big (I know it's set to 1em by default for accessibility issues, but there is a selection of people, myself included, who finds larger fonts to be *much* harder on the eyes/creates headaches and prefers smaller ones, like a 10 pt), so having something about the font sizes would probably also be helpful in the sidebar, as well as possibly varying font sizes by theme? (Like I know Brittle tends towards smaller fonts by default, it would be nice if there were a couple others that did the same) A lot of people I've talked with re: DW styles do not know how to use the wizard or even that they can, and may have very specific preferences in a layout but don't want to search through 1200 themes to try to find something ready-made, so they grumble about "settling" for this or that theme, so having some sort of thingee in the Select Style sidebar categories about themes that are optimized for larger fonts, or specific color categories, or whether the nav starts off in the header or the sidebar, would be super helpful. *nods nods*
cloudsinvenice: sepia photo of man at typewriter with cats on his shoulders and desk (Default)

[personal profile] cloudsinvenice 2012-12-10 03:56 am (UTC)(link)

One thing I'd love to see is "the base layout design has done THIS to the default/expected" sort of thing. Like, "all the blockquotes are italicized" or "all the icons are small".


Great idea. I hate it when layouts turn all the headers on a page into caps, for instance, so I'd like to be able to filter that kind of thing out. Another example would be layouts where your icon won't show up on your main journal page, but will appear on the individual page for each post.
musyc: Silver flute resting diagonally across sheet music (Default)

[personal profile] musyc 2012-12-07 04:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Seperate thought: Is there any way to determine which layouts get used most often? So that there could be a "most popular" category? I suspect that would be WAY code-heavy or just impossible to figure out, but it might be something new users would like.

[personal profile] gone_fishing 2012-12-07 07:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I like this idea too, if it's at all doable. (some of it is my sheer curiosity on what layouts get used the most often, because I'm kind of a geek like that)

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ninetydegrees: Drawing: a girl's face, with a yellow and green stripe over one eye (Default)

[personal profile] ninetydegrees 2012-12-07 07:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Since this is the post which started all this, here are some more cats: http://getting-started.dreamwidth.org/58584.html

[personal profile] gone_fishing 2012-12-07 07:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh man, I didn't even know there was a post like this, thank you! I will refer some folks to it. :D
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2012-12-09 05:08 am (UTC)(link)
I have searched for retro-computing-feel layouts in the past. I also know at least one person who has used professional-looking (clean design, lots of whitespace that is white or pale) layouts, mostly for evading casual shoulder-surfing at work.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)

[personal profile] beatrice_otter 2012-12-09 05:26 am (UTC)(link)
I like all of the ideas you have, but I would like to add "grouping layouts by where stuff is on the page." I have aspergers, and picking out patterns is difficult for me. When looking at layouts, the colors really stand out, but it's hard for me to see past that to *other* ways layouts differ, such as how many columns a layout has, where are the icons, what all is where. And I know it's all customizable, but it was a bit overwhelming to look at all the options.

You know what would help? A grayscale diagram of the various layouts with everything labelled, so I can look at them without the color distracting me and go "I want a layout organized like that, what are the best layouts in that category" and *then* selecting styles and colors and things, rather than what happened, which was me staring at the screen for a while in befuddlement and then choosing a red one with not much idea even what options were available in red layouts/themes.
instantramen: a woman with black hair and white skin pouring water from a kettle (Default)

[personal profile] instantramen 2012-12-09 06:12 am (UTC)(link)
I definitely want to see groups by color, contrast, and brightness, as already mentioned in the post, and categories for dark-on-light and light-on-dark. Ideally I'd also like a way to combine categories to find layouts that are, for example, low-contrast and purple, or red and dark, or bright and high-contrast (because I'm thirteen years old and it's 1998). Maybe also categories based on whether they're easy to use with header images or background images?
unmowngrass: An avenue of trees in pink blossom (Default)

[personal profile] unmowngrass 2012-12-09 02:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooh, yes, easy to use with a background image is a feature I would use!

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sally_maria: (Piggy back anna_luna)

[personal profile] sally_maria 2012-12-09 11:11 am (UTC)(link)
I've always been reasonably happy browsing the style chooser, but I know one thing I missed when I moved here were styles like Expressive with images in the header. There are a number of nice styles that have that feature now, but I can see them getting lost, so I think a link them would help. (That might tie in with things like "cute" or "holiday-themed".

yamx: (Default)

[personal profile] yamx 2012-12-09 02:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you--I think this is an awesome idea. I like the style I have, but sometimes I wonder what else is out there, and it IS a lot of work to browse them all.

I like the idea of being able to filter styles according to tags, similar to how you can find fics on AO3 by choosing several tags and then only seeing the fics that combine all of them.

I'd like there to be a way to look only for themes that are dark writing on light background (or, conversely, light writing on dark background). I personally can't stand light-on-dark and would never pick it for my journal, but I also know people who prefer it and would never pick anything else.

Keep up the good work! :)
unmowngrass: An avenue of trees in pink blossom (Default)

[personal profile] unmowngrass 2012-12-09 02:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Honestly, the thing I was going to suggest you already mentioned: grouping pages by colour. Otherwise known as, anything, so long as it's green :)

Also, you said another great one with sorting by layout, because my second criteria would be "I only want two columns, main body and sidebar, and I want the sidebar on the right". Obviously ymmv with this one, but separating by layout would be helpful to me.


Also, this probably isn't the best way of describing it, but how about a "feel" category of "things that look like they could be other things"? It's probably easier by examples: this category would contain ones that look like an actual notebook, or a pinboard, a chalkboard, a typewriter, a mobile phone screen... a banana leaf, a cavepainting! But all those sorts of things together, if you have those sorts of things. Those are the other kinds of things I'd look for, if I wanted a change from green.
cloudsinvenice: sepia photo of man at typewriter with cats on his shoulders and desk (Default)

[personal profile] cloudsinvenice 2012-12-10 04:00 am (UTC)(link)
I wonder if they could group those as "photographically illustrated"? I mean, assuming it is based on actual photos/scans of real objects and textures...
vikinginireland: a lucet and yellow cord I'm making with it (Default)

[personal profile] vikinginireland 2012-12-09 03:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I'd like tags for how the themes are.. um... themed. For example, I was looking for a norse, or failing that, medieval theme, or at least something that didn't look too modern. If we've set categories, I wouldn't expect norse or medieval to be one of them, but I wouldn't think it unlikely that at least one exists. Same for other subjects. I wouldn't expect a cellular biology, penguin or country/sport/team specific category, but someone who's interested may have created a theme and would tag it if the option was there.
unmowngrass: An avenue of trees in pink blossom (Default)

[personal profile] unmowngrass 2012-12-09 03:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Good idea!

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