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About Laogeodritt

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    Advanced Composer
  • Birthday 01/02/1970

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    Qu�bec, Canada
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    Video Games, computer science, maths, sciences (chemistry, biology), classical & orchestral/soundtra
  1. brandenunruh, are you commenting on the one in the original post? There've been a few revamps and updates on the proposed layout since then, so I suggest you look up chopin's last update in the thread and comment on that instead. (chopin, could I suggest you make a note about, or even direct link to, the post with the latest layout for those who don't want to sift through 11 pages of discussion and just read the first few?)
  2. Just to clarify on "pinning": even though the contexts are slightly different, we're still talking about forum threads (among other things): the use of a common word in two ways might be confusing. Furthermore, for me, the term evokes putting something static up for archive, not receiving updates on something thought of as dynamic; alternatively, as putting something up for visibility's sake globally, and not "bookmarking" it and "watching" it by individual members. And I reiterate that it could be possible to merge everything into the feed, but allow the user to see the social-network updates only or the 'binder' updates only (e.g. via tabs). It's essentially the same idea as having feed AND binder, except that they're initially presented in a common view and can be accessed separately by the user when xe wishes. I would again suggest different terminology: instead of using the metaphor 'binder', for instance, wouldn't 'subscriptions' or 'watched threads/content' be better, since it's immediately clear to the user what it means? When it comes to UI design, you do not want to be creative: you want to stick to paradigms the user is used to, and within limits of users' tolerance for "different" UIs make choices that allow the best possible usability: I think the latter is the decision you're facing with terminology. Sorry that I'm repeating myself a little. I wasn't sure how clear I had been the first time on some of these points.
  3. Here's some of my comments on the last few posts. On the layout: - I don't mind the brown, but I'm not a fan of the canvas texture. - Still don't like the font on the titles. - Will it be possible to customize the organization of a user's compositions on their profile (other than by genre then form)? It'd be nice for users to be able to use custom tags/categories by which to organize their portfolio on the site. (That would require either textual headings or dynamic generation - probably via PHP's ImageMagick library.) On YC's aims: - My view of YC, for now, is as a community primarily. (Granted, I mostly lurk - I barely ever post.) I agree strongly with Tokkemon: for now, YC should focus on being a place to showcase one's work, exchange commentary, discuss and learn. As with James, I strongly suggest you complete your current projects re: this website and its tools, build this community and gain greater prominence before even thinking about greater endeavours regarding publishing, etc. - re: Tokkemon's post: of course YC should have no general right to perform or publish works, or permit any other entity to do so, without the composer's explicit permission. By default, the user should agree to grant YC a non-transferable, non-exclusive license for rights only insofar as YC needs them to host and distribute works via the website. Of course, opportunities to be published or performed via YC's partners, for example, would be a plus for more experienced, serious young composers. However, see my last point. Re: Chopin's last post: - I agree with James that you should avoid terminology that is non-standard and not immediately clear. - I would suggest you avoid using the term "pinning" - it tends to associate to "stickying" or "pinning" topics in a forum, i.e. forcing them to remain at the top of topic listings within a certain forum. It's also not an effective metaphor, nor a common one, for "subscribing" or "following" content. - I suggest integrating all watch/fan/friend notices, recommendations, etc. into the live feed - no "binder" as an additional construct. Simply allow the user to view/filter various notices by type. - When you say 'create a thread' for the feed, do you mean only topics related to uploaded music or new discussion topics as well? I'd suggest keeping different thread types configurable on a per-watched-user basis (perhaps a toggle for each forum?) - just because you're following someone's music doesn't mean you want to know their musings in the discussion-oriented boards, for instance. MusicFiend: chopin's feed concept wouldn't show all new threads, but only those of watched users, in addition to other functions he mentioned above.
  4. MichaelAlex, chopin and James: re: Colour palette Aside my previous comments, I rather like the brown-based palette. Considering chopin's designer's comments, though, I do agree that it seems a bit too subdued - lacking contrast. chopin: If you're rethinking the colour scheme, I'd start off with a dark oak and a cream or light beige - or perhaps cherry and cream. Similar to the existing idea and the current forum. I wouldn't be too afraid to use shades that are very near but not quite white. Like I said, I find the font feels too childish. I would be in favour of making the site elements a bit less stiff, but I still think the font should go.Good logo design (as far as the title goes) isn't necessarily the use of creative typefaces, but often just creative use of typefaces. I think it'd be quite possible to make the site look friendly and informal using a more subtle font. I REALLY think the current font is over-the-top, all considered.
  5. As far as the first impression goes, I'd be tempted to think the font would dissuade people who are looking for a serious composition community, assuming they didn't have a positive image through word-of-mouth on their first visit. My suggestion that it would drive people away was, in retrospect, exaggerated (it might drive away the more shallow?), but I do find it gives an air of childishness that doesn't fit with the rest of the design, nor with what I perceive (and I think what chopin is aiming for) the site to be.
  6. ...that's called a palette. It's how one decides on and consistently references the colours to use in graphics design. <_< chopin: I like this much better than the original prototype. It still doesn't feel nicer than the current design, though (that is to say, the parts of the current design that are well polished). However, it's certainly quite reminiscent of Facebook's news feed layout - take that as you will. This design feels less cramped than the previous. I might be tempted to add a little more spacing for the compositions listing - something quite subtle, like 1 to 2pt top and bottom. I might also add a greater margin above the left-hand column titles. I'm not sure if playing around with margins would help it feel less busy. I'm not sure the green headings really fit. As far as colour coordination goes, it's not a sense that I've honed well, but it seems a bit odd to my eye. Otherwise, those headings have an nicely subtle effect in the design, despite being solid-colour; a further graphical effect is also an option, perhaps something to play around with if you haven't. Contrary to James, I think the navigation bar fits well height-wise. I certainly agree that the header should have some graphical content - or maybe a nice, well-designed logo? I also disagree with him as far as the shades used go - considering the oppositely bad colour calibration of my two monitors, I'm tempted to say the lighter shades of brown are perfect. The dark background shade still feels like it could be warmer. I have one major issue with the layout, though: the font for the title (among anything else? Not sure). Having seen its use in a better layout now, it makes the site feel much too juvenile. You don't need to seem "fun" to target a "young" audience - "young" would mean teenagers and young adults, not children, and an excessively kiddy website might, on the contrary, cause people to dismiss the website as childish or not serious enough. There are many fonts that exist which aren't quite so excessively stylistic, but which still retain a feeling of freedom or informality. In other words: subtlety. It's amazing the difference Verdana vs. Tahoma vs. Candara makes (for example), or even changing the kerning a little. Something else I'd like to comment on, as a matter much more of personal opinion: I would not indent the post contents under the "created a new thread" title, but keep that box aligned to the title's. I'd use the indentation for the replies only, and the arrow at the first reply.
  7. MusicFiend: It looks like the settings/options screens are IPB's, not custom-designed. Unfortunately, it seems most of the major forum software uses this multi-page categorized system (vB, IPB and PHPBB3 do, at least).
  8. My first thought would be an index thread where any "current" discussion issues/topics relating to forthcoming changes are listed and linked and where current status/decisions on each issue is summarized, along with some strict enforcement for on-topic discussion in each thread. As far as notifying updates to the index thread, interested people can watch that thread and the admin can add a post whenever a new issue/topic is added. Global announcements also work to bring attention to new issues/threads. A bit like the "Attention" box above, except make the intent a bit clearer. e.g., "We're working on a new site design! Check out the current [link]design prototype[/link]; we'd love to know your opinion." Clearly mark topics in the Announcements and Technical Problems (e.g. using tags in square brackets) that indicate current and deprecated topics relating to forthcoming changes (heck, it might be good to categorize all official/announcement threads in this forum for ease of browsing: [News], [staff], [update] or [New], [issue] or [Downtime] for known unresolved problem annoucements, etc.).
  9. Apple Charlie: I see. I misunderstood "from the ground up" to mean including the site's custom codebase and integration - I think because Tokkemon was talking about that beforehand. (The below is intended for both you and chopin.) As far as the profiles go, integration with the Wiki profiles might be interesting if the wiki remains. e.g. have the fields auto-populate a section and leave other sections (bio, custom sections?, etc.) up to the user to customize. I realize the implementation would require backend integration with the wiki. As for the Feed, I'm not too opposed to it, as long as what is displayed and from whom is configurable. I'm not sure, chopin, what exactly your scope for the content would be, but I would strictly limit it to new music and comments from people you're following, friends and recommendations, as well as comments to your own works (all optional, of course). Please DO distinguish friends from following composers - just because I like someone's music doesn't mean I know them personally. I think it's undeniable that the idea is analogous to Facebook's, though. Nonetheless, I think the idea is effective in this context - as composers, all of you should know that true originality is nearly impossible to achieve, and I think the same can be said of UI design. Also, chopin, as an additional note, don't neglect email notification options for features where it might be useful and not already exist (e.g. not integrated to the forums). I, for one, rely on that.
  10. Tokkemon, Apple Charlie, could you elaborate on how you see that the underlying codebase for the site is faulty? I'm not sure I fully understand your point of view in that regard. @Km7: Times isn't suitable for a lot of work because it's a narrow font designed for newspapers, too. Overall, I dislike serif fonts for websites unless they're supposed to look very formal and professional (even then, professionalism doesn't preclude careful choice of sans-serif!). Furthermore, for screen, unlike print, sans-serif fonts are more readable due to limited resolution at smaller font sizes.
  11. James, chopin, I'm still willing to give a hand with the markup, if you need it. As for colour, it feels too artificial to feel really "wooden". Adjust the hues a bit. Or heck, use a wood texture for the background with a partially transparent intermediate container. That might look nice - and, depending on how that's executed, might look more "modern" too! Though I must agree, given the scope of the site/project, that getting a professional designer or at least a student in design would be better. Or, heck, if there are some people with proper experience in web-design and -coding on YC (even if it's not their profession), you might consider getting a group of volunteers or even offering compensation. Given the right talent, experience and dedication, I'm sure that could turn out nicely. (Then again, the "dedication" part often wavers with volunteer groups...) But I'm not sure you two alone have the experience needed for the design aspect, even if you're getting along with the code (or not? I haven't so much checked the source, so I don't really know). I don't mean that in any way condescendingly - I don't either.
  12. I think you need to reconsider the use of whitespace (margins/padding), and maybe some element styles. Every border you add constricts whatever is inside; you'll need to adjust accordingly. Refer to my first post in the thread; I mentioned several other aspects/elements that I find add to that cramped feel. Mind you, I think the block-ish, right-angle-and-solid-border style needs more whitespace to feel as well-spaced as a layout that uses round corners and more subtle borders (for example), so changes at that level may warrant reviewing the whitespace. Something I didn't emphasize, perhaps, was spacing between paragraphs/text blocks and line spacing. It's crucial to adjust that to get an appropriate feel (along with font and overall design of course). On the Feathered Melody website, I recall that line-spacing difference of 0.3-0.4 was the difference between "we take ourselves pretty seriously as game-developers" (smaller line-spacing) and "we're a friendly group doing this for fun/out of passion". Of course, that also affects how cramped the layout looks to an extent. Also, you may want to look at the padding (or margin) versus content width balance for the columns.
  13. Re: James' update. It's still rather cramped - heck, even more so. However, I must say I prefer the background colour of the content boxes. Not so much the contrast with the background colour of the boxes inside them.
  14. I can't say I like this layout, as it is. It's lacking in many facets of its design. nb. Keep in mind that I'm not a professional designer and have little basis in design theory proper. The following is purely my own opinion, demonstrated or justified as I feel capable, based on my own aesthetic judgement. First of all, the title and heading font. The kerning is much too small, and the subtle outline is exactly too subtle to really hint at the glyph shape. It really hurts the titles' readability. You don't want someone to have to concentrate on reading titles, but be able to skim over them quickly. Furthermore, it contrasts significantly with the rest of the design. The curvy, bubbly font feels very much out of place with a design that is otherwise extremely square and conservative in feel, except perhaps the colour palette which, though relatively conservative, still feels a little bubbly to me. It contrasts even more strongly with the rest of the fonts: you're using a serif font. Not Times New Roman, thankfully, which is not only not optimally readable but quite conservative. Yet that font, with the rest of the design, still opposes the title font significantly. On that subject. did you even specify any fonts in the CSS? A look through the CSS via Firebug seems to indicate not. No design should go without fonts specified; always pick some style of so-called "web-safe" fonts (Georgia is nothing like Times, even if they're both serif!) and specify a generic family as a fallback. You typically don't want to leave that choice to the user-agent's configuration, lest a clash such as this happens. I'm not a fan of the square design, either. Although it can be pulled off nicely, here it just feels "blocky", and lacks visual unity. Some parts of it feel like they were just stuck on there amateurishly (most notably the "dropdown settings" etc. box, the "Member Rank ..." box, and "Title of Work ..." section background format, and the juxtaposition of the heading/nav elements). The contrast of colours and lack of transition, flourish or symmetry between these elements detract from a unified appearance. The colours, juxtaposed as such, contrast a bit strongly in my opinion (again e.g. Member Rank box). You could probably play with either positioning/transition or colours to achieve a more balanced, unified appearance; indeed, perhaps both are necessary. I don't think the fixed-width design is helping that feel of rigidity, either, though its effect can be made marginal. (I'm a bit biased against fixed-width layouts, though...) On the subject of colours, I find the palette used just a shade too ... cold, i.e. blue. As it is, it feels a bit uninviting to me, personally. If you're going for a more saturated (?) design (rather than the much whiter one we currently have), I would suggest picking a palette that is slightly warmer. (Mind you, neither of my monitors are quite calibrated for colour and both differ visibly in colour temperature, so I'm not sure how accurate that is. Since this is web, not print, though, you'd want the design to look good on most monitors regardless of adjustments...) Back to the design, something else that contributes to the blocky and perhaps cramped feel is the use of whitespace. I find it overall rather inadequate: the font is too small under Info (profile.html), Forum Info and Profile Info (info.html), and the line-spacing and spacing between listed fields/entries is inadequate for it to be easily read and to give the site adequately breathing space (especially since you're going for a friendly community, not a stuffy feel!). The same occurs between the thread post box and the reply boxes: they need breathing room and maybe some subtle Web 2.0-style embellishment. For the Compositions, a little more padding (1-2px) might be nice; the Liked Compositions feels adequately spaced, although distinguishing "Title" from "Composer" typographically might look nicer (and not have the background follow the hanging indent). Those elements I just mentioned also feel rather "square" in shape. Also, mind your W3C Standards. The code is invalid XHTML 1.0 Transitional: profile.html (28 errors) and info.html (11 errors). The CSS is fully valid, though (checked under CSS3). === I prefer the current homepage design: it feels more open and lets you breathe. Maybe the outer background contrasts with the inner white or the browner LOG IN/TOPICS sections a bit, but only if I stop to think about it (my first instinct would be to use a slightly darker, redder colour for the background). Otherwise, it feels nice: the gradients give it a nice rounded look, added to the highlight shapes (on the main nav and Network sections e.g. Recent Compositions). The white space and colours seem effective at keeping the design open yet not too airy, and the horizontal rule below every box's title makes for a subtle but well-appreciated visual separation of the title. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about the fonts, but they certainly don't clash as much as the title vs. text of the prototype design (except in the ONLINE USERS section). (Mind you, some of the other sections, e.g. the music directory, could be improved design-wise.) Also, on a highly subjective note, I love the header image. (Also, the code's filled with a load of validation errors - several seem to just be that & was never escaped to &, which is REQUIRED even in (X)HTML attributes like href ... and it seems the Javascript was never put into XML CDATA blocks, which is needed in XHTML. There's a minor glitch in Firefox wherein the white colour of the boxes' background only clips to the apparent inner padding, rather than extending to the border, too.) Overall, while I feel the ideas in this new design have the potential to be developed into a nice web layout, what you've accomplished so far isn't yet presentable; it's only the first buds of a design process and needs to be revised and developed before it blossoms and can be shown to the world. Regards, Marc-Alexandre P.S. A few ties with the poll questions: Is the layout clean and simple? It's simple. A bit too simple. Embellishment doesn't have to be excessive - it can be quite subtle - but those embellishments can make the difference between a nice yet amateurish design and a good, nuanced design. As for clean... I find it's too cramped. Do you feel the design is modernized? The design doesn't feel "modern"... where "modern" seems to be the whole Web 2.0 style (whether you like it or not). It seems to reflect design immediately prior Web 2.0 (not necessarily bad, though this layout isn't yet refined). Indeed, though, it does have a certain air of nostalgia.
  15. @James: The only antialiasing on those images is the outline; the facial features aren't antialiased.
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