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09 April 2011 @ 11:22 am
Musings on FKFicFest Community Design  
In case you didn't hear, the 2011 FKFicFest ficathon is on!  Sign-ups start April 20; stories are due in July.

fkficfest (LJ) is now at [community profile] fkficfest (DW) as well.  I had been planning to spare the extra work of mirroring, but the recent inexcusable DDOS attacks on LJ have demonstrated the benefits of an alternate meeting place; if evil spammers beat down one site, see us on the other.  (Remember that you can use OpenID to comment without an account, and if you would like a DW invitation code, ask.)

As I was telling PJ, I tried out a new theme/style for the community, and I'll probably try some more themes yet. 

The LJ theme we used last year, with the black-and-white photo of the Toronto municipal bus, is from the "Style Contest," and it cannot be customized.  You cannot so much as change the font, add a "sticky post" or insert free-text into the side-bar.  I hugely approve and enjoy that style for FKFicFest!  That's why we had it.  But the lack of customizability has irritated me throughout.

Searching for a way to make the community more readable, and also to access the option of a sticky post to help orient people just discovering the community, I tried out a "Smooth Sailing" theme earlier this week (which is what's up as I post right now).  I'm not entirely happy with it; I suspect that it looks old-fashioned.  However, it is customizable, and I think it is easier to read than the "Style Contest."

I may have a try at a version of "Flexible Squares" later this weekend.  I believe "Flexible Squares" allows a photo insertion in the title/header field, which would be inviting, I think.  However, I'm reluctant to appropriate the "Style Contest" Dundas bus photo and use it in another layout, as that might be rude to the original designer.  I don't want a collage for the header.  I want a simple, evocative, black-and-white, newspaper-like photo.  Perhaps a screenshot of an FK exterior, skyline, or set... without any actors/characters on it, for an all-factions appeal.

Or I may return to the previous style, which did, after all, work nicely last year!

As far as the current DW layout, it's very nearly the DW default community theme.  I just changed the fonts and tweaked a few colors and settings.  Obviously, it needs attention, too, and should be made to resemble whatever theme the other community settles on.  Because the DW community is free (I pay for the LJ one), the links list is severely limited.

We'll see. :-)  Opinions are welcome, but just to be clear, it's not up for a vote.  If it were, it would be over on the community, not here in my blog! ;-)  I'll tinker, regardless...

Addendum 4/10: I spent several hours on Sunday afternoon attempting to find a LJ theme that would (1) support both the requested FK font and the requested banner illustration, and (2) display correctly in both IE and Firefox. I could not locate such a theme. If you know of one, by all means, please tell me.

Comments on Dreamwidth: comment count unavailable
greerwatsongreerwatson on April 9th, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
Having just had a quick look at the current FK Fic Fest header, I have this comment: I think we both know which font it should be written in!
Amy R.: Computerbrightknightie on April 9th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't understand. The current font stack for the fkficfest header is: "Chiller, Bloody, Ghastly Panic, Mistral, Fantasy." What should it be? If there are more common fonts that resemble the FK title font, I will be happy to use them; please just share their names.
PJ1228pj1228 on April 9th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
I assume greerwatson was referring to the FK font. It is available under the name of immajer-FK and can be downloaded for personal use here. However, I doubt that it is legal to use it in public on a website, at least not without asking the creator for permission.
greerwatsongreerwatson on April 9th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
"...I doubt that it is legal to use it in public on a website, at least not without asking the creator for permission."

Fans use immajer-FK "in public on a website" all the time. A lot of people have used it in creating a distinctive logo for their website; and it is used for some/all text in many links banners and icons. Alternatively, you can specify it by name as the font (say for the title of the site, or a top line or two); in which case anyone will read those in immajer-FK if they have it downloaded and installed on their computer. I have it on mine; and it reads these sites just fine.

The creator (who has now left fandom) simply said, "For non-commercial use only. No profit may be made from usage or distribution of this font." That surely grants prior permission for use, for I think FK Fic Fest meets those conditions, don't you?
Amy R.: Artbrightknightie on April 9th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I have now added "immajer-FK" to the current font stack. That means that if one has this font on one's computer under this exact name, one will now see the community title in this font. (However, if one has re-named this font -- for example, from "immajer-FK" to "FK" -- then it will not appear.)

I knew about the existence of this font, but custom fonts are not usually included in font stacks because they work for limited audiences; also, most LJ styles limit the number of fonts you can stack. I was trying to think of common fonts that might be on many computers. ~shrug~
greerwatsongreerwatson on April 10th, 2011 05:00 am (UTC)
"[C]ustom fonts are not usually included in font stacks because they work for limited audiences;...."

Oh, absolutely. In fact, the only people likely to have immajer-FK on their computers are FK fans.
PJ1228pj1228 on April 12th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
Yay, it works. Fascinating!
greerwatsongreerwatson on April 9th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
Ah, you have to write it in one of the fonts they provide. It's not something you can make on your computer and upload as a GIF or JPG. Pity.
Amy R.: Artbrightknightie on April 10th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
While I could of course create a graphic banner with words on it and use it in some LJ themes (not most), I could not eliminate the system-generated title without disrupting the community's functionality. I have seen designs where the system-generated title is minimized to a tiny font that blends with the background graphic, as if to render it invisible while keeping functionality, but I don't think that's a precedent I want to adopt in this case.

In some LJ themes (not all), we can change the appearance of a font with what is called a "font stack," which LJ will handily pop into the CSS for us. A "font stack" is a list of fonts for the receiving/reading computer to try. I can list any font I can imagine, but it will display for you only if you, independently, have chosen to put it on your computer. For the font stack "Chiller, immajer-FK, Bloody, Mistral," imagine:

Your Computer: In what font do you want me to show this title?
FKFicFest: Do you have Chiller?
Your Computer: Nope.
FKFicFest: How about immajer-FK?
Your Computer: Nada.
FKFicFest: Well, what about Bloody?
Your Computer: Yes, I have that! I'll display this title in the font Bloody!

I've added "immajer-FK" to the current font stack. Anyone who has that font on her computer under that precise name will now see the title in that font. (I don't, myself. I see "Chiller.")

Again, not all LJ themes allow you to define fonts, so if I move the community to one of those, it will be a moot point. ~shrug~
greerwatsongreerwatson on April 10th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
It is indeed now displaying very prettily in immajer-FK. Thank you!