Back in September we showed you some our designers' ideas on themes for the new Wikia. Moving around Wikia over the last few weeks, we've seen more of your ideas -- and they look great!
I've been making backgrounds for various wikis around Wikia -- Bleach Wiki and Winx Club Wiki are the two I'm most pleased with. If you are adding a theme to your wiki, here are some tips from what I've learned so far:
- Keep the file size down. Remember that this image needs to be loaded with every page a visitor views, and on slower or older computers a large image can slow the page. The maximum size allowed by the Theme Designer is 100kb, but if you can use a smaller file, that's better still.
- jpg. files tend to be best for photo-style or other more complex images. Simple images with fewer colours might be smaller saved as .png files
- Consider removing complex parts of the background that won't be seen. I use a template that lets me position the background, and then I remove the part of the image that fits behind the content area. This saves on file size and gives a smoother view as the page loads.
- Remember that those with bigger monitors will see more of the background than you. It's good to fade the edges of your image to match the underlying colour you choose.
- The 200px either side of the content area is where your main focus should be -- faces and other key elements are best positioned to fit in this area. You'll get the best effect by fading out after this first 200px.
If you need help with a theme for your wiki, please let me know. Or why not hold a competition on your wiki? With the new Theme Designer, all you need to do is pick a few colours and a background... so give it a try!
We would also love to see themes you are proud of, so please feel free to post links in your comments.
I've uploaded the template I use as a .psd file. This has several layers so that you can position an image before hiding the guides and saving. You don't need to use this to make a background, but I find it useful in getting the positioning just right.