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jGromit

Posts: 7,729
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Keep it simple
Posted: 08-Apr-2019 20:23
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Over the years, I've noticed a tendency among some album creators to, shall we say, "over engineer" their presentations. They want to load up the album with every bell and whistle available. Do any of you recognize yourselves in this monologue? If so, there's still hope for you, if you simplify things a bit.

So, you think you just want to look at some nice pictures, eh? No way.

You will view this album the way I dictate, or not at all. You will spend precisely 12.7 seconds on each image, unless I have also included several hundred words of prose. In the latter case, you must read the text, and you will not be permitted to move to the next image until you have successfully completed a short quiz about the material. The quiz will not be graded on a curve.

I'm going to show you EXIF information for every image. How can you possibly appreciate this photo if you don't know that the exposure was 1/250s? In fact, I'm going to show you four other versions of the image, each with a different exposure, so that you can fully appreciate the final choice I made. And don't tell me you don't know what ISO is. You'll be required to research it, and view the album again. From the beginning.

There will be music and other sounds that are tied to the images. The audio will start automatically, and you may not mute it, pause it, or change the volume. The sounds are absolutely correct, and no deviation will be permitted. And sit still, and stop squirming.

There will be maps of everything. You are required to study these and memorize the important details. After viewing the album, you will be blindfolded, driven out into the countryside, then dropped off with nothing but a compass. If you do not study the maps, you will probably die of exposure.

There will be at least 27 links on every page. You can get from any point in the album to any other point in the album, no matter how confusing that is. This is the essence of Wonkavator Navigation™. You must acquire a complete mental map of the structure of the entire site. And the external links, of which there are many, all lead to required material, things you must be able to discuss intelligently on the final exam.

And if you don't stop fidgeting, there will be penalty points assessed.


"But my friends and family tell me they love my albums." Well of course they do. Your friends and family are never going to tell you that your albums are a baffling ordeal. ;)
MarkusD

Posts: 484
Registered: 13-Apr-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 13-Apr-2019 13:58   in response to: jGromit in response to: jGromit
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I would summarize your post to:
„More“ is not „better“.

But „less“ either. :-)

And yes, I agree to some of your points. Music playing automatically is annoying, starting automatically a slide show and even after spending a minute or so you had no chance to find out how to stop the slide show and to watch the pictures at your own pace.

Just browse to the user albums, many of them use the default settings, which result in small, I mean, really small pictures, and I don't talk about the thumbs, I talk about the slides.

Ok, larger slides mean, you need more bandwidth. And as I found out recently in another forum, bandwidth is still a big issue here in Germany. People were complaining that showing just one slide from my Norway-album lasted 10-15 seconds.

Which brings me back to a discussion here in some forum section. I think André asked for a possibility to include 2 dimensions of a slide photo and with modern techniques (I'm not an expert if it is with HTML or CSS) it would be possible that the browser chooses which slide a user will see, the big one if the bandwidth is good and the small one if the bandwidth is bad. The answer from the other skin developers (and also David, I don't remember) was, no, that is a bad idea. I don't know how complicated it would be to implement such a function, to include two slide pictures, one with lets say max 800x800 pix and the other one with max. 2000x2000 pix.

I compiled an album which summarizes some (bad) things I see in many albums.

• All pictures in one folder. Instead of using one folder for one day;
• The „comments“ only have the file names. If people really are to lazy for writing a comment, then please remove the file name from the comment;
• The only description we have what we see here is „Norway“, nothing else, not which year, what time of the year, nothing, nada, nichts, ingenting. Even if the main audience are friends and family, I'm sure they all appreciate a little bit more of information.
• Boring theme image (it's the first image), because users don't care to choose a proper image and set the crop focus;
• Users don't exclude needless pictures if there are only slightly different from each other;
• Users do use the default values (1000x800) for the resulting images. That is way to small. Watching these pictures on a big display isn't fun, because they are blurry;

I agree, „more“ is not „better“. But „less“ either. <g>

Just my 2 cents. Markus
jGromit

Posts: 7,729
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 13-Apr-2019 14:54   in response to: MarkusD in response to: MarkusD
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Mostly agree.

MarkusD wrote:
I don't know how complicated it would be to implement such a function, to include two slide pictures....

It would require rewriting virtually every skin. Trying to detect a visitor's bandwidth is almost impossible - at best, you could determine monitor size, and use a srcset attribute. Many skins couldn't handle it, however. My "lightbox" skins use an image display script that simply doesn't know what srcset is. I'd have to write some sort of front-end "monitor detection" script, then redirect the visitor to an entirely separate page. Been there (in the days of Chameleon), done that, don't want to do it again.

Users don't exclude needless pictures if there are only slightly different from each other;

I've got a nephew like that. I've threatened to disinherit him, to no effect.

Users do use the default values (1000x800) for the resulting images. That is way to small. Watching these pictures on a big display isn't fun, because they are blurry;

They're only blurry if the skin commits the sin of enlarging an image beyond its native resolution.

Default image bounds are difficult, because of file size issues. I usually opt for 1600x750, which is fine for a monitor that's, say, 1920x1080 (in the vertical dimension, you lose a lot of pixels to the taskbar at the bottom, and the toolbars of the browser at the top). Larger than that, and you start running into file size problems, as you have discovered.

I don't use Google analytics much these days, but what it does reveal is that very few site visitors are using monitors bigger than 1920x1080. Just looked at a year's worth of visits on one of my sites, and only 6% had monitors larger than that. It's tough to justify saddling 94% of the visitors with large image downloads that they don't need.

Owners of very large monitors have told us that they rarely maximize a browser window, anyway. They're viewing the site in a window that's smaller than that, sharing the monitor with other windows for things like email, or other web pages.
RobM

Posts: 3,257
Registered: 4-Aug-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 13-Apr-2019 15:04   in response to: jGromit in response to: jGromit
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jGromit wrote:
Mostly agree.

MarkusD wrote:
I don't know how complicated it would be to implement such a function, to include two slide pictures....

It would require rewriting virtually every skin. Trying to detect a visitor's bandwidth is almost impossible - at best, you could determine monitor size, and use a srcset attribute. Many skins couldn't handle it, however. My "lightbox" skins use an image display script that simply doesn't know what srcset is. I'd have to write some sort of front-end "monitor detection" script, then redirect the visitor to an entirely separate page.

Hardly simple, but not complicated either, if bandwidth/monitor size is an important attribute, is to make an album of albums!

One master album with thumbnails showing phone, pad, computer, mega screen. Each album uses the same source images but they are tailored to the users display screen. ;)
jGromit

Posts: 7,729
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 13-Apr-2019 15:15   in response to: RobM in response to: RobM
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"Make the visitor do the work."

I like it. ;)

The killer, when I was using different albums for different resolutions, was maintaining all of them. Ugh.
egidio

Posts: 18
Registered: 30-Jun-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 13-Apr-2019 17:19   in response to: jGromit in response to: jGromit
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Just as we live in a world of 280 characters or fewer for discourse, I've discovered through the years that people often don't really look at my photos. They are content with the thumbnails. When they comment on any photo in my albums, it's often a generic statement. So, I'm creating albums for myself for the most part just as a remembrance of the memorable trips we've taken. With digital photos making it easy for us to shoot hundreds and thousands of images (depending on your trip length), it is hard sometimes to make small albums. My solution to that is very simple. Whenever I upload vacation photos, I often create a "favorite" album with only 50 photos or fewer. If a photo requires an explanation, I tend not to include it. I let the photo tell the story without even the need of a caption. Do my friends still look at the photos? Hmm, I think they still look at the thumbnails only. Nevertheless, if an intrepid photo enthusiast wants to see the GPS and EXIF data, they can delve deep into the albums.

Regards.
Egídio
jGromit

Posts: 7,729
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 13-Apr-2019 17:22   in response to: egidio in response to: egidio
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egidio wrote:
...I've discovered through the years that people often don't really look at my photos. They are content with the thumbnails.

Make the thumbnails 90x90 pixels. That'll teach them!
MarkusD

Posts: 484
Registered: 13-Apr-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 14-Apr-2019 11:25   in response to: jGromit in response to: jGromit
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jGromit wrote:
MarkusD wrote:
I don't know how complicated it would be to implement such a function, to include two slide pictures....

It would require rewriting virtually every skin. Trying to detect a visitor's bandwidth is almost impossible

How does YouTube detect the users bandwidth to play a video with the resolution which fits best? Is that technique they use a secret?

- at best, you could determine monitor size, and use a srcset attribute.
Ah, yes that's it.

Many skins couldn't handle it, however. My "lightbox" skins use an image display script that simply doesn't know what srcset is. I'd have to write some sort of front-end "monitor detection" script, then redirect the visitor to an entirely separate page. Been there (in the days of Chameleon), done that, don't want to do it again.
Sorry for my stupid question. But what is so complicated here?

Here we can see how that srcset attribute works. The only thing a skin has to to is to generate tow (or more) slide pictures and then having some code like:
 
 <picture>
  <source media="(min-width: 2000x)" srcset="slide_picture_20181211_1200_big.jpg">
  <source media="(min-width: 400px)" srcset="slide_picture_20181211_1200_small.jpg">
</picture>

That's it? Or am I missing something completely here?

I don't use Google analytics much these days, but what it does reveal is that very few site visitors are using monitors bigger than 1920x1080. Just looked at a year's worth of visits on one of my sites, and only 6% had monitors larger than that. It's tough to justify saddling 94% of the visitors with large image downloads that they don't need.
That is true.

Owners of very large monitors have told us that they rarely maximize a browser window, anyway. They're viewing the site in a window that's smaller than that, sharing the monitor with other windows for things like email, or other web pages.
What? I mean, sorry how stupid is that, watching pictures not full screen, and when I say full screen, I go to the full screen mode of my browser with <F11>, anything else is not an option. And of course my Windows taskbar is hidden, I don't need the taskbar all the time. If I need the taskbar I move the mouse down to the bottom of the screen. But I know that I haven't meet anyone (nor in the friends/family group nor from our customers) who hides the Windows taskbar. And I have seen taskbars which are double or even tripple as high on monitors with just 1024x768. <sigh>

The way users are working with their computers is getting more and more a mystery to me.
MarkusD

Posts: 484
Registered: 13-Apr-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 14-Apr-2019 11:27   in response to: RobM in response to: RobM
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RobM wrote:
Hardly simple, but not complicated either, if bandwidth/monitor size is an important attribute, is to make an album of albums!

One master album with thumbnails showing phone, pad, computer, mega screen. Each album uses the same source images but they are tailored to the users display screen. ;)

That's what I did for several years, but a couple of years ago I stopped because I had the impression that bandwidth is not a (big) issue anymore. It seems I'm wrong. :-)
RobM

Posts: 3,257
Registered: 4-Aug-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 14-Apr-2019 12:48   in response to: MarkusD in response to: MarkusD
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MarkusD wrote:
Here we can see how that srcset attribute works. The only thing a skin has to to is to generate tow (or more) slide pictures and then having some code like:
 
 <picture>
  <source media="(min-width: 2000x)" srcset="slide_picture_20181211_1200_big.jpg">
  <source media="(min-width: 400px)" srcset="slide_picture_20181211_1200_small.jpg">
</picture>

That's it? Or am I missing something completely here?
In my opinion, srcset has had it day because of the ever increasing demand for cameras with more pixels. By that I mean what is the point of providing small sized images from a 25+ mega pixel camera. If you really want a small image, say 640px, you should take a lower resolution photo and not scale down from 6000px, or whatever. But who does that?

Add to that the ‘need’ for different aspect ratio images, 2:1, 3:2, 3:4 etc, coupled with low/hi-res screens and you soon end up far too many images.
Mobile first for text, computer first for images, sometimes being a Luddite is good ;)
jGromit

Posts: 7,729
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 14-Apr-2019 13:33   in response to: MarkusD in response to: MarkusD
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MarkusD wrote:
How does YouTube detect the users bandwidth to play a video with the resolution which fits best? Is that technique they use a secret?

When you figure out how they're doing it, let us know. But are you sure it's bandwidth they're detecting, and not just screen size?

Sorry for my stupid question. But what is so complicated here?
That's it? Or am I missing something completely here?

Yes, you're missing something here. It's not 1997 any longer, and skins aren't just variations on Minimal, that just displays an image on a slide page, with no scripting involved. Responsive skins, on the other hand, are invariably riding on a small mountain of Javascript that displays the image, usually written by someone else, like Highslide JS or Floatbox. Those scripts do not incorporate srcset. Why? Because there's no demand for it. I believe Fancybox might support it - the documentation says it does, but I've also seen posts elsewhere saying that it's not working properly. Not a script I use, so I can't say for sure.

But if you think it's easy, why don't you wade into a skin like Neptune and modify it? It's all open-source, so there are no secrets there. Let us know when you have it working.

I do so love it when someone tells a skin developer that something is easy.

What? I mean, sorry how stupid is that, watching pictures not full screen....

Careful! Your inner control freak is showing. This is why browsers won't let a web page decide that a visitor isn't using his computer "properly," and force the page designer's ideas on him.

I'm not telling you how to use your monitor. I'm telling you what other people have told us.

...I haven't meet anyone (nor in the friends/family group nor from our customers) who hides the Windows taskbar.

I don't, either. I find it incredibly annoying to have the taskbar behaving like a Jack-in-the-Box. I hate the popup status bars in browsers, too, for the same reason.

The way users are working with their computers is getting more and more a mystery to me.

This is exactly what I was talking about in my original post. "I just don't understand how people use their equipment. I know what they should be doing. I'm going to make albums that force them to do things correctly. There will be no dissent." ;)
MarkusD

Posts: 484
Registered: 13-Apr-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 14-Apr-2019 17:06   in response to: jGromit in response to: jGromit
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jGromit wrote:
MarkusD wrote:
How does YouTube detect the users bandwidth to play a video with the resolution which fits best? Is that technique they use a secret?

When you figure out how they're doing it, let us know. But are you sure it's bandwidth they're detecting, and not just screen size?

Good question. I just "downgraded" my 1920x1200 tablet to 800x600 and watched a YT video, the automatic quality showed up in 480p, watching the video with my 40" screen/4K it showed up in 720p, but not in the highest quality 1080p. So, yes, YT seems to be not that clever to detect screen size or even bandwidth.

Sorry for my stupid question. But what is so complicated here?
That's it? Or am I missing something completely here?

Yes, you're missing something here. It's not 1997 any longer, and skins aren't just variations on Minimal, that just displays an image on a slide page, with no scripting involved. Responsive skins, on the other hand, are invariably riding on a small mountain of Javascript that displays the image, usually written by someone else, like Highslide JS or Floatbox. Those scripts do not incorporate srcset. Why? Because there's no demand for it. I believe Fancybox might support it - the documentation says it does, but I've also seen posts elsewhere saying that it's not working properly. Not a script I use, so I can't say for sure.

OK, I learned the lesson. I thought the index.html files just has code for all slide-files and it would be easy to just fiddle around to get that srcset in.

But if you think it's easy, why don't you wade into a skin like Neptune and modify it? It's all open-source, so there are no secrets there. Let us know when you have it working.

I do so love it when someone tells a skin developer that something is easy.

I didn't tell that it is easy. I just asked what is so complicated, didn't I? You gave me the details that it is more complicated than it looks like from a user perspective. I do know this from my users when they are asking for new functions and they are saying, that could be so complicated to implement that tiny function.

What? I mean, sorry how stupid is that, watching pictures not full screen....

Careful! Your inner control freak is showing. This is why browsers won't let a web page decide that a visitor isn't using his computer "properly," and force the page designer's ideas on him.

I'm not telling you how to use your monitor. I'm telling you what other people have told us.

Yes, I understood that.
MarkusD

Posts: 484
Registered: 13-Apr-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 14-Apr-2019 17:48   in response to: RobM in response to: RobM
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RobM wrote:
MarkusD wrote:
Here we can see how that srcset attribute works. The only thing a skin has to to is to generate tow (or more) slide pictures and then having some code like:
 
 <picture>
  <source media="(min-width: 2000x)" srcset="slide_picture_20181211_1200_big.jpg">
  <source media="(min-width: 400px)" srcset="slide_picture_20181211_1200_small.jpg">
</picture>

That's it? Or am I missing something completely here?
In my opinion, srcset has had it day because of the ever increasing demand for cameras with more pixels.
My impression was/is that srcset is still very important today, because of all the different devices (smartphones, tablets, computer screens) we have. When I'm reading this articel (sorry, it is in German) I think this no old technology.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the position to dispute with the developers here, but I'm still not fully convinced that srcset is a bad idea to address the loading time of an jAlbum page. But yes, I understand, that this would take some effort to get it done in every skin.
jGromit

Posts: 7,729
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 14-Apr-2019 18:21   in response to: MarkusD in response to: MarkusD
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MarkusD wrote:
I think this no old technology.

It goes back at least 7 years. And the first rumblings about it date to 2011.
RobM

Posts: 3,257
Registered: 4-Aug-2006
Re: Keep it simple
Posted: 14-Apr-2019 18:43   in response to: MarkusD in response to: MarkusD
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MarkusD wrote:
My impression was/is that srcset is still very important today, because of all the different devices (smartphones, tablets, computer screens) we have. When I'm reading this articel (sorry, it is in German) I think this no old technology.
New or old tech doesn’t matter to me, the main point of my argument is it is all about the devices images are viewed on, regardless of the source image - which is almost certainly going to be a single huge image. Why scale an image down by a factor of ten and expect it to look fantastic at full screen on a tiny device.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the position to dispute with the developers here,
Why not, they don’t all have divine status/knowledge, they’re just very opinionated. ;)
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