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User Lookups Made Easy(er)


by wolfdragon316

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USER LOOKUP - What is it about user lookups that makes people spend hours writing tedious code to perfect them? Well, we all know that people tend to respect users who have nice user lookups. However, user lookups also play a different role as well, by telling a lot about the user. By simply looking at somebody's lookup for a few seconds, you could figure out what kinds of things that they like from the background, images, or text on the page. If someone has a picture of celery for their background, it usually means that they like celery. A lot.

You may be thinking "BUT I DON'T KNOW HTML!!!" Don't panic, you only need very basic knowledge, which can be found in "The HTML Guide" on the Help page. There are also lots of kind people on the Neoboards who are willing to help HTML newbies out with their coding if they get stuck, free of charge.

Now, where do you start? The best thing to do is to think of a theme for your lookup, and then think of ways to elaborate on it. For example, if you like dogs, you could find a dog background, or make your own. Next, you could find (or make!) a few dog images or a doggy bloggy. (It rhymes!) You could do any kind of theme from pirates to kangaroos, or base it on a Neopets item! Of course, you don't have to have a main theme, either. You could make a user lookup that features all of your interests, or at least a few. Don't be afraid to get creative! In fact, creativity should be your new best friend, aside from me. (Psst, I like Neopoints and paintbrushes!)

After you think of a theme, it's time to go into more detail. There are so many different ways that you can make your lookup unique! Let's take a look at a few of your options.

Backgrounds

One of the most important parts of a blog is the background. It is usually the first thing a person notices when the page loads, and the thing that usually grabs their attention. There are plenty of sites that you can find backgrounds on, but I would highly suggest that you make your own. (I interviewed Sloth, and he said he would suggest the same. Of course, soon he'll be taking all of those sites over, and he wants a lot of free bandwidth.) Here's where being creative is really helpful. Don't worry if you aren't the best artist in the world. Most people will appreciate your background much more if you made it yourself. It doesn't even have to be entirely made by you! Take a few images and make a collage, or add some shapes and borders. Once again, that creativity is really helpful. (But I'm still better than it.)

Once you make your background, there are plenty of websites that will host your images for free. Basic HTML knowledge comes in handy here, for a few nice tricks. You can make the background image "fixed" by adding (bgproperties="fixed") (without the parenthesis) to your code, after the image address, but still in the brackets. This fixes the background image so that it won't move when you scroll down, which makes it look like the text is sliding over it.

Blogs

Some people like to have a simple border around their text, while others like to have blogs with pictures. Either one is fine, but you shouldn't have a picture blog if you already have a lot of images or you don't want to draw attention from the background.

Now, the easiest place to find a blog is probably the Neopets site. You can get to these either from the news page after they make a new one, or by going to your shop and clicking the "shop blogs" link. These are pretty easy to use, and barely require any skill. (Just make sure you're not a monkey, though if you were, I don't think you'd be reading this. Oh, and don't tell any monkeys that I said that!) All that you have to do is copy the code, paste it in your blog, and put your text in where it tells you to. If you want to separate paragraphs, though, you'll need to use (br) or (p), using shift with the comma and period keys rather than 9 and 0.

Of course, if you're advanced, you can make your own blog. I have two ways to do this. First, the hard way, where you compile all the code yourself. (I can't do this.) Or you can use the easier way, that I use: "borrow" the coding from a premade blog, and make an image that fits the dimensions of the blog you borrowed the code from (with the area for text in the same place as well) and change the image URL in the code. Once more, be creative! (Of course, I should still be your best friend.)

Roleplaying

Some roleplayers like to post pictures of their characters on their user lookups. While I have no problem with this, they often aren't formatted in a way that looks appealing. If you can make your characters' pictures fit, and look nicely arranged; by all means, do it! However, if you don't want to spend too long working to make them all look nice, you can just choose one of your Neopets, and put your pictures on their petpage. Hey, if you want, you can link from your lookup to the page!

Fonts

Use font colors that are easy to read, based on the background. Dark blue on darker blue is hard to read, as is white on yellow. Even if it looks fine on your computer, other computers have different color settings. What may look nice and easy to read on your computer may be a horrible disaster on somebody else's.

Another pointer when choosing font colors: Use font colors that complement images on your page, or the colors of your blog. If your background is yellow and purple, but the text is only in a yellow area, use purple for the text! Don't be afraid to try new things!

These aren't the only ways that you can make your user lookup unique, but just a beginning. As you get more advanced, try new things. You never know what ingenuity you might stumble upon. And you know what? Maybe creativity is a better friend than me. :)

 
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