User Lookups Made Easy(er)
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.
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.
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
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.)
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!
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
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. :)