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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 80 > Articles > Overdoing Your Shop

Overdoing Your Shop

by simsman24000

Untitled Document MARKETPLACE - Ah, so you've come to learn about perfecting your shop, eh? Well, kudos to you! It's time for us to release your inner creativity to the world of Neopets! You'll notice that all the regular text is commentary, and the bolded/italicized words are the main points of the article. Remember, this is entirely an opinion, so please refrain until after reading the Author's Note to Neomail me in raging anger.

The other day, I was searching for some clockwork Quiggles to add to the CQC (clockwork Quiggle count) of my Quiggle gallery. Well, let me tell you this-it's not fun going to a shop, waiting 5 minutes for it to load (over an extremely clear, fast DSL cable modem), and searching through the dark background for an item worth no more than 30 NP. I can only imagine how slow it would be for 56K. I was utterly and hopelessly lost in a world of "Which one are you?" quizzes and "Midis by…" banners. Don't even get me started on those dolls of guys and girls.

Now, don't get me wrong: I love decorating my shop as much as the next one. But honestly! I don't think I'm alone when I say that there are way too many decorations and images in some shops.

I have 17 images in my shop, and every time I've gone to it, they've loaded crystal clear and perfectly. I've asked other players, and they've all said that they load fast for them as well (they have varying modems, as well). Although at first 17 images does sound like a lot, it breaks down into easy pictures: four sprites, one background, one semi-big image, two small banners, six 150x150 Neopets images, and three fun Quiggle images. Only eight images are from another server, which would result in slower loading. Thus brings the first point of matter.

1. Images from other servers
Usually, images from other servers will be fast-however, compared to Neopets images, they will be slower since they must be brought over form another site. I realize, of course, that Your best bet for making your shop faster would be to use simple Neopets images. This part is optional, of course, since other server images work just as well, but for the fastest, stick with good ol' Neopets pictures.

Speaking of images, there's a certain amount that is tolerable when a person enters your shop. Would you want to go into a shop and have to scroll down forever just to find the actual items and get past the images? Not only is it annoying to see too many, but when there are images that are huge in size, that just pushes my buttons.

I know, I have 17 pictures in my shop, but they're somewhat essential to the Quiggle theme and to the whole Gallery ordeal. But they're small files and load fast, so hopefully no worries there.

2. Amount of Images
Images are fine, but when you pass the 500K or 50 images point, you've reached the limit. Keep the images low in file size, image size, and number size, and you've got a shop that won't weigh your computer down.

Next up? Music. The one thing that I cannot stand (actually, the second-curse those telemarketers) is going to a shop and having my computer freeze for a few moments (sometimes even completely) just so that a midi of a popular pop song can play. I admit it, I used to have midis in my shop. But that was before I realized that my computer kept slowing down whenever I entered it.

As well as this, there have been times when I've been listening to music on a music program while I'm shop searching and I come across a shop with music. Well, it wasn't pleasant to hear. Yet another con to the application of music in a shop.

Just now, I searched for a clockwork Quiggle, and out of 10 shops, 7 of them had music that caused my computer to freeze for a few moments. Although a few moments may not seem like a long time, and I may seem to be impatient, it's just a reinforcement of what I said before-who wants to wait when they just want to buy something quickly and leave the shop?

3. Music
Although music can be good at times, and can contribute to the atmosphere, it is also the main cause of slowing down shop loading times. In my opinion, the only music that should be in your shop should either correspond with the shop's theme (if there is one), or just be a short, minute-long midi. Face it-nobody wants to go to a shop and listen to the same irritating song for 16 minutes. Also, when you think about it, do you really think that if you put a 5 minute song in your shop, people will stop and listen to it? Rarely. So try to limit the music (if you have any) to short files. However, if you want to appeal to the speed-shoppers, none at all would be just perfect.

Backgrounds. (Wow, what a great transitional word.) What can I say about backgrounds? It takes a long time to find that perfect background for your shop. However, when you're choosing that special backdrop, make sure that it not only looks good, but it's not dark or animated.

Dark backgrounds animated backgrounds can be horrible on the eyes of the customer. The basic Neopets font color (without alteration) is a dark, navy blue. When the background's main color is black, navy blue, or any color similar to the text (either changed or not), it can be extremely difficult to tell what the item is and what it costs without having to highlight the words. However, dark backgrounds do not seem to be so much of a problem anymore, except in the shops of scammers (who use them to fool their customers into buying something that costs much more.)

Nevertheless, animated backgrounds are becoming a growing dilemma in the Neopian shopping community. From stars twinkling to roses swirling, to even Noils blinking, more and more animated settings are sprouting up across shops everywhere. Although they're not so serious of a crisis, it can be utterly irritating to be looking for the right item while you have 55 PetPets blinking at you in unison in a most unethical way.

4. Dark and Animated Backgrounds
Try to stray away from the new fad of animated backgrounds and the old scamming technique (not to say that you would use it for scamming) of using dark, similar-text-color backgrounds in putting together the right atmosphere for your shop.

The last part of the guide to the perfect shop decorations does not have to do with the actual atmosphere, but the items in the actual shop itself. Now, if your shop is a gallery, then you can completely waive this part, but if you have a shop solely for selling items for a profit so you can buy that plushie paint brush you want, then you may want to read this especially.

Now, shops are completely up to you. Although it's late in the article to be telling you this, it's true. You don't have to listen to a word I say-you can go model your shop however you want to. But the words in here are just in the best of fun, and still serious and informative.

Overstocking your shop is a huge problem. Again, you don't have to agree with me on this. Some people want to make NP while they show off all their items, so they make their shop as big as humanly possible and put all their items inside. Well, it takes an extremely long time for a size 783 shop, filled up to the limit, to load. Add in an animated background, some music, and some of those celebrity dolls that look nothing like the person they're supposed to resemble and you've got yourself a Grade-A Kau Pat superstore.

Although it's nice to show off all your belongings, from an organic carrot to a dung catapult, it's not nice when someone else is searching in your shop through 2,518 items to find a Mr. Chuckles for a Faerie quest (been there, done that).

The best thing to solve this is to simply keep a straight theme in your shop (such as a "buyable gallery"), or just to not have so many items. Try to limit it to an easy 500, at max-it'll save you money from upgrading and them time from searching.

5. Shop Stock
Limit the stock in your shop to 500 items, or just enough so that the loading time isn't different from any other small, regular shop. Although lots of items are good in a shop, think of the customer-the precious one with all the NP to spend.

Well, hopefully this article served you well in your search for a perfect shop-managing guide. And in case you're wondering, this article comes from a comic artist who should really stick to drawing. For any legal problems, call 1-800-THAT-WAS-A-LAME-JOKE or send an e-mail to Enjoy.

Author's Note: This entire article is just my opinion (and a few other users' opinions as well), so please do not flame me and tell me "Well, I like music in a shop!", or something along those lines. If you found this article helpful and changed your shop due to it, please PLEASE Neomail me-it's good to know if I've made a difference in Neopia.

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