August 24th, 2006


Welcome chasethestars

About 6 months ago, chasethestars came on board and took the plunge into the deep cold unforgiving waters of our templating system. She's about to make a rather important announcement to lj_design when we realized that we never properly introduced her to all of you. Some of you know her already. She's been on LiveJournal for about 5 1/2 years. She joined us right after graduating from college, and has been fearless and patient in learning the quirks in how S2, HTML, and CSS work on LJ.

We're really happy she's here, and with that introduction, I'll let her make her announcement.
  • Current Mood
me: red, me: camera

more control over your layout (S2 only)

Choose between Horizontal and Vertical ads:
If you're a Plus user, you can now choose where the ads display on your journal:
  • Horizontal: two 728x90 leaderboard ads – one at the top and one at the bottom
  • Vertical: a 160x600 skyscraper on the side and a Google link unit at the bottom
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You can choose your preferred placement on the ad-settings page. There's a link to it from the Customize Journal page.

Choose your own Navigation Strip colors:

A lot of users didn't like the navigation strip because of the colors. Or actually, the lack of color. Thanks to janinedog's hard work, there's now the option to add colors of your choosing!
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At the bottom of the Custom Options box in the Customize Journal page, you will find an option for Navigation strip colors. Select whether you'd like to keep the original nav strip colors, or if you'd like to use custom colors with a background gradient, or just a solid colored background. You can then choose the colors you'd like in the Colors section.
me: red, me: camera

76 new themes! - Expressive

Who *doesn't* want their LJ to look good? The designs on Vox (Six Apart's other personal blogging service) are now also available on LiveJournal for users with Paid (&Permanent), Plus, or Early Adopter accounts. You can select Expressive as your layout on the Customize page, and choose from the variety of designs from the themes drop-down menu. There are 76 to choose from! You can preview them by clicking the "Samples" link next to the themes drop-down menu.

The Expressive themes are just a jump-start for what we want to do. We want to be able to provide you with more themes to choose from without having to take our engineers off other important projects to code each and every design we come up with.

With this in mind, we decided to create a base layout where the CSS is separated out from the HTML because while S2 is scary and intimidating, CSS is not. Since Vox already works this way, we stole borrowed their HTML structure, and thus, their designs as a starting point.

We took out the things that Vox has that LJ doesn't, and added in LJ specific things (like userpics and current mood & music), things that make LJ LJ. We also made sure that the sidebar(s) included useful layout features like tags, links, and a page summary list, since a lot of the existing themes have some or the other, but not all of them. We put all of this together, and voilà! – the perfect base layout.

With that done, each theme we create won't require additional S2 coding. All the styling will be done in CSS. This means that it will also be easier for you to create and customize layouts too!

We know you have been waiting a long time, but now we have the infrastructure in place to make LJ "more pretty." We already have one LJ-specific theme in the works, and more on the way. Be on the lookout for those in the near-future! In the meantime, try out some of the Expressive themes and give your journal a makeover. (lj_design has just changed its theme to Expressive's Playful Robots Orange)

ETA: screenshots/theme previews are coming. You can now see screenshots of the themes by clicking the "Samples" link next to the themes drop-down menu.
Also, the extra scrollbar in older versions of Safari has been noted, and we are working on finding a fix for this. We are also aware of the problem with comments overlapping in Internet Explorer, and will be working on a fix for it. In the meantime, you can use a disable customized comments pages, or use a different browser. Thank you for reporting bugs. Please let us know if there is anything else acting weird or displaying wrong.