How you can help improve the Blender Artists design

Doing the migration of the Blender Artists forum to Discourse was hard work (and we’re still not completely finished). As a result, we could only pay minimal attention to layout and design. But with your help that can change!

Of course, people have wildly varying preferences and tastes so we can’t follow up with every individual suggestion or opinion. Instead, we’ll turn this into a collaborative project that requires a bit more than just voicing your opinion - if you want a change, you have to put in (a little) work too :slight_smile:

Here’s how it’ll work:

  1. To propose a change, post your idea in the #site-feedback category with either an illustration/mockup or, even better, some CSS that will make the required change to the theme (if you can’t code CSS, try teaming up with someone). Tag your post with #theme-suggestion. You can use a browser extension like Stylish to use your changes and share them with others.
  2. Collaborate with other theme hackers and bundle your ideas in one theme. Post the code here (or with Stylish), and tag your post with #custom-theme. We can support multiple themes, so you can consider alternative versions like ‘wide screen’ or ‘high contrast’ if you think that’s relevant.
  3. Provide a dark and a light version of your theme.
  4. Make sure people actually use your theme. Collect their feedback and ensure it works correctly on all major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge as a minimum).
  5. Once we have some serious and well-tested candidates in, we’ll post an official overview and have a discussion/vote.
  6. We’ll promote the winner(s) to an official theme. As the creator, you’ll also become responsible for maintenance.

The Blender Artists Crew reserves the right to require specific changes before making a theme official.

There’s one important limitation to what we can do: for the time being, we can only make CSS changes. If at some point we decide we need to make larger changes that require HTML changes we’ll need to hire a theme developer to help us.


But nothing should stop people from using other kind of extensions and write helpers that way. Sometimes we can go with Tampermonkey, Greasemonkey or whatever is avaliable for your browser that let’s us inject JS, just like Stylish et al tweak CSS.
Yet at the same time, CSS method should be prefered over JS ones (like hiding some part of the page) as that way CPU load should be lower and plays way nicer with Discourse dynamically changing what is shown.

Sure you can use Tampermonkey, but we can’t support an official theme that requires it.

Hi, one thing that confuses me a little bit is that in home page threads with recent answers, I get to see the icon of the last one posting in the thread, instead of the person who started the “discourse”. Since I have been here for a little bit now and I get to follow some people and avoid some other, with that I get to land on threads I am not interested about.

Also please fix the “suggested topics” operative, now it is useless, since it is related not to the present discussion at hand but to my personal activity, so they are pretty much useless links.

The first icon is always the original poster, the other ones are the most recent contributors:


Also I think you should give people’s work more weight in the design, just a row of thumbnails about finished works is not enoug IMO.

The first icon is always the original poster, the other ones are the most recent contributors

My suggestion is about the forum home page, not about the individual sections.

‘More weight’ means what, exactly?

Ah yes, I see. Perhaps that’s something @Gumboots can consider for his custom theme?

‘More weight’ means what, exactly?

In the front page, CGTalk style. I am also interested in your opinion about the “Suggested topics” operative, I think is a wasted tool the way it works now.

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing: we have contracted a plugin developer to develop a ‘grid gallery’ plugin for us that will let you display any art forum as either a gallery or as the current row of topics. Other than that, we have no major changes on the roadmap.

Re: suggested topics: I’ve made a change to only suggest topics from the current category. Let’s see if that makes them more relevant.

1 Like


Thanks for taking into account my suggestions. About the more “weight” from artists in the design, this is a “cultural” change people asked for in the last rewamp of the Cgtalk forum front page, hence the more thumbnails on every section. I also wish they credit artists in the thumnails as well, the same suggestion could be made here. Exposure is everything for us, I still miss my signature. IMO is people’s work more than discussions what keep this place alive, though many times we come here because of the later.

I assume we’re talking about the “Latest” list that sits next to the category list, on that home page.

Gumboots is mystified. Gumboots thought he was restricted to CSS edits, and is wondering how he’s supposed to hack teh markup to show something that Discourse doesn’t show by default.

Do you have an admin setting to change it to show the topic starter’s av instead of the last poster’s av? That’s the only way I can see of doing it, but then for alatest posts list that would be kinda bonkers. It makes sense that the latest posts list would show who posted the latest post.

1 Like

Sorry, I didn’t actually look at the homepage HTML and assumed there might be more information available there. If not, then we’re stuck with what we have for now.

Maybe this is not a design thing but is it possible to make links, hyperlinks. So when clicking on a link a new page will pop-up. Instead of now you leave “Blenderartist” to go to the source of the link. Same as for Blendernation :slight_smile:

Hi Ivo,

sorry, but I don’t quite get what you mean…

There’s an option in settings -> interface to open all external links in a new tab

Based in all examples I checked, that list shows original poster, up to 3 (or 4) frequent posters and only 1 most recent poster (if same than original, you get up to 4 “most freq”). Heh, if no replies, original is declared most recent too (obvious… and redundant), and in any case, original is never declared as frequent (booo, no way to earn the triple mark).

If you’re using clicks, as in mouse and not touchscreen, then “right click > open in new tab” will work on just about any web page. I often use it myself.

I know, but it’s more as a friendly option for users. What I had learned about making websites was one rule to make the “links” open in a new tab. The reason is most users don’t click back but mostly close the page. So there is a shorter time on your own website.

But it was just a sugestion :wink: The site it fine by me!