Making Great Skins Usability 

So, you've decided to make a skin of your own. Perhaps you've read ahead and tried out one of the tutorials, or maybe you just figure it can't be that hard - and you'd be right, up to a point.

But wait! Statistics show - at least, they would if anyone bothered compiling them - that over 75% of first-time skinners make a fatal blunder in their skins. Even for the 1-in-4 that do somehow manage to turn out a good skin, it's rarely great. Sure, you can learn from your mistakes, but if you read this site you're far less likely to make them in the first place.

The tips here probably won't get you a higher download count (at least, not directly) - that's based mostly on three factors:

They probably will help your skins get a better rating, and nicer comments.

Quick Hint: At one point, about half of the skins released had "XP" or "Aqua" in their names. They weren't usually the most original skins, or even well constructed, but they got a lot of downloads. If that's what you're after, go for a popular subject (but please, try and do a good job!)

Some tips may not apply to you if you don't intend to release your work - but in my experience, if you make something you're proud of and it's good enough for you, it's good enough for other people as well. Why not make it great right from the start?

I use the word "skin" in the following pages, but most of the guidelines are equally applicable to all forms of customisation, including themes, desktop modifications, icons and wallpapers - the applications change, but the basic ideas stay the same.

Now, without further ado, onto the tips!

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This site is copyright 2003 Laurence "GreenReaper" Parry. Got comments? Mail me.