Wednesday, April 02, 2014

April Fools!

Yeah, so the upside down themes of yesterday were the 2014 April Fools Day prank for Atlas Quest. All the other problems the site has been having--the downtime, broken features, and so on--were not. I know more than one of you thought the whole server migration was a joke, but it was very much real and truly dreadful timing.

I'm still having some minor problems with the new server which I'm working out. Queries are running slower than they should be. I'll have to restart the server occasionally and unexpectedly, although at this point, I don't expect anymore prolonged downtimes. *knock on wood*

If you missed the upside-down and skewed themes or want to revisit them again, they are available as AQ themes. You probably won't want to leave him enabled for very long, though! =)

My favorite of the bunch is the heavily skewed ones, like the Skew Left theme. They don't even look like real websites! Looks like something digitally manipulated in PhotoShop or something

If you want to thank the person who thought of the upside-down theme, that would be our very own Amanda from Seattle. =) She suggested it as an idea years ago, but at the time, I didn't have a clue how to make it work. There were some very new CSS3 properties that could do the trick, but no browsers supported them at the time.

I revisited the idea this year, though, when I learned that all major browsers now support the necessary properties in some form or another. The most common browser that doesn't support the properties are old versions of Internet Explorer--usually a handicap, although the irony in this case is that the people using them were probably left scratching their heads wondering what the heck everyone else was talking about. =)

So I created the original April Fools Flip theme, which took all of about 10 minutes to do. I used this theme for about 5 seconds before I realized that the site was all but impossible to use. I couldn't leave it like that for an entire day! Which is when I started playing with other variations.

Like, what if everything was upside-down, except the main content window that is the most important part of the page? So I flipped the headers, footers and menubars, which is still awkward to use, but at least it was easy to read the content. The menubars were awkward, but because those are always the same and most people are pretty familiar with them, I could get by with them. Annoying, but not a deal breaker.....

The code to do these upside-down themes basically just say, "turn a specific element 180 degrees" to flip a page, but I can turn it any number of degrees. Why just use 180? Why not 90 degrees? Or 45 degrees?

So I tried those, but they didn't work out so well. The pages turned, but if it was a long page, it would go off on the right side of the page and there wouldn't even be a scroll bar to see what was missing. I wound up tilting the page 1 degree and most of the page stayed within the side bounds of the browser window, so I kept that variation. Almost like a drunken theme....

I also realized that I could rotate elements that had already been rotated! That's how the disorder theme was created. I rotated the entire page 180 degrees, then rotated just the header, content, menubars and footer in place 180 degrees, so the entire page actually ends rightside-up... but each of the elements are completely in the wrong order. Which I actually found surprisingly disorienting even though I could still work through it. That was a keeper.

And then I wanted to create a theme that was wrong, but at first glace, it seemed okay. Which is when I created the menubar flip. Only the menubars were upside-down and at a glance, that's not at all obvious. Not until you try to hover a mouse cursor over it and the dropdown menu goes up. I probably clicked the "Home" button more often using that theme than any other day in the history of AQ thinking it was the "My Page" button. =)

Anyhow, I hope you all enjoyed the shenanigans! And if you didn't.... well, blame Amanda. ;o)


Anonymous said...

It was great! Thanks Amanda & Ryan for giving us such a laugh!

Anonymous said...

Pretty frustrating to read forums - turning my ipad over and over and still upside down!! But now that you've had your fun, thanks for keeping it tweaked and running through the change-over - I know that's MUCH more difficult than having to read upside down for a day ;-)
And Amanda - please stop encouraging the mischievous boy in him!! Lol!'

Anonymous said...

Loved it! Thank you for the fun.
Ona Journey