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Neopian Times Editorial Database

The Neopian Times Editorial is a (usually) weekly column hosted by The Neopets Team that answers questions direct from Neopians. Unfortunately, these Q&A's are not easily searched on the Neopets site, so we've created our own searchable database. Convenient for looking up past answers!

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Why does there seem to be a push to redo artwork for the beta? I understand some things need a redraw but it feels like other things are being redrawn (and taking your resources) without a clear reason. Like the shop wizard or event notifications. ~~herdygerdy

Hey Herdy! I wanted to address a bit of the mentality on redrawing beta art assets. In general, while converting the site, some art assets that people know and are accustomed to, may need to change because the way it's now displayed is a bit different behind the scenes. One of our goals for conversion is to make the website as flexible as possible for people who have different sized displays, including mobile devices. Art can be largely affected by this flexibility. Some art is easy to adjust, other times the process is more involved. When things get more involved is usually when you see a change to the art. In those instances, we try to keep updated art within the same spirit, but sometimes it needs to be changed significantly at a fundamental level.

In regards to the Super Shop Wizard, this is an instance where at times we need to update Icon-type art that was originally created to be viewed in your desktop browser. Now we need that same art to read at desktop size, mobile size, icon size, you name it! Take every icon-type asset on the site and force them to display at a size that's 2 or 3 times smaller and you start to lose the clarity they once had at their native sizes. With Super Shop Wizard being such an important aspect of the site, we knew that we wanted his art to be readable in a variety of instances. Knowing this, we didn't want to redesign him or anything. We just intended to update his art to make him visually clearer at smaller sizes. He just happens to be my favorite Neopet character as well! I like his design alot, so when trying to make him a bit more mobile friendly, it was important not to change too much. I just want to be able to clearly see my favorite wizard as clearly as possible!

When we do have to make new art, believe me, we take it seriously given the resources and time we do have. We would never just want to change it for the sake of changing it. That means that usually when we know we have to change something out, we try not to take the opportunity for granted and really look at the assets involved and make sure they work the way they need to.

This leads me to notifications art. The old notification icons needed to be updated for the conversion for many reasons. We had duplicate icons filling in for missing ones. Small art that was now being displayed larger. Icons that didn't make sense based on the information it was representing. Basically many issues we wanted to address. Because the icons are tied to the site themes we knew we would have to update 12 icons for every theme. Logistically that would be almost 200 icons total. When we looked at the problem we noted that notifications aren't always present for every user. If you aren't trading you'll never see a trade icon, if you aren't adopting you'll never see the adoption art. The issue was that these icons were meant to be notifications to inform the player of something specific, they are never always present and we would be spending a large amount of time updating art that isn't always visible to the user.

The solution was to make one set of icons that served the purpose of notifications in a more direct way. This way we have a consistent notification system, with clear art and iconography. No longer tied to themes, this would free up our resources to tackle all the new art we wanted to add for the new site themes.

I want to make it clear that we're constantly trying behind the scenes to make the future of this site as cool as it can be. From a user's standpoint a site in flux can be frustrating, I completely understand. When things change it can be a bit scary and a system shock for those that call this site home. So it's important to communicate that these changes are not done haphazardly, we consider so many factors to ensure what we're doing makes the most sense. ~~clammyhand

From Neopian Times, Issue 916. JN Editorial ID: 20641