Forums General General Chat Formats for tables, tabs, lists, etc.

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    MSG Commander
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    (Again, this applies more to walkthrough pages than to forum posts, but some of it might be helpful even in the forum.)

    When it comes to tables, tabs, lists, spoilers, etc… my basic approach is to keep things as small and as simple as possible.

    Tables

    Tables should have between 3-5 columns (depending on the width of each column).

    For something like a skill list table, I figure the first column is “Lv” (for level), and the last is “MP” (or “Cost” or whatever), so those two columns are already very narrow. So, it’s the other 3 that we need to work on: Name, Description, and Effect/Notes/Target (depending on the game, this column tends to vary.)

    Anyway the point is, tables that are too WIDE don’t work on mobile. I mean, to a point, the columns will narrow, but when you get down in the 360px range, too many columns just leave the right side of the table hanging off the edge of the screen. So, as much as possible, limit the number of columns.

    Also, long tables (with a whole lot of rows) should be broken up into smaller tables, and placed inside tabs. There’s no hard and fast rule on this, but if you feel like your table’s getting to be too long, just break it up and use a couple tabs.

    Tabs

    I tend to think anywhere from 4 to 6 tabs on one page or post is in the ideal range. Too many more, and it’s better to start an additional page, and split the tabs up between them.

    You can use only two tabs – say one for “guide” and one for “maps” or something like that, and it should work fine. But even if you end up with like 7 or 8 tabs, you should split them between two pages.

    Lists

    Lists with more than say 20-25 items ought to broken up as well.

    A good example of this is Searinox’s Asdivine Cross Treasure List, which is broken down into lists by location, and spread across multiple posts.

    Spoilers

    This is one area where, I don’t really have an opinion on how many spoilers is “too many?” I’m not sure if there is such a thing (unless someone uses like 27 spoilers in a post just to be difficult.)

    It kind of comes down to common sense. A lot of people, myself included, would sometimes put images inside of spoilers, just to help keep the size of the post down. Of course real “spoilers” should always get a spoiler – but you can also use it just to “sort of shorten” a post.

    A really long post could have a spoiler tag for each heading, so you basically see the intro text from whoever’s writing, then a couple of spoilers (each with an appropriate title), so you know if you click on spoiler #2 you’ll get info about weapon farming, or whatever.

    Anyway this is kind of off the top of my head, but all based off observing and experimenting with different things for the last 18 months – and over the last month or so, really looking at “how does this look on my phone” since roughly 60% of all traffic to the site is on mobile.

    It may take a little trial and error to get this all worked out (and again, for the forum these are more guidelines, than hard and fast rules). The hard part for me, is determining just how much we can cut from things like skill lists, item and weapon lists, etc., and still have enough information to make it worth creating the lists in the first place. 😛

    (Monster lists, I’ve already decided should just be 1.#, 2.Name, 3.Location, 4.Drop, and (where applicable) 5.Steal)

    Note: my overall goal is to make things work as well as possible on small screens – but I don’t want to take it so far that we can’t share anything more than a “Hi, how are you? Do you like this game?” because that would ultimately be self-defeating. So, I really need some feedback to know if what I’m proposing can work in this community?

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