WinCustomize in 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

Tomorrow (Monday) begins the official first day of 2011 work for many of us here.  Aside from having my wisdom teeth removed last year, I didn’t take much time off so I tried to make the most of this break and stay offline for much as I could.  I was able to do that because of the great staff we have here – Jafo, Hankers, WOM, DrJBHL, HG_Eliminator, Snowman, Lantec, and the other names who are escaping me right now.  They truly are the best to work with and I personally appreciate everything they do for the site and skinning in general.

Getting back into work mode one of my first goals for 2011 is to make WinCustomize even better than it is.  Site traffic has declined over the last year or so as skinning is moving back to its niche “roots”, and getting more people involved here and download/submitting is a top goal.  Looking back at Win98 and WinXP when I first got involved into skinning, Windows was terribly bland and skinning was almost a necessity.  Now that Windows is more physically attractive skinning has also gone from just changing the look of Windows, to changing how Windows looks and how to boost ease of us and productivity.  This is not a bad thing in my opinion, and an app like Fences is the best example of what I’m talking about. 

Taking lots of things into consideration I made a short list of things I’d like to address in the first half of 2011.

  • Address lingering site issues.  WC 2010 is brand new, but there are still some issues that need to be worked out.  Yes, the delete skins button is one of them.
  • More/better tutorials.  Skinning isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do, but it’s definitely not impossible.  We need better tutorials and a better way for new and old users to find and use them.
  • More contributors.  We have a great core group of skinners that submit to WC, but more would be even better.
  • More content.  Mobile wallpapers maybe?  Any other apps that can be skinned that should be added?  Let me know!

Community is important as ever, and looking at our user groups here it was a fantastic decision to bring on board DrJBHL as our article/news poster for WC.  He has been doing a phenomenal job at keeping WC users up to date with the latest tech and PC news, and I think doing this is a great move to broaden appeal to new users.  In trying to address the tutorial content we definitely more people to contribute.  Over the years I have written what seems like a countless amount of tutorials, but many are outdated and there are many others on WinCustomize that are more “experts” at specific apps than I am.  If you would like to dedicate some time to helping update/write tutorials, once again let me know.

Getting more people over to submit to WinCustomize has been more difficult.  Many just don’t know about the site, and others I have spoken with just don’t have the time to submit to multiple sites which is understandable.  We “recruited” some people this year who are well known on other sites like DA who just didn’t realize that WC gets millions and millions of visitors each month.  WinCustomize is a great way to expose yourself (no pun intended) and since we do obviously focus more on customization, it can be easier to get your work noticed.  I’d like to see what the interest is in some type of referral program.  Introduce an artist to WC and once they become a regular contributor a reward is given.  Thoughts on this?  Would you take part?

Well I think I have rambled enough, so let me also take this opportunity to thank you for your support in 2010, and I know 2011 will be even better than last year was! 

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Reply #1 Sunday, January 2, 2011 4:37 PM

  Sounds great ID!!!!

Reply #2 Sunday, January 2, 2011 4:51 PM

Thanks for the kind words, I.D.

Being part of this team really has put some spring in my step. Thanks also for the teaching about Windows Live Writer. That's made things a lot easier.

You got me thinking...(that's the burnt wood odor you're detecting)... I believe your referral idea is an excellent one.

I'd love to see "Classes" offered and set up for the interested in each subspecialty, such as WB, Icons, Docks, Walls, CFX and so on, including non SD products (like WinStep). The course "Curriculum" could be included in the WinWiki. Two birds...

We are so blessed with Masters and others who give of their time and skills as well as Journeymen who can teach and who can be rewarded for their efforts, as well. I feel we should also try to reach out to past Masters, etc. who might be interested in helping or getting back into skinning.

I believe that for especially talented "young" artists, a one on one mentoring program could be established along the way as they achieve skills commensurate with promotion.

Perhaps some of the folks at Stardock might wish to conduct classes in graphics/game design and interact with the members as well.

I'd love to see "The WinCustomize University of Skinning" come about....chalk that up to my (rapidly) approaching senility.

Reply #3 Sunday, January 2, 2011 5:04 PM

Nice writeup I.D.!  I for one would like to see some of the old time skinners at the site too.  Skinners like WB Skinner and ChaNinja are just a couple.  They were both excellent skinners, but I guess their personal lives or commitments have changed things, or perhaps they have just lost interest.  Would still love to see them and a few others here on WC though!

Reply #4 Sunday, January 2, 2011 5:16 PM

 I love the mobile wallpaper idea and in addition to that I know you got a new Win7 phone I did as well and would be interested in devoting some time (especially if I had some coding help) to developing some new Win7 phone apps ...ex...wallpaper changer ,maybe a WC app with rss !

Food for thought!


Reply #5 Sunday, January 2, 2011 5:24 PM

Any other apps that can be skinned that should be added?


Reply #6 Sunday, January 2, 2011 5:27 PM

That's a great post ID!!

Reply #7 Sunday, January 2, 2011 5:37 PM

Yes It is a great post. My wish list is small. All I would like to see are more WB textures submitted for those who are graphically challenged like I am. Oh, and yes the delete button and the My Site tab fixed.

Reply #8 Sunday, January 2, 2011 5:59 PM

How about tutorials on the smaller apps like rainlendar and sysmetrix. I know rainlendar pretty well and I'm learning SMX. How can I help?

Reply #9 Sunday, January 2, 2011 6:28 PM


Any other apps that can be skinned that should be added?


Reply #10 Sunday, January 2, 2011 6:34 PM

Believe it or not Weather Pulse is skinnable. Might want to look into it.

Reply #11 Sunday, January 2, 2011 8:30 PM

Any other apps that can be skinned that should be added?


Reply #12 Sunday, January 2, 2011 8:52 PM

I'd be interested in doing more tuts for DX, if Froggy would let us know the future of DX. I don't want to spend a lot of time writing tuts for a defunct software.

Reply #13 Sunday, January 2, 2011 9:02 PM

A good THOROUGH "no-brainer" guide to SkinStudio and ALL it's sections would be nice. I've kicked around the idea of a Windowblind template to show each section "live" so the potential skinner could get a better idea of where something is and understand what it actually does before they dive in. Anybody remember the old Winamp template skin that had all the areas labeled and the images pre-packaged, ready to drop and skin? Of course, you can only make it so either like to do it or you don't...but try to keep 'em interested before they can give up on it.

Reply #14 Sunday, January 2, 2011 9:25 PM

'More / better tutorials'

A must if you want new people coming on board and they should be easy to find.

Make WinCustomize the first stop skinning site. Have the latest news on programs which change your desktop with links and articles. RSS feeds, Twitter . Keep the punters happy.



Navi .... Templates are a great idea. Get people started 

Reply #15 Sunday, January 2, 2011 10:07 PM

Templates and How To's are definitely the way to go. If a noobie can visualize what he or she wants from the git-go it'll be worth it. Incentives too will work. Encourage them to post WIP's, show off what they can do. Give them pointers. There are tons of stuff to show anyone who wants to learn.

Reply #16 Sunday, January 2, 2011 10:16 PM

"More Content":  For this category, you could add support for the new Windows 7 Phone.  Including Wallpapers, WindowBlinds, Icons, etc.

"Address lingering site issues":  For this, on the site galleries, include the total download counts while browsing the galleries like on the old site.  It's so annoying to click on somebody's content just to see the download count, and then click the browser's back button to go back to the gallery again.  We want direct comparisons of total download counts for every thumbnail in every gallery. (Like on the old site.)  How can we tell what's popular and what's not?

Reply #17 Monday, January 3, 2011 12:27 AM

Great thinking ID !!

I agree that site traffic has considerably gone down as when I joined WC in January 2009, almost all my work used to get huge no. of downloads as compared to even the best of my works now which either get less or almost negligible downloads....

For the Tutorials, im alredy planning to do some video tutorials on how to create animations for Dreams and Screensavers, with a list of programs used to create them

Island Dog
Reply #18 Monday, January 3, 2011 7:18 AM

Wow.  Some amazing ideas already!

Reply #19 Monday, January 3, 2011 9:48 AM

very very well I.D. !

finally my (maybe too early alert on may 2010) is having some more consideration...

I'm going just to repeat that I consider self destructive for a skins site the actual Wincustomize HomePage layout

with 10 direct links to "Latest news" and "Forum posts" (half page and more) and only 5 NEW SKINS direct links

a very kind of lottery for the new skin visibility and most of all a very poor welcome for the anonymous visitors and believe me very few of them will care to click on any HIDDEN drop down menu or  filters ...

Reply #20 Monday, January 3, 2011 10:31 AM

A tutorial on making RightClick skins would be very welcome. I'm not clear on whether that software will be continued, but I think it is really great and use it all the time. I would like to take a stab at making a RighClick skin. I admit to having limited graphic skills, but I do have the time and interest.

(The recent forum post on how to modify Win7 click functions was great too).

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