Pixel Joint v3


After roughly 4 years of fiddling we're getting ready for a major site update....

  • Fully responsive site...  phone, tablet and desktop should all function properly.
  • MSSQL to MySQL conversion. This will have some transition issues with extended character set (characters like ü and ñ and ó might not convert properly). Apologies in advance to our members who will have their names and comments mangled a bit, but we don't want to hold off on this upgrade any longer. This will not be a problem going forward and it will always be possible to fix the rogue characters once the site has transitioned to MySQL.
  • Optimizations including caching, script/style consolidation, (some) minification, image compression and web fonts.
  • Design touchups. 
  • Removal of unused sections. 

Testing should wrap up today or tomorrow and we'll be pushing site up soon after. The site will be fully offline for a couple hours at a time over the next few days and there will almost certainly be a few issues over the next week or so. Please bear with us.


Posted by sedgemonkey @ 7/22/2015 14:36  |    85


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Theoden (Level 10 Operative) @ 8/21/2015 06:18

I can't login to my PJ account from my android device (samsung).

Hapiel (Level 11 Bonsai) @ 8/5/2015 17:16

Nice surprise when I come back from some traveling :)

Manupix (Level 11 Godfather) @ 7/28/2015 12:14

Adding screenshots to my previous post =)

Also the missing-preview-in-header-when-edited issue is still there: screenshot.

Zizka (Level 10 Deep Blue) @ 7/27/2015 11:01

Maybe we could keep the HoF off the front page entirely. I mean, they're already archived on the website. I don't think that giving the pieces there as much exposure and New Pixels and Weekly Showcase is a good idea. I think we could use that space for more New Pixels and more Weekly Showcase. 

My opinion.

sedgemonkey (Level 11 Coelacanth) @ 7/27/2015 09:57

Thanks for all the comments. I'm trying to keep up, but thus far I've mostly just been making fixes and probably will be for awhile. I'll try and come back to these items as I go along. If you reeeeeally want to help with a bug (or even a feature) it would save time if you could post a screenshot.

Scarodactyl (Level 8 Ruby) @ 7/26/2015 20:36

I feel like I'm not in too much of a position to complain since I don't use the site nearly as much as I used to.  That said, while the site looks quite good on my phone it really doesn't on my desktop--the padding really is unnerving.  I used to be able to take the whole page in at a glance, but now I have to scroll a lot to see everything  I thought it might just be my browser or my monitor, so I tried it on my brother's (bigger widescreen laptop) and the problem seemed to just be compounded, with even more dead space on the side (side note: both he and I thought there was a loading error at first as per BBD).   Is there any particularly compelling reason that the desktop and mobile sites would need to be the same?  It seems like you'll inevitably end up with a solution that's only going to excel for one of them.  I mean, huge props for getting a good phone interface--from my derping around it seems to be great on mobile.  I'm just concerned about its performance on bigger screens.

Blackbeltdude (Level 7 Ichikyu) @ 7/26/2015 16:29

When I loaded the site, I thought it was actually some kind of CSS or Javascript Error.

I'm not too crazy about the small header, and then a very large chunk of vertical space (then ads) and then I get to the news feed.

And, as nice as the hall of fame is and even the weekly showcase, I don't think they should have the same kind of priority as "new pixel art" should. The old design was better in this regard, because when you loaded the site up, you saw the newest PA gallery load first, then it faded over to Weekly, and then HoF. I thought this was a good compromise for content that was probably best looked up, while promoting content that was more relevent since it was new. I'd say switching back to the old "slideshow" would be better for the space and the content.

I also agree with the idea of widening the main container. It's currently at 990px and has a min-width setting of 1024, which are very old old old standards in webdesign. 1200px is a little more standard today because most people have larger monitors. Either way, the site is responsive now, so it should be really simple to set this up.

Also, currently, my profile's tab section is very broken. I fixed it in the developer browser though by removing the overflow CSS in ".tab-holder div.tab-panel" located on line 578 on CSS v3. Right now Overflow is set to "hidden" which wrecks the layout there. Removing it didn't seem to mess anything else up, but I didn't test it too much.

A quick suggestion about mobile as well; you should set it up so the rating buttons get larger when the screen size is smaller. Buttons in general should do this, but these especially for functionality.

Please let me know if you guys want a hand with any of this stuff, as I do web design stuff pretty often. :)

EviLsEyE (Level 2 Peon) @ 7/26/2015 12:43

Thank you for the redesign! My fav feature is the responsiveness - finally it's possible to enjoy this site via mobile and tablet.

I just want to adress one little issue: the main menu works via "mouse over" - on a touchscreen it's not possible to navigate through the menu (e.g. "Gallery -> Weekly Challenge"), because the tap opens directly the top item (e.g. "Gallery"). As a workaround you can long tap the menu item, then tap "back" and select the desired menu item. But that's not really comfortable.

MrWallas (Level 1 Rookie) @ 7/26/2015 11:45

I know about being lazy, like I said, I'm too lazy to even click on a piece of pixel art if it doesn't look interesting enough from the preview.

If I'm going to leave a comment or rating, I'll leave a comment or rating. I'm not more compelled to leave a comment or rating after clicking through to the full version of the pixel art. If there were a way for me to hover over the preview and have the full version come up and be able to rate and comment from there, I'd rate and comment more. To me, it's just not a very streamlined experience how it is now. But, this is just my view on it, though I would be surprised if I'm the only person who thinks this. 

EdJr (Level 9 Nidan) @ 7/26/2015 10:43

At first I thought this would be a good idea (and I even added it to my extension in its first version), but I believe that this could drastically reduce the number of ratings and comments in pieces. Lots of people are that lazy (including me).

MrWallas (Level 1 Rookie) @ 7/26/2015 09:25

The changes look great but one thing I'd love to see is the ability to hover over a piece of pixel art in the gallery and have the full piece come up, maybe with the ability to rate it as well. Call me lazy, but I look at much less pixel art on this site because I find it annoying to have to click it, look at it, then go back to the gallery. I only look at the most interesting/good looking pieces.

Maybe something like this.

EdJr (Level 9 Nidan) @ 7/26/2015 05:11

@king_bobston: Yes, I know. I'm all for changes, I'm really just concerned about how much time it'll take until this transition is finished.

@gogglecrab: Yes, there was a contest here. (By the way, I added some of them to my Chrome extension :) )

king_bobston (Level 10 Capo) @ 7/26/2015 02:21

As far as I get it it's mostly the transition from MSSQL to MySQL to solve backend problems better.

I'm pretty sure that design problems, both the "looks" and content related won't be addressed properly until the major new bugs are out of the way. I just hope that the peeps involved still have enough breath left for it after those probs are out the way to make pj the best possible way it can be (of course we will still nag ).

I'm waiting for the forum post to properly report bugs.

gogglecrab (Level 3 Enforcer) @ 7/25/2015 21:45

Not that this is top priority, but if we're doing a full blown site overhaul, perhaps we should invest some time into some new smileys? Not that the current ones aren't beautimous, they just seem a bit... dated.

You know now that I think about it, if I recall correctly wasn't there even some sort of contest being run to update them?

EdJr (Level 9 Nidan) @ 7/25/2015 21:37

Yeah, I don't want to sound too negative, but this is pretty sad. Maybe it was just me who was too comfortable with what PJ used to look like, but I'd say the layout was already pretty good (it just needed to be adjusted for mobile, really) and the more important issues didn't seem to be a priority. Even worse, now the site apparently has many more problems than it did before.

Just so this doesn't sound like another useless rant, I'd really like to help you guys with anything if you need.

DawnBringer (Level 10 Maniac) @ 7/25/2015 20:30

So I guess this wasn't WIP...these insane paddings is going to be the future of PJ? 

king_bobston (Level 10 Capo) @ 7/25/2015 12:56

What? My PJ - VIP account works great! ;)

Skull (Level 11 CEO) @ 7/25/2015 11:54

I had to actually sign in.. for the first time in like, forever.. update sucks, tear it down.. no VIP treatment.

EdJr (Level 9 Nidan) @ 7/25/2015 10:56

I found another issue. I was seeing these 500 errors everywhere and I imagined the same could be happening in other pages. I decided to test the "register account" page (because why not?). Turns out it also responds with a 500 error.

We're losing precious potential super artists.

greenraven (Level 2 Hired Gun) @ 7/25/2015 09:33

What in the hell is this?! Everyone knows there is no such thing as a PJ3pointOH! It just a myth told to the newbies who complain about this or that! Someone find whoever hijacked sedge's account and beat him to death with a sack of doorknobs! PJ's reputation is on the line here! This imposter must be found and stopped before he ruins everything!

Reo (Level 11 Sphinx) @ 7/25/2015 04:34

There is no link to the forum on the mobile version :/

RolandMelvinZ (Level 4 Button Man) @ 7/25/2015 04:12

This is great, I love the new design, it's totally better now :)

Pixelart_kid (Level 6 SWAT) @ 7/24/2015 10:07

 It´s is a very good update for PJ.
Sedgemonkey return!!!

Mr.Fahrenheit (Level 6 Serial Killer) @ 7/24/2015 08:36

I still can never get to the second page of comments .

Looks good though! I'm optimistic about the new design!

Manupix (Level 11 Godfather) @ 7/24/2015 07:29

Kudos for the update , never thought I'd see it happen

First impressions / bug report (by order of importance):

  1. There seems to be something with the 'special galleries' urls (such as Monthly top): the pages other than page 1 display the generic 'new icons' url http://pixeljoint.com/pixels/new_icons.asp?q=1&pg=2 even though the correct page is loaded (ie monthly top page 2). When keeping the tab open while browsing other galleries, however, the link is lost and the next page of wherever you were browsing opens next instead of the Monthly top next page. Presumably this happens in other galleries too. SCREENSHOT.
  2. Monthly top earlier than last May doesn't return any result (by manual url tweaking as usual). Screenshot.
    2b. How about links for previous Monthlies instead of manual url tweaking?
  3. On the forum, there used to be a drop-down menu next to usernames with a useful 'PJ gallery' link, it has gone and the only link is the member forum profile which isn't very useful.
    EDIT: it hasn't gone, it's stuck at the top of the page, which can only be accessed when viewing, ah, the top of the page. Screenshot.
    3b. At least we could do with a 'PJ gallery' link in the member forum profile.
  4. Any chance of implementing a horizontal scrollbar for large pieces?
  5. Agree with the previous comments about search: the 'old' search feature was very useful for returning single keyword art searches as a gallery. Can we please have it back? The google search is okay (it works for me, btw) for multiple keywords, forum searches etc.
  6. Clicking 'Active challenge' sends over to the forum; I'd rather get to the main challenge page and from there to the forum if need be.
  7. There are only 42 pages (~2 1/2 months) of New PA: is there a hard coding reason for this limit? Was it there before?
    7b. Could the 48 pages of faves limit be raised? Why 42 New PA vs 48 Faves?

Other than that, I tend to agree about layout comments but these are of minor concern at this point (too much empty space, green buttons etc).

eishiya (Level 6 SWAT) @ 7/24/2015 06:44

Agreed with most of this.

However, I don't think making the main container wider is a good idea. A wider container might make better use of available space, but narrow containers are better on the eyes. Humans eyes are good at moving vertically for reading/looking, but tire quickly when moving horizontally. This is why newspapers and magazines have their text in narrow columns - it's to minimize the amount of horizontal movement the eyes have to do.
I think PJ's current width is very comfortable for text, and doesn't really need to be wider for other content. If anything, PJ's new layout is already making poor use of the width it already has, especially in profiles.

StoneStephenT (Level 8 Ruby) @ 7/24/2015 01:47

Okay, after a few hours of looking things over, here’s what I have to say about the new design.

1.) Stacking the new pieces, weekly showcase pieces, and HOF pieces atop one another on the front page is a good idea. That said: there is still enough room available (at least how I see the site) for one more thumbnail on each row. The same goes for the “Random Pixel Art” box on gallery pages.

2.) The favorite/avatar/share “buttons” beneath each piece would probably be better off underneath the “details” box instead. That row has too much dead space as it stands right now.

3.) Speaking of dead space: My desktop is 1600×900, and the main container div takes up just a little over half that width. I'm not advocating for a full-width display of the main container, but for larger desktop screens like mine, giving it another 150 to 200 pixels would be nice (and it would allow for more thumbnails to be displayed per row, as per the first item on this list). That would create a HUGE amount of dead space on individual image pages, I know, but better there—where it can draw attention to the image—than elsewhere.

4.) I use the default style, so I noticed a few issues with color and styling that could be changed to create a more readable page. On individual image pages, the title would look better in a larger font with a brighter color. (Slightly-light grey on dark grey is hard on the eyes, especially at that size.) As Gas13 mentioned, normalizing the title bars for the three image sections on the frontpage would definitely improve readability—moreso if they also receive a bump in font size and a change in color.

5.) This is a really really minor nitpick and I don't want to press the issue further if you can't actually do it, but if there is any way to change the HTML title on individual title pages to get rid of the unnecessary "Icon, Pixel Art…" fluff and replace it with a “PixelJoint” suffix or something, that would be great.

Okay I'm finished I’ll go back to lurking and whatnot.

Theoden (Level 10 Operative) @ 7/24/2015 00:11

Looks nice, didn't try it on mobile though.

Like Gecimen said it would be great if new pixel art and weekly showcase sections displayed more works.

Satsume (Level 10 Capo) @ 7/24/2015 00:01

Wow cool! god work guys :3

aeveis (Level 5 Harbor Seal) @ 7/23/2015 23:55

woahhhh, it's different. I would say very least there's just a lot of padding that doesn't need to be there (more new and featured art would be nice too). Very cool!

sedgemonkey (Level 11 Coelacanth) @ 7/23/2015 22:35

I realize there are a ton of bugs and styling issues to work out in the coming weeks/months/years and I'll do my best to address as many as I can as time allows. This was really my only opportunity to do this MAJOR update and I just didn't have time to catch everything. The story behind the three big updates and why we'll probably never have this big an update again... 

  • Responsive design: This should be fairly obvious... browsing PJ was impossible on a phone. There's still a ton of work to do on this, but at least you can sorta, kinda use the site on a phone now. Also, Google is basically penalizing sites that don't offer mobile experience now.
  • MSSQL to MySQL: When I started building the first scraps of this site in freaking 2003 I built it with ASP/MSSQL. While these technologies still exist (and we're still using ASP) they're just a big old pain in the ass now. Our MSSQL hadn't been updated in years and we would never have been able to. Upgrading MSSQL costs A LOT OF MONEY. I've literally been tinkering with transitioning to MySQL for 4 years. Now that we're on MySQL we can start transitioning away from ASP as well. 
  • Optimization: We were serving up waaaay too many requests, had too many inline styles and scripts and a bunch of inefficient queries. Our modest server was getting killed several times a day AND we were wasting your bandwidth/resources. We have a long way to go, but at least we have a good start.

As with every update there are going to be changes that people plain don't like and I get that that sucks. It's just the reality of having an 11 year old site. The entire landscape of how people interact with technology has changed drastically since 2004. Hell, YouTube didn't even exist when PJ launched!!! People are browsing the web on tiny phones, 27" monitors, 50" TVs and everything in between. 

I can't promise that we'll make all the changes you think we should make, but I can definitely promise that we're trying to keep the focus on your pixel art and the pixel artists without getting in the way too much. 

Paddy (Level 3 Hatchet Man) @ 7/23/2015 21:00

Also just realised a pretty big flaw with the mobile version of the site. If the piece is wider than the parameters of the site you can't scroll to see the rest of it, so you're left with the left side of the piece and that's it.


Gas 13 (Level 9 Boss) @ 7/23/2015 20:45

I would optimize that space on top of the mainpage. That's how it looks now (with pixelation skin). Using common window tops would improve it I guess.

At least maybe put the categories inside the boxes?

Gas 13 (Level 9 Boss) @ 7/23/2015 20:26

Looks awesome!

Except that huge green buttons that ruin pixelation skin I use :)

Volrak_Rutra (Level 7 Sheriff) @ 7/23/2015 19:55

I just voted in a 2011 challenge by accident. something to fix perhaps?

Volrak_Rutra (Level 7 Sheriff) @ 7/23/2015 19:36

which sections were unused?

the awesome mozilla extensions don't work, and this sucks a plenty. hopefully the extension creator will update them soon
i don't like the way the past challenges are arranged, i preferred them to be in a neat column, not a mess it is in now. and can we please have a feature page with all the past challenges and another page with all the past monthly winners? those are the 2 big gateways to awesome pixel art, but they are a pain to navigate.

Kasumi (Level 3 Private Eye) @ 7/23/2015 18:43

Edit: My apologies. I misread jalonso's comment. I honestly read it that people could request ideas here. I'll remove that stuff, but leave an important question.

Was that cross site vulnerability from a while ago fixed in this update? (A person clicking a link in a comment posted "hacked" on a specific painting as that person)

DawnBringer (Level 10 Maniac) @ 7/23/2015 18:39

I don't know how much is temporary...but what I see now is ridiculous. 

Zizka (Level 10 Deep Blue) @ 7/23/2015 18:25

I second everyone (the list is too long) who would want more pieces on the front page. Loads of dead space. Sorry, I realize it's not that cool to get criticism but really, why... why... we could really optimize that space and cram loads in there. 

dpixel (Level 9 Vice President) @ 7/23/2015 17:53

Yes, I know.  And I still can't figure out why.

jalonso (Level 11 Godfather) @ 7/23/2015 17:10

@dpixel. The quote panel has been there for 10 years now.

dpixel (Level 9 Vice President) @ 7/23/2015 16:43

Where's the search?  And why do we need a quote?

Gecimen (Level 11 Sphinx) @ 7/23/2015 16:09

I only wish new pixel art and weekly showcase held more pieces.

feiss (Level 5 Detective) @ 7/23/2015 16:05

Conngratulations!! Good work! :)

What's up with the voting icons? I keep seeing the old ugly small squares..

Yanrishatum (Level 4 Deputy) @ 7/23/2015 16:02

Oh. My. God. Green buttons? Seriously? It'd be funny on 1 april, but it's not 1 april and it's looks like [tons of bad words about entire new design]. Well, I'll look at this in a good way - at least it does not look like SCADA software... Looks like I'll need to make an extension just to revert design into old one, because with current design I don't want to visit that site 3: Sorry,

DawnBringer (Level 10 Maniac) @ 7/23/2015 15:40

Is it supposed to look like this ?

jalonso (Level 11 Godfather) @ 7/23/2015 15:20

@Lucas-, keep up that positive attitude :)
@surt. What do you mean?
I use the active topics in the forum several times a day and its always updated and current? I could not Mod the forum without it and have never heard anyone else mention this : /

The public queue is something I also review several times a day and there's never a glitch there except when we are adding pixels at the very same time a PJer clicks on the page and then it shows nothing but that's just a temporary thing because the database for the page is changing so it goes black for a bit.

The space in the comment box is annoying >.<
lol, at the old PJv1 rank icons.

Check out the 'skull' icons that are now back to the old trashcan by comments.

Lucas- (Level 4 Button Man) @ 7/23/2015 15:00

the site is not very good, the new pixel arts, weekly showcase etc is not something beautiful and the new rank trophies are not good.d

surt (Level 11 Godfather) @ 7/23/2015 14:59

The public queue page problem is still present, as is the space in comment text box.

Active topics in the forum isn't working for me, always empty.

Drazile (Level 7 Ichikyu) @ 7/23/2015 14:31

re rank icons: Well, I'm glad we got new ones later, then.

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