So a few days ago I made a post about why-background-and-text-color-choices-matter/ and some people had some comments about how it was “misleading title” and how I “didn’t tell them how to pick good colors”. Which I guess are accurate in the broadest sense, but I really just wanted to raise awareness about the issue. I am -not- a graphic designer, nor do I claim to be one. I actually don’t care about fonts or colors or designs most of the time (unless they are so bad they detract from the experience of the site). Therefore, I consider my goal accomplished simply because the site I found had changed its text color within an hour of my post. ;)
Though… Not being able to give constructive guidance after raising a criticism… I want to avoid that…
So… despite -not- being a designer, I -am- a programmer. So I decided to write some tools to help the lives of authors and translators.
Namely, I realized how much of a pain-in-the-butt it is to make ‘Page'(s) and have them have ‘Previous’, ‘Index’, ‘Next’ links at the top and bottom of each chapter.
Here is the code that I have copy/pasted into the top of -each- chapter of PMA (Programming Magic Ambassador) (The NSFW Urban Fantasy story I wrote/am writing.(Nothing shown in this post is NSFW))
As you can see.. there is 2x <hr />, 3x Links, and some formatting (to center the text). This results in the navigation links shown below.
This works ‘fine’ when you have a free wordpress like I do right now, (More on that in a minute) but this is tedious and error prone. Therefore I ended up ‘pre-making’ batches of a dozen or so chapter pages before I needed them each time. This resulted in a combined total time of a few hours. This obviously does not scale nor does it feel like it is ‘really’ worth it from the author’s perspective.
However, I think the time/effort -is- worth it from an overall site usability viewpoint. Therefore, I wrote a widget for wordpress that would automatically create a the page-nav-links like I had above, but this time, it would be completely customizable. Below is the widget’s settings that I have right now.
EDIT: The last setting with “Padding Characters” is actually “last chapter” (I didn’t realize the labeling was wrong until now)
And these settings result in a widget that automatically produces the following two pages (notice that ‘Previous’ has a Strike-through effect on page ‘1’)
Now… None of this is ‘as’ useful, unless you can easily create (in bulk) pages for stories. Therefore, I have written a plugin to assist in bulk page creation. It has the following two Modes/Styles in it:
- Chapters, Chapter titles go from 1->999, etc.
- Volumes, Chapter titles are in ‘volumes’ so ‘Volume 1 – Chapter 2’, etc.
Here is the settings I have right now for page generation with ‘Chapter(s)’ mode.
Notice: [First Chapter]->[Last Chapter]
Here is the settings I have right now for page generation with ‘Volume(s)’ mode.
Notice: [Volume]:[First Chapter]->[Last Chapter]
Now… Obviously to use the widget or the plugin you need to have non-free wordpress hosting. I am not ready to publish either of these tools right now(Mainly because I have yet to ‘harden’ the code, such as: validate input, etc.) but I thought I’d publish them and get people’s opinions and suggestions.
Login-less Contact form: