New avatar displays

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

One of the many things you'll notice as you migrate onto the 9.0 platform—and something your community members are sure to spot immediately—is the new way we display users' avatars. 


You can read about the design considerations and look at some very handsome illustrations in DavidG's blog.


In anticipation of the new avatars that David has announced, we've made some interim changes in the way we display users’ avatars. Previously, the default system avatars—the ones that all new community members used—were 36 x 36 pixel squares. No matter where they appear—on posts, on the profile page, on leaderboards—they are always the same size. Some users, of course, have custom avatars that are larger than the default ones, but they, too, are always the same size. Here's an example.



When we roll out the new suite of avatars that David described, the two things that you’ll notice first about our new HD avatars is their size and shape. Instead of being square, our new high-definition avatars have the same 16:9 aspect ratio as HD TVs. And instead of always being the same size, we now display users’ avatars in different sizes depending on where they appear.


In the mean time, we've taken an interim step by changing the display of all avatars to match the new sizes.  The most common displays sizes are 128 x 72 pixels, which appears in users’ profiles and 64 x 36 pixels (twice the width of older avatars), which appears on posts and leaderboards. But wait, you say, how do we show a 36 x 36 image in a 64 x 36 slot. That's where the classic part comes in. 


Community members who use the default avatars will see their avatars become instant classics, with a handsome gray frame and a CLASSIC banner along the side. 




 OK, next question. What about custom avatars? It's one of the first permissions that many communities grant members as they advance in rank. In the new design, community members retain their custom avatar images, but the size is constrained to fit match the new avatars. Here's an example.




Constraining an image is not the same as cropping it, although it does result in the image having a new size. When we constrain an image, we fit  the image into the available space. We then scale the image, retaining the original aspect ratio so that image is not distorted. The new image size will never exceed the default height or width for the community.


So there you have it. A new look and some instant classics.


4/29/09 Update:

  • When you first migrate to the 9.0 platform, community members who have custom avatars will keep them. However, we'll scale custom avatars to match the new sizes.
  • Community members who use old, soon-to-be-classic avatars will get the new "classic" treatment.
  • When new members join a community, they'll get a randomly assigned avatar (no more clouds for everyone). There are two reasons for this: to encourage community members to start personalizing their profiles, and really, aren't you just a wee bit tired of all those clouds? 


Message Edited by SusanM on 04-29-2009 04:05 PM