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The Ultimate in Home Page Customization
By: Gabor Bernat
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    Table of Contents:
  • The Ultimate in Home Page Customization
  • Warming Up With iGoogle and Netvibes
  • Customization
  • Taking a break

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    The Ultimate in Home Page Customization - Customization

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    Now we can do whatever we want and cause all of our changes to be saved. Therefore, shall we start with the style? We'll start with iGoogle. In the past, many users have complained about iGoogle, because it featured only seven skins. However, Google is known to pay attention to at least some of the complaints of users, so it was just a matter of time until an option related to this was introduced.

    In fact, Google did more than that. It made a site where it is explained, step-by-step, how to create your own theme. Anyone can make one if s/he invests a little time and has some basic ideas about programming. It is a systematic tutorial; however, some XML knowledge is welcome and comes in handy.

    Now if you go to the Select Theme Style you will see a list, which seems to be endless. There are a vast variety of skins, skins configuring more to the surrounding section of the window (the ones inside the browser window) while the interior windows remain white. However, the white color looks good and relaxing.

    The skins can be sorted by the Hottest, Most Users and Newest while a search by theme title is also present. The number of options is so vast, however, that a more granular system of categorization from  Google might be welcome in the future. An interesting option is that you can apply a different skin for each of the tabs, definitely a great idea; although, if you want a singular skin, one from each of them, this could prove frustrating.

    As for Netvibes, this can be reduced to the Settings menu, where you will find a Skin submenu. Currently there are 23 themes that are different enough from each other to cover the taste of most users. Although this may seem a little sparse in comparison to iGoogle, Netvibes strike back with the option to select an image as wallpaper.

    In fact, there are two wallpapers, one for the upper side and one for the bottom part. The upper is more like a header that contains the headers, doubled by the option to enter text which will become the title of your page. This is a nice touch for the user interface, and helps to make your home page unique. Look at the picture below for an example:

    You can choose images between the ones that already exist in a set of defaults, or search for them on the popular image site flickr.com. Certainly, you can also point to the URL of the image or even set it as your MySpace or Twitter profile. For anyone who is upset by the colorful images, you can pick a single solid background color. As a bonus when it comes to options for images, you can set them as aligned to center, or tiled. The result can be quite impressive:

    iGoogle lacks these possibilities, but the option to create your own theme can be exploited, and you can do it any way you want. The problem with this approach is only that most average users are not familiar with programming and can be scared away by the need to do pure coding.

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