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Skin Guidelines

This page will eventually contain useful guidelines to consider when creating skins. In the meantime, it's just a brainstorming session on the topic.


Mixxx should eventually handle skins of different sizes/resolutions in an elegant way, but in the meantime skin authors need to take the resolution of their skin seriously. Most DJs will be using Mixxx on a laptop, which means it'll likely have a widescreen display (with a limited vertical resolution).

GameGod 21:03, 25 November 2007 (PST)

Also taking into account the window menu/title bar and the system bars, you should think about making your skin resolution slightly less tall. In a related note, the possibility of adding a checkbox for “Always on top” would be nice so that wouldn't be an issue. While “Always on top” wouldn't solve the menu bar and title bar issue, it would solve the system bar issue. If we wanted to, we could create a menu inside of Mixxx and be able to move it around the skin to get rid of the title bar/menu bar entirely. DJSynthe 23:25, 25 November 2007 (CST)

The optimal size for Skins


One of the biggest drawbacks of the current skinning engine (as of Mixxx 1.8) is that it can not handle skins resolution independent. Every skin needs to be redrawn by hand which is a lot of work for skin designers.

Here are some suggestions for skin designers what may be the best skin size for the targeted screen resolution. It is based on user feedback for skins i made and measurements on the different platforms Mixxx is available for.


The goal is to have some kind of standard so skin designers have a starting point when they start drawing a skin.

Mixxx is available for different Operations Systems (OS) - but every OS handles the window decoration differently.

Imho the whole interface should be completely visible to the user even when not in full screen mode. So the effective skin dimensions depends on the usable free space on the OS with the biggest window decoration. Which is Linux with the Gnome desktop environment.


Default window decoration as seen on the Outline Netbook 1024×768 skin
Notice how different the available vertical space on the screen is.

MacOSXLinux / GnomeLinux / KDEWindows XPWindows 7

Fullscreen Mode

Default window decoration for various Operating Systems

Taskbar Top 0 0 0 0 0
Window Titlebar 0 0 0 0 0
Window decoration Top 0 25 24 20 22
Window decoration Bottom 0 0 0 0 0
Taskbar Bottom 0 0 0 0 0
Horizontal decorations 0 25 24 20 22
Window decoration left 0 0 0 0 0
Window decoration right 0 0 0 0 0
Horizontal decorations 0 0 0 0 0

Window Mode (Non-Fullscreen)

Default window decoration for various Operating Systems

MacOSX Gnome KDE Unity WinXP Win7
Taskbar Top 22 25 0 24 0 0
TaskbarLeft 64
Window Titlebar 22 22 24 28 22 30
Window decoration Top 0 25 24 0 20 22
Window decoration Bottom 0 3 8 0 4 8
Taskbar Bottom 0 25 30 0 30 30
Vertical decorations 44 100 86 52 76 90
Window decoration left 0 3 4 0 4 8
Window decoration right 0 3 4 0 4 8
Horizontal decorations 0 6 8 64 8 16

Note: If a window in Win7 is maximized the horizontal decoration is only 2*4 instead 2*8 pixel.

Max. Horizontal Pixel lost:8 (subtract 2×8 pixel for max. Skin width)
Max. Vertical Pixel lost:100 (subtract 100 pixel for max. Skin height)

Which resolution to choose?

Screen Dimension Width Height Skin Dimensions Width Height
Netbook 1024 600 = 1008 500
XGA – standard 1024 768 = 1008 668
WXGA – wide 1280 800 = 1264 700
WXGA (HD ready) 1366 768 = 1302 668
WXGA+ - wide 1440 900 = 1424 800
SXGA – standard 1280 1024 = 1264 924
SXGA+ - standard 1400 1050 = 1384 950
WSXGA+ - wide 1680 1050 = 1664 950
UXGA – standard 1600 1200 = 1584 1100
1080p (Full HD) 1920 1080 = 1865 980
WUXGA – wide 1920 1200 = 1904 1100

The overall size of a skin is defined by the size of its background image. The background image is the image file which all elements will be displayed on.
Example: You would like to make a skin which works on all OS for 1280×1024-SXGA screens. The background image should be 1264×924 in size (see table).


As a skin designer you will have less work afterwards if you choose the right dimension for your skin.
More contribution from other users based on your good work may follow.

Have a look at the documentation on how to create skins and start drawing ;-)
jus 2010/05/26 04:06

Waveform Display and Waveform Summaries

The waveform display should be central to any skin. I personally think it's the heart of Mixxx. It's the thing you're going to be keeping an eye on when you're DJing, along with the waveform summaries (the little progress indicators). Skins should be designed so that the waveform and summary are clearly visible when the DJ is several feet away from their laptop. Quite often I've found myself having my laptop sitting in an awkward spot, and being able to see the waveform display is key. (See KickAdamKegger20070405 for pics - that laptop is miles away from my Hercules.) GameGod 21:03, 25 November 2007 (PST)

I also think it would be a good idea to include flashers for waveforms for when the song is nearing an end (would be configurable in the options). DJSynthe 23:25, 25 November 2007 (CST)


I think artists can be fairly flexible when it comes to skin layouts. Besides the size of the waveform display being important, many DJs have mentioned that they like the library table/view being as big as possible. (See the mixxx-devel archive when we were brainstorming for the new library interface back in May 2007.) Another thing I think people should consider is whether or not to have their layout mimic the layout of an actual DJ mixer. If you're a DJ experimenting with Mixxx, you'll probably find it easier to learn if the layout of the controls is similar to a DJ mixer. (Maybe we should get some pictures of common mixers like the Pioneer DJM-800?) That being said, mixing with digital audio on a laptop is a bit of a paradigm shift, and there may be ways to better organize stuff (keeping it both logical and easy to use). GameGod 21:03, 25 November 2007 (PST)


Colours are less of an issue thanks to Adam's great colour scheme support, but there's one golden rule that should still be followed for any default colour scheme: Keep your skins dark! DJs are going to be using Mixxx in clubs with very dim lighting, and it kills your eyes to stare at a bright screen. The darker the skin, the easier it will be on DJs' eyes. It's also important to keep fonts, text labels, and the library view visible against a dark background. I'd leave this up to the artist to figure out, but keep in mind that some fonts are way easier to read than others when they're small. GameGod 21:03, 25 November 2007 (PST)

It might be a good idea to be able to change the background color when you go into fullscreen mode (not sure if this is a windows only thing where it fills up the rest of your screen with bright grey). DJSynthe 23:25, 25 November 2007 (CST)

XML File Structure

Possible ideas for future XML structures

Separate XML files:

-Base XML-

  • declaring skin version number and minimum version of Mixxx (possibly in doctype)
  • declaring color scheme sets
  • declaring included resolution XML files
  • declaring buttons/knobs/sliders (names, functions, tooltips, etc)

-Per Resolution XML-

  • sets backdrop image
  • sets locations for said named elements
  • possible new structure for anchoring images from bottom and right as well as top and left
  • overwrite element images for a specific resolution

DJSynthe 23:25, 25 November 2007 (CST)

New Element Ideas

  • Sampler (8 samples?) - We already have a good idea of how the sampler will be incorporated into the UI, shouldn't require any mandatory modifications to skins GameGod 20:57, 21 December 2007 (PST)
  • Tabbed Interface possibility (specifically to make low res DJ laptops more usable - ie Asus EEE PC 800×480) - one tab for play control, one for library management.

DJSynthe 23:25, 25 November 2007 (CST) + 28 Nov. 2007

Other stuff

If you've thought of other ideas that won't fit under any of the above headings, create a new one! :)

Translations of this page:
skin_guidelines.txt · Last modified: 2018/08/05 16:47 by daschuer