New Forum Layout Is Live! Things to know

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
It looks like it worked! There are still a few kinks here and there, but all credit to André (CreativeForge) and Claudio (Todo10) for pulling this off so well. (Much as I'd like to take credit for this, almost none of the work was done by me.) André especially has been amazing with this. He's very talented, obviously, but we're also lucky he's a regular member here, because the extra attention we're getting, plus the understanding of why all of us here thing the way we do, is really valuable. So thank you, André!

I also owe major thanks to Piet De Ridder (re-peat), who many here know is not only an outstanding composer, but also has a great eye for design. We had been emailing about some Soundboard related stuff, and I mentioned we were going to be changing the look of this forum and I hinted that I was never crazy about the logo and I wonder if maybe we should look at changing it. I might have added that golly, maybe I could learn how to use Illustrator so then I could try to make a better one myself. The hint was shamelessly transparent, but it worked. ;) He took the bait and sent us a number of great logo options, including the one we picked at the upper left. I love that logo. He also helped (along with André, of course) with the layout balance (which we're still working on - Xenforo is not easy to tweak), color coordination, and he supplied the textured backgrounds. All for free. I owe you, Piet!

Regarding the changes:

At the upper right, you'll see a crescent-moon / light-bulb icon. You can click that to change the forum from light to dark. This was a request we'd been getting previously, but hadn't been able to implement until now. (Forum layout stuff is surprisingly complicated. Xenforo definitely ain't Wordpress.)

Next to that light bulb is an on/off switch. (Maybe a gear icon would be better, but that's a thought for another time.) There are a number of settings you can change there, so it's definitely worth a look. André made some videos about them here.

There are still some tweaks we need to make, like having the thread title appear at the top of the page, and maybe making a more obvious distinction between "What's New" (includes threads you already recently visited) and "Latest Posts" (excludes threads with no new replies since your last visit.)

It will also take some time to settle into exactly what the best font sizes and background colors should be. For that kind of stuff, I'm inclined to make changes slowly, rather than quickly, since there's a certain amount of getting used to the new look that will need to happen before we get too crazy with changes.

FWIW, I don't mind change suggestions, and I don't take those requests as being disrespectful or dismissive of our efforts, so please feel free to make suggestions. We are definitely checking the various threads and making notes of everything.
 
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I like the new theme graphically speaking. The site looks great. Unfortunately, for me, it's almost unreadable now because the font is too small.

I usually start my day with my morning coffee and a host of websites that I scan for news etc. These include the post, the times, and other blogs Etc. I don't have this problem anywhere else. The font at vi-control is abnormally small.

Strangely, some of the headlines are just the right size. I've never figured out why some headlines are bigger than others. But most of the headlines require me to have to manually zoom in with my Opera browser. And doing this creates a whole slew of other problems.

The font was always a bit small here, but it was just across the threshold of readability. Now, I've lost a great deal of motivation for visiting the site in that I now know that I won't be able to read it.
 
OP
Mike Greene

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
I'm wondering if the text appears at different sizes on different browsers. For those who think it's too small, does it look the same size (proportionate to the rest of the page) as this:

21170
 

Garry

Senior Member
I was thinking the same: I open it on an iphone with Safari - very readable, light or dark. Safari on the Mac - also looks good. My eyes are not great, so I would have problems if the font was too small, but no problems here.
 

jacobthestupendous

not that stupendous
The site looks good here (Safari also).

One minor suggestion: perhaps you could add a theme that makes the site look like an open instance of Microsoft Excel (shouldn't require more than a few weeks of coding). That way I wouldn't have to scramble the page closed whenever my boss wandered into my office. :grin:
 

jacobthestupendous

not that stupendous
But also a serious question: does anyone use the "Home" page? I really only ever start from "Forums" and it makes me grumpy when I accidentally click on "Home" on the mobile site and it takes me to that splash page. Is there any reason to include that link at the top left of every forum page or could we maybe start up there with Forums?
 

storyteller

Senior Member
It is a great look Mike. Dark mode is especially nice. Didn't know I needed it. One quick suggestion is to add the Latest Posts link somewhere in the header so it is always accessible. Other than that, good stuff! Especially the HZ emoji... ha.
 

Garry

Senior Member
But also a serious question: does anyone use the "Home" page? I really only ever start from "Forums" and it makes me grumpy when I accidentally click on "Home" on the mobile site and it takes me to that splash page. Is there any reason to include that link at the top left of every forum page or could we maybe start up there with Forums?
Agree. Plus, the whole backstory with Frederick in the 'short history' - it's not the most welcoming of introductions!? Funny how the theme on that page too now seems dated, with the new snazzy looking pages in the main forum. I'd say redesign the home page, or question if it's still needed. It does have a lot of ads, so it may still be useful for that reason, but if so, definitely needs the new look adding to it, and hopefully some new, more welcoming texts, to complete the update for a new era.
 
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Quasar

Senior Member
One little thing and question:

It seems with the old layout I could read a thread and then select "Latest Posts" from there. Now I have to go back to "Forums" and then choose "Latest Posts". There is still a "New Posts" option at the top. Is "New Posts" the same as "Latest Posts"? And if not, what is the difference?
 
OP
Mike Greene

Mike Greene

Senior Member
Moderator
One minor suggestion: perhaps you could add a theme that makes the site look like an open instance of Microsoft Excel (shouldn't require more than a few weeks of coding). That way I wouldn't have to scramble the page closed whenever my boss wandered into my office. :grin:
Or maybe we could do the opposite, and make the header give the appearance this is a porn site. :grin:

But also a serious question: does anyone use the "Home" page? I really only ever start from "Forums" and it makes me grumpy when I accidentally click on "Home" on the mobile site and it takes me to that splash page. Is there any reason to include that link at the top left of every forum page or could we maybe start up there with Forums?
I agree that it's annoying, but we need to keep the home page because we have some Wordpress pages that won't work very well in Xenforo. For instance the Advertisers rate page, or the Resources pages.

Maybe there's a way those can be accessible without the current Portal page, like maybe an "Other Pages" menu somewhere in the top menu bars, but I'd have to think about that. We started doing something like that a couple years ago for the Resources pages and it was a mess.

One quick suggestion is to add the Latest Posts link somewhere in the header so it is always accessible.
I'm with you on that. We might not fix that right away, though, because there's a bunch of other menu and layout stuff we'll probably attack all at once.
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
Can you add a "Page Up" button at the bottom of a thread? Or have the top not move? I have to scroll all the way back up to click on another thread or my alerts.
Thanks!

Okay, there is an up arrow that sometimes shows up and sometimes doesn't. I think I have to go to the bottom to get it.
 
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S.M Hassani

CodeUltra Sounds
Congrats to Mike and team. The update finally forced me to make an avatar. Couldn't stand that S on top of some ugly brown background! :grin:
 
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Geoff Grace

Senior Member
The History and Recent Posts links were my main starting points to visit these forums. I understand that the History link was an add-on that's no longer supported. I hope there's another way to implement this feature, because it was very useful!

Otherwise, I'm happy with the new look. Great job implementing it so quickly.

Best,

Geoff