New forum version and theme - updates ongoing

Started by Oshyan, August 03, 2019, 07:18:00 pm

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digitalguru

Responsiveness aside, I also prefer the old look of the forum - hope that changes.

Dune

After choosing you also have to upload (button). Don't you see any thumbnails? Not even your own, just now?

cyphyr

August 04, 2019, 11:32:45 am #17 Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 11:34:38 am by cyphyr
The Ashunder forum (I think that was it) used to have a system where you could see thumbnails of all the posts in the image section at once before you opened up individual posts.
Sadly that forum and group are now gone.
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j meyer

I don't like the new forum version, too.
No login slot, letters too small, waste of space (screen-wise),
the new colors, but maybe some of it might change again over time,
hopefully.
Agree with Richard about the thumbnails for threads in Image Sharing.
 

WAS

This is just a snagged free template for this version of SMF. I am sure it will be modified or changed.
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Oshyan

Thanks for the feedback folks. We'll do what we can to improve various things like colors (agree that it needs more contrast). But please keep in mind that the forum's functionality and things like the confirmation messages, image posting functions, etc. are not necessarily customizable (at least not without hiring a PHP coder). We'll work within the limitations of the system we have and do our best to accommodate needs of the users.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the improved WYSIWYG editor (I think it's rather nice!), the @Dune "mentions" (sorry Ulco, just chose you as an example :D), and hopefully at least a few of you benefit from the improved mobile experience. 

I also want to note that an upgrade was inevitable due to updates and security improvements (e.g. Windows 7 stops being supported, Microsoft makes you move to Win 10 for security updates, same thing here). But a big part of the choice to do it sooner is a hope to actually increase traffic here, which some of you have expressed concern about in the past. There are two reasons why we felt this might help. 

First, Google searches are responsible for a lot of new incoming traffic to any website. Google prioritizes the mobile experience in search ranking now (i.e. mobile-friendly sites actually rank higher!), so improving our mobile page functionality should actually improve the forum's ranking and get new people here.

Second, many people now participate in discussions and social media on mobile devices. I am not one of those people and it sounds like many of the others who have so far responded are also not. But perhaps those sorts of people have been less inclined to come here due to the past poor mobile experience, and hopefully the improved mobile view will encourage those folks to stick around more...

Here's to the future of the forums!

- Oshyan

WAS

August 04, 2019, 12:51:18 pm #21 Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 12:55:14 pm by WASasquatch
Quote from: Oshyan on August 04, 2019, 12:31:02 pmThanks for the feedback folks. We'll do what we can to improve various things like colors (agree that it needs more contrast). But please keep in mind that the forum's functionality and things like the confirmation messages, image posting functions, etc. are not necessarily customizable (at least not without hiring a PHP coder). We'll work within the limitations of the system we have and do our best to accommodate needs of the users.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the improved WYSIWYG editor (I think it's rather nice!), the @Dune "mentions" (sorry Ulco, just chose you as an example :D), and hopefully at least a few of you benefit from the improved mobile experience.

I also want to note that an upgrade was inevitable due to updates and security improvements (e.g. Windows 7 stops being supported, Microsoft makes you move to Win 10 for security updates, same thing here). But a big part of the choice to do it sooner is a hope to actually increase traffic here, which some of you have expressed concern about in the past. There are two reasons why we felt this might help.

First, Google searches are responsible for a lot of new incoming traffic to any website. Google prioritizes the mobile experience in search ranking now (i.e. mobile-friendly sites actually rank higher!), so improving our mobile page functionality should actually improve the forum's ranking and get new people here.

Second, many people now participate in discussions and social media on mobile devices. I am not one of those people and it sounds like many of the others who have so far responded are also not. But perhaps those sorts of people have been less inclined to come here due to the past poor mobile experience, and hopefully the improved mobile view will encourage those folks to stick around more...

Here's to the future of the forums!

- Oshyan

Honestly I'm on my phone here a lot. Maybe even equally, and I found the previous version more intuitive. So I had to double tap once to zoom (which I still end up doing on mobile sites too often, soo, huh). Lol

Also, the mobile-first shift will not effect you if you have no mobile version as per-Google:

Quote from: GoogleDesktop only: Your site is desktop only and doesn't have a mobile-friendly version.    

No change. The mobile version is the same as the desktop version.

Google is using the same indexes, and just discerning if the system uses mobile terminology, or even a mobile switch like ?browser=mobile sorta deal to differentiate in a link.

Basically now, being mobile friendly, there will be duplicate links possibly in Google. Mobile friendlies and same links in Desktop mode.
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Dune

Understandable. I hope it works out as you expect, we certainly need more users here. Slowly getting used to it  ;)

Asterlil

I would bet that, in future, we'll get a choice of themes -- I would prefer something a little darker than this, but I don't like dead black either. Apart from that, I like the new design, and appreciate that "succumbing" to responsive design will always mean a bit of dead space for users on laptops and towers. I like the YouTube embed button, too.

Terragen already has a core of users who keep this forum lively and friendly without being condescending to newbies. The Blender Artists forum might be jumpin', but I avoid it because there are sarcasm trolls there who can make you wish you'd never submitted a new topic. ("How come you don't know that? I know that and I'm only 14 years old.")

What about your Twitter presence? That's where I hang out with Blenderheads, and I also follow the Terragen account but almost never see a tweet from youse guys there.

Oshyan

We don't intend to provide a choice of themes unless we find a good theme that comes in several color options already. The work needed to setup several good color variations is just not worth it (at least given that we're not web developers :P ). But we felt the previous design struck a good balance of light and dark and we'll aim for a similar balance as we adjust the theme in the future.

We post to Twitter as regularly as we do Facebook, which is to say whenever we have new content to share. At least once a week, usually a couple times. And we interact with any active users on there, which is always nice. Would love to have more interaction there!

- Oshyan

WAS

August 04, 2019, 01:13:44 pm #25 Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 01:15:32 pm by WASasquatch
Quote from: Oshyan on August 04, 2019, 01:06:25 pmWe don't intend to provide a choice of themes unless we find a good theme that comes in several color options already. The work needed to setup several good color variations is just not worth it (at least given that we're not web developers :P ). But we felt the previous design struck a good balance of light and dark and we'll aim for a similar balance as we adjust the theme in the future.

We post to Twitter as regularly as we do Facebook, which is to say whenever we have new content to share. At least once a week, usually a couple times. And we interact with any active users on there, which is always nice. Would love to have more interaction there!

- Oshyan

Remember, Twitter and Instragram, feed of seemingly-irrelevant topics that only slightly relate. Maybe post about trends in 3D graphics, new breakthroughs, films coming out using digital landscapes, etc. I see this sort of "conersation starter" topics on all the other helms.

Plus some of those areas give opportunities to discuss Terragen, like environments. "These sorts of environments are achievable within Terragen, yada" sorta deal.
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Oshyan

I've added a post that goes over the major new features/functionality, some of which I hope even the old timers will like (Drafts!). :D

https://planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,26784.0.html

- Oshyan

Oshyan

Looks like some of you lost your avatars in the upgrade. Not sure why, but hopefully you can re-upload them. On the bright side max avatar size is now 100x100px instead of the old, tiny 65x65. :D

- Oshyan

WAS

August 04, 2019, 02:40:49 pm #28 Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 02:44:17 pm by WASasquatch
Are gravatars enabled by default? If so, old accounts may need to enable it.

Additionally... it's using a gravatar that's really old, which I don't even understand. There has been two since. The one it's using is literally over 5 years old.

Tried manually setting the email to get it to refresh but it's still showing old one. O.o So confused. Comments on websites seem to use the newest one.

Adding a new email to gravatar worked. Lol
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DocCharly65

Wow! Very different...

I can't say if I like or don't like the new forum design so far. It depends on how it can be handled in the future, how quickly I find things that I am looking for and how it can be individually adapted to your own needs.

Right now I like the fresh look. But the contrast in the old look had a special charm and has stood out from many other forums.

But I'll patiently wait and see, what happens next, what possibilities this forum version will offer...