AnimeSuki.com Forum

AnimeSuki Forum (http://forums.animesuki.com/index.php)
-   Forum & Site Feedback (http://forums.animesuki.com/forumdisplay.php?f=2)
-   -   Proposal: The AnimeSuki Forums Theme Change (http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=119438)

Haiprbim 2013-05-09 08:14

The AnimeSuki Forums Theme Change
 
Hello and welcome to the The AnimeSuki Forums Theme Change discussion thread.

As all my other threads at the Forum & Site Feedback, this thread is discussion-focused as well.
That means that the first post (this one) only opens up a discussion to which everyone can add his/her own opinion and upgrade it or disagree with it with a valid reason.

This time, it is about something quite huge - changing the whole Forums' theme.
Before I go any further, I would like to say that if this gets considered, it would be after the Forum Reorganization takes action.

Now, first off, what even is a theme?
Keeping it as simple as possible, it is a specific style. By style, I mean Graphical Design and Organization.
So, connecting the dots, by changing the theme, we would change the Forums' overall look and where specific links could be accessed.
So, let's focus on both of them separately.

The Graphical Design:

I do not want to end up looking rough here or anything, but let's face it, the current graphical style of the forums does not really lure-in.
It is true that what really matters is how accessible things are, but that is how a Senior Member, who has been around for some time and got used to things thinks like.
How about new, fresh members? As a regular member, moderator and/or administrator of some other forums, I can safely say that much more newly registered members stay for some time if the Forums' design attracts them and they see it as something awesome.
Later on, they stay if the content and the community are good, but that's not an issue here, AnimeSuki has both of that covered nicely.

Keeping things rounded up, I think that AnimeSuki Forums should receive a Graphical Overhaul.
More Skins should be added and made optional for members to pick from them. The current one could be the one set on default.

Adding to the idea, the Forums haven't really had a competition lately and I've seen some members wanting it.
Maybe we have just found a new challange if it isn't going to be a bit too hard. ;)

The Organization:

When saying Organization, I mean practically everything that does not include the upcoming Forum Reorganization. (See link above)
I've been surfing through the AS Forums for quite some time now and noticed that some options do not really pop-up where they should.

Here comes the part where your help, as a member of the community, would be really wanted. I want you to share your opinion on what options that the Forums currently have could be moved to a better location, possibly be written in bigger characters, in different colors, ...

I'll keep the suggestions listed here:
  • When going to Community and then Members List, the ability to change the way of searching from Username to either Join Date or Last Visit could be seen more easily as it is now. Currenlty, you have to click on one of the two to change the way of the display, which at first, I personally had no idea it is like that. I did not even know that was a link, I though it was just the data-display of the current search display, which is alphabetical order, not that it is an option to change the display itself. I would suggest un-hyper-linking them and adding a whole new box from which you could easily see and pick the way of displaying.
  • When you are on the Main Index Page of the Forums, you have to scroll all the way down to find 4 very important hyper-links: Contact Us, AnimeSuki.com, Wiki and Archieve. First off, the suggestion: Put them all up in big characters where User CP, Forum Rules, ... are. When you access the Forums, clicking on the AnimeSuki.com is the only way of getting back to the Main Site, other than opening a new window or manually in-putting the URL. The Contact Us is very important and should be put up as well. Furthermore, there is a link to The Moderating Team when accessing the Contact Us, I think that should be easier to access as well. As the Site, the Forums and the Wiki have their own databases, I think including the Wiki at the top would be good too, at least for the time we still have it. (A discussion for the removal was put up, but that is not the point here). It would go the same for the Archive. So, keeping things short, the 4 of them would be good to be put on top with bigger characters or be kept at the bottom, however, Centered and with bigger characters.
  • (Possible Member's suggestions go here)

That would more or less round things up; I would like to know from the Administrators if the current version of vBulletin the Forums are using would be good enough to handle the suggestions listed above or not. Note that besides adding new Graphic Design(s), all the changes done would be just moving the already in-put data around and maybe changing it a little.

Thank-you very much for reading.
Commenting and adding your opinion would be really wanted.

ninryu 2013-05-09 08:21

It'd be nice to see a more modern look for AS. The current one is nice, but very outdated. I'd like to keep the blue/purple theme, though.

NoemiChan 2013-05-09 08:25

Current is ok. But if the proposed change is better...why not?

Masuzu 2013-05-09 08:27

If ever they actually move to new vbulletin, that would be the new graphics.

It looks quite different.

Haiprbim 2013-05-09 08:34

Quote:

Originally Posted by ninryu (Post 4672212)
It'd be nice to see a more modern look for AS. The current one is nice, but very outdated. I'd like to keep the blue/purple theme, though.

Yeah, as I've said, you would have a possibility of picking between mulitple themes, the current one would stay as one of the options.
It would be the default one.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenjiChan (Post 4672218)
Current is ok. But if the proposed change is better...why not?

Exactly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hasumi (Post 4672221)
If ever they actually move to new vbulletin, that would be the new graphics.

It looks quite different.

You can add multiple themes to the site between which members can pick, not just one, the only thing you require is a small plugin.
At least that is as far as I know, maybe you do not require a plugin at all.

Dhomochevsky 2013-05-09 09:48

There are already mutiple color themes, so I guess you are talking about a greater change than just that.

I actually quite like the current style. It is light, minimalistic and feels... well open.
As opposed to being cluttered with all kinds of buttons, features and social media tie-ins. That is what's currently considered 'modern' right?
Frankly, I can't point to any other forum right now, that has a better design. But I'm open for anything that proves me wrong. :D

There are little bits that I think can be improved upon though.
For example the way the forum manages different screen sizes:
Posts get really streched into super long spagetti lines on widescreen.
And on phones, the forum is basicly broken. That could use some support.
Dunno if this still fits in with the 'theme' topic.

Haiprbim 2013-05-09 10:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dhomochevsky (Post 4672312)
There are already mutiple color themes, so I guess you are talking about a greater change than just that.

Yeah, just changing the colours is changing the Skin, while changing the Theme is a bit more.

Quote:

I actually quite like the current style. It is light, minimalistic and feels... well open.
As opposed to being cluttered with all kinds of buttons, features and social media tie-ins. That is what's currently considered 'modern' right?
Frankly, I can't point to any other forum right now, that has a better design. But I'm open for anything that proves me wrong. :D
I like the current style too, that's why I said it would be good to keep it.
No, things with lots of buttons aren't modern. So-called "Modern" things are just represented in a more "energetic" and "fancy" way.
Oh trust me, there are Forums with way better designs out there, I just cannot share right now since I'm using my Phone to write this. You have probably noticed that by my clumsy quoting in this post, hehe.

Quote:

There are little bits that I think can be improved upon though.
For example the way the forum manages different screen sizes:
Posts get really streched into super long spagetti lines on widescreen.
And on phones, the forum is basicly broken. That could use some support.
Dunno if this still fits in with the 'theme' topic.
It doesn't really fit here, but that is something that I wanted to point out for quite some time now as well, thanks.
It is true exactly the way you've said it and it would be great to have a set and static dimensions of the comment/post box, due to it being quite weird on different screen sizes.

GHDpro 2013-05-09 15:39

The first thing to keep in mind is that we (mods/admin) didn't create the forum software -- it is "standard" vBulletin forum software. So adding features (even seemingly small ones) or making major changes isn't quite as easy as it would mean having to figure out exactly where and how to make such changes work without breaking vBulletin.

As mentioned, one reason the forum looks a bit dated is because it runs vB 3. We've contemplated (and procrastinated) for a while to upgrade to vB 4, but right now we're faced with two problems: vB 4 is no longer "current" (so it seems like wasted effort to make all of our modifications and plugins work with it at this stage) and vB 5 is a complete utter mess (at least at this stage). The alternative of moving away from vBulletin might mean some features no longer work, such as the social group & image albums features. So in the end we decided to stick with vB 3 for now. And we're not the only one: a number of other sites are still on vB 3 as well, such as WebHostingTalk.com and the MacRumors.com forums (which are no small forums by any means).

Having said that, I wouldn't mind having another theme to choose from and trying to modernize the look a bit. The current default theme has been around for ages. It would require someone with a design sense and the necessary image editing/creation skills to update the color theme and all the button (etc) images though... and I'm not really such a person.

monster 2013-05-09 17:03

Right now, I'd actually be more interested in a mobile version of the forum rather than a new desktop theme.

Haiprbim 2013-05-10 05:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by GHDpro (Post 4672712)
The first thing to keep in mind is that we (mods/admin) didn't create the forum software -- it is "standard" vBulletin forum software. So adding features (even seemingly small ones) or making major changes isn't quite as easy as it would mean having to figure out exactly where and how to make such changes work without breaking vBulletin.

Yeah, I figured that much.
It certainly isn't a strong-point to have a basic/standard vBulletin if you want to edit it and upgrade it in the future.
Creating the structure of the forums shouldn't be hard either, but as we are currently on what we are on, I would agree that vB 3 is good and simple, what we couldn't say for vB 5.

Quote:

As mentioned, one reason the forum looks a bit dated is because it runs vB 3. We've contemplated (and procrastinated) for a while to upgrade to vB 4, but right now we're faced with two problems: vB 4 is no longer "current" (so it seems like wasted effort to make all of our modifications and plugins work with it at this stage) and vB 5 is a complete utter mess (at least at this stage). The alternative of moving away from vBulletin might mean some features no longer work, such as the social group & image albums features. So in the end we decided to stick with vB 3 for now. And we're not the only one: a number of other sites are still on vB 3 as well, such as WebHostingTalk.com and the MacRumors.com forums (which are no small forums by any means).
I do agree that vBulletin 3 is good for what you can find around, but creating your own forum software (which is not rare) would be a good call.
It might sound like a big move, but would it really be now? From the start, the AS Forums did not plan to have a big community that would discuss various things about Anime series and everything related or not to it. However, that changed now, and looking at the present, these are quite huge Forums that are focused into something - Anime.
Due to just that being the center-point of attention, I would suggest working on it and making it even more massive.
AS has the content and the community, now it only needs visual attraction, if you understand what I mean.

Quote:

Having said that, I wouldn't mind having another theme to choose from and trying to modernize the look a bit. The current default theme has been around for ages. It would require someone with a design sense and the necessary image editing/creation skills to update the color theme and all the button (etc) images though... and I'm not really such a person.
There are many GFX Designers out there, I could find a few to do the job for free (I'm quite powerful on some other places...)
From what I see, the Forums truly do have only one Theme from which you can either pick a Standard (yellow), or a Blue Skin. Alongside, you can pick a different kind of order of data being shown, but in the end, that is one and the same Theme with the gadgets being switched a little.


Quote:

Originally Posted by monster (Post 4672771)
Right now, I'd actually be more interested in a mobile version of the forum rather than a new desktop theme.

And you are not the only one.
There already is a mobile version of the forums, it is just more or less broken.
The post/message box has rainbow-long lines of words on big screens while a few words per line on mobile devices.

I might create a thread focused just on that, but for now, we can agree that a static-type post-box with constant dimensions would be wanted.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dhomochevsky (Post 4672312)
There are little bits that I think can be improved upon though.
For example the way the forum manages different screen sizes:
Posts get really streched into super long spagetti lines on widescreen.
And on phones, the forum is basicly broken. That could use some support.
Dunno if this still fits in with the 'theme' topic.


Ledgem 2013-05-10 08:12

Based on my forum usage (here and elsewhere) this layout is visually pleasing and easy to use. Do you have any examples of forum layouts that you think are superior? I'd be interested in seeing them (either links or screenshots posted here).

Masuzu 2013-05-10 08:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by GHDpro (Post 4672712)
*snip*

You know, I don't see anything wrong with making the shift to 4 if you've already been working on the transition, regardless of 5 floating around.

If it is as you say and 5 isn't looking that good, then we can just stick with 4 until 6 comes around whenever.

Triple_R 2013-05-10 08:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ledgem (Post 4673670)
Based on my forum usage (here and elsewhere) this layout is visually pleasing and easy to use. Do you have any examples of forum layouts that you think are superior? I'd be interested in seeing them (either links or screenshots posted here).

This is reflective of my own thoughts. Anime Suki is a bit 'spartan', perhaps, in its overall visual style, but I like how that sort of emphasizes avatars, sigs, and the actual content of posts. It is very user-friendly.

But still, it is possible that something better is out there, but like Ledgem, I'd like to have links to them.

Masuzu 2013-05-10 08:34

So out of curiosity I looked at vBulletin 5 sample, I like what I see.

Is there some deeper problem with it?

Haiprbim 2013-05-10 09:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ledgem (Post 4673670)
Based on my forum usage (here and elsewhere) this layout is visually pleasing and easy to use. Do you have any examples of forum layouts that you think are superior? I'd be interested in seeing them (either links or screenshots posted here).

A question here before I do.
Are you focusing on the Yellow or Blue Skin used?
Also, as I've said, the current Theme is really user-friendly, but I wasn't focusing on that, but the first visual effect impression.
You've been here for quite some time, so I doubt you remember what you felt like at the time you have joined, but for me, the default-set yellow cover and the sharp, cubic edges did not quite attract me.
Now, I stayed becaue I do not like to judge by the looks but the content, which is the reason why I stayed. However, I am trying to point out that it is not like that for everyone.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple_R (Post 4673689)
This is reflective of my own thoughts. Anime Suki is a bit 'spartan', perhaps, in its overall visual style, but I like how that sort of emphasizes avatars, sigs, and the actual content of posts. It is very user-friendly.

But still, it is possible that something better is out there, but like Ledgem, I'd like to have links to them.

Again, I said that the content and the community are great.
Amphasizing is visible as well, but that is more or less a minor detail. Majority of the Forums are the Forum boxes and presentation on the Main Index Page.


I'd like to make a notice and a sub-request as I'm reading the responses and seeing what people use around: Could the Blue coloured Skin be set on Default instead of the Yellow one?
I'm saying that because quite some people just check the Main Index Page, see if they like it for 5 seconds and find it as the most crucial thing at that time if they will Register and then check the Forums out or leave. If they would Register, the content and community would come in action to show their greatness, which AnimeSuki already has to offer.
In short, could the Blue skin be set on 1st-time Default instead of the Yellow one?

Note that you might want to put up the "fanciest" theme you possess and set it as a default to attract members. You would, of course, have more simple themes, as the current one available for members to pick between later on, but you want to put up something attractive and exotic at first (More colours, not so sharp edges, maybe a more interesting font, ...)

Ledgem 2013-05-10 10:11

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haiprbim (Post 4673793)
A question here before I do.
Are you focusing on the Yellow or Blue Skin used?

What ever the forum default is. I consider it to be brown, but I guess you consider it to be yellow? I also use the MacRumors forums, which use the blue theme as their default. Between the two I prefer the brown theme, although I'll admit that I wouldn't use the brown theme at MacRumors if it were available there (nor would I switch to the blue theme here). It partly defines the feel of the forum for me, at this point.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haiprbim (Post 4673793)
Also, as I've said, the current Theme is really user-friendly, but I wasn't focusing on that, but the first visual effect impression.

I was focusing on both. I've used some discussion forums that utilized larger fonts and had things like greater spacing between thread titles. Clearly some people find that to be visually appealing, or else such layouts wouldn't exist. My subjective take on how it looks aside, I don't think it's very "user friendly" since it involves a lot more scrolling. That's the sort of thing that I was getting at.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haiprbim (Post 4673793)
You've been here for quite some time, so I doubt you remember what you felt like at the time you have joined, but for me, the default-set yellow cover and the sharp, cubic edges did not quite attract me.

Most forums were fairly similar in layout around the time that I joined. The light brown tones were fairly unique (at least, in my experience), but what I noticed more than the layout was the average age of the users. It must have been about 3-6 years higher than the other anime forums that I was frequenting at the time, and the conversations reflected it. I found that to be very appealing.

Many of the newer designs that I've seen appear somewhat chaotic and/or are harder to use by comparison. The reason I ask for examples isn't because I'm being defensive over the AnimeSuki design and layout, but because I'm curious. I'm putting down the other layouts that I've seen, but I don't claim to have seen a huge variety of forum layouts. Maybe what you have in mind really is superior. You know that it's subjective either way, and you know that there's always resistance from people who are used to having something in a particular way. I think a lot of us are at least willing to take a look at some proposed designs. I'm just not imaginative enough to visualize a redesign for myself.

Haiprbim 2013-05-10 10:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ledgem (Post 4673836)
What ever the forum default is. I consider it to be brown, but I guess you consider it to be yellow? I also use the MacRumors forums, which use the blue theme as their default. Between the two I prefer the brown theme, although I'll admit that I wouldn't use the brown theme at MacRumors if it were available there (nor would I switch to the blue theme here). It partly defines the feel of the forum for me, at this point.


I was focusing on both. I've used some discussion forums that utilized larger fonts and had things like greater spacing between thread titles. Clearly some people find that to be visually appealing, or else such layouts wouldn't exist. My subjective take on how it looks aside, I don't think it's very "user friendly" since it involves a lot more scrolling. That's the sort of thing that I was getting at.


Most forums were fairly similar in layout around the time that I joined. The light brown tones were fairly unique (at least, in my experience), but what I noticed more than the layout was the average age of the users. It must have been about 3-6 years higher than the other anime forums that I was frequenting at the time, and the conversations reflected it. I found that to be very appealing.

Many of the newer designs that I've seen appear somewhat chaotic and/or are harder to use by comparison. The reason I ask for examples isn't because I'm being defensive over the AnimeSuki design and layout, but because I'm curious. I'm putting down the other layouts that I've seen, but I don't claim to have seen a huge variety of forum layouts. Maybe what you have in mind really is superior. You know that it's subjective either way, and you know that there's always resistance from people who are used to having something in a particular way. I think a lot of us are at least willing to take a look at some proposed designs. I'm just not imaginative enough to visualize a redesign for myself.

I'll just Quote your full post, if it is okay with you, because I'll respond with one thing. :heh:

Time moves on, and if anime series move on, AnimeSuki has to as well.
Although you, as an older members may find the current looks appealing, quite a big piece of new members wouldn't.
Here comes the difference between new anime series and the Forums: The Forums can have multiple options between which you can pick.

We could have this advantage to have multiple options to please every member, new and old alike.
However, try keeping in mind that older members already know where to switch themes and know how things go, while random pass-byers don't. That is exactly why I have said that setting an exotic, energetic and attarctive theme for Default would be good, to please those new, not-knowing and don't-even-wanna-knowing members.

I hope you see my point.
I'm not saying that things should be replaced, just more added between which members could pick.
I don't see anything negative coming out of this, the only question is how to execute and actually put such an update(s) through (vBulletin issue).

Ledgem 2013-05-10 11:37

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haiprbim (Post 4673871)
Although you, as an older members may find the current looks appealing, quite a big piece of new members wouldn't.

I think it's hard to say what new members would find attractive or unattractive. The staff could probably assemble some data to indicate whether our new member registration and retention rates are dropping, but even then it would be difficult to pin a dropping rate on the forum theme alone (if at all).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haiprbim (Post 4673871)
That is exactly why I have said that setting an exotic, energetic and attarctive theme for Default would be good, to please those new, not-knowing and don't-even-wanna-knowing members.

I think it might attract a certain type of user while turning off another.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haiprbim (Post 4673871)
I'm not saying that things should be replaced, just more added between which members could pick.

So basically, you just want to add more forum skins and alter which one is the default? I don't think that's really a big deal. When you wrote this in your opening post:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haiprbim (Post 4672206)
This time, it is about something quite huge - changing the whole Forums' theme.

I guess I was expecting something different. In this case, there isn't really anything for the users to discuss; it's up to the staff whether they want to add more themes, and which themes they accept or reject. If no changes are forced on existing members then it really doesn't matter, does it?

monster 2013-05-10 11:48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haiprbim (Post 4673547)
And you are not the only one.
There already is a mobile version of the forums, it is just more or less broken.
The post/message box has rainbow-long lines of words on big screens while a few words per line on mobile devices.

I might create a thread focused just on that, but for now, we can agree that a static-type post-box with constant dimensions would be wanted.

Is it really a mobile version or just the web browser/website's default layout capability?

By mobile version, I was thinking more along the line of being finger-friendly instead of just the text layout. Compare these two images: But, anyway, I also agree that there's no reason to hold off on moving to vBulletin 4 if work has already been spent on the move seeing as how AnimeSuki isn't on the latest version anyway, and probably never will be considering how long it takes to move just from one version to another.

At this point, the longer it takes to make the move, the longer most other (bigger) feature/change requests will be put on hold waiting for the move to take place first unless the request just so happens to have the support of the admins/mods.

Haiprbim 2013-05-10 14:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ledgem (Post 4674008)
So basically, you just want to add more forum skins and alter which one is the default? I don't think that's really a big deal. When you wrote this in your opening post:

No, not only the Skin, but Organization too.
We have just focused a bit more on visual impressions through the discussion on the thread. I meant the whole theme.

As for the other responses, we could go into detail and check the data of rise/drop rates, but as far as I've seen, fancier themes attract a bigger amout of people to stay and check the things out than basic and classic ones.

Again, it all goes down to personal opinion, as you have said, but we are trying to look at the biggest part here.

Okay, okay.
How about this: A new member would have to pick an option as soon as he/she would visit the forums' main index page for the first time from that IP address, either to start off with a "Simple, basic theme" or a "Fancy, visual theme".

The main idea was just to add a few more theme(s), but now we have already expanded the issues that could occur this far... That is what I call a good discussion. :)


Quote:

Originally Posted by monster (Post 4674028)
Is it really a mobile version or just the web browser/website's default layout capability?

By mobile version, I was thinking more along the line of being finger-friendly instead of just the text layout. Compare these two images:

Ahh, what you thought was the Mobile-Friendly/Set Forum Setting.
Indeed, the AS Forums do not have that yet but it would be good to have it.

I can say from experience that it would not be so hard to perform this action/update, due to my friend owning some forums having it already.
I'm an Admin there, but wasn't helping out with that specific set, so I'll ask him for help.
The site's name is ChromeRune if you want to check it out (It currently has only 76 members; will give a link to it once I access my computer).


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 15:48.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.