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Modernize the design and look [message #164429] Fri, 04 February 2011 17:16 Go to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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I've found that FUDforum, despite how powerful it is (and that whole mailing list integration thing sounds quite awesome by the way), kinda looks a little ugly to me. The interface as a whole looks like it could use some major TLC to be more competitive looking in comparison to other forum systems

Or in fact, I can see a lot more things that could be done to improve this software in general, maybe I could help?
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164430 is a reply to message #164429] Fri, 04 February 2011 21:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Witcher is currently offline  The Witcher   United States
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What kind of ideas do you have in mind?



"I'm a Witcher, I solve human problems; not always using a sword!"
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164432 is a reply to message #164430] Fri, 04 February 2011 22:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
naudefj is currently offline  naudefj   South Africa
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That's music to my ears.
We use FUDforum because it's the most powerful, but it definitely not the prettiest forum around.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164436 is a reply to message #164430] Sat, 05 February 2011 07:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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I'd make an entirely new theme, using more sensible markup (i.e. CSS, lists, tables for tabular data only, etc)

And maybe even a new branding package and such too.
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164438 is a reply to message #164436] Sat, 05 February 2011 09:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Witcher is currently offline  The Witcher   United States
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I'm afraid you lost me after "CSS", but new themes and schemes would be really nice.

"I'm a Witcher, I solve human problems; not always using a sword!"
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164439 is a reply to message #164438] Sat, 05 February 2011 13:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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Now, a thing I'm debating exactly, is how much of a redesign we should do at once. I had an idea for a three-phase plan for doing so:


  1. Restyle the current theme in the new overall direction
  2. Begin implementing adjustments that would require more minor markup changes
  3. Then, implement major adjustments that would require larger markup and internal changes


Right now, I'm debating how we would redo the postbit, though I am unsure if it should even be changed, reworked into a more traditional vertical design, or a cross between the two.

I made this, though I am unsure if it would be a good design
http://ploader.net/files/e43be8b2d029be31a5122b08b30466b1.png
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164440 is a reply to message #164439] Sat, 05 February 2011 13:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Witcher is currently offline  The Witcher   United States
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The CSS styled buttons would be a nice change, its something that has already been mentioned favorably several times.

"I'm a Witcher, I solve human problems; not always using a sword!"
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164441 is a reply to message #164440] Sat, 05 February 2011 15:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ernesto is currently offline  Ernesto   Sweden
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With your proposed layout you will waste a lot of screen realestate. The whole idea behind keeping the poster info above the post is to maximize screen usage and to keep the layout modular.

It is quite hard to design for dynamic content, you have to put thought into every piece, why it is there, etc.

It's quite the huge job to do the whole thing, it will take you hundreds of hours to do a proper full restyling.

Anyhow, hope you manage to finish it, I have one restyle in progress, 20 hours into it, just too lazy to wrap it up ehhe


Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164442 is a reply to message #164441] Sat, 05 February 2011 17:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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Ernesto wrote on Sat, 05 February 2011 14:14
With your proposed layout you will waste a lot of screen realestate. The whole idea behind keeping the poster info above the post is to maximize screen usage and to keep the layout modular.


However a horizontal postbit can take up a lot of room on a widescreen monitor, and can also effectively restrict how big avatars can be made (since they stretch the top of a post), and some communities would desire the ability to have such large avatars without it goofing up the page layout.

I don't think a 100-150 pixel loss of horizontal room for posts isn't a total loss since this theme we have now is a percentage-width layout, the width of the content area is determined by your monitor.

http://ploader.net/files/9d23cb56b0e7130cc68afe6776a0dcfc.png

So, I have taken this into account by slimming down the top part a bit more and compromising with a now definitively L-shaped postbit. The L-shaped area helps identify it more definitively as a part of the postbit, and gives a compromise layout combining elements from both horizontal and vertical postbits. The dropdown next to the user name would most likely contain the current "add as buddy"/"ignore" functions, among other things. Or, it could retract into a customizable "info pane" in the future.

[Updated on: Sat, 05 February 2011 21:25]

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Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164452 is a reply to message #164442] Sun, 06 February 2011 11:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
naudefj is currently offline  naudefj   South Africa
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I like it! We can introduce a new postbit as part of the default template set (ts), or as a skeleton ts similar to the current "user_info_left" and "user_info_right".

The current templates are relying too heavily on HTML tables, it would be great of your design can either be table-less or at least use it sparingly.

The "time ago" functionality can be introduced with jQuery. I was thinking of introducing it into the next release myself.

How do we proceed?
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164453 is a reply to message #164452] Sun, 06 February 2011 12:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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Btw, all the other forums nowadays just use PHP's time functions to produce those actually. We don't need JS-based ones (however that can make a good extension)

I've also mocked up some design tweaks to the header layout. Firstly, I moved the search out of the top left of the header and moved it down to the menu bar below it. I did some minor changes to the layout of the buttons themselves and added a search box, but its no biggy.

http://ploader.net/files/1705207be39cf755a2472459a1a7ab09.png

Now, the biggy, is what happens below it. The way the "quick searches" (unanswered, unread, etc) is layed out is a little odd and thrown in-looking. The menus on the left for the topic list would manipulate the views (and if we ever add sorting to the topic view, which by the way should really be done, that could be a drop-down pane coming from a button like that, "Sort Options"?), and the ones on the right deal with the forum itself. The "star" would either be a button with an actual star on it, or a "Watch" button. I feel the word "subscribe" has too many connotations with paying, so I'd re-brand subscriptions as "watching" a topic or forum. And also, I don't get the purpose of the "message navigator", it just seems like an alternate search page. Those could be incorporated into the main search page.

And on tables, while they are good for stuff like topic/forum lists, we shouldn't use them for layouts.

And on the buttons themselves, note that going to CSS buttons does not mean that we cannot use icons on them.

[Updated on: Sun, 06 February 2011 12:19]

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Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164454 is a reply to message #164442] Sun, 06 February 2011 12:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Witcher is currently offline  The Witcher   United States
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How would this affect the display of geo-location flags and assigned user tags/images?

"I'm a Witcher, I solve human problems; not always using a sword!"
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164455 is a reply to message #164454] Sun, 06 February 2011 12:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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The Witcher wrote on Sun, 06 February 2011 11:22
How would this affect the display of geo-location flags and assigned user tags/images?


I did not include them in the mockups due to the program I'm using for these, but flags would still be shown in front of the name, and user images would appear to the right of the username area.
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164457 is a reply to message #164455] Sun, 06 February 2011 13:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Witcher is currently offline  The Witcher   United States
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Ok, and from the looks of it creating different colored themes should be relatively simple to implement. But would it be compatible with current themes?



"I'm a Witcher, I solve human problems; not always using a sword!"
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164458 is a reply to message #164457] Sun, 06 February 2011 13:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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The Witcher wrote on Sun, 06 February 2011 12:11
Ok, and from the looks of it creating different colored themes should be relatively simple to implement. But would it be compatible with current themes?



Of course, if we make so many major changes to things, it might compatibility with older themes at some point. But this always happens once in awhile on major releases of web scripts. Thenagain, are there that many themes for 3.x to begin with?

Also another thing, I think it would be easier for us to advance development if we switched to use Gitorious instead of SourceForge SVN. Distributed version control is becoming quite in right now.
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164459 is a reply to message #164458] Sun, 06 February 2011 14:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Witcher is currently offline  The Witcher   United States
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There are only a dozen or so themes that I am aware of and most of those are mainly modified via the CSS as opposed to any real changes to the overall forum structure. You are right about compatibility with older themes but that will always be an issue.

I would be more concerned that the proposed changes would be beyond the comprehension of the average user admin like myself, to adjust to.

As for Gitorious I could care less, I'm just now becoming familiar with Source Forge so that would be a naudefj issue to decide for or against, otherwise I'm not much into "What's in right now" if I was I probably wouldn't be using FUDforum.

One of FUDforums major draws for me is its uniqueness but I see some users who see it as a draw back so dragging it forward might not be such a bad idea.



"I'm a Witcher, I solve human problems; not always using a sword!"
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164460 is a reply to message #164459] Sun, 06 February 2011 14:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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The Witcher wrote on Sun, 06 February 2011 13:32
There are only a dozen or so themes that I am aware of and most of those are mainly modified via the CSS as opposed to any real changes to the overall forum structure. You are right about compatibility with older themes but that will always be an issue.

I would be more concerned that the proposed changes would be beyond the comprehension of the average user admin like myself, to adjust to.

As for Gitorious I could care less, I'm just now becoming familiar with Source Forge so that would be a naudefj issue to decide for or against, otherwise I'm not much into "What's in right now" if I was I probably wouldn't be using FUDforum.

One of FUDforums major draws for me is its uniqueness but I see some users who see it as a draw back so dragging it forward might not be such a bad idea.



That's why I was suggesting a sort of "phased" redesign. It doesn't have to be done all at once, you could theoretically aim it all for like a 3.5 version. And about the uniqueness factor, I'm trying to keep the design unique still, but making it a little easier and modernized.
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164461 is a reply to message #164460] Sun, 06 February 2011 15:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Witcher is currently offline  The Witcher   United States
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If I understand it 3.0.3 isn't slated until summer of 2011, so I assume you're speaking of this being completed sometime in 2012. But by that time would your proposed changes be outdated, or do you believe they would still be in sync with common usage?

I see people still using versions 2.7.6., 2.7.7., 2.8.0., 2.8.1., and 3.0.0. Most of which are rather established forums which have been modified on their own and I doubt the Admins plan on upgrading to 3.0.2 anytime in the near future.

So might it be worth considering making the switch in one fell swoop leaving version 3.0.3 a transition version from Classic FUDforum over to the Modernized design and look, it could be re-branded at the same time since there has already been discussions of renaming it to remove the perceived negative connotation associated with "FUD"?

I've been trying to visualize your proposed changes against the "Classic view" of the forum as it is now and it really does not seem to be all that radical, of course it's hard to visualize at this point.



"I'm a Witcher, I solve human problems; not always using a sword!"
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164462 is a reply to message #164461] Sun, 06 February 2011 15:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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Okay, but hmm, a 10-year anniversary version should probably be a "major" release rather than a minor one. Which is another thing, maybe more frequent "minor" updates would be a good idea too.

Now, of course things will really become noticable once I begin mocking up the actual theme itself. Then, the real fun will begin. However, we'd need a more dedicated outlet for collaborating on this, like a dedicated thread and/or wiki pages.

[Updated on: Sun, 06 February 2011 15:35]

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Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164463 is a reply to message #164462] Sun, 06 February 2011 16:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Witcher is currently offline  The Witcher   United States
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A 10 year anniversary sounds like a good idea, as for more frequent updates that would again be a naudefj issue, The same applies to a dedicated forum or wiki.



"I'm a Witcher, I solve human problems; not always using a sword!"
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164496 is a reply to message #164463] Fri, 11 February 2011 22:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
naudefj is currently offline  naudefj   South Africa
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Lirodon, I trust you are making good progress with the new theme.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164654 is a reply to message #164496] Wed, 23 February 2011 18:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
yuanyelss is currently offline  yuanyelss   United States
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The whole idea behind keeping the poster info above the post is to maximize screen usage and to keep the layout modular.It is quite hard to design for dynamic content, you have to put thought into every piece, why it is there, etc...
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164666 is a reply to message #164654] Fri, 25 February 2011 09:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
carlton is currently offline  carlton   United States
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Could definitely see this forum being a great resource if you had a homepage with more how-to type articles and news/developments on FUD.
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164669 is a reply to message #164666] Fri, 25 February 2011 16:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
yuanyelss is currently offline  yuanyelss   United States
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The current templates are relying too heavily on HTML tables, it would be great of your design can either be table-less or at least use it sparingly...


Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164685 is a reply to message #164669] Sat, 26 February 2011 21:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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As much as I detest the postbit right now, I am gonna maintain it ... for now. With that, I've mocked up what this could possibly look like
http://ploader.net/files/0eaa010dd21b36ae3214ea24a700dace.png

Similar color scheme, different motifs. Otherwise nicer look.

[Updated on: Sun, 27 February 2011 07:37]

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Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164705 is a reply to message #164685] Wed, 02 March 2011 05:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ernesto is currently offline  Ernesto   Sweden
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You are definitely getting there, a skin like that would be better than the current one I am sure. I'd still feel that your design is still a little old, sort of 2006.

Also note that text-shadow does not render well in chrome if you have cleartype enabled (which everyone has nowadays) and it doesnt work in most IE browsers. Using .htc files to fix that is not a good way.


Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164708 is a reply to message #164705] Wed, 02 March 2011 05:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
naudefj is currently offline  naudefj   South Africa
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Ernesto wrote:
You are definitely getting there, a skin like that would be better than the current one I am sure. I'd still feel that your design is still a little old, sort of 2006.


So, how should a 2011 design look like?
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164725 is a reply to message #164429] Wed, 02 March 2011 23:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ernesto is currently offline  Ernesto   Sweden
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Typography
Texturized backgrounds
Subtle Shading on elements
Large icons / buttons
Indicational navigation (IE, tabs v 2.0)
"3d" borders

Examples. Some are not pretty per-se, but they all use 2011 webtrends:

http://typophile.com/forum/4 - This one is pretty
http://www.macheist.com/forums/ - Dark, but shows well the shading and textures
http://www.teefury.com/forum/ - This one uses alot of the "web 2.0" elements, IE, influenced by twitter, facebook, etc
http://www.designforums.co.uk/ - Not so pretty, but tries to use all the trends
http://www.webdesignforums.net/ - Yet again web 2.0 look, reminds a lot about metaplace.
http://www.yourdesignforums.com/ - incredibly 2011, I don't like all the beveling though and the forum isn't completely skinned Razz


Typical 2006:
http://www.allgraphicdesign.com/phpBB2/



While the design presented in the above post IS pretty and follows one trend that is really strong, that the web should look like a desktop application, it copies the look of desktop applications from 2006. IE, Crystal for linux and the likes, which in their own right are pertty for sure, but it is not new. With new I do not mean never-seen-before, just not "modern".


Please please, do not get me wrong, the design presented is tons better than what we have, do not let my criticism disturb in any way, its a HUGE job to completely re-skin a forum. Your efforts are much much much appreciated!


Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164742 is a reply to message #164666] Fri, 04 March 2011 05:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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carlton wrote on Fri, 25 February 2011 09:29
Could definitely see this forum being a great resource if you had a homepage with more how-to type articles and news/developments on FUD.

id second that !!!

its been a great forum to use over the years, but for us mere mortals, a little more 'higher level' howto's would really help.

Is there any *we* can help at all? testing releases even, if you have test plans we could follow....even maybe write?

[Updated on: Fri, 04 March 2011 06:01]

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Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164746 is a reply to message #164742] Fri, 04 March 2011 09:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
naudefj is currently offline  naudefj   South Africa
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andy_scouser wrote:
id second that !!!

its been a great forum to use over the years, but for us mere mortals, a little more 'higher level' howto's would really help.

Is there any *we* can help at all? testing releases even, if you have test plans we could follow....even maybe write?


More howto's would indeed be great. Instead of complaining, why don't we all write one or two? If we do, we will soon enough have a bunch of them.

I'm not aware of any test plans, it would be great if you can maybe start working on one?

After all, FUDforum belongs to all of us and everyone is free to contribute to it.
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164750 is a reply to message #164725] Fri, 04 March 2011 17:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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Ernesto wrote on Wed, 02 March 2011 22:29

While the design presented in the above post IS pretty and follows one trend that is really strong, that the web should look like a desktop application, it copies the look of desktop applications from 2006. IE, Crystal for linux and the likes, which in their own right are pertty for sure, but it is not new. With new I do not mean never-seen-before, just not "modern".


I did kinda notice that it looked a bit like ClearLooks, ooops!

Anyway, here's a new look, kinda went for more of a soft metal motif. And, I also hid profile info away in a new pop-up "miniprofile"

http://ploader.net/files/dd783ca89c969e203c13b59210d2f194.png

I would expect copious amounts of jQuery in such an end product, an I right?

and yes, I do agree we need more involvement. Distributed version control can seriously help. I think you can do git and hg on SourceForge too though. But I'm not sure of their GUI cloning implementation is as good as Gitorious and the like or not.

[Updated on: Fri, 04 March 2011 20:56]

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Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164751 is a reply to message #164750] Fri, 04 March 2011 23:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
naudefj is currently offline  naudefj   South Africa
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Lirodon wrote:
Anyway, here's a new look, kinda went for more of a soft metal motif. And, I also hid profile info away in a new pop-up "miniprofile"


Absolutely stunning!

Lirodon wrote:
I would expect copious amounts of jQuery in such an end product, am I right?


Not necessarily. jQuery code is quite compact. And, if you do the HTML, I can always help to patch in the jQuery bits.

Lirodon wrote:
and yes, I do agree we need more involvement. Distributed version control can seriously help. I think you can do git and hg on SourceForge too though. But I'm not sure of their GUI cloning implementation is as good as Gitorious and the like or not.


Why don't we open a GIT project for this theme? We can always move the main repository later once we all understand GIT a bit better.
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164752 is a reply to message #164751] Sat, 05 March 2011 06:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ernesto is currently offline  Ernesto   Sweden
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Much better! If we serve jquery with google content delivery system, most people should have it cached anyway.

Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164753 is a reply to message #164752] Sat, 05 March 2011 07:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lirodon is currently offline  Lirodon   Canada
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I meant copious as in, we'd probably end up using a lot of javascript for this.

In the Git system, things work a little different repository wise. There can still be one "central" repository, but things can be branched from it, and changes from other branches can easily be merged in later on. Contrast SVN, where there's always a working copy everyone has to go from. And yes, there is a mechanism to create a git repository from a Subversion one.

Now, with that, its about time I begin to make more mockups. In HTML this time.
Re: Modernize the design and look [message #164865 is a reply to message #164750] Mon, 21 March 2011 20:39 Go to previous message
simonlnu is currently offline  simonlnu   Canada
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just my 2 smokes, but that looks real nice.
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