System Update New forum theme now live - Mon May 1 2017

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Richard

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Note: The new Theme will be got switched over to become the new default Theme from on Monday May 1.

Everyone is encouraged to try the new theme out. It is now 98% ready.


If you do not like the new theme you can switch back to the old theme for a time.

The old theme will remain available for approx 8~12 months and will be permanently removed after 12 months. There will be no further maintenance of the old theme.

---------------------------------------------------------------

The XenForo theme that we currently run is called UI.X. It has been several years since we updated it.

The latest version (UI.X 1.5) is now available to select in your preferences.


New theme looks like this;

ma1p+




Change by selecting Preferences ;

iriP+





Once selected, there are Style options you can turn on or off;

wyBh+




You can switch back to default theme from the footer (but not the other way)
apbO+



On Desktop, Member details.. are more detailed!
gabh+


(same as BigFooty)



On mobile, the responsive menu is much better (imo) and there is also a useful rapid scroll thingy that fades in when you settle - it looks like this ;

5Hol+


(it is also there on desktop but not as useful)


Post thoughts &/or bug reports below ( grizzling will be ignored ;) )
 
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Vermillion

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Is the layout changing from the old to new randomly on purpose? Or is something going on? I'll go from one page to the next and it'll flip flop between the 2 layouts. Not an issue, just an observation.
 

Richard

Maintenance Dept
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Is the layout changing from the old to new randomly on purpose? Or is something going on? I'll go from one page to the next and it'll flip flop between the 2 layouts. Not an issue, just an observation.

something going on.

I have the new version in default mode every now and then for five minutes or so as it's the only way I can test the non-logged in experience.
 
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currawong

Old but not so Crusty
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Why? What's wrong with the old one?
from another thread
We have to upgrade. It's over three years since we moved to XenForo and like everything in software if we do not upgrade eventually a version is left so far behind it's nigh impossible to maintain. We nearly did not make it off UBB. If we were still on UBB today we would simply have to start again - migration would not be possible now.
 
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Richard

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The major change is the additional blue bar in the masthead. Which is jarring if you have not tested the theme this last eight weeks (like any change is).

Most everything else is the same and there are actually only a handful of font changes,

The main body Post font is a fraction more black, for improved legibility and this pushes the same grey fonts 'back' - which basically de-empathise's the noise of meta data and secondary controls.

Give it a week and you may find that the original theme upon return looks old and tired.

SePBD+



nEoid+
 

cold wombat

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struggling, especially on my phone.

The new theme destroys some of the forum reading "workflow" (at least for me), but I've now adjusted to it. Not quite as efficient at getting around as the old theme apart from the new scroll doohickey. But I believe the new nav layout is designed to promote certain parts of the forums to newer members at a small expense to older members who have already found the corners they're interested in.
 
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Schnaxxy Schnaxxlburger

but a dream within a dream
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Pretty hard on the eyes in places, lack of contrast in others.
my fellow taxpayers will be glad to know that I once paid some money to a person to develop legibility guidelines for government publications and websites, to make them more accessible to people with visual impairments
key bêtes noires included shading, poor contrast and use of all-caps titles
the blue bar on the top of the page (currently looking at it on Chrome / Windows 10) is a good example of all three problems
unsurprisingly, the guidelines have been sytematically ignored across govt too
 
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Richard

Maintenance Dept
Administrator
Mar 14, 1995
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Clarence Town
my fellow taxpayers will be glad to know that I once paid some money to a person to develop legibility guidelines for government publications and websites, to make them more accessible to people with visual impairments
key bêtes noires included shading, poor contrast and use of all-caps titles
the blue bar on the top of the page (currently looking at it on Chrome / Windows 10) is a good example of all three problems
unsurprisingly, the guidelines have been sytematically ignored across govt too

I know you think I make this stuff up without any consideration of UX - but I don't.

A forum is not a simple five element website, it is more like a complex game interface - there is a lot of noise and meta - and the concept to deal with this is called smallest effective difference and it is categorically the correct best practice approach - and it is what I have strived to create.

There is always someone more skilled and could do better than I have. However your notions that the guidelines you commissioned for a completely different environment apply here - needs to be examined. If you happen to be an experienced visual UX designer, then I'd like some really succinct solutions please, not "it's wrong".
 

cold wombat

Twitter Contributer
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Jun 4, 2008
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my fellow taxpayers will be glad to know that I once paid some money to a person to develop legibility guidelines for government publications and websites, to make them more accessible to people with visual impairments
key bêtes noires included shading, poor contrast and use of all-caps titles
the blue bar on the top of the page (currently looking at it on Chrome / Windows 10) is a good example of all three problems
unsurprisingly, the guidelines have been sytematically ignored across govt too

This was an observation you made during the testing phase? Before it was rolled out to everyone?

;)
 

Red_switch

Old n' Crusty
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I know you think I make this stuff up without any consideration of UX - but I don't.

A forum is not a simple five element website, it is more like a complex game interface - there is a lot of noise and meta - and the concept to deal with this is called smallest effective difference and it is categorically the correct best practice approach - and it is what I have strived to create.

There is always someone more skilled and could do better than I have. However your notions that the guidelines you commissioned for a completely different environment apply here - needs to be examined. If you happen to be an experienced visual UX designer, then I'd like some really succinct solutions please, not "it's wrong".
To me it's now more difficult to identify the most important elements on the forum pages. The reply box has lost prominence to the point I had to look for it at first. IMO the intensity of the blue and the grey used for title/heading bars gives too much contrast on bright screens, and hierarchy between them isn't visually obvious in that sense - I don't know where to look. The white text on bright blue is also quite harsh, particularly in the "NEW" tags within forums, and tends to dominate the display too much - this is only on mobile?

Also, on the forum homepage, I reckon the the font colors for the word "Latest" and the name for the relevant thread should be swapped. The word latest never changes, make the dynamic element more obvious.

Just some thoughts from someone who spends a lot of time working on similar complex problems, particularly in remote sensing, cartography, and production of scientific figures :)

BTW, I reckon this (from your link), bottom left in particular, is not a good example of smallest effective difference:
1*Y3uMvWJUVJ09C1dAD02Axg.png
 

Richard

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The reply box has lost prominence to the point I had to look for it at first.

Yep, fair call. Will bring it forward.

IMO the intensity of the blue and the grey used for title/heading bars gives too much contrast on bright screens, and hierarchy between them isn't visually obvious in that sense

Yep, concur, the 'Ski' blue is legacy which maps with the rest of the site - the consistency is better than no consistency. New sitewide design (already six months behind schedule due to, you know.. having to earn elsewhere) will address the fundamentals of the masthead contrast.

The white text on bright blue is also quite harsh, particularly in the "NEW" tags within forums, and tends to dominate the display too much

The NEW blocks were removed 15 min before you made the post - they been bugging me since the beginning but switching over this morn brought them back in my sights. Aside from the Nav (which can be dropped from being sticky in preferences), this leaves white on blue only in the active pagination numbers - and some thread title prefixes.

I reckon the the font colors for the word "Latest" and the name for the relevant thread should be swapped. The word latest never changes, make the dynamic element more obvious

Like, concur the dynamic element should be forward. Will fix when I can find in the soup of templates.

Just some thoughts from someone who spends a lot of time working on similar complex problems, particularly in remote sensing, cartography, and production of scientific figures :)

BTW, I reckon this (from your link), bottom left in particular, is not a good example of smallest effective difference:

First result from quick search - but as Cartographer I'm guessing you would well know Tufte's legendary and beautiful books. (I've bought two in the last fifteen years and given both away to young designers I've worked with - who love them)


Thank's for the practical feedback - you should have dug in six weeks ago.
 
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GS

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looks good on mobile (Samsung S5), not quite as good on desktop (1920 x 1200 LCD).

It is different, it is a change, change is like a holiday.....I like holidays.
 

Red_switch

Old n' Crusty
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Yep, fair call. Will bring it forward.



Yep, concur, the 'Ski' blue is legacy which maps with the rest of the site - the consistency is better than no consistency. New sitewide design (already six months behind schedule due to, you know.. having to earn elsewhere) will address the fundamentals of the masthead contrast.



The NEW blocks were removed 15 min before you made the post - they been bugging me since the beginning but switching over this morn brought them back in my sights. This leaves white on blue only in the active pagination numbers - and some thread title prefixes.



Like, concur the dynamic element should be forward. Will fix when I can find in the soup of templates.



First result from quick search - but as Cartographer I'm guessing you would well know Tufte's legendary and beautiful books. (I've bought two in the last fifteen years and given both away to young designers I've worked with - who love them)


Thank's for the practical feedback - you should have dug in six weeks ago.

Great minds then eh ;)

And, yep, had to think hard about Tufte once or twice as an undergrad, stays with me to this day.

I did glance at all this a while back, but you know, "real job(s)" and stuff

But yeah, overall, nice work. And don't ever take any feedback from me personally, one of my PhD supervisors is French, the efficient style of European directness rubs off a little, but is often misunderstood down here in the Antipodes.
 

Richard

Maintenance Dept
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Mar 14, 1995
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And don't ever take any feedback from me personally,
I've sold life insurance in a previous lifetime, so none taken.

and hierarchy between them isn't visually obvious in that sense

I'm really liking this observation.. the word 'hierarchy' really nails the challenge that melding the 'Ski' blue has been.

I'm going to think about it some more and see if I can drop back the blue and reverse the white font - yet keep the notion that the forums are part of the whole and not completely separate (I hate white font, truth be told - but it's hard to categorically always avoid as a contrast device).
 
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currawong

Old but not so Crusty
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lower case is good

not that fussed about the blue, I'd got used to the brighter one but it was a bit strong when it first came in. the new blue is good too (probably better)
 

Richard

Maintenance Dept
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Mar 14, 1995
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We are getting there.

I'm leaving it as is for the moment as I have another task I need to finish this arvo. The blue is not a blue from ski.com.au's palette, it is one of the theme defaults. It's still not right but it is subdued.

the lack of contrast in the reply field was a good pickup by @Red_switch

I've also switched the 'latest' font colors on the Forum homepage as Red_Switched noted.

All Caps helped with the contrast needed to separate three layers of navigation - but it is a known legibility issue so I'll concede on that - I went with three rows of nav because the primary navigation problem is the lack of visibility for all the topics* - plus the forums need to look like part of a whole which the old theme did not manage as well.

Audentio, the creators of this theme, have an awesome new theme in development based on Google's 'Material Design' principals but it is still another 6~8 months away from general release. It deals with the navigation problem of many, many topics really well.

(*a problem which exists on BigFooty as well as most XF forums with default nav implementation).
 

Richard

Maintenance Dept
Administrator
Mar 14, 1995
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FYI - I'm going to commission the ability to set in your preferences your favourite forum topic, which will sit to the right of the Active Topics nav item.

Same as on BigFooty where you select your Home Team and that topic becomes one of the permanent global nav items.
 
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benchives

I forgot how to ski
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Also seems like a lot of empty real estate at the top area

In this day and age with property prices the way they are I don't like empty land!!!
 
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