Bleh to the new board design

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Bleh to the new board design

Postby BBadger » Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:23 am

Can something be done to improve the board's new design? phpBB is very customizable; I hope the current design just work-in-progress.

Some things that just ain't floating my boat:

- I don't like seeing profile/avatar information to the right of the text. Sure, there's a name above the the text, but I often use the person's avatar to identify the poster, even if it is just inside the same thread. As English is read left-to-right, it's easier to see the profile and avatar on the left, rather than the right, as that's where we begin reading.

- The board colors are way too low contrast. I'm not asking for old-man-eyes color schemes, but many of the color choices such as the gray-on-beige, and orange-on-beige are hard to read. The worst, of course, is the white-on-beige that can be seen in the "Advanced search" on top. I realize that there is a certain motif the board wants to retain, but there are more contrasty colors that "pop" while maintaining the same motif, making it far easier to read. For example, changing the orange link color from its normal #D75601 to #cb290b, as seen here:

2011-06-29_005000.png
Regular link color
2011-06-29_005000.png (54.24 KiB) Viewed 5862 times


vs

2011-06-29_005005.png
Higher contrast link color
2011-06-29_005005.png (54.26 KiB) Viewed 5862 times


In some ways, I actually prefer the hover color (#670404) more than either of the above.

- Another color problem comes from the visited link color. For example, if a reader has visited the Feature Requests page, and the link to it is set to the "visited" state, which is a light grey (#898989). A visited link should indicate that it has been visited, but not drastically change the appearance of the link; for example, changing the hue of the color, but not the perceived brightness. The light grey blends into the background too easily, and the dramatic change from its link state makes a visited link look like plain text, rather than something to click.

- While on the subject of text colors, the user's name in the avatar/profile information section uses the same light grey color for all its states, which makes it even a lighter color than the text information below it. The person's nickname should be the most prominent fixture of the profile/avatar, at least more stand-out than the text below it. I found color #333333 made it more visually identifiable than the current #898989, while not being overly black.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Drawingablank » Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:10 am

I agree - The profile on the right side just feels awkward and these old eyes would be more comfortable with more contrast.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby C.f.M. » Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:57 am

Huh. I read this thread this morning, there were more replies after DrawingBlank plus mine!

Odd.

The grey font is pretty bad.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby jkisha » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:01 am

Totally agree.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Lassen Forge » Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:01 pm

I do too. The contrast is wonky for those of us ancient types, and I'd rather see the poster info on the left - most other boards I'm on have it that way, this makes it hard to do the shift.

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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Drawingablank » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:03 pm

I just realized something else I miss about the old boards - The breadcrumb navigation at the bottom of the page.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Bob » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:12 pm

Nothing wrong with black on white for everything. Works for the main website, worked fine for the eplaya ten years ago, and works great on 99.9% of the internets. Harvest gold and three shades of spoiled avocado is so 1966.

If possible, allow a legible skin as an option. The content and accessibility to it are way more important than the look.

The Profile setup is something of an improvement, but could use a help file.

Somebody should explain how Youtube Flash images/links get embedded on the pages, or not. (Prefer not.)

Animated smilies are bad enough -- animated topic icons are extremely tacky and fidgety-looking.

Way faster, can't complain about that.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby BBadger » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:40 pm

Other things I've noticed as well:

- Too hard to identify stickies threads from regular threads. This is especially apparent when a topic has been read, and the icon changes from red to blue, which looks a lot like the sticky icons. I have to inspect the topics to see where the non-sticky messages start, because the icons on the left are not that distinct. Usually boards have a bold "STICKY:" before the subject of the sticky post. If that's not a feature of this board software, perhaps the subject titles should be modified to at least indicate this.

- Topic links don't reflect whether they have been visited or not. Sure, there's an icon on the left, but it's not very distinctive, and it's a lot easier to identify a completely different colored link. It's almost like the board theme is designed to mix everything into an indistinct mass.

- Topic titles should have a different link color than the author name links. Both seem to blend into each other, of course that is also because the orange is such a poor choice for the background colors.

- I'd like to see all replies in a post on a lighter color that is not some "shade of spoiled avocado" as Bob put it so well. It's like trying to read a book printed on beige recycled paper.

- Visual bug: the blue tabs have a border that was meant for their previous theme (seen in the rounded corners on the top). Also some of the colors are virtually not visible at all, like the light grey signature separator.

Some solutions:

- Selectable themes. phpBB supports many different themes, and they could just be installed without any input. Then we can at least customize the appearance to what we'd like if modifying this theme is too much work.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Bob » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:57 pm

BBadger wrote:- Selectable themes. phpBB supports many different themes, and they could just be installed without any input. Then we can at least customize the appearance to what we'd like if modifying this theme is too much work.


My guess is they've gone way past the point where off-the-shelf themes would plug in nicely, though substituting white for avocado (etc.) in a copy of the existing style sheet should be easy enough.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby AntiM » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:20 pm

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:I do too. The contrast is wonky for those of us ancient types, and I'd rather see the poster info on the left - most other boards I'm on have it that way, this makes it hard to do the shift.

Thank you for burning... have a nice day!


I MUST wear my reading glasses on eplaya now. White and blue (playa sky?) would be better than this playa dust beige and kaki khaki.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby jkisha » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:30 pm

AntiM wrote:
Bay Bridge Sue wrote:I do too. The contrast is wonky for those of us ancient types, and I'd rather see the poster info on the left - most other boards I'm on have it that way, this makes it hard to do the shift.

Thank you for burning... have a nice day!


I MUST wear my reading glasses on eplaya now. White and blue (playa sky?) would be better than this playa dust beige and kaki khaki.


I have to agree again.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby graidawg » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:35 pm

i actually find the colour scheme and overall blandness of it offputting enough to not be sitting on here reading everything. If eplaya was like this when i had joined i probably wouldnt have hung around for long. well enough moaning at the blandness im going to get an early night rather than bland myself to boredom
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby BBadger » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:56 pm

graidawg wrote:i actually find the colour scheme and overall blandness of it offputting enough to not be sitting on here reading everything. If eplaya was like this when i had joined i probably wouldnt have hung around for long. well enough moaning at the blandness im going to get an early night rather than bland myself to boredom


I'm feeling offput as well. The site looks like someone took a nicely colored t-shirt and left it out in the sun to fade. Now I find it a chore to squint and read the topic titles and text, and tiring having to move my eyes to the right side of the browser to see who wrote what. So I end up just leaving early. Maybe it's some grand scheme to alienate the regulars.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby jkisha » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:02 pm

BBadger wrote:Maybe it's some grand scheme to alienate the regulars.

I don't think it's any grand scheme, just an IT guy trying to do the job of the graphics department.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby BBadger » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:47 pm

Well that was more of a joke, though conversely, I more suspected that it was a "design guy" trying to colorize the site into his/her artistic vision, readability be damned. Usually the IT dude will either imitate the old design or choose some generic site. Maybe it's a design-guy-wannabe IT dude.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby AntiM » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:26 am

Actually, they went to great lengths to try and keep the old familiar look. It just didn't come off well.
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Postby Asherbeez » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:10 am

I've got to say, my biggest complaint is the sub-topic thread layout as well. The lack of notation of the stickies is a pain and more of a distinction is definitely needed between read and unread threads.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby JStep » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:13 am

http://skoolie.net appears to use the same forum but much easier to read with their blue/white color scheme.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Savannah » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:10 pm

The change in font has added to the readability issues as well as the contrast. The font is more round; less sharp and defined. It'll take a little getting used to.

What has helped me: increasing the font size using the white "A" symbol with arrows next to it (upper right, under the search window). I cranked up the font size by at least two sizes. (One's browser preferences might also allow tweaking font.)
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby jkisha » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:51 pm

JStep wrote:http://skoolie.net appears to use the same forum but much easier to read with their blue/white color scheme.

I like that theme color, everything very easy to read. Here's a direct link to the forum. http://www.skoolie.net/forum/
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby BBadger » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:40 pm

Savannah wrote:The change in font has added to the readability issues as well as the contrast. The font is more round; less sharp and defined. It'll take a little getting used to.

What has helped me: increasing the font size using the white "A" symbol with arrows next to it (upper right, under the search window). I cranked up the font size by at least two sizes. (One's browser preferences might also allow tweaking font.)


Unfortunately, it seems whoever designed phpBB's default theme has decided to use "Lucida Grande" for body text, which is only present on computers that have Mac OSX or run Safari on Windows. If that's not available, Trebuchet MS is used (which is what I only have). For me, it looks too compact and is better suited for headers, not body copy. I'd prefer the font to be switched to the third choice, "Verdana," which was designed from the ground up as a screen-readable sans-serif font. Here's a sample:

verdana.png
Text using Verdana
verdana.png (6.04 KiB) Viewed 5742 times


Only the font family was changed, nothing else.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby mdmf007 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:45 pm

I hate change as well. Some cool features here - check em out.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby jkisha » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:54 pm

mdmf007 wrote:I hate change as well. Some cool features here - check em out.

I love change. Change is not the problem. Nobody is complaining about the cool new features, the problem is a usability issue caused by poor font and color choices. Programmers are NOT Web Designers.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Bob » Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:11 am

BBadger wrote:
Savannah wrote:The change in font has added to the readability issues as well as the contrast. The font is more round; less sharp and defined. It'll take a little getting used to.

What has helped me: increasing the font size using the white "A" symbol with arrows next to it (upper right, under the search window). I cranked up the font size by at least two sizes. (One's browser preferences might also allow tweaking font.)


Unfortunately, it seems whoever designed phpBB's default theme has decided to use "Lucida Grande" for body text, which is only present on computers that have Mac OSX or run Safari on Windows. If that's not available, Trebuchet MS is used (which is what I only have). For me, it looks too compact and is better suited for headers, not body copy. I'd prefer the font to be switched to the third choice, "Verdana," which was designed from the ground up as a screen-readable sans-serif font. Here's a sample:

[ verdana.png ]

Only the font family was changed, nothing else.


I've had Lucida installed on my Windows setup like forever and it's always looked like crap. Some people dislike Verdana, but it's definitely more legible.

As I recall, the eplaya ten years ago used Arial/Helvetica on a white background (same as the main website) and it was plenty legible ON A WHITE BACKGROUND. May we have the white background back, please, sirs?
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby shroom » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:38 pm

Is the 'posts since your last visit' still on here somewhere? I used that every visit!
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Savannah » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:45 pm

Try:

* View unanswered posts • View unread posts • View new posts • View active topics

From the main index, I like to look above and to the left, and click "view new posts".

This is no replacement for clicking on your favorite forums though, because 'view new posts" is pulling them from the whole site, and there may be very fresh posts about things you care little about burying relatively recent stuff from today that you would like more.

My eyes are finally used to the rounded new font in some areas, but I still heartily recommend clicking on the white "A^" at the upper right to get bigger font until you're used to it. I've said it too much--but it really helped.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Sham » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:36 pm

I would love to order an instruction book, so I can figure out just what the hell I'm doing here. I can see all sorts of changing icons and different colors thingy-dingies. I wish I knew what most of this stuff meant. :roll:
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby pizzamancer » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:27 am

jkisha wrote:
mdmf007 wrote:I hate change as well. Some cool features here - check em out.

I love change. Change is not the problem. Nobody is complaining about the cool new features, the problem is a usability issue caused by poor font and color choices. Programmers are NOT Web Designers.



Please yes this. Keep it the same if you want, but at least give us the opportunity to choose the color scheme we would like.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby Bob » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:47 am

In Firefox, View/Page Style/No Style is kinda helping.
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Re: Bleh to the new board design

Postby shroom » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:13 pm

Savannah wrote:Try:

* View unanswered posts • View unread posts • View new posts • View active topics

From the main index, I like to look above and to the left, and click "view new posts".


Thank you! I knew I had to be over looking it.


I really liked the board the way it was.
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