Design Upgrade

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Ian, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    You may have noticed that TomTomForums.com has had a bit of a facelift to a more modern style :). I'm working on some improvements to increase the registration rate and number of questions we get posted here.

    I hope you like the design change - it's fairly similar to the old one, but has some important changes that will enable use to improve how the site works on mobile devices, as well as some important tweaks aimed at improving traffic.
     
    Ian, Feb 24, 2017
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  2. Ian

    dhn Moderator

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    Much wasted white space on both the left and right vertical columns. :(
     
    dhn, Feb 24, 2017
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  3. Ian

    canderson Moderator

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    +1 to dhn and -1 to the change.
    Somewhere, we have also lost indication as to which sections have updated threads.
    If a separate mobile version is necessary, inspect browser type and go for it, but please, not this way for the big screen crowd!
     
    canderson, Feb 24, 2017
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  4. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    I'll code an option for a fluid format for the forums (and take a look at the thread indicators at the same time). Now that the site can be viewed anywhere from a tiny phone screen to a 28" monitor, fixed width (with responsive styles) are much easier to predict how things will look and be readable. Most forum software comes fixed width by default now for this reason. It shouldn't be a problem to add anoption for fluid though, I'll report back soon.
     
    Ian, Feb 25, 2017
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  5. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    Ian, Feb 25, 2017
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  6. Ian

    dhn Moderator

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    Thanks Ian. I appreciate the returned view functionality.
     
    dhn, Feb 25, 2017
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  7. Ian

    canderson Moderator

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    Wow -- that's better!
    Will that be the default for new users, and will all previous users need to switch their default view to get a 'fluid' view?

    I did see one little blue dot to the left of a major forum area this morning, so perhaps not all of the 'new' markers are missing after all. But when I was looking at the moderators forum yesterday, with David's new message, it wasn't there initially.
     
    canderson, Feb 25, 2017
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  8. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    The fixed width is default, as it makes things more consistent for plugins/upgrades, but I'll keep the fluid style as an option for anyone that wants it :).

    I added the forum unread markers after your post that alerted me to the problem, so they should work ok now.
     
    Ian, Feb 25, 2017
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  9. Ian

    canderson Moderator

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    Worked fine for this forum -- little blue dot in evidence as it should be. I will check others to be sure there are no new message there.
     
    canderson, Feb 25, 2017
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  10. Ian

    srphelps

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    Looks very professional
     
    srphelps, Feb 26, 2017
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  11. Ian

    Arno Moderator

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    Just came back after 3 days in the States. Saw the posts and changed to Fluid as I appreciate the views of the other conspirators.

    Basically the same as before, Ian, but somehow more pleasant and cleaner looking.

    I like it, Ian.
     
    Arno, Feb 26, 2017
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  12. Ian

    canderson Moderator

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    Ian -
    If the objective of the 'default' (non-fluid) setting is to improve the look for mobile devices, any chance that we could have a test for mobile browser type, set that to the non-fluid mode, and let all of the desktop folks have the fluid mode by default? As it stands now, if I'm following this, all existing and new users are going to be seeing the 'non-fluid' version unless/until they notice this thread or somehow otherwise discover the option.
     
    canderson, Feb 26, 2017
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  13. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    Unfortunately, we'll need to use the fixed width version as a default - as the reasons are more complex than they may appear. Both the fluid and fixed style should actually look the same on a mobile device, as they'll collapse in the same way as the screen shrinks. However, the changes from the old layout are much more evident on the mobile style (reduced clutter, improved registration/login buttons, etc...).

    Most of the forum plugins and style elements we use are assuming a fixed width site, so updating them is very time consuming work with our old custom style. The new style is actually really close to the stock design, but using overriding CSS instead of customisation to the CSS, meaning we can roll out changes much quicker - plus I can be certain what they'll look like on a users monitor. I'm happy to have the fluid style as an option for those that ask for it, but it's not the supported or default one - I suspect it'll work fine for logged in users, as a lot of the problematic areas will be guest customisations we've made.

    FWIW, a lot of forum software is moving in the direction of fixed styles, as monitors are getting so large it's hard to get designs that work well on all screen sizes. Here's a demo of the new version of XF2.0 (we won't be upgrading to this until it's been stable for a while):

    https://xf2demo.xenforo.com/

    I can completely understand why you guys would prefer fluid versions, so I'm happy to have it as an option (I also prefer it on some sites myself). However, having it as the default supported type would involve increasing amounts of work moving forward, so I'd rather have it as something I can patch as soon as bugs/updates are available without the risk of breaking anything.
     
    Ian, Feb 27, 2017
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  14. Ian

    canderson Moderator

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    Hmmm.. I see that this has been a hot topic for XF2 as well, with dissent on each side.
    Noted arguments regarding 'ideal' number of characters on a line, etc., and that this number is 50-60 characters?

    Personally, have long since grown accustomed to max content in the vertical space available (yes, that's what I meant -- it implies that the width is filled), and don't seem to have any malfunction in trying to scan back to the beginning of the next line line to read the text. I believe this to be a learned skill, and one that full width browsing has caused forum readers to learn.

    Would point out that no other site I visit regularly defaults to less than full width of the browser window. So whatever the merits on either side of this controversy, we're now in the minority here.
     
    canderson, Feb 27, 2017
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  15. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    Yep, it's been debated quite a bit over there. At least we've got the option available for full width, should it be desired :).
     
    Ian, Feb 27, 2017
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  16. Ian

    dhn Moderator

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    Where has the 'quote' functionality gone?
     
    dhn, Feb 27, 2017
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  17. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    Nothing should have changed with regards to quoting - at least not that I'm aware of? If you click the "reply" button in the bottom right corner or a post, it should quote it. Or, you can highlight text and it'll bring up a quote box (I like this method best).
     
    Ian, Feb 27, 2017
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  18. Ian

    dhn Moderator

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    Another forum that recently went to the 'squished format' is this:

    http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=197

    To Ian.......

    Sorry, senility acting up again :confused:
     
    dhn, Feb 27, 2017
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  19. Ian

    canderson Moderator

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    Interesting. Haven't been on that board for years. It's where the WD-40 logo was initiated, BTW. LOOOONG story!
     
    canderson, Feb 28, 2017
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  20. Ian

    Ian Administrator

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    There's a slight change when it comes to choosing the wide format. Instead of choosing a style option, there's now a dropdown box labelled "site width" on the preferences page:

    https://www.tomtomforums.com/account/preferences

    If you choose "full width", it'll take up all of the available browser space.

    Sorry for the change - I found a way to make it so that I can update both styles in one so, but it required this one-off update.
     
    Ian, Mar 7, 2017
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