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Old 16-05-2010, 02:06 AM   #1
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A new forum layout coming

Hi everyone

We have been working on a new type of layout for the forums for a long time now.

Starting sometime tomorrow (Sunday) a brand new system will be put in to place for a 7 day test.

While everything will look the same (ish), we are trying to make the experience of browsing the forums easier for existing users and new users.


You may see some forum categories appearing/disappearing as we put this system live and even the same for some forums.

Once you see the changes tomorrow, you should understand the direction we are taking this.
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Old 16-05-2010, 09:51 AM   #2
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Is this going to include the racing games forum you promised?
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Old 16-05-2010, 06:10 PM   #3
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Hehe, Yes it is Betty
We have held back on a number of forums/ideas till we had this new system in to place.

We have been working on this for the last 7 hours solid (ex0 and i)
So you may have noticed that there is a lot of new forums and categories been/being set up.
Some of these may look out of place, but this because its not finished yet.

The final touches to the "new look/feature" will be live tonight
We still have some more background jobs to finish off.


So apologies if some of you are getting lost looking for things
but was either leave the forums open while we moved/edit/added forums/categories
or have the forums closed for about 15 hours.

We are almost there... with the new forum....
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Old 16-05-2010, 08:49 PM   #4
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Almost ready to go Just doing the last run throughs now!
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Old 16-05-2010, 09:11 PM   #5
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Re: A new forum layout coming

After being production for the last week, the new AJAX tab system is now live on the forums as you will see

Theres a large number of reasons we have brought this into place.

Firstly we wanted to address the sheer forum size on the page. To people that aren't so forum savvy, it was massively overwhelming. People that dont use PC's as often as some, don't find a wall of forums appealing, and wont stay to work them out, with this new breakdown its much simpler.

Secondly was ordering of the forum itself. Its been a longtime issue with us, that games and technology are not the focus of the forums, and general banter is. This new system emphasizes the gaming forums, and allows easier discussion of games in all genres.

Third, search engine optimisation, and indexing for both us and others, which is very very important with the growth we are trying to push right now.

Theres others but these are the main reasons why we have been working on this, and when i say working its been a combined 100+ hours in the last 7 days between Rasher and Myself.

Hope you all enjoy it, and if you don't theres an 'All' tab for those that want it
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Old 16-05-2010, 09:15 PM   #6
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Rasher could at least used this as an opportunity to finally add a description to the Photography forum
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Old 16-05-2010, 09:16 PM   #7
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Re: A new forum layout coming

OOC, could you take a look at this on your mobile Beanz and let us know how it turns out? Our mobile testing so far has been very limited.
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Old 16-05-2010, 09:25 PM   #8
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Re: A new forum layout coming

HTC Hero approves of these changes.
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Old 16-05-2010, 09:29 PM   #9
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Re: A new forum layout coming

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HTC Hero approves of these changes.
Top stuff, thank you <3
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Old 16-05-2010, 09:44 PM   #10
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Re: A new forum layout coming

I like what youve done actually.
Keeping all relevent sections within their own tab is a nice idea
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Old 16-05-2010, 10:00 PM   #11
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Oh woah, I hadn't noticed that.. I thought that the forums were just a tad short..

Don't say anything Rasher e.e.. I notice things!

Very nice touch.
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Old 16-05-2010, 10:10 PM   #12
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Looking really good from here.
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Old 16-05-2010, 10:31 PM   #13
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Re: A new forum layout coming

I would just like to say that I am confused.. But sure I will get it.. SH!
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Old 16-05-2010, 10:45 PM   #14
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Whats to be confused about?
Everything has its own place to live in its own tabbed section
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Old 16-05-2010, 10:47 PM   #15
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Just everything has moved so I have to find it all again :P..
Took me a while to find out where to post about BYM.. I found Casual Gaming..
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Old 16-05-2010, 11:11 PM   #16
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Re: A new forum layout coming

The tabs don't remember my choice. I always want the 'all' option so I can just scroll down and open forums with new posts in new tabs rather than having to go and change the active tab to see a different category of forums. Now I have to click all before I can get on with my usual forum browsing process.


As I said to Rash in MSN, imo the solution to reducing complexity is reducing the number of forums (not adding overly specific new ones like "drivers" under software) instead of providing small snapshots of the available forums using a tab system.
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Old 17-05-2010, 12:56 AM   #17
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Re: A new forum layout coming

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The tabs don't remember my choice. I always want the 'all' option so I can just scroll down and open forums with new posts in new tabs rather than having to go and change the active tab to see a different category of forums. Now I have to click all before I can get on with my usual forum browsing process.
Please tell me your not complaining over 1 mouse click considering the work thats gone into this , and surely you see the potential of the new system to users less familiar with forum layouts, which considering the amount of people introduced to PC's every single day is a lot...


Quote:
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As I said to Rash in MSN, imo the solution to reducing complexity is reducing the number of forums (not adding overly specific new ones like "drivers" under software) instead of providing small snapshots of the available forums using a tab system.
Thats far from a solution to anything, thats a major step backwards.

With your web background id expect you would know that indexing plays a massive part in the success of a web community, removing any sort of content is never an option. No forums have been added that don't warrant it, all additions are based on previous forum post analysis, and incoming search analysis. Im sure anyone thats been here a while can tell you how useful the driver posts were when maintained back in the day just as an example, a lot of people came to read them instead of visiting ATI and Nvidia as two examples to see what was new.

By reducing the number of forums your also reducing the number of content suggestions your giving to the user base of your site, if theres an active forum category for something, people will generally read it and get involved with it.

I could go on but im sure you can see why things are being done this way, and the bigger picture...
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Old 17-05-2010, 02:51 AM   #18
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Quote:
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The tabs don't remember my choice. I always want the 'all' option so I can just scroll down and open forums with new posts in new tabs rather than having to go and change the active tab to see a different category of forums. Now I have to click all before I can get on with my usual forum browsing process.
Hmm... it remembered it for me, used it to search the Tech Chat/software/virus & Anti ... you get the idea. Did a quick visit to the user CP and then clicked the forum tab again and presto, back to the aformentioned forum page

I like the new look, makes searching a whole lot easier. Having not been on the forums for a while (past few weeks have been a bit hit n miss) it's looking well snazzy.


Keep up the good work guys
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Old 17-05-2010, 10:26 AM   #19
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Re: A new forum layout coming

Gunn - It remembers the selected tab for the current session, but once you close and re-open your browser it forgets.

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Quote:
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The tabs don't remember my choice. I always want the 'all' option so I can just scroll down and open forums with new posts in new tabs rather than having to go and change the active tab to see a different category of forums. Now I have to click all before I can get on with my usual forum browsing process.
Please tell me your not complaining over 1 mouse click considering the work thats gone into this , and surely you see the potential of the new system to users less familiar with forum layouts, which considering the amount of people introduced to PC's every single day is a lot...
Not meaning to belittle the amount of effort that's gone into this at all. I am however, for better or for worse, a massive stickler about the small stuff.

Whilst this is in no way a deal-breaker, it's my opinion that the most recently active tab should be saved as it is essentially a user preference. If the user performs the same action again and again, then there should be a way to automate it. As Gunn has already pointed out, the active tab is already saved on a per session basis, it should be fairly trivial to make the cookie that remembers this (a quick bit of research suggests it's the one called "ajaxTFH") persist across sessions by adding a future expiry time.


Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blak View Post
As I said to Rash in MSN, imo the solution to reducing complexity is reducing the number of forums (not adding overly specific new ones like "drivers" under software) instead of providing small snapshots of the available forums using a tab system.

Thats far from a solution to anything, thats a major step backwards.

With your web background id expect you would know that indexing plays a massive part in the success of a web community, removing any sort of content is never an option. No forums have been added that don't warrant it, all additions are based on previous forum post analysis, and incoming search analysis. Im sure anyone thats been here a while can tell you how useful the driver posts were when maintained back in the day just as an example, a lot of people came to read them instead of visiting ATI and Nvidia as two examples to see what was new.

By reducing the number of forums your also reducing the number of content suggestions your giving to the user base of your site, if theres an active forum category for something, people will generally read it and get involved with it.

I could go on but im sure you can see why things are being done this way, and the bigger picture...
I'm not suggesting removing any content, and am well aware that it's usually a foolish thing to do. I am however unsure of the need for the newly created(imo) overly specific forums. Taking the example of drivers, I'm sure maintained drivers posts are a valuable resource, however the operative word there is posts, authoritative information on drivers can be contained to a single (possibly sticky) thread in the software forum and any other driver related discussion can take part as new threads in the Software forum without drowning out all other new threads within it.

It is my opinion that new sub-forums should only be created when discussion about a particular subject overwhelms all other conversation in a forum. E.g. if we didn't have a jokes forum and instead all jokes were posted in General Discussion, the number of threads about jokes would outnumber the threads about anything else, thus a Jokes forum should be created. It is my opinion that sub-forums such as Drivers, Virus & Anti-Virus, Builds and Projects, Graphics Cards, Peripherals, Mobile/Cell Phones, PDA's, and Tablets and MP3, MP4, and Media Players do not meet this criteria as talk about them does not overwhelm their parent forums.

We've talked about keeping things simple for new users, in my opinion 2 large melting pot forums about Hardware / Software talk are easier to understand and navigate than having those, plus multiple sub forums (that shall only have 2 -3 new threads a month) under each of these for specific types of hardware / software.

I will be happy to be proved wrong, when in 6 months time "Virus & Anti-Virus Topics" is a buzzing hive of activity as people realise there is a forum category for it and feel obliged to get involved.
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Old 17-05-2010, 07:05 PM   #20
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Re: A new forum layout coming

I like the new layout, much more organised than before, though I typically just use the 'New Posts' button more than anything.

Btw, any word on the new forum titles system
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