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Main Site & Forum Updates => Notices => Topic started by: Stu on July 13, 2017, 10:42:31 AM

Title: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 13, 2017, 10:42:31 AM
Hi all,

I'm running this quick simple survey, just to ascertain the most popular method that members use to read this forum.

I'm considering introducing a new theme for the forum, which will be mobile-responsive, and will be easier to view on mobile devices with smaller screens.

But before I go ahead and implement this, I just want to see whether it is worth doing first, ie if the vast majority view the forum using a browser on a desktop PC or Mac, then there is probably no point.

So please cast your vote, and leave any other comments and suggestions below.

Thanks in advance!  :D
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: the trainbasher on July 13, 2017, 12:26:05 PM
I usually use the WAP site on my mobile to view the forum
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: MW on July 13, 2017, 01:54:32 PM
On my phone, in Safari. It's easy to use already tbh.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: P419 EJW on July 13, 2017, 03:19:48 PM
On my phone, in Safari. It's easy to use already tbh.

I second this.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Jack on July 13, 2017, 03:20:44 PM
Use my iPad and phone usually.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Sh4318 on July 13, 2017, 07:00:34 PM
Usually my iPad
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 13, 2017, 07:23:21 PM
Thanks folks for your contributions so far!

To be honest, I'd forgotten that SMF had a built-in WAP layout functionality, so I was surprised to see that people were still using the WAP view to see this website on their mobile phones!

In my regular line of work (ecommerce) I am constantly reminded that more and more people are viewing webpages on mobile devices, so it is so important to ensure that websites are 'mobile-friendly' otherwise people will just look elsewhere.

Before I put up this poll, I had a feeling that most users would be using mobile devices, rather than 'traditional' desktop PCs (or Macs), and it is looking like I may be right.

I'm going to give people the opportunity to test out the new forum look for themselves tomorrow, but I am going to stress that members will have the choice to revert to the 'default SMF' theme if the new look is not to their liking, this is not going to be imposed on anybody. The new look will retain all the current functionality, and will work across desktop and mobile devices.

Personally, I have always been of the mindset of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but then again I am also accepting of change where it is needed. And personally while I only use this forum on my 'traditional' desktop PC, I accept that there are many people who are using mobile phones and tablets nowadays. What we will end up with is a nice compromise! ;)
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stuharris 6360 on July 13, 2017, 10:35:04 PM
@Stu , 99% of the time I look at the forum with my laptop, will this be affected ?

@Stuharris 6360 from the above post:

I'm going to give people the opportunity to test out the new forum look for themselves tomorrow, but I am going to stress that members will have the choice to revert to the 'default SMF' theme if the new look is not to their liking, this is not going to be imposed on anybody. The new look will retain all the current functionality, and will work across desktop and mobile devices.

@Winston I read the post, but although I am quite pc orientated, I don't really understand what @Stu means by "default SMF Theme" and do you need to do anything to continue to be able to see the forum in its current guise which to me is very readable and organised, that is why i asked the question.

To me, as Stu says, really if the forum isn't broken, then why alter it, but that is my personal opinion. Obviously I know a lot of people view and contribute to the forum on there mobiles etc, was just concerned that I can continue to view it on my laptop. Stu
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 14, 2017, 10:33:57 AM
@Stu , 99% of the time I look at the forum with my laptop, will this be affected ?

@Stuharris 6360 from the above post:

I'm going to give people the opportunity to test out the new forum look for themselves tomorrow, but I am going to stress that members will have the choice to revert to the 'default SMF' theme if the new look is not to their liking, this is not going to be imposed on anybody. The new look will retain all the current functionality, and will work across desktop and mobile devices.

@Winston I read the post, but although I am quite pc orientated, I don't really understand what @Stu means by "default SMF Theme" and do you need to do anything to continue to be able to see the forum in its current guise which to me is very readable and organised, that is why i asked the question.

To me, as Stu says, really if the forum isn't broken, then why alter it, but that is my personal opinion. Obviously I know a lot of people view and contribute to the forum on there mobiles etc, was just concerned that I can continue to view it on my laptop. Stu

The 'default SMF theme' is the layout you see currently. Sorry if it wasn't made clear in the poll options, but a laptop PC would be the same as a desktop PC, ie a 'traditional' keyboard/mouse (or in the case of a laptop, keyboard/trackpad) operated computer.

'Responsive' layout means that the website design adapts itself accordingly depending on what size display the device is using, it will be usable on both traditional computers with large displays, as well as mobile devices with smaller screens. So yes, you'll still be able to view the forum on your laptop.

From the poll results so far, it does appear that a majority of members are using mobile devices, so the forum experience for them should be greatly improved.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 14, 2017, 01:38:50 PM
If anyone wants to try them out, go to your Profile Settings, then under Modify Profle > Look and Layout, you should all now have the option to select your theme of choice by clicking the (Change) link next to 'Current Theme'.

You can always change back to the Default SMF Theme if you don't like them.

Let me know what you think!
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: P419 EJW on July 14, 2017, 02:01:26 PM
Sampled two new themes and sadly I don't like them. Not surprising coming from a person who doesn't like changes - I very much prefer the default SMF theme.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 14, 2017, 06:11:10 PM
Sampled two new themes and sadly I don't like them. Not surprising coming from a person who doesn't like changes - I very much prefer the default SMF theme.

Thats perfectly fine, the 'default SMF theme' is not going to be removed, it will always be available as an option.  :)

One thing I have noticed, and to make others aware of, is that on the responsive templates, because they use HTML5/Bootstrap, and Javascript is not 'mobile-friendly', some AJAX functions are not supported. In less technical terms, this means that you don't see the little [1] to let you know if you have any private messages or Mentions, nor does the 'pop-up' notification appear now. I'm going to look into this further to see if something alternative can be implemented instead.

But otherwise, I hope others can appreciate the clean fresh 'new look' that the new themes offer.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: MW on July 14, 2017, 06:35:35 PM
@Stu

There used to be a button on the home screen to let you see 'Recent Unread Topics'. This would basically show you all the latest posts that you've not already read. Could we see this return? I bookmarked the link years ago, and it still works. There just isn't a link on the main site for it.

This is the function I'm talking about:
http://wmbusphotos.com/forum/index.php?action=unread
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 14, 2017, 07:02:54 PM
@Stu

There used to be a button on the home screen to let you see 'Recent Unread Topics'. This would basically show you all the latest posts that you've not already read. Could we see this return? I bookmarked the link years ago, and it still works. There just isn't a link on the main site for it.

This is the function I'm talking about:
http://wmbusphotos.com/forum/index.php?action=unread

Which theme are you trying?

In the new 'WMBIP 2017' theme, this option is in the 'Profile' menu, and is called 'New Posts'
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: the trainbasher on July 14, 2017, 07:54:10 PM
Wow! The red theme looks almost NXWM after its faded! Much better than using WAP!!
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 14, 2017, 08:10:25 PM
Wow! The red theme looks almost NXWM after its faded! Much better than using WAP!!

Thanks for the feedback, the red 'WMBIP 2017' is the theme I'm using myself, and is my own preferred option. Any resemblance to NXWM colour schemes is unintentional, its an 'off the shelf' free theme design.  ;)

Glad to hear you find it better than the WAP layout!
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stuharris 6360 on July 14, 2017, 09:17:02 PM
@Stu , have tried the blue theme on my laptop and also on my phone, very pleasing to the eye I have to say.

The only thing I am finding is the "log out" button on my phone is barely visible, am I doing something wrong?
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: GeminiFan1991 on July 15, 2017, 06:39:22 PM
How do you get a theme ? i've always viewed the site with the "normal" theme. I've just been made aware of the theme functionality.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 15, 2017, 06:44:47 PM
How do you get a theme ? i've always viewed the site with the "normal" theme. I've just been made aware of the theme functionality.

See my reply here: http://wmbusphotos.com/forum/index.php?topic=4841.msg217869#msg217869

I'll put up a post with more detailed instructions and details tomorrow, but its pretty straight-forward.

Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 15, 2017, 06:58:03 PM
@Stu , have tried the blue theme on my laptop and also on my phone, very pleasing to the eye I have to say.

The only thing I am finding is the "log out" button on my phone is barely visible, am I doing something wrong?

I have just looked into this, it is nothing you're doing wrong, it is the width of the forum logo image. If I use the theme's default logo (Exodus), then the logout and search buttons appear correctly on my mobile.

I've modified the WMBIP logo, lets see how that looks now. EDIT: yes, thats much better now, the buttons can show correctly.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: vinh1000 on July 15, 2017, 08:17:48 PM
Loving the new themes! Much easier on a mobile! Using the blue one myself personally
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stuharris 6360 on July 15, 2017, 09:26:37 PM
I have just looked into this, it is nothing you're doing wrong, it is the width of the forum logo image. If I use the theme's default logo (Exodus), then the logout and search buttons appear correctly on my mobile.

I've modified the WMBIP logo, lets see how that looks now. EDIT: yes, thats much better now, the buttons can show correctly.

Thanks @Stu , that's much better.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Kevin on July 18, 2017, 07:21:18 AM
If anyone wants to try them out, go to your Profile Settings, then under Modify Profle > Look and Layout, you should all now have the option to select your theme of choice by clicking the (Change) link next to 'Current Theme'.

You can always change back to the Default SMF Theme if you don't like them.

Let me know what you think!

Perhaps just me being retarded, but I can't even find anywhere for "look and layout" under the settings
Anything to do with me using forum on my phone?
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: MW on July 18, 2017, 07:55:30 AM
Perhaps just me being retarded, but I can't even find anywhere for "look and layout" under the settings
Anything to do with me using forum on my phone?

@Kevin

http://wmbusphotos.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;area=theme

Try this link
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 18, 2017, 07:23:01 PM
Perhaps just me being retarded, but I can't even find anywhere for "look and layout" under the settings
Anything to do with me using forum on my phone?

If you're using the WAP site that option may not be shown.

@Kevin

http://wmbusphotos.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;area=theme

Try this link

Yep, thats the direct link to the relevant page.  ;D

Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: GeminiFan1991 on July 18, 2017, 10:23:30 PM
Many thanks for that link !

I find these themes to be quite interesting and they add a unique twist to the site.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 19, 2017, 08:13:59 PM
Many thanks for that link !

I find these themes to be quite interesting and they add a unique twist to the site.

Thanks for the feedback, and to anyone else who has commented positively!

Personally, I only use the forum when I'm at home on my desktop PC, but it is clear from the poll results that there is a majority of members who mainly use the forum on mobile devices. The new themes make accessing and using the forum on those devices much easier and user-friendly, while also giving a much more 'modern' user experience on 'traditional' desktop browsers.

At some point, I am going to make the 'default' forum theme one of the two new responsive themes, but the standard 'default SMF theme' will be available for members to switch back to if they so desire, it won't be removed completely.

There are a couple of 'niggles' which I will need to iron out with both new themes: firstly the blue theme doesn't correctly show the user online icon for some reason. And secondly, the red theme, I'm not happy with the icon for 'no new posts' next to each forum board, I think it should be a bit lighter, to make boards with new posts a little more obvious. So I will probably have to reload both themes at some point, once I've made my offline modifications.

In the meantime, please continue to leave your feedback, all is welcome!
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: John on July 20, 2017, 05:04:00 PM
Was using the new format forum on my phone in my break today, and I can not get used to it. I just don't like the new layout compared to the default theme. Seemed like a lot more space was taken up by the profile information rather than the content of the post. I use my phone while out but most of the time at home I am either on the PC or tablet which the old theme suit a lot better
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stuharris 6360 on July 20, 2017, 07:35:36 PM
Was using the new format forum on my phone in my break today, and I can not get used to it. I just don't like the new layout compared to the default theme. Seemed like a lot more space was taken up by the profile information rather than the content of the post. I use my phone while out but most of the time at home I am either on the PC or tablet which the old theme suit a lot better

I think this is the problem where you use both your pc/laptop and mobile device. The new themes look good on mobile devices, yet after using for a few days, aren't so good on pc/laptop. Don't know if there is any solution for this unless you were to have a seperate login for mobile devices?
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: BusFan94 on July 20, 2017, 07:41:40 PM
I haven't yet used the New Theme I will see how they both look and give some Feedback
The red one looks good I might change the Theme  when I feel like having something different
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: GeminiFan1991 on July 21, 2017, 01:47:03 AM
Having used the themes, they provide a good refreshment although having said that, I've reverted back to the default theme. I find it easier to navigate the site with plus, especially on a phone, it doesn't seem as "clustered".
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 21, 2017, 08:35:17 PM
Was using the new format forum on my phone in my break today, and I can not get used to it. I just don't like the new layout compared to the default theme. Seemed like a lot more space was taken up by the profile information rather than the content of the post. I use my phone while out but most of the time at home I am either on the PC or tablet which the old theme suit a lot better

I think you're right about the 'Blue 2017' theme, the profile menu does take up a lot of space on screen when on mobile. Give the other 'red' theme a try instead.

I think this is the problem where you use both your pc/laptop and mobile device. The new themes look good on mobile devices, yet after using for a few days, aren't so good on pc/laptop. Don't know if there is any solution for this unless you were to have a seperate login for mobile devices?

They take a little getting used to, after using the default theme for so long, but the new themes work just as well on 'traditional' large displays on desktops and laptops.

Personally, I can't use the forum on my mobile when on the default SMF theme, as it is a lot of fiddling about having to zoom in and out to read text, and having to scroll left and right in order to get to various buttons.

I might have a look over the weekend and see if any other responsive themes are available we can try out, there must be something we can all be happy with!
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stuharris 6360 on July 21, 2017, 09:02:37 PM
I think you're right about the 'Blue 2017' theme, the profile menu does take up a lot of space on screen when on mobile. Give the other 'red' theme a try instead.

They take a little getting used to, after using the default theme for so long, but the new themes work just as well on 'traditional' large displays on desktops and laptops.

Personally, I can't use the forum on my mobile when on the default SMF theme, as it is a lot of fiddling about having to zoom in and out to read text, and having to scroll left and right in order to get to various buttons.

I might have a look over the weekend and see if any other responsive themes are available we can try out, there must be something we can all be happy with!

I wouldn't say that I am unhappy with the new themes, as you say @Stu they just take some getting used to.

Have to say that i omitted to try the red theme as i thought it would be just a copy of the blue theme but in red. Have just tried it and IMO it is 100% better than the blue one.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: Stu on July 22, 2017, 07:20:37 PM
Thanks to everyone who took part in the poll and has tried the new themes and offered feedback.

From the poll results, it was pretty close, but mobile users just about edged it in the end.
Title: Re: POLL: How do you view/read the forum?
Post by: John on August 14, 2017, 04:21:11 PM
I think this is the problem where you use both your pc/laptop and mobile device. The new themes look good on mobile devices, yet after using for a few days, aren't so good on pc/laptop. Don't know if there is any solution for this unless you were to have a seperate login for mobile devices?

Have been using the red theme for a bit now and I have to say it is a lot better, and I have got used to it both on PC and mobile device.

The only thing I have found on my phone, when at the bottom of a page, say reading the last reply on a thread. You see the red bar at the top of the page (with the drop down menu that you press unread topics). The red bar stays at the top of the page wherever you are on the page, I press the person icon but you have to manually have to scroll back to the top of the page for the black menu to appear. I hope someone knows what I mean!