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Test version of the new site ready for feedback

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  • #12604
    james.haycock
    Member
    • Total Posts 31

    Firstly to introduce myself, I’m one of the team that has been working hard with Cormack behind the scenes. As Cormack has mentioned in earlier posts we’ve been working on a new version of the site and this is a post to tell you a little bit about the changes we’ve been making.

    Based on the helpful feedback we’ve received over the past couple of years we’ve been working on a new version of the site and are almost ready to make the changes live. Before we do though, we wanted to share the test site with you to iron out any major issues.

    New Design
    The first thing that you will notice is the new design. We’re tried to give the site a more modern look while also hoping to make it more usable and easy to navigate for both established and first time users. Additionally we’ve made an effort to incorporate the advertising into the site so that it doesn’t intrude on the page content as much as it currently does.

    Prune
    We’ve had a prune of a couple of sections that weren’t being used – the classifieds section and the news section which based on your feedback and on the site’s traffic patterns we felt didn’t add value to the site.

    Forum Upgrade
    Another major change we’ve made is to upgrade to the latest forum software which should bring a number of benefits that we hope you’ll notice.

    Chat Upgrade
    Chat has been improved and you should now automatically be logged in once you login to the site. If you’re not, you can use your site login and your normal username to easily identify yourself. We’re hoping that this will encourage more of you to use chat again as we’ve noticed that usage has dropped off – probably largely due to the availability of the functionality which should be resolved with the integration of the new technology.

    You can find the test site on the link below and if you have the time we would really appreciate it if you could have a play with the new site to help us identify any issues with logging in, posting, replying etc. If you could post any feedback in this thread it would be very helpful for us to make the final tweaks. When posting any feedback it also helps if you can let us know which browser you’re using as this can make a difference when trying to track down bugs and gremlins.

    A couple of things to bear in mind – the test site is currently using old data so a couple of things might seem strange such as the appearance of daylight as an active user. We apologise for this but this will not be the case when we make the site live. You may also notice a couple of strange characters are present which again will be gone when the site is live.

    Once we’ve received your feedback and worked through it we will make the site live. When doing this is it will be necessary to take the site down for a couple of hours to make sure we don’t lose any data while doing it. We’ll give you advance warning of this and will also schedule it for a time when the site is normally quieter.

    Importantly, once the new site is live we will be working through some ongoing issues that many of you have kindly highlighted – top of the list will be the forum clock and issues with updating your profiles. On the first point we’re going to be moving our hosting supplier with the aim of the site being quicker and more reliable and to avoid a repeat of the site going down as it did over Epsom Derby.

    Finally, I’ll be attending Ascot with Cormack and the rest of the team so I’ll look forward to meeting those of you who are attending.

    Here’s the link: http://dev.theracingforum.co.uk/

    Looking forward to hearing your feedback.

    James and the rest of The Racing Forum team

    #248174
    KevinTHFC
    Participant
    • Total Posts 43

    Won’t let me log in :evil:

    EDIT
    Thats because I don’t know my password :oops:

    #248175
    Goldikova
    Member
    • Total Posts 1537

    It froze and crashed for me James. It dosen’t show avatar pics either. On the plus side it looks good.

    #248176
    james.haycock
    Member
    • Total Posts 31

    Thanks GraemeTheDonkey and KevinTHFC, we’ll get that sorted asap.

    Graeme, glad you like the look of it

    #248177
    KevinTHFC
    Participant
    • Total Posts 43

    Maybe not the right place, but I have been sent a new password that obviously workd fine but I cannot change it as I get an error message saying that my username already exists!

    Kevin

    #248178
    james.haycock
    Member
    • Total Posts 31

    no, thats good to know, thanks Kevin.

    I’ll let you all know when the login issue is fixed, in the meantime any feedback on design and layout is appreciated. Many thanks! :D

    #248179
    seabird
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2924

    Bit worrying when the hot topic has a start date of 2001?! :?

    But it does look very nice.

    Good luck with the project.

    Colin

    #248180
    KevinTHFC
    Participant
    • Total Posts 43

    no, thats good to know, thanks Kevin.

    I’ll let you all know when the login issue is fixed, in the meantime any feedback on design and layout is appreciated. Many thanks! :D

    By the way I’m talking about the original site not letting me change my password. :oops:

    Kevin

    #248181
    james.haycock
    Member
    • Total Posts 31

    Bit worrying when the hot topic has a start date of 2001?! :?

    But it does look very nice.

    Good luck with the project.

    Colin

    Thanks Colin. The data used in the site isn’t the most recent so there are a couple of weird things like that. This will be resolved when the new version goes live. Glad you like the look though!

    By the way I’m talking about the original site not letting me change my password

    Thats an issue we’re aware of and will be top priority once we’ve got the new site live. Hope thats ok

    #248182
    Pompete
    Member
    • Total Posts 2391

    I like it – very stylish…

    Picking up on a point Corm made sometime ago about new member being registered by the computer (thing) and regarding these persistent spammers – the ones with bots. Is it possible to set up a separate section not necessary visible to the rest of us but just the mods where a new member of the forum has to post before being allowed access to the main section.

    This would allow the mods to delete any bot spammers before they reached the main board. I have no idea whether this is possible and also whether the extra work for the mods would make it impractical but just a thought…

    #248183
    james.haycock
    Member
    • Total Posts 31

    Great thanks you like it Pompete

    Interesting idea regarding the moderation of spam. We’ve been chatting through a couple of options with Cormack and with the profile issue and forum clock this is a top priority to ensure the quality of the posting is maintained and to minimise spam posts. We’ll keep you posted on this

    #248216
    Gerald
    Member
    • Total Posts 4293

    The list of registered users (non-moderators and non-administrators) online at the bottom of the Index page is in grey on a black background. You presumably won’t have noticed this, because you are in the Administrator category.

    #248225
    Cav
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4825

    A bit of feedback…..

    Overall looks slicker and its loading faster, new forum software seems to be doing its job.

    Appearance – Dont see the need for the links to topics, articles and member activity on the homepage. The bit at the bottom looks great, but you cant see it until you scroll down. A bit too cluttered.

    Forum Index – Would make the index wider and the links on the right smaller

    Who Is Online – Medium gray on medium grey makes it difficult to read the usernames

    Reading a thread – Again I think the links on the right hand side dominate too much, make them smaller and narrower, make the actual post space wider. At the moment the links stand out and the actual post looks a bit secondary, should be the other way around. The contrast between written font and the background could be better. Give us a darker colour to type with.

    If you have to put links to other parts of the board within a thread why not put in the index, thats where most people will go after reading a particular post.

    Features – Looks great. Having no links helps :wink:

    Chat – Looks really good and a big improvement on the previous version.

    Overall – Good job, main gripes the text contrast and width and secondary feel of the actual threads compared to the overpowering links beside them.

    8)

    #248264
    Drone
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5620

    Endorse what the previous poster has written

    The ‘Search’ ‘Hot Forum Topics’ etc on the right detracts and distracts from the message board itself. The messages should span the whole page. Moreover when scrolling down the page a rather nasty blank white area on the right emerges.

    These links should be on the Home Page only, and perhaps made more prominent there by having them side-by-sdie with the introductions rather than below them.

    I welcome the grey background to the message boards, which is easier on the eyes than white, but feel it is a just a little too dark.

    Functionality of the site seems fine, quick to load and quick to switch between pages.

    #248265
    seabird
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2924

    Are we to assume the spaces are to be filled by ads?

    Bring on the new one as the old one seems to be falling apart, I now seem to have to log on every time I visit here after I have switched my computer off and come back, even though I tick the ‘remember me’ box. (don’t think I’ve explained that very well, I hope you know what I mean!).

    Colin

    #248314
    james.haycock
    Member
    • Total Posts 31

    thanks everyone for all your feedback. in response to your specific points…

    The list of registered users (non-moderators and non-administrators) online at the bottom of the Index page is in grey on a black background. You presumably won’t have noticed this, because you are in the Administrator category.

    gerald, is this something you don’t like or that you find unreadable?

    Logged in OK. Slow loading. Tried to put this reply on Quick Contact but got ‘Server not available’ Shame Classifieds is going. I was going to put a link on my site to the Forum as a thank you for free ads.

    Sorry to hear that you’ll miss the classifieds. Its a section that has hardly been used and we received feedback from several users that they felt it would be better to prune it. We did discuss ways of improving it to encourage posting but felt that our energy was better focused on other areas of the site. Hope that you understand our decision

    Cavelino Rampante, thanks for the lengthly feedback its very useful. A particular point you raised a couple of times, along with Drone is with the popular and recent content and user boxes in the right hand side. We have introduced these because not all users arrive at the site on the forum index. There are lots of users who arrive on a specific forum page that has been shared or found by searching on google. For the users coming in this way, these boxes help sign-post them to content and people of interest. We will consider their prominence however following your feedback. Your comment regarding contrast is a useful one as well and is something we will play with.

    Drone, thank you for your feedback too. Hope what I have written above is useful following your comments.

    Are we to assume the spaces are to be filled by ads?

    Some of the space will be but certainly not all of it. We actually have the same space at the moment but its not so apparent as the background is grey so further highlights this white space

    Bring on the new one as the old one seems to be falling apart

    Now that we’ve had all your useful feedback we can hopefully move quite quickly to get the new version there. Your patience in the meantime is appreciated though :)

    #248315
    Gerald
    Member
    • Total Posts 4293

    Hi James

    It is unreadable.[/color:3ctev5fd]

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