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Update Comprehensive website update

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thomas

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Dear valued Members,

we would like to inform you of an impending update here at Japan Reference (JREF).

In the coming days (most likely next Saturday, Sept. 5) we are not only going to upgrade the forum (and all related modules) to the latest version of XenForo, we will also switch to a new, fully responsive style and change the directory structure of the website, although the forum will not be affected by that.

All our articles (now managed through Wordpress) have been ported over to a Article Management System (AMS) that is fully integrated into XenForo, very much like our Media and Review sections. Another module to be added soon will be an Event/Calendar add-on similar to what we had in the olden days of vBulletin.

As pointed out in this announcement, we are going to drop the support of Tapatalk due to their repeated security and privacy violations.

We expect the website to be closed for at least four hours and apologise in advance for the inconvenience. We shall keep you updated on the JREF index page as well as on our Facebook page.

Please find a few screen shots of the new style below and mind that this is by no means the final design. There will be a lot of cosmetic changes, adaptations and ongoing customisation, and we are of course looking forward to your feedback.

Index page:

It will display the latest media, forum threads, articles and reviews.

xenith-index01.png


xenith-index02.png


Forum index:

xenith-forum.png


Forum thread:

xenith-threadview.png



New feature: forum tags

xenith-tags.png



Article section:

xenith-articles.png



We do realise that change is not always easy and welcome, but we are positive that this will be the last in a series of comprehensive and significant updates Japan Reference (JREF) has undergone in the past few years. We do look forward to your feedback.

Last but not least, one more feature we would like to introduce is a sort of paid annual membership for members (currently the donors) who will be able to browse the website without being exposed to advertising. I should add that - thanks to the JPY depreciation - hosting and license fees have increased considerably. We were thinking of annual donations amounting to the equivalent of USD 5.00. That will not cover the parking fees for our Bentley, but it may contribute to our dedicated server. ;)

Thank you for your understanding and patience!
 

Uncle Frank

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I find being so full of "bull" that red raises my blood pressure and makes me paw the ground ; maybe a green or blue would be more calming. Lately , it seems we should change the "BLOGS" heading to "Lost & Found" , LOL.
I will spend Saturday burning incense and chanting prayers that the new change goes as well as the past few have and spray Raid to prevent any bugs. Really appreciate all the thought and work you put into making our forum the best Thomas !
 
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thomas

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I don't know why, but I have this fixed idea that a Japan-related theme should be based on shades of red, white and grey. Perhaps we should consider adding a pastel-coloured theme and call it "Frank's Little Helper". ;)

I expect no major challenges, nevertheless Saturday's going to be a big day, as I started to prepare for this upgrade in March.
 

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Good luck, Thomas. I hope it goes smoothly. I eagerly await the new layout.
 
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thomas

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Thanks @Lacota ! :)

FYI: I am backing up the DBs right now, once that's accomplished we are ready to roll.

We expect the update to take 4-5 hours. See you on the other side!
 
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thomas

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We are back online, sorry it's taken a bit longer than expected!

Full functionality has been restored, but there are a few cosmetic issues that still need to be taken care of. If you find any errors or glitches, please report them right in this thread. If you have any feedback as to the design, please do not hesitate to post it here as well. Currently, the maroon header is darker than in the preliminary design, mainly as a courtesy to @Uncle Frank, but I'm open to any of your suggestions.
 

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The forum overview page has become quite something for users who are not logged in. The "Sign up" banner now takes up nearly half of the vertical screen space! Is it even necessary to have it at all? With the advert and the featured thread box added, the actual forum listing only starts at the very bottom of the screen - on a 1920x1200 desktop monitor. On the upside, at least the "文字化け" notification box is removed now :) (was the conversion completed?)

The header that shifts into view when you start scrolling up is rather distracting, to me at least. It immediately attracts your gaze to the very top of the screen, even if that's not where you wanted to look.

The tabs on the left side of the "Personal details" page barely have any contrast (light gray background with only slightly darker text) which makes them look like they're disabled.

On the "Ratings you've received", "Ratings you've given" and "About Author" pages, the page title has a white background, unlike the other pages where it's gray. Also, what's the difference between "About Author" and "About You" in Settings -> Personal details?

The textboxes on the "Start a new conversation" page have a gray background instead of white.

Several pages have a serif font in random places, such as "Contact Details", "Alert Preferences" and "Password".

Other things which have probably already been noticed: when logging in, the popup where you enter your credentials changes width depending on which text field is focused. Also, curiously, after logging in all listings (of forums, threads in a forum, and posts in a thread) get wider.
 
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thomas

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Thanks @lanthas , I really appreciate it! :)

That giant header shown in your image has actually been disabled, I wonder why it still being displayed to you. Here's the screen on my iDevices before logging on:

image.jpg

And no, the 文字化け issue hasn't been fully addressed yet due to the upgrade. I'll resume the clean-up once the conversion and all it side-effects will have been tackled successfully. By the way, notification boxes can easily be dismissed.

The "sticky header" can be disabled, too, in case it's too intrusive or distracting.

More contrast on the blocks you mentioned: noted.
Different width when logged in and out: noted.
Start New Conversation link styling: noted.

Thanks again for taking your time, I'll take care of these issues tomorrow evening once I'm back from work. 👍
 

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After refreshing the page again, the "Sign up" banner has indeed disappeared. And I found the option for disabling the sticky header, didn't know there was one. Thank you!
 

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Is there a way to make it so if I have a user set to be ignored, I don't see anything from them? The forum shows me that they have posted and asks me if I want to view the post.

Thanks!
 

thomas

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Is there a way to make it so if I have a user set to be ignored, I don't see anything from them? The forum shows me that they have posted and asks me if I want to view the post.
Not out of the box, I'm afraid. Will look into the issue.

On the update itself: we'll continue to tweak and experiment over the next few days. Please do report any inconsistencies, errors or aesthetic nuisances you encounter.

Thanks!
 

thomas

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Also, what's the difference between "About Author" and "About You" in Settings -> Personal details? [...]

Several pages have a serif font in random places, such as "Contact Details", "Alert Preferences" and "Password".
Sorry, I forgot to answer this one: "About You" reflects the member particulars, while "About Author" is used for additional biographical info on article authors. The latter can probably be removed in order to avoid clutter.

The theme uses both sans-serif and serif fonts. I'll look into those inconsistencies, thank you! 👍
 

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Switching to my Android smartphone, the navigation header is a bit messy (both in Firefox and Chrome). Most notably the menu button (三) is displayed below the site logo instead of to its right. Regular, sticky

In the menu that appears when clicking your avatar in the header, 6 menu items are cut off. 5 out of those are only missing two or three letters, and those are replaced by an ellipsis; making the menu slightly wider would allow them to be displayed completely.
 

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@lanthas : what's the screen resolution on your Android? I have increased the Account Menu width by 20px. Has it made any difference?

xenith-accountmenu.png


A few little tweaks:

  • extended the page width to the same dimensions for users logged in and logged out (fluid 94%)
  • removed the sticky header on scroll-up
  • redesigned the "Contact" and "Start a Conversation" links on thread view and on the Personal Information page
  • changed the textarea bgcolor in focused and disabled state

The header as well as Personal Details page still need more attention. All the other issues reported will be tackled peu à peu. Thanks again for your patience.
 

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My phone's resolution is 720x1280 - the screenshots I linked are in their original size.

I'm afraid that increasing the width of the menu hasn't made any difference; the same items are still cut off. Most likely there are two different versions of this menu, one for desktop and one for mobile, since there are lots of little differences: desktop has mixed-case menu items while mobile has all upper case; desktop has the "Update your status" textbox at the bottom while mobile has it at the top; the order of the menu items is different, some are missing entirely on mobile; etc.

I also just discovered that you can scroll to the right in the mobile menu, thereby revealing the (jumbled) contents of the nonselected tabs.
 
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thomas

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Just for comparison, that's what it looks like on the iPhone 6+:

image.jpg


@lanthas Would you mind if I forwarded your screenshots to the developer?
 

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Not at all, they're already public for the world to see anyway.
 

thomas

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Thanks @Davey ! What type of cellphone are you using? Judging from your screenie it's an Android too.
 

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My feedback/ impression: I don't personally notice any great improvements or big negative changes, but I surmise there are things I'll notice soon enough. One thing I reacted to though is the color-scheme. I'd personally find it more appeasing if there was more white and a bit less grey.

These colors could get whiter: http://i.imgur.com/HJsrTvd.jpg
 

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Thanks @fragan5 , I appreciate your comment!

The main purpose of this update was of technical nature, the new style wasn't something we had actually planned to implement. Needless to say, the revamp is far from being over and will likely continue in the days and weeks to come, which is why we appreciate your feedback!

When we changed the theme last time in October 2014 a few members complained that it was "too bright" which is why this time we dimmed the body background slightly down. The content areas are in fact white (#ffffff). It's probably related to your monitor. I'm working with three different screens here, and each of them displays the grey background in a different shade, not to mention the iDevices I'm using. Anyhow, I'll be glad to keep on experimenting with the colour palette.
 

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I don't know if it's due to the update since I recently switched from tapatalk, but I get massive typing lag on my iPad when trying to post. Just about nowhere else I go on the internet does this happen.
 

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I don't know if it's due to the update since I recently switched from tapatalk, but I get massive typing lag on my iPad when trying to post. Just about nowhere else I go on the internet does this happen.
Thanks @WonkoTheSane , lag on the UI.X framework has been reported occasionally (not on JREF though). Before delving into the issue could you please tell me what device and OS you were using?
 

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iPad 2, 8.4.1

My iPhone 5s has no issue so it might well just be that I use an old iPad.
 
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