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User survey: time for revamp


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Half a year has passed, time for the next JREF revamp! ;)

Aims: a) easier navigation + b) higher legibility + c) better structurisation = higher user friendliness

a) in addition to the site menu at the bottom of each page I will add a top navigation menu (see the dev page linked below)

b) larger fonts: not all of our users are teenagers with 10/10 eyesight, and the admin is growing older too, lol. I have based my choice of fonts on the following usability studies

=> http://www.codestyle.org/css/font-family/sampler-WindowsResults.shtml

=> http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usabilitynews/3S/font.htm (very interesting!)

c) "spacier" design without unnecessary bells and whistles (no spacer and navigation images, nested tables etc.)

I contemplated about using CSS for the entire site, but gave up on the idea with regard to incompatibility issues of older browsers such as Netscape 4.x.

Here's a preview of what I have on my mind. Expecting an outcry of aesthetes, I invite you to post your feedback. It's just a temporary page, so most of the links will not work.

Dev page

=> http://dev.japanreference.com/
Clear, no nonsense, should appeal to the Spartan in us all. No complaints here.
umm the new post time out thing, i.e. if i spend 5-10 minutes writing a reply and post it when i go back to the forum home or the sub-forum the thread was in, it automaticly marks all forums read when i didnt want it to and then i have a hard time finding whats new. as far as i can tell, it doesnt happen while im at the forum home or in a sub-forum only when im viewing a thread. or maybe i should just learn to reply faster :p
about the mainpage. i think it looks more professional and better put together the way it is now versus the newer one. the current layout reminds me of a newspaper and looks more infomative as well. you dont wanna go too low tech, people might think you didnt put much effort into the site. while i like this font it would be better to make it abit bigger for the non-teenagers as you put it. oh and keep the same color scheme throughout, using red or that khaki color instead of the green and purple for the forum and topsites.
Mandylion, Jeisan, thanks for your suggestions!

I have changed the font size as well as the table colours. I still have to tinker with the header design, I admit that the current graphic appears to be too simplistic.

Nice colors on the forums btw. Very easy on the eyes and no more white margins (yay!).
Thanks for your feedback! I am glad you like the new style, I opted for some sort of "tatami/bamboo" colour scheme, lol. The upgrade is not concluded yet. If you happen to encounter any problems or errors, please contact me.

yeah good job thomas. i like this format. i was thinking maybe putting a direct link to the forum index on the mainpage up there by support and sitemap.

off topic is your server having problems or is it just gettin bogged down? becuase ive noticed over the last few days things are taking alot longer than normal and a page ive never seen before popped up when i clicked on new posts, saying something to the effect of its in progress, usually its instanious.
things are seeming to load a bit slower now, but at least the site's working! thanks! much appreciated!
and it looks like the forum kept my settings!
Older Member !

Fantastic, Don't even need my glasses now ! The colors are so relaxing I had to remove my dentures and place next to the glasses !
Great Work !
Just a few suggestions...

1) the new white design looks very pure... but, I shall be happy to see some kind of faint shade of beige or brown separating threads and messages for even more legibilty.When I check post by user names (last post), on a page full of threads I can't always see clearly which topic goes with which name, date, or number of replies (especially while scrolling !). I suggest either that every odd thread be in a different shade, or that there should be a fine divider between each thread/message.

2) I don't know if it's my screen or my eyes, but I can't scarecely see the nuance of colour between the background and the thread/forum list itself. It took me about 15min on the forum to first notice that there was one !

Simple is good, but I found this new design to be too clear. It's like staring at snow. That leads me to my third suggestion :

3) As everybody is different and has varying tastes, why not let the user choose their own design in the user preference, in the way they do it on other forums such as this one (in a thread, the "style" is written under each user name, click on different ones to see what I mean. E.g. dark blue or pale white )

That would be the best I think...
Probably your eye/screen combo, Maciamo, lolol. Seriously, the new design is far from being white and easy on the eyes, as other users have previously mentioned. I assume you're using an old monitor displaying only 256 colours.


PS: Can you see any colour nuances in the image below?

=> http://forum.japanreference.com/images/conf/greenshade.gif
Hi Thomas,

Actually I have a quite new computer now, with a flat 15inches LCD screen in 1024x768 32bit colour.

I can see the light brown part on the right of the rectangle, but the one on the left is almost white and barely perceptible on my screen. I don't think it's my eyes, as I have a pretty good view and usually put a point in distiguishing more colours than the average people in my decriptions.

Let me try on my old laptop, which is usually darker for colours....

Well, it's much better. I have now seen for the first time that there were actually different colours for the column "thread, thread starter, replies, last post, etc." and I can now see a white line between each thread and messages. Very strange indeed. Even changing the brightness of my new screen doesn't help. :confused:

But what about my suggestion of being able to select different designs ? It should be possible as the other forum I mentioned was also a vB forum.
Hm, just guessing, perhaps you have set your screen too bright... :confused:

I have experimented with the so-called "websafe colours", but these variations are quite limited. According to this article most surfers use True Colour (24- and 32-bit) or at least High Colour (16-bit) definitions on their boxes, so non-websafe colours should not be an issue.

@ white line

The border colour is set to white which I deem to be more "elegant" than dark borders.

@ template sets

Possibly to be implemented in future. Time's ticking away, and my to-do list for the next four weeks keeps getting longer.

Anyhow, I consider the forum a testbed for the rest of the site, so I am waiting for more suggestions and responses. :)
I basically agree that the new color scheme is better as well.....but the aesthete in me would still very much like a light tatami green design or at least lettering in the upper left hand corner that would lessen the clunkiness (for want of a better word) or harshness of so large a border space. Or maybe there's another way around it, I don't know, that's probably just what I've been conditioned to accept by most other forums. ;)
oh theres some code issues on the reply to PM page and the new PM page its using the old colors and the "user cp" and "new posts" buttons are outta whack. just thought id let you know.

and now that i notice its about the same on the edit post page as well.
Thanks for your feedback!

@ Elizabeth

Which border space are you referring to?

@ jeisan

Much appreciated, I will update the PM templates.
netscape does a lot of nulls also, but i hit back and it fixes
usually the older design reappears when it does this
Originally posted by thomas
Thanks for your feedback!

@ Elizabeth

Which border space are you referring to?
The top of the threads pages is where the amount of white space is most noticeable. And although the maroon 'Japan Forum' is slowly growing on me, it still doesn't seem an ideal fit with the overall color scheme.
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