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PostSubject: Forum Design Review.   Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:13 pm

I got our forum's design reviewed. Staff. Take a look at this and make edits if you want.



TheBlindXatu Forums


Graphics and Layout


Banner (Score: 4/10) 
The idea of using a single character for the banner is nice, but the problem with this is that your forum title isn't within the banner image itself. This allows anyone to take the image and use it as their own. I suggest putting the forum title over the Xatu if you have Photoshop (be sure to use a strike around the text to keep it legible, though). Also, I suggest making the Xatu a little bit smaller to reduce the amount of screen space it takes up.

Navigation Bar (Score: 2/5) 
The navigation bar is a generic one from a premade theme. Try finding a new one to fit a theme idea that you have in mind. You know the effect around the Xatu (did you make it?) - if you made that effect, try making new buttons and applying that effect to them. As of now, they are functional but don't really fit the forum.

Post & Forum Icons (Score: 2/5) 
Whilst the Xatus themselves are nice (hence earning you a score of at least 2), you do not have icons for 'no new posts'. This ends up causing empty space on the left of each forum, which could easily be filled with a grey Xatu, or what have you. Currently, it makes the forum look a bit unfinished.

Background (Score: 2/5) 
Black is nice and prevents distraction, but there is nothing to it. Try adding a faint pattern or a repeating gentle gradient. If you can, you could also try to make one large gradient across the screen, but keep in mind that not everyone's screen size is the same. You would need to use coding to match the background with people's screen sizes.

Other Forum Images (Score: 4/5) 
The animated Xatu for the FMChat is a very fun idea. A forum like this doesn't really need a whole plethora of images, so this is fine. Maybe one or two others on the sidebar wouldn't go amiss though.

Theme (Score: 4/10) 
The forum at the moment doesn't really have a cohesive theme. The navigation bar is taken from a premade theme, and the rest of the theme feels like a different default. It feels much like a work in progress - try working on the theme more, adding more images, keep checking to make sure the theme looks completely correct the entire way through, then come back for another review. The darkness in the middle (once you scroll past the navbar) shows you want a dark theme though, so it is just the navbar and occasional images you need to fix.

Forum/Category Layout & Organization (Score: 2/10) 
There is a serious issue here. Your lack of forum post images are showing because you have your categories set to none. In the admin panel, go to display -> structure and hierarchy. I suggest setting it to split categories on index, medium. This means the forum won't be so long and the subforums will be hidden (but you can change these options below the layout menu) - I also suggest hiding the mods in each forum (again, same location, just below where you select the category options) because unless the forum relies on different mod groups, it's redundant to keep seeing moderators: moderators. 

Also in regards to the forum layout, try putting the most important things in each category and forum at the top. For example, rules and news should be at the top, pointless forum games at the bottom (maybe even below 'ask the members'). 

In any case, good luck with your forum, hope to see you around for the next review 

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