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Updating look of the forum?

Discussion in 'CZ Support Zone' started by LatinMind, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. LatinMind

    LatinMind iPhotoshop

    10,228 Messages
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    I was wondering if you guys ever thought about Updating the look for the forum? Redesigning, or even just touching it up a little? If you guys ever decided you guys wanted to I'd really like to help out with this. I've done it two a couple of forums i post at. It's really not alot work basically you make a banner which u guys already have unless you wanted to upgrade that, some touch up on the photos you guys use as the players on the banners. I use photoshop and alot of plugins that would bring out alot of the details on the older cowboy pictures there. 2 Gradients for the forum area and a category spacer. Like i said just offering it up if you guys ever thought of doing this.

    Here are 2 of the forums i've redone in the last yr.

    http://dallascowboyfansunited.com
    This forum i just redid this week. 3 types of forum skins, Dark, Light, and a mobile friendly skin. Really love the dark feel to it. I do this site from top to bottom in design.

    http://forums.sportsjabber.net/sjforums/
    This forum is kinda cluttered but thats the way they like it. I just designed the graffics and let them install it. And they add from there with people who do special things for them. Like tribute banners and stuff. Makes it look a little cheesy but its their forum.
  2. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy The Teen

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    I would be in favor of upgrading to the latest V-Bulletin. I'd donate to that cause.
  3. Cowboy Brian

    Cowboy Brian Romo 2 Austin

    12,084 Messages
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    Same.
  4. Reality

    Reality Administrator Staff Member

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    We do our major site upgrades during the offseason usually after the draft and before training camp to avoid any issues during important time periods for the Cowboys.

    As for layouts, I have designed hundreds if not thousands of them since the days of the pre-release versions of the oldest browsers. In that time, I have learned a couple of things.

    First, users come to content sites for content, not because its pretty. There are a lot of beautifully designed sites that get no traffic because they are slow, bloated or cluttered due to graphics and "eye candy." As I like to say, beautiful, graphical and colorful sites impress users on the first couple of visits, annoy them on the next few visits and frustrate them on all future visits.

    Second, users (and I'm including all of us) hate change. Even when we think we want it, we really don't because relearning how to navigate or use a site simply for the sake of change is annoying and frustrating.

    I stripped a lot of wasted space and removed a lot of unnecessary features from the current heavily customized version of vBulletin we run. I did this because I want the site to be fast and clean.

    Sure, CZ's layout can be considered boring but that's perfectly fine. There are plenty of rarely used eye candy forum sites on the net and considering the traffic that this site receives each day, I, and evidently the users, are perfectly happy with CowboysZone.

    That being said, we are planning to upgrade the forum software this offseason but given the horrible mess vBulletin 4.x is, I have been in no rush to use it. Most high traffic vBulletin forums have avoided vBulletin 4.x for the same reason.

    -Reality
  5. xout

    xout Believer

    487 Messages
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    Honestly I think this board is pefect the way it is. It's easy to read, easy to navigate, and the graphics are simple.

    If anything - a fancier header may be beneficial but other than that the board should be left alone.
  6. tupperware

    tupperware A Plastic Container

    7,269 Messages
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    Switch to XenForo ;)

    VBulletin is slowly getting worse and worse.
  7. Reality

    Reality Administrator Staff Member

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    I have been following Kier's progress for the last year but it is still lacking in features and has yet to be vetted for security holes. In the future, I suspect XenForo will overtake vBulletin but I am not sure it is stable or secure enough to use at this point on a site like CZ.

    And for the record, I am not a vbulletin fan even though we run it here. vBulletin went downhill when IB bought JelSoft and the promised completely new 4.0 version was really just the same existing software with a few changes and a ton of bugs. Most high traffic vbulletin sites have avoided switching to 4.x because of bugs and performance issues. On top of that, they forced all licensed users to have buy a brand new license. In other words, it was a money grab and a lot of unsuspecting sites fell for it.

    I have wanted to switch for a long time but most users have grown comfortable with CZ as it has been for many years and changing for the sake of change rarely goes over well with users. The day will come that we make a switch but it needs to be to software that can provide a secure and fully featured environment to the users.

    -Reality
  8. Cowboy Brian

    Cowboy Brian Romo 2 Austin

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    What about IPB?
  9. Tricericon

    Tricericon Member

    874 Messages
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    No offense, but the current design here is superior to either of the ones you just linked to. Far superior to DCFU.
  10. tupperware

    tupperware A Plastic Container

    7,269 Messages
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    Yeah XenForo will definitely need to mature for a lot of bigger sites to switch to it. When I said that though, it was kind of a poke to IB more than a realistic suggestion for CZ at this point.

    IPB is a good alternative. It's a shame vBulletin can't live forever off the 3.8.x because 4.x.x sucks IMO. Higher on resources and it doesn't even look much better to be honest.
  11. Cowboy Brian

    Cowboy Brian Romo 2 Austin

    12,084 Messages
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    IPB looks the most mature, and with the blog and gallery app it would add alot of depth to the forums with users being able to post pics when they attend training camp/games right on the site, and being able to post Blogs for draft/their opinions etc;. It would make CowboysZone a full-fledged community site rather than just a forum.

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