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IP.Social 4.0 Improved Forum Index Layout


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The current forum layout of IP.Board is far too identical with other forums, i.e., they're typically tabulated in some form. The move to showing custom user avatars in the recent poster table column was a great move, but I think it can be improved.

Here is my vision:

A unique forum index that can be set to be horizontally or vertically based. If it is the former, then users could scroll horizontally to see the forums and latest posts.

Here is a rough idea: http://demo2.woothemes.com/scrollider/

Scroll down to the rectangular boxes. The main image of each rectangle box could be the forum categories "home image." Think of it like the rectangular branding that facebook pages use. The title of the forum would come first, then the latest author info, plus a small snippet of their post. I think this top of "spotlight" effect will encourage user activity because their avatar/face gets to be on the front page. The branding images also make the site look nicer, modern, and more appealing.

Here's some inspiration:



http://impactweb.pl/themeforest/modernmetro-dark/ [metro based sliders could be utilized on the forum index and other parts of the site to show updates or more content]

I just don't IP.Social 4.0 to have a boring responsive theme like this: http://phpbb3.pixelgoose.com/index.php?style=2

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What happens when you get into the main portion of the "forums" then. Sure on the main index of the forums you have the boxes, but how do you show all the information that is needed when a user is browsing the forums. So the multiple topics, etc, etc. .

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You bring up a good point. That could still be in a list format, but it should be totally revamped. I think it would be vastly better to show more information in an aesthetically pleasing way, and this can be done by showing last post snippets and redesigning the main forum index template. I will look for examples or inspiration based sites and link them here.


Simple example, not very pleasing though, but it's unique since it shows the forum index in 2 columns and can resize back down to one: http://codepen.io/bradfrost/full/ykalp

Side notes:

see #9 http://mashable.com/2013/03/18/web-design-tools/


Update 2:

I know this might be hard to imagine without a demo, so bear with me. The solution could consist of an easy to access slider where the user decides how detailed the list view should be. The more it scrolls to the right, the denser the content becomes (it would have less images and more text). But when the user scrolls to the left, it will look bigger, have more columns, show more/larger images, have snippets visible, etc. The software should remember the user's last saved preference. The scroller could be a ratio value (as in a fluid number from min to max or it could be categorical: step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4.)

It would be interesting if that could work WITH the responsive layout that changes based on browser width. However, most users don't actively resize browsers (but I do just to see the site in action ;)), so it might not be as big of a deal. The problem is that the slider settings adds a layer of complexity since it will interact with the browser width; thus, there would be combinations between: step 1 (most modern) to step 4 (least modern, very dense list) and browser widths (desktop, tablet, mobile).

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Those examples are pretty bad and unneeded. Ditching what is the pinnacle design of message board software is a terrible idea. All they need to do is add a few bells and whistles to the current design, make it responsive, and you have a perfect design for 4.0

Tons of people are fleeing from vBulletin 5x due to trying to follow those examples you listed.

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The current forum layout of IP.Board is far too identical with other forums, i.e., they're typically tabulated in some form.

That's what custom designs are for or at least should be for. Making the default layout more gimmicky will just mean more gimmicky changes that'll make it hard or expensive to update custom themes.
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