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IP.Board 3.1 Update: Mobile Skin Improvements


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With the release of IP.Board 3.1 and our new iPhone application, we decided to make some further improvements to our mobile skin to expand on the great start introduced earlier this year. We wanted to give the skin a more modern, touch-friendly feel, and improve usability for those devices to suit.

So here's some of what we've done:

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As you'll see straight away, the board header is now significantly smaller. We wanted to make the content the focus of the new design, so we've cut out all of the space-hogging links and replaced them with a clean button-activated menu. Which looks like this:

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We've also made important buttons bigger and easier to press when you're on the move, on your phone. Where there's too much to display, such as each post in a topic view, we've hidden the buttons behind touch-activation. This functionality is, of course, all backwards compatible with devices that don't support or block JavaScript.

Another area we were keen to add, to compliment the new iPhone application, is status updates. You can now view status updates by your friends, or all members of your communities, directly from your mobile. We've started small, with just the status updates themselves, but we plan to expand this in future revisions to include status replies and the ability to reply to them.

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Some other enhancements:

  • Touchable rows - Anywhere there is a list, such as the forum list on the board index, or the topic list in forum view, entire rows are now touchable. You can press anywhere on the row to go to that item, rather than having to aim carefully for the link within.
  • View new content - In IP.Board 3.0, this list was set by default to "show me all new content since my last visit", even on your mobile device. This meant that if you closed the iPhone application, when you went back in, this list would be empty. We've changed this to default to "show me all content that I have not read", preserving the list across sessions.
  • CSS-based styles - As most modern mobile devices use new, CSS3-compliant rendering engines, we've been able to use CSS-based gradients and border-radius settings to lower the number of images the skin loads, saving and your wallet from hefty data-plan fees.
  • Everything's bigger - This might sound simple, but the biggest change we've made is to make the font size bigger throughout. Hopefully this will mean less squinting when you're trying to use it on your phone!

We'd love to hear what you think about the improvements we've made to the mobile skin. It will be included as standard, for free, in IP.Board 3.1 when it is released. It will install right along with the upgrade and be available for your members to enjoy.

If you find any issues, please report them to the bug tracker.

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