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Thread: Forum Layout

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Hi everyone

    I need help on this one. I am in the process of writing a forum script, but one problem I am facing constantlly is how to display so much information without cluttering up the interface.

    For example, take a typical post on WDF (or any other typical forum). It contains the the poster's alias, avatar, lots of options (edit, view profile, etc), and a lot more. Now multiply that for EACH post in the thread, and you get a lot of info to display...

    But WDF's design is not messy. Some forums are very messy though. So I have two questions:

    What elements do you like/dislike seeing in forums? What is your favourite layout for these elements?

    To give you something I thought about: do you like the poster's alias above the post or to its left (like on WDF)?

    Any other comments, like smiley support, HTML support, etc are welcome!

    Much appreciated.
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  3. #2
    Junior Member Kooter's Avatar
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    Personally, I wouldn't have the forums centered in the window or have the users information who's posting the reply or starting the thread above the text, I'd have the forums left aligned and auto stretch the table so you don't have the wasted space on both sides of the furums. Then, I'd havet the personal info to the left of the post.
    Just my personal belief (2cents)!

  4. #3
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    I am more used to the forum layouts that have the user info (avatar, alias, location, # of posts) on the left and message body on the right.

    I do like sites that allow for smiley support, image tags, vbCode for vbulletin sites and html. I might not use all the features in every post but it is nice to know that they are there if needed.

  5. #4
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    HI

    Thanks for the feedback - I really appreicate it. I've already implemented a lot of what you are saying, so that's good.

    You also mentioned "user info"... what do you think is essential to track (or display), and what is just bloat?

    Thanks again!
    eKstreme
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  6. #5
    Senior Member rosland's Avatar
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    All you get is of course personal opinions, but:

    I've read/viewed a lot of different forums using vBulletin, phpBB, phpNuke and so forth. The first and foremost with regard to design, is to narrow the display!

    Unclear? Look at this forum (best I've seen so far). All content are contained within approx 60% of screen width. That means you know anything interesting is to be found within those borders. Most default layouts cover the whole screen 100%. Even if that sounds like a minuscule design difference, that makes A LOT OF difference! Pages that wide are difficult to navigate.

    With regard to what is required of options, I guess that's a matter of taste. I personally like the options presented here, no more no less. You could maybe loose the toolbar with "view profile, e-mail, view posts etc". Otherwise, this design is as close to perfection as I can imagine.
    S. Rosland

  7. #6
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    I know exactly what you are talking about! I like WDF because it is narrow, but I also see the advantages of having 100% width. There is are 2 major problems with making the forum narrow:

    1. Long posts tend to occupy massive amounts of space if the design is narrow. When someone posts a script, or someone explains something in excruciating detail, then the posts will look too long.

    2. URLs can be very long. Not only that, but code lines can get long too. We've all seen these massive one liners where everything happens! Thus we need a good text-wrapping algorithm.

    The solution I went for is to have the forum go to 100%, but of course, it is limited to wherever you place it in the page. So if you stick it in table cell that is 60% wide, then it will go just to that width (the forum is inserted with one line of code!)

    The other solution I had to come up with is to wrap all long lines of text (longer than a webmaster-defined setting). This text-wrapping functionality involves smart wrapping of URLs so that they are still clickable (and point to the right place), but wrapped.

    BTW, anyone interested in alpha/beta testing?
    eKstreme
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