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JD Hart

Aeipathy

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Your Name: JD
Link to your site: http://aeipathy.proboards.com/
Link to your staff account on the RPG: http://aeipathy.proboards.com/user/1
What you are looking to have reviewed: Any and all.

 

I'm always looking to improve the forum and keep growing our membership base, so any advice or offered suggestions would be greatly appreciated 😄

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Just a couple quick notes, but before that this is genuinely one of the most beautiful forums I have ever seen. I just like scrolling up and down it. Holy hell it is a work of art.

  • You mention in your rules page some policy regarding your cbox, and also note it as a "first port of call for guests". I cannot actually find a cbox anywhere xD I'm guessing this was simply there before you got the embedded Discord (stalker I am, I remember where the cbox USED to be), but you should probably remove that section! I might actually remove that whole chunk of the rules - I totally understand the bit about slagging off the board elsewhere, but it reads a bit "big brother"-y, and should be one of those unspoken policies anyways!
  • Big issue for me as a "potential member" (I wish I had the time to be a potential member, yo) is that I don't have permissions to see a completed character sheet before I join. I like to know completely what I'm getting into, and while reading threads is a big part of that, I need to see what the site culture surrounding applications is before I commit to making one.
  • In your newcomer's guide, the "create an account" doesn't link anywhere. I'd remove the character creation stuff from the rules page to shorten it and put it in a new create an account page.

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Clipsed makes some valid points, and I won't repeat them as it would be needless to do so. Instead I'm going to focus on skin/aesthetics, because omg that skin is gorgeous but there are some things that do jump out at me, as a visually-impaired user. Note that I do not use a screenreader or special software such as jaws beyond a simple ctrl+i for windows magnifier and ctrl+/- for browser zoom. I am keyboard+mouse as well, though I do tab through links on occasion especially if using my laptop (because trackpads are terrible.)

 

First, there is a lot of blank space at the top of your board. The top banner is cool as a first-visit thing but may get tedious after a while of constantly having to scroll past it to get to the content and even just to get the sidebar visible. That said, it does look very nice.

 

You're skin is beautiful, seriously. Background-image-based skins with transparency on elements can look really nice, and this really is showcased in your sidebar nicely. I'd suggest adding a bit of a hover effect on the links though, just to give the user an indication that they're being hovered over. I'd also switch the sidebar to be on the left instead of the right, as that's where most westerners tend to look first (And I as a left-handed person who cannot actually see out of my right eye would have particular trouble) although even with the placement being opposite of what I'm used to it probably wouldn't dissuade me from joining (if only I had the time) Also, the background for the main board area is a touch bright. Combined with some of the smaller font sizes used I find myself squinting even with the site being zoomed in (And I can only go up to 125% before the board is too wide for my 1080p 27in monitor and I have to scroll left-right as well. With all navigation links on the righthand side I have to scroll over to reach them.)

 

-You have a long, long list of boards on the index.17 for Athenia, 12 for Colchis, 17 for Taengea, 8 of which aren't posted in as of writing this. Maybe try condensing some of the areas within the same city together? It creates a bit of a scroll otherwise. If you intend to keep them, I would suggest a "back to top" button in a corner somewhere that would take the user to the top of the page once having scrolled a bit.

 

Your font size for the board descriptions is also quite small, and with the white background can be a bit of a challenge to read at 9px. The box scrolls after all, so why not bump that up to 11- or- 12px for readability? Also a minor thing in the same vein as the above but I'd switch the placement of the board image and the board name, but again that's just me.

 

Topic list looks good, it doesn't deviate from what one would normally expect in a forum, and information is clearly laid out. The threads themselves look great, and I like that you've got a default sort of posting template baked into the skin. The only thing I'd recommend is making the scrollbar for the template a bit more visible.

 

You're information pages look great, and everything is readable, although once more I will echo my complaint about navigation links being on the right instead of the left side of the page.  They could also use a hover effect on them as, just to make it clear that what is being hovered is indeed a link.

 

The "Who's Who Wall" also seems like it loads quite a bit slower than the other guidebook pages, and that it'll show html/bbcode tags until the page is fully rendered. When checking the page in chrome devtools there's are a few syntax errors and DOM exceptions that come up but I'm not familiar enough with proboards to tell what's your own javascript/code and what is the board itself. It's worth noting that it's only that page that seems to load so slowly, so I'd recommend validating your code and checking for syntax errors and shorten it if you can.

 

And, while above I mentioned that I am keyboard+mouse, I do tend to tab through links on occasion. There seems to be a lot of outline:0 properties defined in your css, as normally chrome applies a blue outline to links that are tabbed into a focus state. (Focus is different than hover) and as a result of setting outline to 0, the site cannot be navigated with tabbing through links. This also means that those who cannot make use of a mouse/trackpad will find it particularly difficult to navigate your site.

 

All in all, skin/aesthetics-wise, you have a fairly solid site. The skin is eye-catching in a good way, and minor gripes about being a lefty aside it is easy to navigate through and it's easy to find things. Information is laid out clearly and is easy to understand, which is always a good thing.

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On 8/15/2018 at 2:04 PM, clipsed said:

Just a couple quick notes, but before that this is genuinely one of the most beautiful forums I have ever seen. I just like scrolling up and down it. Holy hell it is a work of art.

  • You mention in your rules page some policy regarding your cbox, and also note it as a "first port of call for guests". I cannot actually find a cbox anywhere xD I'm guessing this was simply there before you got the embedded Discord (stalker I am, I remember where the cbox USED to be), but you should probably remove that section! I might actually remove that whole chunk of the rules - I totally understand the bit about slagging off the board elsewhere, but it reads a bit "big brother"-y, and should be one of those unspoken policies anyways!
  • Big issue for me as a "potential member" (I wish I had the time to be a potential member, yo) is that I don't have permissions to see a completed character sheet before I join. I like to know completely what I'm getting into, and while reading threads is a big part of that, I need to see what the site culture surrounding applications is before I commit to making one.
  • In your newcomer's guide, the "create an account" doesn't link anywhere. I'd remove the character creation stuff from the rules page to shorten it and put it in a new create an account page.

 

Firstly - thank you so much for your compliments! I worked hard on the site and it's lovely when people like its aesthetics.

 

And thank you so much for the review comments! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you on it >.<

 

Okay so -

 

- Thanks for the notice on the Rules page. You are indeed correct - we had a cbox in that location and now have the Discord box. So I have now edited out that piece in the Rules and Tutorials page (including the piece on bad-mouthing on other sites - I bow to the wisdom of the long-running Charming 😉 ) So this should not be so confusing.

 

- With regards to the applications - out applications, trackers and plotters are all in our profile pages which are hidden from guest view by default by Proboards. What I've now done is create a little popup for guests when they first log on to the site and I've included a "sample rp thread" and a "sample application" (the latter of which is a screenshot of an application page. I hope that this (if not fully) at least addresses this issue a little.

 

- The Create an Account button not working I don't know what to say about as it appears to be working my end? I don't know if maybe this was just a blip?

 

- I hear what you're saying on the moving of the create an account info but I think I'm going to make the executive choice to keep this one how it is. I totally understand your point though, and appreciate all the feedback you've given and I will keep it in mind for future information/changes I make need to make 😄

 

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On 8/18/2018 at 12:40 AM, kjSage said:

Clipsed makes some valid points, and I won't repeat them as it would be needless to do so. Instead I'm going to focus on skin/aesthetics, because omg that skin is gorgeous but there are some things that do jump out at me, as a visually-impaired user. Note that I do not use a screenreader or special software such as jaws beyond a simple ctrl+i for windows magnifier and ctrl+/- for browser zoom. I am keyboard+mouse as well, though I do tab through links on occasion especially if using my laptop (because trackpads are terrible.)

 

First, there is a lot of blank space at the top of your board. The top banner is cool as a first-visit thing but may get tedious after a while of constantly having to scroll past it to get to the content and even just to get the sidebar visible. That said, it does look very nice.

 

You're skin is beautiful, seriously. Background-image-based skins with transparency on elements can look really nice, and this really is showcased in your sidebar nicely. I'd suggest adding a bit of a hover effect on the links though, just to give the user an indication that they're being hovered over. I'd also switch the sidebar to be on the left instead of the right, as that's where most westerners tend to look first (And I as a left-handed person who cannot actually see out of my right eye would have particular trouble) although even with the placement being opposite of what I'm used to it probably wouldn't dissuade me from joining (if only I had the time) Also, the background for the main board area is a touch bright. Combined with some of the smaller font sizes used I find myself squinting even with the site being zoomed in (And I can only go up to 125% before the board is too wide for my 1080p 27in monitor and I have to scroll left-right as well. With all navigation links on the righthand side I have to scroll over to reach them.)

 

-You have a long, long list of boards on the index.17 for Athenia, 12 for Colchis, 17 for Taengea, 8 of which aren't posted in as of writing this. Maybe try condensing some of the areas within the same city together? It creates a bit of a scroll otherwise. If you intend to keep them, I would suggest a "back to top" button in a corner somewhere that would take the user to the top of the page once having scrolled a bit.

 

Your font size for the board descriptions is also quite small, and with the white background can be a bit of a challenge to read at 9px. The box scrolls after all, so why not bump that up to 11- or- 12px for readability? Also a minor thing in the same vein as the above but I'd switch the placement of the board image and the board name, but again that's just me.

 

Topic list looks good, it doesn't deviate from what one would normally expect in a forum, and information is clearly laid out. The threads themselves look great, and I like that you've got a default sort of posting template baked into the skin. The only thing I'd recommend is making the scrollbar for the template a bit more visible.

 

You're information pages look great, and everything is readable, although once more I will echo my complaint about navigation links being on the right instead of the left side of the page.  They could also use a hover effect on them as, just to make it clear that what is being hovered is indeed a link.

 

The "Who's Who Wall" also seems like it loads quite a bit slower than the other guidebook pages, and that it'll show html/bbcode tags until the page is fully rendered. When checking the page in chrome devtools there's are a few syntax errors and DOM exceptions that come up but I'm not familiar enough with proboards to tell what's your own javascript/code and what is the board itself. It's worth noting that it's only that page that seems to load so slowly, so I'd recommend validating your code and checking for syntax errors and shorten it if you can.

 

And, while above I mentioned that I am keyboard+mouse, I do tend to tab through links on occasion. There seems to be a lot of outline:0 properties defined in your css, as normally chrome applies a blue outline to links that are tabbed into a focus state. (Focus is different than hover) and as a result of setting outline to 0, the site cannot be navigated with tabbing through links. This also means that those who cannot make use of a mouse/trackpad will find it particularly difficult to navigate your site.

 

All in all, skin/aesthetics-wise, you have a fairly solid site. The skin is eye-catching in a good way, and minor gripes about being a lefty aside it is easy to navigate through and it's easy to find things. Information is laid out clearly and is easy to understand, which is always a good thing.

 

 

Oh my goodness me - so many things!! This is a huge help thank you!!!

 

Once again - sorry for taking so long to get back to you... Some of the elements you've mentioned are ones that I would rather not change so I'm leaving those alone but a lot of what you've said is important and I have tried to incorporate it where I can 😄

 

- I have created a highlight colour on the hover in the right hand side drop down navigation.

- I have created a highlight colour on the hover in the right hand side of the encyclopedia navigation.

- I like the size of the board descriptions but I have darkened up them up a tad against the light background so hopefully this should make them easier to read.

- The Who's Who Wall is slow to load because of all the gifs, I believe. Not sure how to combat this without all members having to provide a different static image for the Wall. Unless someone knows how to make gifs load faster? :S

- I know the blue outline you're talking about but I don't have any Outlines set to 0? :S Is outline the same as border?

 

Thanks for all your help on this! Would really like to help make the site more user friendly so if you know how to fix the outline issue I'm all ears!! 😄

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@JD Hart Ahh, the sidebar/guidebook navigation having the hover effect looks perfect. I have to say you did great with that color scheme and the skin as a whole fits very well together. Like I said in my post, leftside nav vs rightside nav is pure personal preference. I also noticed that popup with all the links, it's a nice touch and definitely makes things smoother and less scroll-tastic.

 

And that many gifs for the who's who page would make sense lol. I'm so used to just static images, so it was a bit startling.

 

And, given that this is proboards, I'm honestly not sure if you can even edit the file but there is an "outline: 0;" when I use inspect element.  You can see the file linked is "forum_base_733.css" I'm very unfamiliar with proboards after 4.5 so I'm guessing it may be buried somewhere else because when I click on that link it's definitely not anything to do with your stylesheet.d6d7c0628dd5d1eb68ae5ac2566e2f3b.png

Edited by kjSage

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On 8/23/2018 at 11:40 AM, JD Hart said:

- The Create an Account button not working I don't know what to say about as it appears to be working my end? I don't know if maybe this was just a blip? 

 

Not the actual registration button, just a link in your newbie guide! When I hover on the Create an Account, you can see that it links back to the page I'm presently on.

 

cUR7Yv.jpg

 

Also the sample app looks MUCH less intimidating that I would have expected, so including it was definitely in your favour!  I DID have to jump through some hoops (I actually embeded the provided HTML code on the hosting site you use to a scratch pad) to get it readable though, so you might want to look into alternative image servers like Nick Pic that take you straight to the image on URL, not the image embedded in another page 🙂

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I'll chime in on the layout in two parts: one from my desktop, and one from my tiny Chromebook -- as while my desktop's processor won't have any issues loading sites, the Chromebook running with much less processing power and a mobile OS definitely will.

 

SO -- here's the first issue I'm seeing:

 

Screenshot_2018-09-22_at_1.22.10_PM.png

 

This is the first issue I'm seeing with your current layout. There's something funky with the images -- and this isn't a mobile browser, this is just on a screen with a much smaller resolution. I will note that I did not run into this issue on my desktop computer, so this may be a resolution issue. Given smaller notebooks -- especially netbooks and chromebooks -- aren't uncommon among students, or someone like me who just tends to be very mobile (I often use my Chromebook on the bus with a hotspot, as I have an hour bus ride one way to or from work every day), so you don't want to be cutting those people out with layout issues.

 

- One thing I've noticed is your OTMs -- when you hover over, it just says what the OTM is, but doesn't say who. Given this is a neat little thing you're featuring, it may be worthwhile to perhaps have the character/thread/player's name in the hover, so people kind of know what they're looking at. I feel like in initially scrolling past and hovering over it, it's not giving me any information, so it's not something I particularly care about after the initial impression.

 

- I'm very much noticing text getting cut off halfway or not being visible on my Chromebook. Example:

 

Screenshot_2018-09-22_at_1.27.07_PM.png

 

As you can see -- the very bottom of the text is getting cut off. I don't know if it's just not loading properly, but I'm at 100% zoom in Chrome, so it's not a zooming issue for sure. In fact, it actually gets less problematic when I am zoomed in, and worse when I zoom out. 

 

- I'm going to also really note that it feels like you're perhaps not taking advantage of your real estate when it comes to the skin. On my 1080P monitor, there is a lot of negative space on either side, and I get the same view on my Chromebook; I would effectively say the forum itself is taking up maybe half of the possible screen. On a large screen, that's not so bad, but a small 11.5inch screen leaves a lot of valuable screen space to be used. Smaller screens don't give you a lot of that real estate to work with, so it's very problematic when you're not making use of it. This directly affects things like your forum descriptions -- in my opinion, the descriptions don't look very appealing when I'm seeing 1 to 3 words on a single line. 

 

WIth this, you also run into issues with symmetry with your boxes:

 

Screenshot_2018-09-22_at_1.32.03_PM.png

 

I'm going to guess those are designed as divs, and not a table; as a result, you lose the symmetry with the cell, because a) you're not making use of valuable real estate on the smaller screen, and b) because of the text sizing, and the fact that it wraps over to the next line, it's causing a jarring lack of symmetry.

 

One thing you have to consider, especially when designing a layout, is your screen size. I make my skins on a 1920x1080 resolution; I get around this by making my browser window smaller. Dynamic widths are also an amazing thing to get used to. I recommend looking into these as well as looking into the calc function when using widths -- it's helped me immensely when designing skins.

 

A final issue I'm seeing with sizing is your affiliates section:

 

Screenshot_2018-09-22_at_1.35.44_PM.png

 

This appeared both on my Chromebook, and on my desktop. You need to fix the size of your wrapper -- or whatever box your scrolling affiliates are in! It's currently bleeding over the bottom of the skin, and it just doesn't look very polished that way.

 

My biggest issue with this skin is this: yes, it's beautiful, but there is a lot going on. This may just be personal preference, but when I look at this site, I feel very overwhelmed by the amount of content. There's images everywhere. There's links that I can't even tell are links when I hover over them, except for when my cursor changes. I feel really distracted by the number of images that are there, the number of things that are moving, and just the sheer number of things that are crammed together at the moment, I assume due to the lack of screen space usage. Here's an example of how it appears on my Chromebook screen:

 

Screenshot_2018-09-22_at_1.41.36_PM.png

 

On a large screen, that's maybe 17-20 inches -- no big deal. On a screen that's 11.5 inches -- that's a lot of space not being utilized.

 

I haven't looked at any content threads, but I can certainly get those in a later review (I'm currently on a lunch break at work, so there's only so much I can go through in a short period of time). Hopefully my feedback will have helped!

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Thank you so much for the feedback Saska!

 

I'm gonna have trouble checking the above as I see none of these issues on my own screens - mobile or laptop - but I shall do my best to check it! 😄

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