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Forum Critique/Advice needed


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Hi, looking for advice as in the thread title, we've pretty much got the forum looking how we wanted it (apart from the background image, but we are working on that...) we are just after some feedback as to how it looks through someones objective eyes.

Also, what things have people done to advertise their forums? We are probably going to go down the google adwords or facebook adverts route, but short of putting leaflets in maternity wards we don't really know what else to do, so any suggestions that may help would be greatfully appreciated.

Thanks in advance

The background images make it very difficult to read your text.  So I didn't (you will find the vast majority of casual visitors to your site will not 'go the extra mile' just to see what your text says, people simply aren't that curious.

Men will in particular struggle to read such text.

Going on to the main forum.  Again, small text makes it very difficult to read.  It hurts my eyes even trying, especially with the clash of colouring.

Hi Bravo, thanks for having a look

In your opinion, how much bigger would you recommend the text should be? I don't want to end up going to the other end of the scale where it looks like I've been let loose with a magnifying glass on all the words!

Also, we were aware the background image was a problem but finding one that "works" can prove quite difficult, i guess ideall we'd need something with less blue or has lighter colours, or just changing the font colour might be an easier option.....

We want to try and avoid just having a plain background as the other "main competitor" is all solid colours and just looks, well, cold and uninviting, if you see what i mean?

The colour scheme I would say is a personal choice, however it is always best to keep the forum actually readable.  Someone coming to your site may wander off frustrated at not being able to read it.  As has been said before, folk usually give your site a 10 second browse before they decide to move on or look further.

If I landed on your site I would give it less than a second before I returned to the previous page, simply because I know I wouldn't be able to read it.

Having said that, your forum is more of a niche market so folk might be willing to give it a bit extra.  I doubt it though.

I'd go for more neutral colourings, and wouldn't give much regard to competitors.  If a colour scheme works, it works, nobody has a copyright on colours.

What is your font size set to right now?  Maybe try upping it one at a time until it becomes easier to read.  Also, remember to try it on different settings and different browsers so you see how others see it.

[edit: a nice gradient in the background can be quite nice without being too boring, doesn't use much memory either ]

I presume this is the bit of code where I can change the font size for the whole template *obviously theres more below it but is this where it starts?*:

/* General text */
.gen { font-size : {T_FONTSIZE3}px; }
.genmed { font-size : {T_FONTSIZE2}px; }
.gensmall { font-size : {T_FONTSIZE1}px; }
.gen,.genmed,.gensmall { color : {T_BODY_TEXT}; }
a.gen,a.genmed,a.gensmall { color: {T_BODY_LINK}; text-decoration: none; }
a.gen:hover,a.genmed:hover,a.gensmall:hover { color: {T_BODY_HLINK}; text-decoration: underline; }

/* The register, login, search etc links at the top of the page */
.mainmenu { font-size : {T_FONTSIZE2}px; color : {T_BODY_TEXT} }
a.mainmenu { text-decoration: none; color : {T_BODY_LINK};  }
a.mainmenu:hover{ text-decoration: underline; color : {T_BODY_HLINK}; }

If I can get the general size ok then I can adjust everything else to fit against it

i suppose going up to size 5 for the general and see how that goes?

ok, i've made a few size changes, hopefully it's much bigger and better to see without overpowering your eyes!!

I am a newbie at all this forum stuff but I know if I just came across your forum, I would not stay but for a minute. Bravo was correct in that your forum is very hard to read. The font size is better than it was before. But I don't think that was the whole issue. The see through forum look creates problems for me. I have to still strain to read it. It's okay if I happen to scroll it past the solid blue part, than I can read it. But if it is down on the field of flowers part, all is lost. I felt like I was going to miss something if I didn't do it right. Too much work, really. Is there a way for you to keep the background image around the edges and make the actual forum a solid color? That would be much better.

Hope that helps. Just one opinion, mind you.



Okay, the actual forum part is a solid color and much easier to read. I never got  to that part the other day. I think  your forum could be really great. A wonderful place for people to go that have experienced that type of loss. Unfortunately, there are a lot of us out here.

Please do not take my critique of your forum as negative. I am just one person, after all. And one still learning herself. You are welcome to come critique mine anytime.


Hi guys, thanks for the criticisms, all constructive which is nice to read  

Bravo, I get what you mean about a gradiented background, but how would i go about doing that? is it a case of using an image editor to creat a background and then just upload and apply it as normal?

and Kat, thanks for your words also, I'd love to come and give your forum a look over and return the favour, as you say, we are all learning so I'd be glad to make any suggestions (assuming you needed any haha!)

Thankyou again guys, and i'll either find a simpler image, or go down the gradiented (sp) route as Bravo suggested

Looks better with the background visible, but the portal still has a transparent background making text hard to read on it.  Major turnoff if it's the first thing you see.

derry wrote:

and Kat, thanks for your words also, I'd love to come and give your forum a look over and return the favour, as you say, we are all learning so I'd be glad to make any suggestions (assuming you needed any haha!)

Oh, I am sure I do! lol


Hi again,

Sorry I haven't had a chance to come back on to see what's been said, I certainly take the point about the main index.html page being a mess, I had completely forgotten about that page, even though Bravo kindly showed me a screen shot above! In order to get the background solid, I presume it's something in the overall header tpl i need to change and that I've messed it up somewhere along the line?

I had a look in the portals menu but couldn't really see a way of editing it....

it would most likely be in the css.. most styling is in there.

Hi Zudane,

I've had a look in both the header and .css but I cant particularly find anything relating to this, apart from

/* Main table cell colours and backgrounds */
td.row1 { background-color: #EFEFEF; }
td.row2 { background-color: #DEE3E7; }
td.row3 { background-color: #D1D7DC; }

but if i change these wont it change the entire forum colours and not just the relevant bit of the index.html page? Forum Index -> Running your community
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