Our new forums are here!

We want more people reading and engaging with the great content that is being produced in our Forums. Here is an overview of some of the biggest changes - a big thank you to Gio Martinez in particular for absolutely crushing it in coding these new designs, and to our community for helping us with feedback throughout - more on that later.

Speed

In our tests we see a 35% boost in how fast the pages load with the new templates. This was one of the most important aspects of the redesign and something we will continue to improve on. Sometimes we still see badly behaving ad units that slow things down and while we try to tackle this they appear — it's often like a game of whack-a-mole, but we're doing everything we can on our end to make our codebase as quick as possible.

Clarity

More than 80% of our Forum traffic comes from Google, and to be frank, a user coming into the forums blindly for search wouldn't have a good experience. We saw issues with how far you had to scroll to see the content you came for and a lack of visual queues telling you this was a conversation.

Hierarchy

In the old forums everything had the same 'weight' and demanded the same amount of attention. In our new design we have a clear idea about what we want to stand out and what can be in the background. This means that some actions that were previously exposed and very clear to the experienced VB user are now slightly more hidden.

Our priority — what we want a visitor to immediately grasp — is that they are in the right place (Forum Thread Title) and that this is a conversation (Avatar + Post that looks like a message). Everything else can take a back seat.

Recognition

Our forums are built off of VBulletin, a long-standing software that underpins many other large and popular communities. The problem is that the base styling, which we also had based our old interface on, was also old and long-standing. The old-school style of forums is no longer the only way that people engage in serious conversations online. The kind of discussions we see in our Forums also happen in Facebook comment threads, Quora, Twitter replies, and a host of other group messaging apps. It made sense for us to at least visually move towards the look and feel of these hugely popular platforms — they're not just modern, they're simplified from the masses of forum controls in a very smart way.

By the Community

This has been the most extensive user testing we've ever done and we believe it's paid off. Since late November 2016 a group of select Forum users have been giving us nonstop feedback through slack — a BIG thank you to all of you! In late December we also opened up access to volunteers who have been helping us out with additional feedback in this forum thread.

I seriously cannot stress enough how important this feedback process has been — it's the best decision we've ever made.

Dark Theme

Sorry it took us so long! Enough said :)

You can find the Dark Theme inside Your Menu at the very bottom right - hidden away behind a moon icon like a little Easter egg.

Mobile with all the Trimmings

We wanted you to have all the same tools you enjoy on the desktop while using a mobile phone. This also means our Moderators and Ambassadors have the ability to do their work more easily on the go than before.

Small tweaks and Fixes everywhere

In addition to the huge overall changes we've made a bunch of smaller changes throughout the forums. You might not notice them for a while, and many are back-end tools that will make life easier for our volunteer Moderators. It's been a big project for us and we are really happy with the attention to detail it forced upon us. We are suitably humbled by the complexity of doing any changes to a tool many of you spend hours in every day.

Lastly, we fully expect there to be more issues and for our members to have better ideas than we have on how to improve the Forums. Please engage in the conversation over here in this forum thread — we really want your feedback, good and bad, so that we can continue to improve these forums for you.

Thank you!

David Lundblad
52 Comments
  • i love the fact that you used an android phone to display a preview of the web page :D
  • Sorry we had to clone this article across all sites and honestly I did not want to make 4 versions :P
  • Fair enough.
  • You could have made the original article with a Windows phone and cloned it across all sites. :P
  • Based on the current marketshare being placed squarely in the "Other" category I think not.
  • Exactly! We don't even see android central stuff or an app but ours need to be shown to them. Aside the many reasons, we are part of the reason Windows mobile never gained proper recognition.
  • What and freak out 99.7% of forum readers?
  • From Mobile Nations info page: There are 19.2M unique views per month on Android central, 9.5M on iMore and 5.3M on Windows central. That makes 15.6% for Windows Central.
  • So dramatic as usual.
  • because even they realize WP is dead.
  • Re: Pappale,
    So ugly.
  • How are the changes in the forums reflected in the W10M app?
  • Not at all right now as far as I know - we are looking at app dev separately
  • Thx - the mobile images above showed an android view and it wasn't clear, at least to me, that it was from a browser or a native app.
  • Ooh, got excited cuz I thought this was the app.
  • I am waiting for improvements to the specific apps too.
  • Forums and the whole WC app are terrible on WM10. That won't change.
  • I agree...the app is awful.
  • None at all, I only use the app and see nothing new.
  • hmmm, since I use a 28" screen, there is sooooooooo much wasted space, which means more scrolling. While not bad visually, I do wish the columns were a bit wider
  • Excellent revamp! Thanks goes to all involved in making this possible.
  • "Your Menu" isn't at the bottom right, it is at the top left. Was trying to find the dark theme and couldn't find it because the instructions in the post are wrong.
  • Ghostery caught 38 (!) trackers spying on unsuspecting users. That number has more than doubled since the last time I checked. I understand that servers aren't free but this really is a ridiculous number.
  • Hey don't forget to sort out the Windows 10 Mobile app. It's poor. Crashing and freezing all the time. Tbh would be surprised if its discontinued
  • Takes 3/4 times to load on my 640 lte.
  • I have no problem at all with it. App works great on my L650.
  • Windows Central (or should I say Mobile Nations) Insider Programme?
  • Is there a feature to ban/block comments from certain people.
  • Are you think of who I'm thinking of? Yes an "ignore" button would be nice.
  • Maybe add a feature that would indicate, on each of our, all of our, forum screens, showing how many people have banned/blocked "certain people". Could be fun to not actually have to see the comments and yet see how many others, (or how few?) had also banned/blocked "certain people". Could be interesting. Maybe it would even out the playing field ("forums") a little bit..
    . Fix the Windows 10 mobile Windows Central app first. Start by removing the google UI.
  • So the app now uses 50% less screen to show actual text while the font is smaller and shows only 2/3 of the content it used to... I'm not sure about that :/
  • So the dark theme is app only?
  • Nope, app has not changed.
  • This is awful IMHO!!! So hard to read and navigate... Plus ca change....
  • Keep the feedback and bug hunting up everyone - we really appreciate it! Despite 2 months of testing we see that several things broke when we pushed it live - we are dealing with everything as quickly as we can, we promise.
  • Now, time to update the app.
  • We are :)
  • I'm still seeing the old version :(
  • That's because you're not on the fast ring. Go to the fridge and get yourself another beer and it will be fixed before you know it. If not just go get another beer.
  • There's a fast ring for the forums?
  • Same here. No indication that we wouldn't all see the changes yet, but I guess that is the case.
  • And they are not fabulous
  • App, no problem, pc ok, i understand the need for ads, a little too many trackers, for my taste. Bills needs to be paid.
    But, Pls!!!!!!!!, trim down the ads, when on a mobile browser.
    There's a significant diffference, when ads are reduced.
    I tested it, with ads blocked and not blocked.
  • I'm nodding my head as I read, saying "pretty nice", until I get to the last picture showing the comparison on mobile. Nope. So much wasted space. Why does the profile pic now push over the entire block of text? Ridiculous.
  • As Windows users we're used to content-first UIs that don't waste space. Sadly that screenshot indeed wastes a ton of space on the screen.
  • Ok... This is all good. But wth is the uwp app.
  • WTF are you showing someone driving, reading forums. Are you insane? It's bad enough idiots do this, now you are just condoning this moronic behavior. Good job!
  • They're in one of those new fangled Google self-driving cars; the one that Google is suing Uber over.
  • Ah, that is great then. The very reason I can not wait for them to become mainstream, since people can not understand the difference between a driver's seat and a phone booth.
  • Or maybe they're parked somewhere, just sitting in their car killing time until the wife comes back from the store...
  • Ahem . . . Seems faster.
  • Will I now be able to edit a forum post without the whole post disappearing?