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Forum Theme Upgrade - March 14th 2018

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On Wednesday, March 14th, we will roll out an update to the Forum.

 

New Features:
 

New Theme - The default theme will be replaced with a redesigned UI to accommodate future updates as well as allow different theme selections.

 

Dark Mode - There will be a new selectable Dark theme at the bottom center of all Forum pages.

 

Forum Views - Available in either theme, you will be able to select from three view types at the top of the main page, these only affect the view of multiple forums or threads, not the view within a topic:

 

  • Table is how the forum has always been displayed in the past, and is the default view mode.
  • Grid will let you see the subforums and descriptions in a card gallery style.
  • Fluid functions similarly to an activity stream, but will let you quickly add or remove forums from the view on the right. By default, it will show all threads, but as you select various subforums, the view will filter out the others in the list.

 

Reactions - The Reactions system has been restored and improved.
 

Minor changes and improvements:

 

  • User information now aligns to the left of the post content to increase thread readability and reduce dead space.
  • Employee posts will have a blue or gold border glow for the Light and Dark themes, respectively, making it more obvious for new members when they are speaking directly with a Vectorworks, Inc. representative.
  • Long quotes will auto-collapse to increase readability after the first quotation.
  • Member titles will appear as intended.
  • Users will be able to quickly tag other users via the @ icon below a previous post.
  • The Search box is much more visible.
  • Mobile icons in the side menu should now be easier to see and tap.
  • Google Maps links will embed directly into posts, and will include embedded live Maps, allowing for easy navigation to businesses and meetup points.
  • “Switches” like the ones found on the Notification Setting page, will have obvious On and Off positions.
  • When browsing a category in the Marionette section, the layout now displays much more of the description.
  • Rich media embeds, such as links to other topics within posts, will properly scale the user’s profile image.

 

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Slightly ironic that the Forum will get a Dark Theme well in advance of the actual software…

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14 hours ago, mjm said:

Slightly ironic that the Forum will get a Dark Theme well in advance of the actual software…


Not really, changing a website's UI is much, much simpler.

Update should be going live around 10AM EDT! I don't expect much if any downtime, 30 minutes max.

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As I’ve said many times before, we consider the now-rapidly growing public community to be incredibly important place, both for users as well as Vectorworks development.

To that end, we replaced the current theme that we launched the forums with, with a redesigned UI, not only to address a number of user reported issues, but also to make the forum and knowledgebase more flexible to not only bring updates to you at a faster pace, but enable administrators to rapidly correct any issues with the platform discovered by users.

 

The forum is a big place and small things can be easily overlooked even with extensive review, or concerns could arise that were not considered in the original design. With the new themes, if problems are reported I can directly edit and tweak pretty much everything you see to some extent. (So now MORE things will potentially be my fault! Which is always fun.)

Most of the locations for UI elements are either unchanged or self evident, with the one exception being the setting to change Themes, which you will now find bottom center of the forum:

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 10.06.34 AM.png

 

Future Updates:

 

Now that that’s all squared away, we are in a solid position to be able to introduce not only updates we create in-house, but also more quickly bring updates from the IPS platform developer. These will eventually include:

Search Upgrade:

SQL search will be replaced with Elasticsearch. In addition to being faster (which will be more important as the volume of content on the forum increases) is also more capable of determining relevance, understanding conjugations of words (Example: If you search “Communities” it will also return results for “Community” where applicable,) and allows favoring more recent posts on resulting topics in the sort order, among other under-the-hood improvements.

 

Native Video Embeds:

Instead of needed to add links to Youtube or Vimeo or another content hosting service, certain video formats (mp4, 3gp, mov, ogg, ogv, mpg, mpeg, flv, webm, wmv, avi and m4v) will play natively in browsers that support them, which is most modern browsers.

 

Native Emoji Support:

Emoji will use your OS Emoji icons directly and update whenever they are updated. This is how most modern sites that support emoji like Facebook work.

 

And a whole bunch of other stuff.

I hope these changes make the forum not only more usable, but more pleasant to use. Please let me know if you see any odd UI (especially related to older migrated kbase articles) elements or formatting issues and I will address them as quickly as possible. As with all company web resources, the Creative and Web teams have final say over any aesthetic decisions, but I will do my best to accommodate any raised concerns.

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Hi Jim,

 

The upgrade looks great! Thanks for all the work you and your team put into it.

 

I have a couple of observations so far, mostly about readability. Here is a screen shot of the topic list in a forum. It is very readable. I like the balance of the heavy topic title and the lighter "Asked by" info.

 

5aa92f9740c9d_ScreenShot2018-03-14at7_18_01AM.thumb.png.b39fcfb9a3d056ef97efde4c8b77f463.png

 

This is a screen shot of the All Activity list. I wish it had the same balance between the topic title and the "replied" information directly below it. Also, why are some of the topic titles different size (the third "Break view" topic is definitely bigger.

 

5aa92f9b9e522_ScreenShot2018-03-14at7_18_35AM.thumb.png.d65b6fe7a9cae622560baef758b5a120.png

 

This is a screen shot of my unread list. I find the bold topic text very hard to read. I understand why its bold, because its unread, but the letters almost touch making it blur together. It also needs the same balance between it and the "replied" information directly below it which might help with the readability. Maybe the bold needs more tracking?

 

5aa9309286001_ScreenShot2018-03-14at7_22_01AM.thumb.png.2252e894569a0ad0cd510719227920dd.png

 

Thanks again for making the forum such a great place to be!

 

Kevin

 

 

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The larger title items are the origin of a thread, usually the initial post or a download content element.

I'll see about tweaking the bold-ness.

Spaced them out a smidge!

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19 hours ago, JimW said:

Reactions - The Reactions system has been restored and improved.

 

How does the new system with various types of 'reactions' relate to the green "reputation" number below each users name?

 

Does any sort of reaction increase this number, or do some increase and some decrease?

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6 minutes ago, Andy Broomell said:

How does the new system with various types of 'reactions' relate to the green "reputation" number below each users name?

 

Does any sort of reaction increase this number, or do some increase and some decrease?


Like, Laugh, Love are +1

Sad, Confused and Dislike are 0 - no reputation change

Inappropriate is -1

This may change after another IPS update which allows more granular control of the amount of negative or positive feedback to give more weight to Love or Inappropriate for instance, but for now each react is restricted to +1, -1 or 0. Honestly we have very few instances where users post inappropriate things, but as the community grows I wanted to give users more direct ways to affect positive change and keep the tone professional and helpful.

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 @JimW First, forgive my kneejerk reaction to the announcement of the forum upgrade, a great huzzah for that. You have once again made things better for the community and we are pleased and grateful.

Having said that, the VWX UI is so much more important to me and my older eyes than the attractiveness/usability of the forum, I weep a little inside that all company efforts are not poured into making the actual product I spend so much time with better (please see various posts about fixing, not adding features). And your comment about the simpler web update vs the complexity of the VWX UI update somehow perversely corroborates my feeling.

 

 

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Just now, mjm said:

Having said that, the VWX UI is so much more important to me and my older eyes than the attractiveness/usability of the forum, I weep a little inside that all company efforts are not poured into making the actual product I spend so much time with better (please see various posts about fixing, not adding features). And your comment about the simpler web update vs the complexity of the VWX UI update somehow perversely corroborates my feeling.


Don't worry, no staff capable of working on the Vectorworks application itself spent any time working on the forum update. Web and forum related things aren't even on Engineering's radar most of the time other than for beta feedback, they focus purely on the application.

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Hi @JimW,

 

Thanks for going dark! The forum looks fantastic.

 

The text in this post is still formatted as black in the dark theme, making it difficult to read.

Link: 

 

Best,

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3 minutes ago, cxs said:

The text in this post is still formatted as black in the dark theme, making it difficult to read.

 


Thank you for letting me know! Fixing it now.

There were so many articles I couldn't hit them all and many were made on the old knowledgebase before I used proper formatting. If you or anyone else reading this sees any, simply call my attention to it as you did and I will correct it asap.

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I know this might not have anything to do with the recent upgrade, but I just updated my signature and found it odd that it says "Images are not allowed" immediately followed by "Images up to 300 x 80 pixels". Seems contradictory :)

 

5aaacfce20cb3_ScreenShot2018-03-15at12_54_44PM.thumb.png.d5d73bba126d354c052d690a85dd7f3d.png

 

 

Edited by Andy Broomell

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It's just showing you the various criteria that were met or failed all at once, however I can clean it up so it doesn't announce the image size at all.

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The updates are awesome, particular, love the feature to check the forum topics I want to see in a single page.

 

image.thumb.png.bdbcb83f23ca0ee6537bc897b209b621.png

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On 14/03/2018 at 2:08 PM, JimW said:

The forum is a big place and small things can be easily overlooked even with extensive review, or concerns could arise that were not considered in the original design. With the new themes, if problems are reported I can directly edit and tweak pretty much everything you see to some extent.

 

Amazing, now they just need to give you the same capabilities for Vectorworks :D

Edited by Christiaan
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On 14/03/2018 at 5:28 PM, mjm said:

 First, forgive my kneejerk reaction to the announcement of the forum upgrade, a great huzzah for that. You have once again made things better for the community and we are pleased and grateful.

Having said that, the VWX UI is so much more important to me and my older eyes than the attractiveness/usability of the forum, I weep a little inside that all company efforts are not poured into making the actual product I spend so much time with better (please see various posts about fixing, not adding features).

 

This forum is an essential part of the Vectorworks UI, or at least the UX. For me, improvements to the forum are improvements to the VWX UI.

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2 hours ago, Christiaan said:

 

This forum is an essential part of the Vectorworks UI, or at least the UX. For me, improvements to the forum are improvements to the VWX UI.

Christiaan—I have seen the light

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2 hours ago, Markvl said:

Love...love, love, love the dark UI.  Thanks @JimWand the team.  Koodos!  


Glad you like it! I'm very happy with how it turned out. Special thanks to @Marissa Farrell as well for helping me test it, providing criticism and being meticulous in doing so.

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As mentioned in another discussion, I like the updated forum layout. Though I do have one small usability request regarding the notifications. When I select one notification then all unread notifications will show as read, would it be possible to have unread notifications stay as unread until after I click on the respective notifications?

 

Especially when I am selecting notifications out of order this would be helpful to keep track of which ones I would still need/want to read. (There could be an addition to "mark all as read" for those who don't want to bother selecting each notification to make it show as read.)

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9 minutes ago, Art V said:

As mentioned in another discussion, I like the updated forum layout. Though I do have one small usability request regarding the notifications. When I select one notification then all unread notifications will show as read, would it be possible to have unread notifications stay as unread until after I click on the respective notifications?

 

Especially when I am selecting notifications out of order this would be helpful to keep track of which ones I would still need/want to read. (There could be an addition to "mark all as read" for those who don't want to bother selecting each notification to make it show as read.)


I want that too. A few other admins of IPS powered boards have requested similar, but for now its still a wishlist item.

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Jim it seems that the beta forums do not follow the dark theme selection, is this something you agree with or is it not possible/a setting on my end?

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