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Aspergers Forum

Discussion in 'Forum Showcase and Critiques' started by HarrisonAF, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. HarrisonAF

    HarrisonAF New Member

    I'm going to bite the bullet and open it for review.

    Site: www.aspergersforum.org

    Purpose: Offering an ad-free, no fee, community site for those with autistic spectrum disorders.

    Official opening on 3rd Oct, it has been in beta for three weeks or so. This site was put together and solely maintained by me.

    Thanks (in advance)
    socialteenz likes this.
  2. socialteenz

    socialteenz New Member

    Looks easy on my eyes, i really liked what you did with the fusion skin. I can see a huge potential of your forum :)

    Well done mate. (y)

    The size of the bg image can be optimized a bit further, i've optimized it for you. (-50%)

  3. HarrisonAF

    HarrisonAF New Member

    Thank you, downloaded your version :)
  4. socialteenz

    socialteenz New Member

    You are welcome.

    Out of curiosity, what is the source of your traffic? or do you run any other forum? Everything is perfect in here, this is how even my setup will look like ;)
  5. HarrisonAF

    HarrisonAF New Member

    Currently there is a FB page with a paid 'outreach', there is also a Twitter page.
    I am in negotiation with my company to add the site to the staff magazine although word is spreading in the company anyway (it is a very large company)
    I was a mod on another site and the folk liked my approach, so they are slowly coming over.
    Emailing Aspie/Autie organisations worldwide to let them know we are there.
    Finally, have two private hospitals and several doctors who are interested in using the site for their 'patients'.

    Hopefully it will all come together :)
  6. socialteenz

    socialteenz New Member

    Sounds awesome, hopefully the needed ones are benefited by your community.

    Once again i wish you all success, i will keep an eye on your forum progress though ;)
  7. HarrisonAF

    HarrisonAF New Member

    I hope so too.

    Thank you for taking the time (and for the background change).

    Good luck with your forum.
  8. socialteenz

    socialteenz New Member


    I don't have any forum for myself, i am kind e lost with the competition D:
  9. Araripe

    Araripe Member

    Looks great ;) The layout, the categories, the icons. Awesome *-*
    HarrisonAF likes this.
  10. HarrisonAF

    HarrisonAF New Member

    Thank you :)
    Araripe likes this.
  11. Brent W

    Brent W Well-Known Member

    Howdy Harrison ;)
  12. rainmotorsports

    rainmotorsports Well-Known Member

    Kind of surprised since there was the Xenforo based AspiesCentral already. That and with the DSM label change that a new site would reach out with that specific title. I think most of us refer to it the same still.
  13. HarrisonAF

    HarrisonAF New Member

    Hi BamaStangGuy :)
  14. HarrisonAF

    HarrisonAF New Member

    Many aspies feel that the DSM change is a bad move and refuse to accept it, similarly, I am in touch with health professionals that hold the same view. There is a concerted effort underway to have it reversed.

    I was a former mod at AC, no bad blood there and I am still a member. The reason to start AF was down to aspies not liking monetised sites, so I took it upon myself to build a new ad-free, non-profit, forum that was based around the feedback from members.

    AF's catchment is different to AC, I was involved with health care for many years and still have contacts there who like the idea of AF and are helping promote it to the community.

    I chose Xenforo because at my age (63) and limited forum building skills, it was the best software I could find. It hasn't let me down in my expectations.
    Anthony Parsons likes this.
  15. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Hi Harrison,

    The site is good for a starter into the market, especially with an established competing site.

    I think there is always room for improvement... and a few lessons I have learnt over the years is to start a community in its most simple form. To me, you have too much going on for a starter forum.

    I've been running forums for 20+ years, modding in them, admin and owner, so various roles within all of that time frame. What I'm writing here is in essence, the simple truth of lessons learnt.
    1. Get rid of the chat from public view. Traffic watching a shout box can cause your site serious detriment in load, as shout boxes aren't designed for heavy traffic viewing / participation. Make it entirely member only.
    2. Get rid of the blog and article system in use. Concentrate your time and effort in writing interesting forum topics that ask questions and beg for engagement from the readers. You want to do just one thing right when starting, and that is the forum topics. Then venture out IF the users really request such features later down the road.
    3. You are a brand new forum and have 30 very empty forum subjects available. You could cut all of that down to a total of five (5) broadly titled forums, so you have five busy forums instead of 30 empty, starving for attention forums. I have just over 30 forums after 10 years of content building and a million posts. Forum topics were derived based on user thread creation, NOT me just trying to make the site look experienced. One busy forum topic is better than 5 struggling for posts, forum topics. Example, the first three forums, and last two forums, could all be done as a single forum called, i.e. Administration.
    4. Honestly, remove the Facebook and twitter integration. They slow your page loading for starters, which affects user loading and search rankings, AND they actually cause significant privacy breaches to your users with automated tracking of their browsing just visiting a page that use FB / twitter type integrations. There are add-ons in the resource section here that are far better for content sharing on social networks, and don't cause any of the mentioned issues here.
    5. Background images... personal choice, but from a performance view, aesthetics too, they're a bit ordinary to look at and look more unprofessional, than anything, and just add another call to the user.
    6. You have a few issues with caching, or lack thereof, which you probably need to research and address. You can fix the issues from a simple .htaccess approach to broader CDN use approach, if you are a global site. Cloudflare is probably the best to cater your caching with CDN approach, and are free. That is a subject to probably Google and research though... as there are many solutions. But caching has a huge impact for your overall server performance, and more importantly, user experience.
    That is purely my quick list of things I see that jump out to me immediately. Ignore them all, use what you feel may help your site. The biggest communities online today, typically contain the least features and focus everything on the content and user experience with that content. The web is very mobile now, and honestly, less is more today. You have a competitor already established, so what you do has to be different and much better, beyond just no ads, for people to want to change... as people join online communities because there are others there who they can instantly engage with.

    You have to have such compelling, clear, concise and topical content to draw the audience in to you so they engage on your site, and not the competitors.
  16. HarrisonAF

    HarrisonAF New Member

    Thank you for all of that Anthony, I will certainly take a close look at each one.

    The shoutbox was originally not viewable by guests, and I can see your point on that.
    Design was based on a year long survey of aspies, and those coming in so far seem to like it, so it will probably stay.
    .htaccess is something I have to get to grips with I know, so will research it more this weekend.
    People with aspegers have very defined 'boxes' that they like information presented in, hence the taxonomy being as it is. I can guarantee there will be a 'that shouldn't be in that thread' discussion at some point, so the taxonomy is meant to alleviate future issues.
    Will look into the FB/Twitter integration asap.

    Thank you again, much appreciated

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