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My Support Site

Naatan

Well-known member
#1
I just launched my support site and thought I'd share here since a lot of work went into customization and when I first bought XenForo one of my main worries was that XF would not be flexible enough for me to really make a distinct theme. That worry has now been put to rest.

The site: http://naatan.com/support/

It's basically made to fit the style of http://naatan.com/.

Surprisingly most work went into getting all the colors right. The default XenForo theme is really made for light themes and if you want to categorize your colors differently from the way XenForo does it you are in for quite a job. I found myself often switching between messing in style properties to editing the css templates manually because certain values weren't covered by the style properties. If there's one thing I'd like to improve on XenForo it would be to have a better default theme that makes full use of the style properties, but that would likely be a humongous job.

Aside from that I also spend quite a bit of time getting the sidebar working properly, sacrificing popins in the process, but I'm ok with that given the simplistic style of the site. The page switch animations were already custom made for my main site so that wasn't a lot of work to port over.

All in all, what I've learned from making my first XF site is that you can throw a theme together extremely fast as long as you're ok with just switching colors or images, but if you really want to visualize an idea that you have in your head you're in for quite a job. Of course that's the same case for any other bulletin board, and XenForo gives you an awesome set of tools to get the job done right, which is more than can be said for most of the competition out there.

Edit:

Note that I haven't had a chance to test it on all browsers yet, so if you see any obvious problems please let me know.
 

steven s

Well-known member
#3
It is different although it looses my attention after 10 seconds.
Is it a forum?
I just don't have the patience waiting for pages to load EVERYTIME.
It is cool looking but if I came across it after googling a subject, I'd have to pass.
It's also difficult for me to read.
I think a forum needs to be functional, not fancy.
Sorry. Just my .02.
 

Naatan

Well-known member
#5
It is different although it looses my attention after 10 seconds.
Is it a forum?
I just don't have the patience waiting for pages to load EVERYTIME.
It is cool looking but if I came across it after googling a subject, I'd have to pass.
It's also difficult for me to read.
I think a forum needs to be functional, not fancy.
Sorry. Just my .02.
It's not meant as a landing page, it's a support forum. The page loading animation is equivalent to the actual page load time, so you're not missing anything, I might move it to my dedicated server to improve load speed.

How is it difficult for you to read though? Not enough contrast?

I welcome any sort of criticism (long as it's given in a mature manner), so your 2 cents are much appreciated :)
 

Naatan

Well-known member
#10
Just fixed an issue on Firefox which would cause long load times and an issue on IE which would screw up the sidebar entirely on IE 8 and below.

@steven, I really feel there is quite a bit of contrast. And the font size for actual posts is pretty generous. Of course I can't please everyone but I am a bit surprised this is an issue.
 

RobParker

Well-known member
#11
It looks cool but it feels like it takes forever for a page to load.

It might be exactly the same as if it was rendering normally but sticking a progress bar in the middle of the screen certainly gives the impression it's taking a while to load.

(It looks VERY cool though)
 

Naatan

Well-known member
#12
Thanks Rob, I hear you.. perhaps I'll save the loading animation for the main site and remove it from the forums. Personally I like the streamlined transition between pages far more than the blink you regularly get in your browser. The loading animation is actually covering the page load time and hiding any loading artifacts caused by browsers, so it's not like you are loosing any browsing time (ok, maybe 500ms for the fade animation).

I've just set up cloudfront for my website, which should kick into gear in the next 24 hours, hopefully that will further decrease the page loading time.
 

dojo

Active member
#13
Not a fan of dark layouts. I personally stay away from forums like this, since reading the text is straining my eyes and I have no reason to ruin my eyesight. Not a fan of having to wait for 5-10 seconds at least to see something. This will surely impede your growth.

Anyway, as uniqueness, you've hit in hard. I have never seen something like this and it shows you REALLY know your stuff. Am very very impressed with what you accomplished, even if from a usability standpoint is not the best choice. The stuff that went 'backstage' for this is utterly impressive. Wishing you all the luck.
 

Naatan

Well-known member
#14
Not a fan of dark layouts. I personally stay away from forums like this, since reading the text is straining my eyes and I have no reason to ruin my eyesight. Not a fan of having to wait for 5-10 seconds at least to see something. This will surely impede your growth.

Anyway, as uniqueness, you've hit in hard. I have never seen something like this and it shows you REALLY know your stuff. Am very very impressed with what you accomplished, even if from a usability standpoint is not the best choice. The stuff that went 'backstage' for this is utterly impressive. Wishing you all the luck.
Thanks, glad to hear you at appreciate the 'backstage' stuff :) I am considering creating a light alternative to the layout, which is basically just the same theme but with inverted colors. I'm surprised to hear the dark strains your eyes though, as for me it's the inverse, the dark relaxes my eyes whereas bright layouts strain them.

5-10 seconds is excessive for load times, personally I'm getting 2 seconds at most, especially now that it's using cloudflare it really shouldn't be that long. May I ask where you're from (country) and what browser you use?

I am not fully optimized in terms of javascript and css compression, but this is by choice as I want visitors to be able to view the source and get a feel for the work that I do. Still, that shouldn't account for anything more than a second.

Thanks for your feedback.
 

dojo

Active member
#15
Thank you for not taking it the bad way :)

Can't wait for a light setup. It will be real modern and minimalist as you make it - a winner. You're doing a tremendous job. Compared to this my designs are scribble :D
 

Naatan

Well-known member
#16
Thank you for not taking it the bad way :)

Can't wait for a light setup. It will be real modern and minimalist as you make it - a winner. You're doing a tremendous job. Compared to this my designs are scribble :D
It's really not much of a design, if anything it's the complete lack of design :p I just like minimalism.

I've added a light variant (style chooser is at the bottom right) and greatly improved the loading times of the dark variant. The light variant has all the fancy stuff removed from it, it's intended for people that want a more traditional look and feel.

Would love to hear how you feel about the load times in particular (on the dark style).
 

Will

Active member
#17
It looks nice. I don't have a problem with the load times. The only issue I can see is the thread preview tooltip is going off the top of the screen.
 

Naatan

Well-known member
#18
It looks nice. I don't have a problem with the load times. The only issue I can see is the thread preview tooltip is going off the top of the screen.
Yeah I've noticed that as well, it's a bug in XenForo where it does not account for layouts with a small header. I will see what I can do about it, but ideally it would be fixed by the XenForo dev's.