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XFUniverse.com - XenForo Customization Guides, FAQ's, and Help

Discussion in 'Forum Showcase and Critiques' started by Sheldon, Jan 25, 2015.

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  1. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    First off, XFUniverse is not, will not, and isn't attempting to be an "admin site". Simply put, we really enjoy the software, we enjoy the community around it, and we are looking to help individuals either make the decision to purchase or help those that have a license get the most out of their XenForo installation :). We look to soon be providing more in-depth reviews of add-ons, posting guides to help with customization, as well as identifying and adding a few "Official Site Help" members. We plan to commission some add-ons, and if you happen to post one that is exceptional, we will help with the cost of the development.

    Our style is Rogue, by Audentio. For the time being, it will stay this way. We wanted something light and relatively simple. It was between this and Flat Awesome, by Pixel Exit. The reason Rogue was chosen is simply being used to one framework over the other. Both are very comparable, both are excellently designed, supported, and packed with options. Kudos to both style teams for putting out amazing products.

    We wanted the look and feel to be light, fun, and overall an enjoyable visit. Not certain if we have accomplished it, but I *think* we are on the right path. As seen below, its a very small (node-wise) forum. Information will be sorted by prefixes, instead of a myriad of forums.


    We have a couple of "features" added, to show off your site as well as helping out others when helping you.

    First, the "Official Add-on" selection:


    There is also the "Favorite Add-On" selection:


    Our favorite area by far is XF Tranquility, which is housing all of our customization ideas and FAQ's. Everything I have learned as far as customization I am posting in there. Many of the ideas or concepts I have posted from my "Need Customization" thread will be added as well. There is no cost associated with these, no requesting of information, nothing. Myself, as I mentioned before, I have found more enjoyment recently in sharing ideas, customization and tips as opposed to attempting to hold that hostage and in secret.

    We've also went ahead and added the XFMG to allow members to show off what they have done to their sites. And on that, we have also added a special "Post Rating" that will allow you to show that you have "installed" something from the XF Tranquility area: https://xfuniverse.com/threads/marking-modification-as-installed.83/

    Our "Reviews" area will be our next main focus. There will be information on it soon, but we have a really good feeling about how it is needed to be done to better serve the community. We will add another post here once it is up, and some guidelines are posted.

    We are continually adding as much as we can, as fast as we can. Time is pressed currently for a few of us, so its bit and pieces here and there. It's a slow process, but in the long run will be worth it.

    If you'd like to weigh in on anything, feel free to register. Costs nothing, what you see is what you get, no adverts or anything like that, options to turn on/off pretty much anything there.

    Look forward to hearing some suggestions/ideas/thoughts on what could make the community better. If you'd like to become a member, please read our info/rules post, https://xfuniverse.com/threads/the-xfuniverse-rules.29/ , we don't want any surprises for anyone before/after registering.

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  2. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Finally able to start on one of the other main focuses of the site, Reviews.


    Will be a simple process, the review overlay has been minimized a bit:

    And the bulk of the "Review", the "Pros/Cons/Etc" will be inside the actual thread made from the item.

    This will all be done using Showcase, the add-on developed by @Bob . It could be a long, slow process getting many themes and add-ons added, but in the long run, this will be worth it.

    If you are interested in joining the Review Team (more info on this released soon), let me know. I could use a hand or seventeen.
    Market1234, sdev, TJA and 2 others like this.
  3. dethfire

    dethfire Well-Known Member

    Nice use of color
  4. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Thanks, we are aiming to keep it light, but yet bring in splashes of color to get away from a solid white look. It's a WIP, but I think it's coming along nicely.
  5. Da Bookie Mon

    Da Bookie Mon Well-Known Member

    Love this site! Looks better and better on a daily basis.
  6. sbj

    sbj Well-Known Member

    Some honest feedback:

    1) The prefix css-style doesn't fit your site in my opinion (dark font color on dark-ish background color).
    2) The embedded youtube videos need some fix. I can't see the youtube bar on bottom (stop, play, volume, etc.).
    3) The category names should be changed. I find them very confusing. Your motto is like spaceship or something like that. Well, after some seconds I get the first three names but unity, tranquility, destiny? Really? It is a bad sign that I have to read the description. But I am a foreigner, maybe it is just me.
    4) Sidebar looks very empty.

    Besides that your website looks fresh and welcoming. And I love the media showcase on bottom of your forum_list. I wish you the best for your forum (always welcoming forums withoud ads, I respect that a lot).
    Sheldon likes this.
  7. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Appreciate the input, I'll answer as best I can.

    I have no excuse for this. Pretty much labeled them, added them as FA, and moved on. It is an area that could use some work, I don't disagree there, but at the moment I am not sure how high on the priority list it is.

    Hmmm. Using the standard XFMG, not sure what would be the issue. Oh wait... hmmm, I bet it is the responsive YouTube video CSS I added. I'll check that as soon as I am done replying here. -EDIT: It was the code I had used from here. Removed it, the issue is gone. Thanks for the heads up!

    Well, the names, I wanted to get away from the standard naming convention. My idea was that XF "Universe", so... space, exploration, all that. The names of the nodes for the XenForo area are all named after modules from the International Space Station (again, connecting the "space" thing). It may not work correctly, and may not fit as well as I hope, but I'll give it some time before doing anything about that. I'm all about attempting to do things differently.. sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

    Aye. One of the issues with having a new site. I'm brainstorming on things to add as I go, I currently have a full plate before me.

    Thanks, that's appreciated. Hopefully others will start sharing their images, videos, customizations as well. Once it gets more content, it will look much better. Again, appreciate the feedback, I'll get some of these sorted as soon as I can.
    sbj likes this.
  8. sbj

    sbj Well-Known Member

    Just one thing here. I really appreciate it when I don't see the typical standardized forum_list. And I got the connection with the ISS and so on. But the problem here is, while your first 3 category names are connected to your motto AND give a picture about what the categories may be (takes some seconds for a foreigner), the other ones has no connections at all. They have no meaning and give me no picture. Yes, they are from the ISS but no connection with the content of the categories. Destiny and 3rd party add-ons? Columbus and style reviews? You should stick to the way you used for the first three. They have your motto and give me the idea. The rest don't. I'm just saying, my personal view.
    I hope you understand what I mean.

    Thanks and good luck :).
    Sheldon likes this.
  9. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Not a problem, appreciate the feedback. I do understand what you are saying, I'll explore the best way to accomplish what I'd like to see, as well as still allowing visitors to understand exactly what they should be expecting. (y)
    sbj likes this.
  10. Amaury

    Amaury Well-Known Member

    Only suggestions I have are:
    • Perhaps make the red for links and whatever user group XFU is part a bit brighter so it shows up better on the member card, but not too light so the red still shows up well on the white backgrounds
    • Perhaps change the time zone for guests to match that of the owner -- you

    I know that second one is really trivial, but it's just a small thing I have. :x

    Other than that, though, I love the site and design, Sheldon.

    Forgot the screenshot, LOL:

    Sheldon likes this.
  11. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Both have been changed. Thinking of a different way to display some things on the Member Card, so the off-white may not be something set in stone. Thanks for the suggestions as well.

    Major progress on the "Reviews" section. Possibly able to start getting all the main release info out soon if I can keep this current pace. Here are a couple of screens... You'll see the XenForo Software and Official Add-ons, Paid Modifications and then Styles. Soon, I'll add another category to have reviews on Hosts, Developers, Stylers, and Service Providers. Lot's of work, but definitely will become a valueable tool within the XenForo community.

    Screenshot_5.png Screenshot_4.png Screenshot_3.png

    Still open to ideas and suggestions. Site is always open and ready to have them made there as well. Look forward to hearing from you all.
    Bob and Amaury like this.
  12. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Almost ready to open up the reviews area. To get it at least close to being usable, we have added the following:
    4 XF Official
    35 Add-Ons
    37 Styles

    It will continue to grow, and shortly we will open up an area for "requests to be added". There is a developer/designer post if you have any Q's or need to contact us, https://xfuniverse.com/threads/attn-developers-and-designers.134/, we are trying to add everyone to their proper usergroup as soon as we see them registered. You know if you are a dev/designer, and if we missed you, contact us.

    We have also used Post Ratings again in a way to help other customers see popularity of add-ons, but also developers to see what add-on or style is growing, etc...


    More information on the "special" ratings here: https://xfuniverse.com/threads/special-post-ratings-xf-columbus.185/

    Look forward to more input and suggestions. Still brainstorming on the node titles @sbj , it's just finding the right connection we want.
  13. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Added the "Avatar Gallery" for members to get some other options (as well as the fact we are looking to have it expanded, so we needed it installed to see which direction we want to go in).

    We've enhanced the "Review" (Showcase) area a bit, in order to give a bit more attention to the actual link here at XF:


    All 70+ addons and styles now link back here to their actual resource. If developers decide, and want them pointed to their home site, or wherever they want to sell, etc, we will edit to their liking.

    Our Gallery is fully operational now. We have four categories to start
    1. Website Images --> Random Images from your site, pretty much anything you'd like.
    2. Website Customizations --> Images pertaining to your actual "customizations" you have done and would like to share.
    3. Miscellaneous --> Any images you want to upload, share, etc.
    4. Videos --> Any videos you'd like to upload, share, etc.
    You also have the ability to create your own albums, if you'd like to narrow it down a bit to your own stuff, or however you'd like to maintain them.

    The growth has been surprising, but welcomed.

    We hope when we finally open up our Reviews (very shortly), both in "Ratings" and actual "Reviews", the site will really take off. We plan on compensating those that contribute Reviews as well. There will obviously be criteria that will need to be met for that to kick in.

    • XFU Giveaways
    • XFU Reviews
    • XFU Support Team
    Look forward to more suggestions, ideas, and critiques.

    SneakyDave, Collapsible Myth and Bob like this.
  14. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Last step before finalizing all of our Reviews information, we've added a few "Service Providers" randomly selected from the Third Party Service Offer forum

    We have added @oman , @Russ , @NixFifty and @MattW for the first wave. More will be added as we go.. we just didn't want to start off with a blank area.

    Here is the quick preview and link: https://xfuniverse.com/reviews/category/xenforo-service-providers.6/


    Now that a good bit have been added, we are finally able to get down to the ins and outs of what will be done as far as reviewing and rating resources. We hope this becomes a great tool for the community to weigh in on. Soon, we will start adding free resources as well. We just felt it was necessary to get a jump on the paid ones, seeing as those cost, its better to be informed as much as possible when making a decision regarding exactly what you want.

    Anywho, look forward to your suggestions and ideas. The input thus far has been invaluable, and we appreciate all that has been posted.

    Oh, @sbj , we've moved more towards a conventional naming method for our nodes now. (y) Still thinking, so nothing is finalized at the moment.
    MattW, Collapsible Myth, Hovi and 5 others like this.
  15. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    We have finally opened up out "Reviews" area for the community.


    Here is a brief FAQ:


    This is a pretty big project, and we really hope to get the community involved with it. We really need your input, ideas, suggestions, anything you think that will make the system better in the end for you all to evaluate if the product is the right choice for you. If there was any time to log in and speak up, please do so now. There is sure to be a learning curve and adjustments, but please be patient with us. We will adapt as fast as we can, and do whatever it takes to keep this moving forward.

    I'd like to give a big shoutout to @Bob for his help, product, and development with this. This guy goes above and beyond when tasked in helping out people. If you are on the fence with any of his add-ons, just jump now. It'll be worth it.


    We have turned on "guest" viewing of the Review system.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
    Syndol and Bob like this.
  16. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Seeing as how it was a bit too much to navigate through many review fields, we've categorized them a bit better:

    Yes, the image above shows to areas that will eventually get added, and that was the main reasoning behind the move to sub-forums. Once inside the category, you'll see what you normally would expect.


    For each of these, prefixes will be added to again narrow it. The prefixes will be things like "Audentio", "PixelExit", "GoodForNothing", "Chris D", as long as there are multiple items, they will likely get a prefix. We hope this will make it a bit easier for others to wade through all the add-ons once they are finished being listed.

    Ratings are starting to come in now as well, after we ironed out a few kinks.

    Also added a widget to show what has recently been rated.

    The actual "Reviews" part of it all, well, we hope those will come in time as well. Again, if you have any questions about the Reviews system, we have posted a FAQ in the Mission Control Center to help you out and get you started.

    Next up will be some work on a bit of gamification, some ADCredits, AMS, and a few other little things.

    Look forward to hearing from you all, we value the input and suggestions. It's coming together nicely, and we would like to thank those who have already decided to be a part of this.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
    NixFifty, NZWarriors and Bob like this.
  17. SneakyDave

    SneakyDave Well-Known Member

    The reviews system, and the implementation of it, is well thought out, including the idea to use post ratings to indicate if an add-on was installed, paid for, etc. Similar to how vbulletin.org implements its ratings.

    A lot of thought is put into the site obviously, and it's not bogged down with unnecessary things that just confuse members, or throws stuff in their face that they'd never use.
    NixFifty and Bob like this.
  18. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Moving right along....

    Add-On Updates
    We've installed AD Credits, the AD Credits shop is coming very soon. We will be exploring the best ways to be creative with these, as well as offering suggestions, uses, etc.


    Reviews are starting to get more attention. More users posting and rating, reviewing, etc. We have now allowed devs / designers / service providers to claim their own items, and also enabled it on their profile... This will allow the owners to upload screenshots, updates, various things. Down the line, depending on suggestions, more custom fields can/will appear, as well as other tabs for each item.

    Review area

    Profile Page

    Also, a quick update for @sbj , we took your advice, and changed our titles a bit (descriptions still pending :p). We appreciate the honest feedback.


    Still taking suggestions and listening to critiques about the look/layout/feel of the site. Whatever it takes to make this a better community we are willing to do.
    sbj likes this.
  19. Dakota Storm

    Dakota Storm Well-Known Member

    No twitter integration for the login, Sheldon?
  20. MattW

    MattW Well-Known Member

    Site keeps going offline for me. Can't access it again.
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