These past few weeks i’ve been thinking my layout is becoming quite optimised but there are multiple features i’m not happy with. The layout is somewhat outdated, doesn’t look modern, it’s fluid but could use a facelift. With a new forum skin I can add more links to the navigation menu (which is fast becoming cluttered), I can create a cleaner and easier to navigate forum where events are easier to find, adverts are easier to place and my above the fold contains more of the actual forums as to half the height being pure graphics/unnecessary information.
What crazy egg has shown me is most of my forum users are utilising alot of the information they see above the fold but less often scroll down past what they see. With a new premade theme i’ve found, I can have most of my real estate showing the forum sections which should give people a better glance at the forum sections and encourage them to register. I would say about 70% of the old layout’s above the fold was the banner + updates + quick links. For the new layout that has all been compressed into 30% of the screen and still looks more spacious. Here’s an example of the old skin (new is the featured image of this post):
With any new forum theme update, I have to make sure it contains all the information as the old one. People are reluctant to change once they’ve become accustomed to something so i’ve got to show them that the new layout can provide better viewable content/ease of use.
Naturally there’s alot of things I needed to change. The forum’s div padding in alot of sections were too much, I need to re-implement my custom nav links (money & gift transfer), fix icon errors, figure out why shop items aren’t showing in profiles anymore…there’s alot of things to do! In the end, my goal is to encourage more people to join and give it a fresh new exciting look which should draw the old users back who have become inactive.
With a new skin, i’m going to use this opportunity to fully test it and have everything working before people see it. I’ll introduce a new event upon release to get people excited. I’m also completely revamping the shop, removing the collectibles and making them appear around the forum upon posting. This will create a fun and new way to post.
Unfortunately, nintendo have been tight lipped about any new animal crossing game in the last 5 years. It’s hard advertising a forum for a game which is not in the spotlight anymore, so I have to be creative and encourage players that the content I provide is exciting, current and can breathe new life into an overwise dwindling series.