The Future of WC2 is Coming...What should it look like?

Mendalla

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I am currently researching elements for a project that I have had in mind for a while. While version 1.5 of Xenforo, the software that "powers" Wondercafe2, is still being supported, version 2 has been out for almost a year (released last November). A major upgrade of 2, version 2.1, is imminent and seems to hold promise for adding some cool new features. So, I am finally seriously looking at what we need to do for an upgrade. It's not a huge project by the standards of my day job, but will still be the biggest project we have undertaken since WC2 went live.

What will we (we being mostly the admins) need to do?
  • Set up a test copy of WC2 (generally called a "development" or "dev" environment in the IT world) and upgrade it to see what works and what doesn't
  • Get our designer in to redo the Wondercafe2 styles (the upgrade breaks existing version 1 templates)
  • Test the upgraded dev environment to make sure everything works and so we can help you use the upgraded board's features (this is where we might get the mods and some members involved)
  • Upgrade the live board and import the upgraded styles (expect to down for a few hours to a day)
What has been done so far?
  • We've learned how to create the dev environment but haven't set it up yet (not needed until we are ready to start)
  • We've talked to Russ, the designer who created our styles, and received a budget quote on the work
  • We've been monitoring threads on Xenforo's own boards to see what's coming up in 2.1 and when we might expect it
Will it cost anything?
  • The actual software is included in the annual maintenance (US$40) that we pay so costs nothing additional. We are paid up until next spring.
  • We have been quoted US$350 to do the styles. Sounds high, but it's less than we paid to have the styles created in 2014 since Russ is extending a discount to repeat customers who are upgrading.
The one decision we need to make as I await the release of version 2.1 is whether we want to change our look. The styles need to be redone from scratch even if we keep things the same so it does not matter whether we keep the current look or change it. The cost for the work remains the same. So, if we want to spruce up the cafe a bit, this is the time to do it.

So, the questions to the denizens of Wondercafe2 are (made them bigger so they stand out):

What would you change about the look of the site?
What do you like about the current look?

Assume for now that we keep the same forums and information pages. Look more at things like the colours, layout, fonts, and so on. If we see any trends in the discussion, then those are the items we will look at changing.
 

Mendalla

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Of course, saying you're perfectly happy with things as they are is a valid answer. Change doesn't have to happen, just asking if it should and where it should.
 

Redbaron

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Any idea how long 1.5 will still be supported? We'd likely have to, eventually at some point, upgrade? I do prefer the color scheme of WC2, it's a lot easier on the eyes than the hot dog stand colors of the original... but a dash of color wouldn't hurt, really. Just a thought.
 

Kimmio

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the colours were something I never liked. We need brighter, softer, colours - more of a palette of colour. Something cheerier than black, white and grey (with some red) . It’s too dark and stark looking imo. That’s all I’d change. I set my settings to the xenphoro colours for that reason, so when I log on the Wc2 logo is gone but the colours are softer.
 

Kimmio

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They say pink is calming. Maybe there’d be less arguing if we had a few shades of pink added. I like 11 and 15 because they have a few tasteful splashes of pink hues, but they’re more neutral not Barbie/ bubblegum pink.
 

Mendalla

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Any idea how long 1.5 will still be supported?
They haven't given a date yet. Perhaps once 2.1 ships, we'll hear more on that front. Even if they discontinue support, we can technically still use it (there are still people running 1.3 and 1.4), but we won't get any maintenance patches for things like security bugs. However, between what's in 2.0 and the announcements they are making about 2.1, I'm getting the feeling that 2 is likely now a more modern, robust board.
 

Mendalla

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Thanks for that, Kimmio. We are currently redesigning our website at work (which may be why my mind is on this at the moment) and one of the things our designer did was a "mood board" showing a bunch of sample sites. They then asked us to pick out ones we liked or didn't like and discussed why. They didn't have that many items (more like 25, I think) but we can kind of use this in the same way. I'll give that a closer look.

One option I raised backstage was to just go default Xenforo and just add a redesigned logo (the graphic artist who did the current logo is a friend and co-worker of mine who freelances on the side and didn't charge us much to do it). The problem with that is you then end up looking like everyone else who goes default. ;)

This is basically Xenforo 2.0 default, by the way:

XenForo community

Yes, they eat their own dog food, as we say in the biz.
 

Luce NDs

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If we changed would we lose some amusing stones ... those ones fixed and often left on gravesites as icons ?

Ones fixed when changed are crushed by the cognizance ... and thus go on as grits ... libe-rated ... spoken of crudely by those constituting the institution ... so the windrift!
 

Mendalla

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If we changed would we lose some amusing stones ... those ones fixed and often left on gravesites as icons ?

Ones fixed when changed are crushed by the cognizance ... and thus go on as grits ... libe-rated ... spoken of crudely by those constituting the institution ... so the windrift!
I'm not quite sure what this means. If you mean losing old posts/threads, no. This is all about the look of the site. All existing content would carry over to the new design. In IT we call it an "in-place upgrade" meaning you take the existing version and just install the new one over top of it.
 

Luce NDs

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I'm not quite sure what this means. If you mean losing old posts/threads, no. This is all about the look of the site. All existing content would carry over to the new design. In IT we call it an "in-place upgrade" meaning you take the existing version and just install the new one over top of it.
No I meant the hard cases that don't like learning ... too dynamic for the fixated! Adhering to statutes?

That's the law whether good, bad, ugly or beautiful when on the fence watching the painters --- Mark Twain!
 

Mendalla

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No I meant the hard cases that don't like learning ... too dynamic for the fixated! Adhering to statutes?

That's the law whether good, bad, ugly or beautiful when on the fence watching the painters --- Mark Twain!
They'll still around, Luce. Well, unless they really hate the new version or something.:D
 

BetteTheRed

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One of my favorite forums to which I've never managed to become permanently attached. Despite being genetically half Anglican, it didn't stick any better than the RCC side... They're great people, though, there's lots of them, it's really nicely moderated.
 

GiancarloZ

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One of my favorite forums to which I've never managed to become permanently attached. Despite being genetically half Anglican, it didn't stick any better than the RCC side... They're great people, though,
It's a nice forum, though so crowded that makes it difficult to follow along.
But I like their aesthetic very much.
 

Mendalla

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Over the years, we've had a number of people mention it would be nice to have reaction options besides the simple "Like". This is coming in Xenforo 2.1 and they will be customizable so we can discuss what we want in terms of reactions or just implement and see if the defaults are enough.

Defaults will be:

Like
Love
Haha
Wow
Sad
Angry
 

Redbaron

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I like the idea of more reaction responses; I remember others saying they wish there were a 'shaking my head' and 'facepalm' available as well.
 
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