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Old 15th May 2013, 9:22 AM DefaultNew theme - what went wrong, what went right, and next steps. #1
Tashiketh
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Hi All,

TL;DR: Themes + code reverted. New style will go live eventually. Nothing to see here, carry on.

So the news yesterday was the introduction of a new theme here on the site. This garnered a LOT of feedback from users, with some nice breakdowns, some good constructive posts, and a whole bunch of polarised opinions thrown in for good measure.

So what went wrong? Well, firstly, and this is a valid point - not enough end-user feedback was gotten during the construction process. Secondly, the colour schemes chosen weren't "good enough" for a lot of people. Thirdly, the layout of the download browse pages and the member profiles came in for a lot of flak. Lastly, there seemed to be some client and server side performance issues. All of these I will be addressing. But the main point is that I've reverted the entire site *and* the codebase back to the old version. It's just not possible to run both at the same time so this was the only option.

What went right? Well, I believe that HTML5 and CSS3 *are* here to stay, same with the larger thumbnails and responsive design. A lot of you *did* like the new styles, but enough of you where unhappy that I've rolled the design and code back.

So, whats next? Well, for one, I'm going to be providing an alternative site at http://www.modthesims.info/?styleid=40 - this will be constantly updated with the latest bleeding edge code the same as we have on the staff only server.

Next, and I want to stress this - the old themes *will* be going away eventually. Once Bootstrap has been more thoroughly tested and tweaked then I'll announce a changeover date and get more feedback at that time.

Lastly, I realise that this was a shock to a lot of you and that it probably wasn't the correct way to do this. I'd like to apologise for the hard cut, and rest assured that next time it'll be a bit more gradual. I'd also like to thank a lot of you for being level headed and providing bug reports and constructive criticism. I've archived the thread for now, but I'll be reaching out to specific people with more questions and feedback. To those of you who played with alternate themes, I hope you can understand the ease and power of the new layout in how quickly and easily it is to style.

So the priorities for now are to tweak, adjust and generally find both a set of colour schemes *and* a layout that satisfies the majority of people (I realise that not everybody will like any new changes), but also incorporate some of the old layout features like more "row" based downloads. I'll also be adjusting some of the client side javascript so that it runs smoother on lower power computers.

Thanks for listening. Please do try and keep comments constructive.

Delphy

ETA: I've setup a Bootstrap feedback forum here: http://www.modthesims.info/forumdisplay.php?f=671 You can give specific feedback there. Theres also an input thread to do with postbits.

Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
Last edited by Delphy : 15th May 2013 at 7:19 PM.
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Old 15th May 2013, 9:32 AM #2
leefish
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Thanks for the update.

I am using Cyborg (by far my fave)

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Old 15th May 2013, 10:20 AM #3
simkill
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Well Delphy I was pretty shocked to see the new layout but, I am happy that there will be a change. best of luck to the new changes. Also Cyborg theme=win

Ps. I didn't play on the site very much while it was changed but I did notice that the link/button to switch between Sims 2 and 3 and eventually 4 should prob be more noticeable. I still sometimes find my self finding a really nice outfit only to realize at the last minute Im looking in the Sims 2 section lol.
Old 15th May 2013, 10:23 AM #4
LallaBelle
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I'm using Cyborg at the moment, it's a bit dark - but it's one of the few layouts that isn't quite so pale/making my eyes swim. Still I know with something like this it's not something that's always going to please everyone.

A little suggestion with the theme 'Readable', since it's geared towards people who'd prefer a larger font size it may/may not be helpful to perhaps have a more muted colour for the background of posts? Since black text on white background even at a larger size isn't always good if trying to avoid eye strain.


Also I was just wondering what this feature(on the 'Edit Profile' page) does exactly, does it just change the look of the user page or the site as a whole?
Old 15th May 2013, 10:23 AM #5
Psychosim
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Thanks for your hard work to keep this place enjoyable! I'm sure all the technical bits of the new site are top-notch.

I didn't have a chance to read any of the feedback, sorry if this has been mentioned before, but a small change I'd really appreciate would be the User Tools in the right corner again. It's always been like the public site on the left and my little private corner on the right, that makes the most sense to me. Having a widescreen, it's also quite a change if I have to move to the other side now.

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Old 15th May 2013, 10:29 AM #6
Tashiketh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LallaBelle
I'm using Cyborg at the moment, it's a bit dark - but it's one of the few layouts that isn't quite so pale/making my eyes swim. Still I know with something like this it's not something that's always going to please everyone.

A little suggestion with the theme 'Readable', since it's geared towards people who'd prefer a larger font size it may/may not be helpful to perhaps have a more muted colour for the background of posts? Since black text on white background even at a larger size isn't always good if trying to avoid eye strain.


Also I was just wondering what this feature(on the 'Edit Profile' page) does exactly, does it just change the look of the user page or the site as a whole?


I just took Readable from Bootswatch.com, but I can certainly customise it.

That feature on edit profile is for users to upload custom Bootstrap CSS similar to the old style "custom profile colours". It's currently not replacing the entire site, but thats actually just a matter of a couple of code changes and it'd work. So, thats a feature I can offer later (make your own CSS).

Thanks for the feedback.

Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
Old 15th May 2013, 10:31 AM #7
Tashiketh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psychosim
Thanks for your hard work to keep this place enjoyable! I'm sure all the technical bits of the new site are top-notch.

I didn't have a chance to read any of the feedback, sorry if this has been mentioned before, but a small change I'd really appreciate would be the User Tools in the right corner again. It's always been like the public site on the left and my little private corner on the right, that makes the most sense to me. Having a widescreen, it's also quite a change if I have to move to the other side now.


Yeah I actually tried in the very first versions to get User Tools on the right but it just wasn't working properly. The Horizontal Menu code just wasn't working out to float that particular element over there. I do agree that it's a bit weird where it is now. I'll probably have to work on that menu anyway since it has some issues in IE9 apparently, but also has custom CSS overrides that don't pick up the style changes properly.

Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
Old 15th May 2013, 10:42 AM #8
residenteviloutbreak
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Why are the old themes being listed in the theme changer if we cant even use them?
Old 15th May 2013, 10:54 AM #9
joandsarah77
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I currently have the old theme, so you can use it.

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Old 15th May 2013, 11:02 AM #10
Tashiketh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by residenteviloutbreak
Why are the old themes being listed in the theme changer if we cant even use them?


To annoy you, of course. Seriously though, no idea what your compalint is here, since you *can* use the old styles. Just select them from the dropdown at the bottom where it always was.

Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
Old 15th May 2013, 11:19 AM #11
missy harries
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I really liked it! People are just generally stubborn and don't like change
I was waiting all day for the birthday announcement and when I finally got a glimpse I had to go to bed so I didn't get get to have a good look around with it (boo).
Maybe you should try some planned 'beta day's' with it to get plenty of user feedback and iron it all out, just make sure to announce it waaaay in advance if you do though
It still looks funky now

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Old 15th May 2013, 11:23 AM
christmas fear
This message has been deleted by Delphy. Reason: lets not get into this debate shall we? constructive comments only.
Old 15th May 2013, 11:36 AM #12
Yenkas
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Wonderful decision. It was too sudden for a lot of people - if I'm being honest, myself included - and this is a better solution. I do understand the layout has to change; it hasn't been updated in years. I like that we're able to keep track with how the new layout goes along. I wish you luck with the revisions!
Old 15th May 2013, 11:39 AM #13
christmas fear
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delphy.. would it be out of your way to create a mobile version of the site? the new layout isn't great on mobile atm.
Old 15th May 2013, 11:41 AM #14
DeeDawg
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Oh noes. No disrespect, but I've always found the old/current themes a bit cheezy, so the fact that we would get the power of the Bootstrap framework just made me smile. As I'm a webdeveloper by profession I see the default Bootstrap themes (including those from Bootswatch) all the time, so they're getting a bit old too, but hey that's just me.

It would be really awesome if you give us the opportunity to style the whole site ourselves.
But either way, thanks Delphy!
Old 15th May 2013, 11:44 AM #15
Tashiketh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missy harries
Maybe you should try some planned 'beta day's' with it to get plenty of user feedback and iron it all out, just make sure to announce it waaaay in advance if you do though
It still looks funky now


I'll probably do just that - get more exposure for it and more feedback. But i'd do it as a news post thats optional, not forced.

Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
Old 15th May 2013, 11:45 AM #16
Tashiketh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christmas fear
delphy.. would it be out of your way to create a mobile version of the site? the new layout isn't great on mobile atm.


I've been testing it a lot with mobile devices. It's not perfect but it's a lot better than the old view. What, specifically, don't you feel is great?

Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
Old 15th May 2013, 11:47 AM #17
Tashiketh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeDawg
Oh noes. No disrespect, but I've always found the old/current themes a bit cheezy, so the fact that we would get the power of the Bootstrap framework just made me smile. As I'm a webdeveloper by profession I see the default Bootstrap themes (including those from Bootswatch) all the time, so they're getting a bit old too, but hey that's just me.

It would be really awesome if you give us the opportunity to style the whole site ourselves.
But either way, thanks Delphy!


Styling the entire site yourself is definatly on the cards. After a lot of discussion in chat, I'm probably going to do a specific MTS Bootstrap version with more typography options (which as you probably know are really limited in Bootstrap), especially since the post bits are going to be revamped.

And yes, I know what you mean about standard bootstrap too!

Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
Old 15th May 2013, 11:51 AM #18
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I couldn't spot anything I would usually use that didn't work for me, as such. It was of course somewhat disorienting and obviously one's navigation is slowed down at first as you automatically tread more carefully and have to make sure things are still there (they might be moved to a different part of the screen). It did seem slower at loading each page, but I put that down to not having anything cached any longer, as presumably all previous cached material would have been considered expired because of the new interface,

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Old 15th May 2013, 12:20 PM #19
TheTiffy
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I like the Schoolhouse theme. The ones that are almost all white are painful to look at, so the ivory and light blue helps tone it down a bit. I'd appreciate if you'd keep at least one calmly colored theme to chose from.

The newer layout reminds me a lot of Pinterest and Pinterest has always felt a little bit sloppy with the images being of varying size and out of alignment. That's OCD for you. If there is a way to present the items in an aligned grid pattern, it would probably calm a lot of people down.
Old 15th May 2013, 12:23 PM #20
residenteviloutbreak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delphy
To annoy you, of course. Seriously though, no idea what your compalint is here, since you *can* use the old styles. Just select them from the dropdown at the bottom where it always was.


Oh?

Well it tells me this exact error:
"There seems to have been a slight problem with the Mod The Sims database.
Please try again by pressing the refresh button in your browser.

An E-Mail has been dispatched to our Technical Staff, who you can also contact if the problem persists.

We apologise for any inconvenience."


So no, you cant.
Old 15th May 2013, 12:27 PM #21
leefish
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I logged on as a "non-moderator" and could use the themes, joandsarah can use the themes. Which theme exactly are you trying to use?

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Old 15th May 2013, 12:29 PM #22
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Bless you and good luck! I don't envy the work you are putting in, but I hope everything comes out the way you want for all concerned.

(I also enjoyed Schoolhouse for the neutral background colors.)

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Old 15th May 2013, 12:32 PM #23
katalina522
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Eep -- this keeps happening when I go to the downloaded page (only on the original site; not in the bootstrap version):
Old 15th May 2013, 12:33 PM #24
christmas fear
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delphy
I've been testing it a lot with mobile devices. It's not perfect but it's a lot better than the old view. What, specifically, don't you feel is great?


just the format not fitting too well on my mobile internet.
Old 15th May 2013, 12:35 PM #25
leefish
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@vkatalina522 - you need to select one of the old themes - we can only have one codebase running at anytime. No bootstrap on www, are selectable in the menu but a tad screwy.

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