FIRST THINGS FIRST: Ctroy, thank you so much for getting the site back online. I'm a huge fan of the site and have been a daily user for the last 7 or so years - which I think shows how much value I attribute to the site and its content.
That being said (uh oh...), I think there's a good conversation to be had about the new site's usability, mainly pertaining to its design. Its interfacing is quite good, once you get past the design layer, but because of the design and layout, the UI is still negatively impacted. I've posted two screen shots below to help illustrate my frustrations with the design of the site. Please keep in mind that I view the site on a 13" laptop with a very hi res screen, so I have to have default windows zoom options enabled, but I think this is the norm for anyone viewing the site on any modern laptop. Browser level zoom is not enabled on my computer. Viewing on an updated Chrome with 100pct (default) zoom settings.
1) The header banner is absolutely massive and is visible on every page. It's a beautiful shot, but a pic that big and intrusive should really only be on a landing page. Once someone gets to the site, they know where they are and don't need to be reminded every time.
2) The social media links being displayed at all times on the side bar are distracting, and when zoomed, overlap with page content. Most of those links are also completely static so they don't need to follow the user around. If it was an option to 'share' your current page, I could kind of get it (but personally still wouldn't like it), but considering that they are static links to the same page everywhere you go, I think they're extremely redundant. I personally don't need a facebook link to the cotton belt line facebook page crowding out my content when I'm trying to read a 20 post long page.
3) This is probably partially a result of my global zoom settings (but again, as with most laptops if things were set to default I wouldn't be able to read anything) but there is no content immediately available when you land on a topic thread. This of course goes back to point 1 about the banner, but also relates to a further point in the next image.
1) Individual post headers are MASSIVE (cannot overstate that enough) and extraordinarily repetitive. Once someone is within a thread, a single larger header for the thread title can be at the top of the page, but definitely does not need to be in each individual post.
2) Related to point 1, the content is completely unfocused. This is probably mostly a result of everything else having extra weight and focus, but the content of the post is literally the least focused and apparent thing on the screen.
3) This is definitely a minor thing but the post creator information being on the right side of the post just feels off. While it's partially a result of it just being a 'change' from the original forum, it also goes against the convention of every other forum platform I've seen, so it's just weird and distracting.
Anyway, it's hard to talk about UX/UI stuff without coming off as condescending and hipsterish, but I really wanted to get my point out there because I think it could help other people enjoy the forum more. Content loss aside from the old forum, I find myself checking the new one FAR less frequently than I did the old platform, and I think it's mostly just because it's a chore to parse out all of the information on the page
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