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Some look-and-feel changes coming

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  • Some look-and-feel changes coming

    We have a small problem with Google in that the Forums aren't presently mobile-friendly, and in the next couple/few weeks we'll be doing something about that.

    As some of you probably know, websites that aren't sufficiently mobile-friendly are pushed way down in the listing ranks on major search engines. This is just generally a bad situation, as one part of a domain behaving this way affects all the other sites and so forth running on that domain. So a badly-mobile-oriented Forum affects the whole of

    The problem from the vBulletin standpoint is this. We're now running the newest version of vBulletin 4 (4.2.3), which is good. But vBulletin 4's default format is not natively responsive or mobile-friendly. (Yes, there is an elective mobile style, but to keep Google from listing the forums as non-mobile friendly, it's the default theme that needs to change.) vBulletin 5 is responsive / mobilefriendly out of the box, but upgrading to 5 would cost a fair amount of money... and makes no particular sense for so lightly-visited a forum.

    There's also the issue that vBulletin 5 can't / won't run the plugins that 4.x does. Even if I felt like ponying up the cash for an upgrade, we would be losing functionality for the sake of this one change.

    As far as I can tell, vBulletin has no intention of updating the 4.2.x styles to suit mobile access: all their present development attention seems to be fixed on vBulletin 5. The only way to go, then, for a forum that wants to be mobile but stay on 4.2.x, is to seek out third-party solutions.

    There are some mobile / responsive themes out there -- not as many as you'd think -- and I'll be looking them over in the next little while to see which ones seem to be best value for money (as none of them are free, but at the same time, none of them are as expensive as an upgrade to 5.x would be).

    Meanwhile, along the same lines: I will be killing all the older display styles (AzureTouch and the others presently available in the style dropdown at the bottom of the page) in the next week or so, as they would be an incredible pain to update for mobile use, and at the moment I have no evidence that anyone's using them.

    More on all this shortly.
    Last edited by Diane Duane; February 13, 2016, 10:58:21 AM.
    -- DD