05-05-2015, 02:15 PM #1
One Piece Forums
Review by MrGravyCakes
Review by MrGravyCakes
When I first looked at your forum, I saw that it was a nice, clean design. I hoped that the pictures on the index page moved with the forum and they did. The issue that I have with this part is the login image on the top left of the page. There are 2 things I have to say about this. Firstly, you already have a normal login message at the top of your forum. This is all you need to ask people to register, there is no need for anything else.
The next thing is that, I am sorry to say that the login message on the top left looks very uninviting. It is a good idea, it had a picture of an anime character on but the text is quite ugly. It is a normal font and it has a drop shadow on it and in my honest opinion, it would not make me sign up. I would urge you not to make a massive thing about people signing up by putting messages everywhere. It really does put potential members off when they feel that the staff are desperate for people to sign up and when the login message looks a bit untidy. If you do want to keep the login message, it might be a good idea to think of a new way of asking the members to sign up. I have an idea of having an image of a manga character with a speech bubble near them asking the users to sign up. That would go very well with your forum.
The images on the index page and the banner images relate will to the identity of the forum. They clearly suggest that this is an anime forum, which it is.
I couldn't find a way to change what theme to use. It is generally a good idea to include several themes so that members can have a choice if they do not like the default one. If there is a way to change the theme, it is not easy to find, so you should work on making that stand out. There is generally a section at the footer of the forum that will allow you to change the theme, maybe consider putting more options in there. The top navigation bar is covering the bottom of the logo, hiding part of the text. It will look nicer if it is moved down a little bit, which is perfectly achievable in the CSS.
There is nothing separating each forum, it would look better if there was a horizontal rule or a line of some sort that will just separate each forum. This also happens with your threads, they would look a lot nicer separated. I will include an image to show you what I mean:
I have done the same in the stats section at the bottom of your forum:
Your category headers are a bit plain, maybe you could give them a bit of color? I would suggest light blues, as they would go well with the current design of your theme. There are a few good tools online that help you choose colors for your website, they are located here:
On the same note, your background consists of some images which are nice, but I feel a bit of colour would be nice, or maybe a pattern. I am thinking light blue would be nice and would not ruin the images that are there.
Your mini profile that is displayed next to your posts would benefit from a little rework. The reason that I say that is because it is a good idea and with some work it could be a really nice part of the forum. I would say that the text is a bit too small to read on it, I have to squint to read the text that says 'total points', 'rank' etc.
The first thing that I see when I look for the stats of the forum are 3 boxes that do not seem to have anything to tell us what they represent. The site statistics are an important feature, so it would be a good idea to label them so that it is easy to tell what the numbers represent.
The stats look good on first glance and I went further and looked at who specifically was making the posts. I can see above the stats it shows the top posters, the first 5 of which being staff/retired staff. The gap between the amount of staff posts and users posts is quite big, with the 5th top poster having 1017 posts and the user below them being a member, having 768. This is not terrible, but I am just showing you the gap between the amount of staff posts and the amount of user posts. This could be increased with a competition, I think your forum would benefit a lot from one. When I looked around, I saw that there were 38 users online, 31 of which were guests. You have a lot of people viewing the forum, but you need to get them to become members. I know some of them maybe were members who may not have logged in yet, but a lot of them will have been potential members. You are being seen, your next step is to turn the guests into members.
You have a unique theme which is awesome, this will make you look better in regards to other anime forums. You need to work on your SEO on your posts as that will make people be able to find you on Google, without even knowing the name of your forum. If you appear on the top of the Google rankings, people will click on your link and visit you. I can see that you do reviews and role playing. This shows that you are trying to be unique and this is where your forum shines. It is very good to be unique when there are a lot of other forums dedicated to anime. The battle zone idea is very good and it makes you stand out against the other anime forums that do not have this feature.
The structure of the forum is quite good. I would like to emphasize a point that was made in the previous review regarding the 3 One Piece forums, (Anime, Manga and General). They could all be merged because they are all based on the same kind of discussion and they are not broad enough to need to be separated into separate forums. They would benefit being merged because people will be able to find everything related to One Piece under that same forum.
I would not have public offices, I would use PMs for that. You should never really have staff forums on display for every user. The staff section should be kept private to only staff members. On a lot of forums, staff debate things that they do not want to be shared with every user, keeping the forums private would stop the risk of things being leaked. You have all the latest important information at the top in a bar, this is excellent. Users will easily be able to see the latest news and announcements and click on the link to go to where it is posted.
Spelling & Professionalism
I would not say that the staff are very professional on the forum. I found a lot of grammatical errors on several occasions. The staff do answer the suggestions in the suggestions area which is good, it shows you are engaged with what the community thinks. In regards to the grammar issues, I have found several occasions where staff use ellipses, but use them badly.
There are a lot more posts where this happens and I feel that this is a bad thing to happen from staff members. Ellipses should have 3 dots, each separated by a space, an example of an ellipse would be, 'If only she had . . . Oh, it doesn’t matter now.'
The grammar there is quite bad and I think it is not professional to have posts like that on public display. On another note, I had an admin reply to one of my messages asking if my avatar was from an anime. I said it wasn't and I told them who it was, to which I got the reply, 'Is that an anime?'. This is quite worrying when an admin on an anime forum doesn't know that World of Warcraft is not an anime. On several occasions, I have noticed the staff have been a bit harsh on your members. The way they speak to them at times seems a little bit full on. It is important that staff treat members correctly so that they come back.
There are a few issues with your staff posts as I have already said. I would suggest that you look into them as staff should really be making grammatically correct posts. I would also like to bring up an issue regarding your forum titles. The word 'and' should not really ever have a capital letter at the beginning of it. I cannot think of any exceptions off the top of my head to this rule, but in your titles you have put a capital letter at the beginning. For example, 'Announcements And Site Updates' should be, 'Announcements and Site Updates'. I am aware this is a title, but that rule still applies in titles. The first letter of every word does not have to be capitalized. This happens on several forum titles. You could change the word, 'and' to an ampersand (&).
This forum is active and has a good member base. You should work on getting your members to post more and not relying on your staff to start conversations. You really should look at your staff's grammar, it is important that posts don't contain lots of dots all over the place. Your forum is good, it has a good member base, so work on a few things and it can become amazing!