Forum owners who don't have mobile-friendly layouts

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Shriker, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. Shriker
    Magical

    Shriker Shadowlack Owner RPGfix Admin Patron Game Owner

    Many folks (and many more each day) browse the web, and forums, via mobile devices. (I browse a lot via mobile, and even moderate RPGfix via mobile.)

    How come so many forum owners let mobile optimization fall wayside? Ideally your forum should work on as many platforms as possible. If your layout breaks on my phone, I'm likely not even going to bother registering.

    Do you think that not catering toward a growing mobile market has preemptively marked your game for extinction? Or are you relying on power-users who are always at their laptops or PCs to make dedicated posts?
     
    The Mother and Death Kitten like this.
  2. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    I honestly have no idea if my site is compatible. And as a writer- I emphasize to the members of my group to make back ups of their work- can this be done on a cell phone? My other question is- how much thought and or time goes into a post if you're using your cell phone?
     
    Elena likes this.
  3. Shriker
    Magical

    Shriker Shadowlack Owner RPGfix Admin Patron Game Owner

    I can't speak for all forum software, but XenForo (what RPGfix uses), can auto-save your posts as drafts at regular intervals. So if you lose connectivity, or accidentally exit out, your work-in-progress post is still right there where you left off. The technology is there, but still not there for everyone.

    I know people now who have completed NaNoWriMo (writing 50,000 words in a month), using their cell phones paired up with small bluetooth keyboards. This stuff has been evolving at a very fast rate. :)
     
  4. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    My site uses phpBB, I'm hoping the latest version has auto save because the members are bad at saving their content (except for the multiple replies done in PMs). The problem, however, is with the members who were there during the great hack, they still don't keep back ups. I have specifically said not to rely on me to recover their data should this happen again.

    Auto save is a great tool if your forum system has it- the problem is that content cannot always be recovered after a hacker hits delete.
     
  5. Death Kitten
    Kickass

    Death Kitten Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Game Owner

    I know a lot of my players write outside my game's site before they post. Google docs does well on and off mobile, and I know MS word gets used because it puts in broken curly quotes.

    My personal preference is, if a site isn't mobile friendly, I don't have time for it. I spend too much time on public transit and walking everywhere to not be able to read and write from my phone. Thankfully there has been improvements on mobile support for Nova in a couple of skins now, so that has helped a lot. For a while there weren't any options.
     
  6. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    While I understand people's view that if they can't access through their mobile devices- it's about the convenience- instant access. For me- it's a different issue. I'm one of those who is against having the internet on mobile devices- because it takes away a person's focus. People stop paying attention to their surroundings because their focus is on that screen.

    My perspective comes from being raised to pay attention to what's around you. If you're not careful, don't watch where you're going etc- you could be hurt, someone could attack, you could be hit by a car.

    This past year, I read a story about a man who was killed by 3 boys- he was walking his small dog. Their reason for the attack- 'he looked vulnerable'. This man was out just walking his dog. imagine how people look to criminals, or someone looking for mischief and trouble to cause, as they walk around with their attention on their mobile devices.

    I also have friends who persist in talking on their cell phones while driving. I have asked them not to call me when they're driving- I do NOT want to be that person on the other end should there be an accident. As selfish as it sounds- I don't want to hear it, I don't want to be the reason for the crash- because we were on the phone together.

    That convenience comes at the cost of safety.
     
    Elena and The Mother like this.
  7. Death Kitten
    Kickass

    Death Kitten Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Game Owner

    Okay, a counter point to that. Due to really bad infrastructure in the area I live, public transportation is horrific but I can't afford to get a car. It takes me an hour (more than half of it walking) for me to travel the distance that I could travel in a car in ten minutes. So, you're saying that I shouldn't be able to chat with my friends while waiting at the bus stop and riding the bus, or while I'm eating my dinner, just because some people have poor judgment on when they should be using their phone?

    Also consider that before people were using their phone to read news and social media, people carried books and newspapers, they've been doing that since the printing press became a thing. Distractions while driving a car can also come from adjusting the radio, from an unruly passenger, or even something happening outside the vehicle. Sure, someone not using a headset or other handsfree device are a problem for not having both hands available, but most people can hold a normal conversation while driving, so how's that different if you have both hands on the wheel?
     
  8. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    We're talking about two different sets of examples. I'm referring to the people walking the streets, you're referring to people sitting down eating, waiting or riding the bus. When you're walking, look like you know what you're doing, where you're going- don't look vulnerable.

    With driving- sure, there are other distractions- some are unavoidable, some aren't, but why add one more?
     
  9. Death Kitten
    Kickass

    Death Kitten Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Game Owner

    Right, but the larger context is this thread is about game sites having mobile layouts. If you object to them having mobile layouts because of the reasons you list, you would be taking that access away from everyone who wants to use your game site from a phone. Not just people who want to use their phone while driving or some walking down the street (and seriously, the car argument? If a text message is enough make someone crash, no one has time to attempt to use a rp game site before they'll crash).
     
  10. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    It's insane what people will do while driving. Jerry Doyle, a radio talk show host used to share a memory of seeing a woman playing her violin while driving. Apparently, she thought she could do it.

    My point is, people are so confident in their multitasking that they think they can do anything while driving. I wouldn't put it past someone to try posting to a forum, of any kind, while they're driving.
     
  11. Shriker
    Magical

    Shriker Shadowlack Owner RPGfix Admin Patron Game Owner

    Alright, so how about those mobile layouts. :)
     
  12. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    I asked the members of my group if someone would volunteer to check. He was able to access the forum and make a post using his cell phone. He captured this image from it. The text is so small it's unreadable but that might just be his phone.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Achera

    Achera Newcomer

    Omg this thread.

    I'm a graphic design student and the first thing about web that we learn is that you must build responsively. Every website you create must be able to work no matter what platform you view from or the browser because that is what the current trend is. Most users will never look past a site if they cannot view it on mobile of all things. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a responsive site. I made sure that our external website is able to be viewed no matter what you view it from because I know that people will be using tablets, phones, computers, etc.

    You have to design for these changing platforms. There's no way around it.
     
    Death Kitten likes this.
  14. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    The I guess my site is screwed because I don't know how to design for cell phone access. And the design of the forum is done by the company that created it.

    This is all about instant access, instant gratification. What did people do before the internet was on cell phones; before there were tablets? They waited until they got home to their computers.
     
  15. Achera

    Achera Newcomer

    The culture has changed since people now have access to the web via phones and tablets. It's unfortunate for those that need to keep updating and for developers who have to make sure that it works across so many different platforms.

    Generally you can make things responsive using media queries. I'm not sure what your site was built on, but it may not be too hard for a web designer depending how it's laid out. I checked yours quickly though and it isn't too bad. It's not responsive but from what I can see it should be easy enough to navigate even on a phone.
     
  16. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    the key phrase is 'web designer'.

    I am old school- I work with Frontpage and phpBB. I've tried Dreamweaver but it gives me a migraine. I have asked for help in learning the program and people react with that half smirk and shake of the head- as if to say "you should be able to figure it out on your own." And yet these same people know that, like many other people, the RPG Site is not my primary focus.

    I have a job, I have my academics. I also a writer with over 60 fiction stories, each with their own set of characters, floating around in my gray matter. As a result, I am a novice at web design, at best. I'm not complaining or making excuses- just laying out the facts.

    The reaction to this is usually something along the lines of "All right, I'll do it for you.... For $ 1,400." One person said $1,200, per site or subdomain.

    That's not happening. It's a hobby site, not for profit.

    And this is a common trend I'm seeing - people and companies charging high rates to make a website compliant and accessible for those tiny screens. I'm willing to meet halfway but not at the expense of content- or creativity.

    side note- The Org membership has a golden rule, IRL before RPG (RL B4 RP).
     
    Elena and Mister Karma like this.
  17. Achera

    Achera Newcomer

    Which I totally understand. Dreamweaver is a complete headache and I personally prefer to use a program called Brackets just because it's a lot easier to navigate, but it also requires you to have some knowledge is read/writing code. Then again, dreamweaver is kinda like that except it also let's you kinda edit as you go. With that program, it's a lot of self-teaching.

    The pricing really comes to how intensive it can be to actually code all of it out. If you consider how many hours it will take to make it and change each page so it can fit a mobile, tablet, the different sized screens for a mobile, different web screens, etc. it's a lot to process. Plus there is the browsers who like to react differently to various codes. It's the nature of the new technology we have access to. I half dread setting up websites myself because I know I have to make them responsive.

    It can be a problem but I would wait to see if someone will help you out? Maybe post in the coding area? Your forum really isn't bad since I've seen some where it literally was a mess if you tried to scale it. Yours is one of the nicer ones that actually is easy to function so you don't have to worry too much.
     
  18. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    That's the phpBB program, all I did was plug in my text. It's the subdomains that get me. I love the designs that I have but like this thread- people complain that they can't access the content on a 3 inch screen. So, I put an advisory at the bottom of the index page-

    This website is best viewed with monitors from 5 inches wide or greater.
    Cell phones can be used to access and post to the forums, however,
    your enjoyment of and experience with our site may be diminished.
     
  19. Death Kitten
    Kickass

    Death Kitten Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Game Owner

    It also used to be that public transit was much more effective, that people didn't need to work two jobs or hold down a full time job along side school. That there could be a family where only one parent worked and the other could RP between household chores while kids were at school, or the breadwinner could RP in the evening after work, or the kids in HS had time to unwind and RP instead of having more hours of homework than they were at school on top of spots and other activities geared to get them into college. People have so much more to cram into so much less time than they used to.

    As for responsive themes, I am really surprised that there aren't premade ones for phpBB, because that's pretty popular forum software. A quick DuckDuckGo found this: https://www.artodia.com/phpbb-styles/mobile/ As far as I can tell with a quick look, it's free and it claims to be mobile friendly. You don't even have to make it the default, you can just install it and let your mobile users know its there and they can switch to it.
     
  20. Archivist
    Balanced

    Archivist Resident Game Owner

    Thanks, I haven't used other themes / styles besides the 2 primary ones because the company keeps updating and changing the system. There's this one style I really liked, It was obsolete after 6 months of release because of updates. As it is, I need to have a tech friend upgrade the forum for me. These days, the system is so complex behind the scenes that it's above my skill level. And just as I become acclimated to it- they release a new update that requires relearning.
     
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