So far, I’m absolutely loving the new ‘community’ aspect to the site. It really has added a whole new dimension and turned the site into not only a news/discussion source, but a place to hang out with friends. I have a few suggestions, however.
The additions and increased functionality in the forum is fantastic, but the directory is perhaps a little too cluttered. Things such as the avatars of the people that last posted in a particular thread or started that thread are a little unnecessary and overall, build an illusion that it’s confusing and difficult to navigate. I’ll be honest; I loved the uniqueness of the smooth and seamless forum interface before the upgrade, and I believe it’s what made it so much better than most other F1 forums. It was just so simple to navigate and use.
Secondly, the comments section on the main site is a little bit slower than before. When you click ‘Reply’, for example, the page refreshes rather than just bringing the comment box up to where you’re typing as before. I also firmly believe the site looked neater when the text that linked to other pages wasn’t underlined, but that’s only a minor problem I’ve noticed. The ‘Reply’ and ‘Report User’ buttons are also perhaps a little prominent, and looked neater beforehand when they were basic text.
As for the homepage, I feel the “Active F1 Fanatics” and “Groups” sections in the sidebar are a little out of place, and would be better suited to the sidebar within the ‘community’ sections. For example, the homepage should have links to articles for easy navigation in the sidebar, but if you’re busy discussing your favourite drivers in the ‘social network’ parts, then “Active F1 Fanatics” and “Groups” should be displayed in the sidebar. Does that make sense?
But if I’m completely honest, I preferred the layout of the forum, article/comment threads and the homepage in general before the upgrade. Basically, I think that perhaps the profiles and groups should have been an addition to the site, but actually under a different tab. What I mean is, everything should have remained the same or similar, with the ‘community’ enhancements being an addition. This is merely my opinion, and I’m sure there are many of you that disagree! I’m not suggesting you undo all of the work you’ve done, but I do feel a few things could do with some minor tweaking and tidying.
Now a suggestion for a future addition; I believe the site needs a built-in photo viewer, so we can view the pictures uploaded in a slideshow sequence. It can become tiring when you want to open all of the pictures you see and end up crashing your browser! :P