On previously seeing some of the “Demo Screen Shots” of the new vBulletin 4 Theme to be used, I did think it looked quite nice at first glance. But now vBulletin.com have the vBulletin 4 Suite 4.0.0 Beta version installed using it, giving me plenty of time to take a closer and longer look at it in more detail. I have to say that I don’t really like it that much anymore.
This is not to say I won’t like the theme further down the line when more changes are made with each new Beta version released, but of course a lot depends on what changes they do actually make before it goes Gold with a final and completed theme in place. They won’t make changes to suit me personally, so it’s going to be a case of waiting and seeing what each new release installed on vBulletin.com brings with it theme wise. Many would argue that you don’t have to use the default theme anyway, and you can use your own design instead. True, but I always like to keep things simple if I can by staying with the default theme. So for me personally it does matter a lot!
The new vBulletin 4 Theme faults
This list below is what I personally found most at fault about the new theme used with vBulletin 4. Yes, I could nick-pick at other smaller design issues that I spotted as well pretty fast. But I’m just going to list some major faults that I feel need sorting out straight away first.
Too bright on the eyes the theme style is:
Quite a few people complained when the official vBulletin forum first went live using the new “vBulletin 4 Suite” theme design today, that it was too bright and hurt the eyes after using it for about 5 minutes. This is something that I totally agree on, it really did genuinely begin to put strain on your eyes after using it for a very short period of time. Making it very unsuitable for a forum board in general that your trying to keep your members using for many hours, posting and using none stop.
Looking at the theme, the biggest issue there is too much White used as a whole. Just by shading it down to a more dirty white colour in some areas, or maybe all areas. Would greatly reduce eye stain, and maybe even slightly darken down some of the very light blue colour in a few areas very gradually too. Basically, it need to be toned down to a slightly darker shade, concentrating a lot though on the large open white space areas to reduce reflection that’s causing most of the eye strain.
Wrong font style, size, and colour used:
Another problem is the colour of the font used for “Post Text”, it just looks washed-out as though it needs to be a little darker in colour, not black though! Also, the font size needs to be increased to a more comfortable reading size as well in many areas. And again, the font style itself didn’t look well suited for Text Reading on the Internet, as though they’ve tried to play around and veer away from Internet Standards to look more stylish and fancy. But in doing so it’s not worked well for reading posted text because of the font style used. Which I might add also looked a little rough around the edges and not clear and smooth, a clear sign it’s the wrong font style to use.
Another problem was the small font used for the Smallest Tags in the “Tag List”. To me it looked as though they’d used a font size of around 8px small. I could hardly make-out what the smallest tags actually said. Very unsuitable indeed for usability!
That wasn’t a long list of faults you might say
While this list of faults above may not seem large, only two aspects really. There is a fact a lot of work involved in changing them. For example; changing the font style, size, and colours. Will have an effect on other areas of the forum in some cases, which may also need changing to suit accordingly. And making changes to the themes colour styling can cause issues with blending-in with other areas of the forum, again creating more work than might first appear to be needed.
So although the list is small, a lot of work could possibly be involved here. As changing one thing, effects another thing, which in the end leads to much more work that you first ever imagined would be the case.