Thanks for asking for our feedback and I think the forum looks far more modern. Although the forum feels half finished to me and I have some suggestions;
1) There are too many subforums. There used to be like 5-15 new threads per week which isn't enough for 9 individual subforums. It makes the site look empty and people will not check all 9 subfoums. I think there should 2 or 3 subforums max but preferably one, so that it looks busier. For example having sections for; funding, applications and choosing a masters is redundant, they could be combined into one, it is the same for PhDs. Or if you want top keep the subforums, have an option to see all of the threads together. Or add new subfoums like for example; PhD moans, postdoc advice or news, so that regular users have a reason to check more than 2 subforums and interact.
2) If the subforums are kept, can the PhD section be above the masters section, as the PhD section is more popular.
3) Thread status on the homepage should also display time and date beside the latest post title. As at the minute I have to click on the thread and open it to see if there is a new post, which is really jarring. Showing the time of the last post without having to enter the subforum or thread would therefore be so so so useful. This is like the most important change you could make if all the subforums are kept, so that the occasional visitor can see whats happening. You could also add more info about the thread like #replies, # views or have it appear as a different colour if I have read it.
4) Post preview - The old forum would show you the first line of text on of the first post before you entered the thread, just underneath the title. This is super useful as some people write awful titles. Though I may be miss remembering the forum already.
5) Colour - I personally don't mind the colours themselves but the page needs variety. All the buttons are one colour of purple that lacks depth and the overall site feels "flat". As at the minute the website is entirely white, black and purple . Changing the contrast of the background colour so that the posts stand out or a variety of colour tones for the buttons/logos would improve the readability and engagement.
6) Bigger text & header - I had to zoom in because the text density is rather low compared with all the white space. Maybe reduce the spacing or increase the text size. Having no side bar makes the site look empty and something needs to compensate for that.
7) Thread navigation - the thread navigation bar needs to be bigger or more distinct. You have to go looking for it and it is not obvious. I find myself navigating entirely via the homepage which is not ideal.
8) Image upload - Not that important but it is such a useful feature.
9) Character count limit on when drafting posts - I didn't know it still existed until I tried to post this. There used to be a little box that said how many characters you had left, so you could write accordingly. Now it says if you are over with no idea how far over.
This is a more general comment about the forum
10) Community engagement. I don't want to be rude but this forum has been declining ( please don't lynch me) and most of the regular posters have finished their PhDs. There are the occasional new people who post like 1-10 times and then the long term users who have been coming here for years, even after their PhD. Most of the conversations are about advice/support and keep regular users coming back. Though it feels like you are trying to refocus the forum towards the application process which is your core business but does not reward engagement. To keep the forum going I think there needs to be an influx of new posters and to retain current users. I personally don't know how to do this but adding discrete sections for post-docs or post-PhD discussion might help. Or reward users for by having ranks based on there posts. Or encourage people to have activity posts, where someone logs all of their latest achievement. Or even have a postgraduateforum, discord server or weekly zoom coffee break. I am just brainstorming ideas because the forum needs to retain more users and that will require some new ideas.
I am sorry for the long post and negative tone and I hope other people can offer feedback.
Thank you for taking the time to feedback on this. I've passed it on to see what our developers can do that will benefit the forum.
They have as of today reinstated the 'latest' page like in the previous version where all the latest posts, no matter the category will be in a list: https://www.postgraduateforum.com/latest
Hope you have a great weekend!
Wow the changes to the site feel uncomfortable and unnecessary, in all honesty. Can the 'latest' page be reinstated as the default forum home page please? People don't want to waste their time looking for the correct subforum to post in (especially annoying and pointless when so many of the subforums are ghost towns); it will only alienate users, including people that come to this site to help others, from returning.
I'm also confused why you'd put the barely-used Masters subforums section at the top of the subforums page, when PhD posts are clearly most active and recent. An attempt to re-energise Masters posters maybe? But you need to look at what is already working best and roll with that (i.e. this forum draws more PhD posters).
The changes feel like attempts to reduce engagement, not increase it...
Thank you for providing so much crucial feedback on the new PostgradForum redesign. We've been taking this feedback on-board and have been making changes accordingly. An upcoming update is focused on addressing the concerns that have been mentioned above in addition to a bunch of other fixes.
In the meantime, please let us know of any issues you find or ideas for making PostgradForum a better platform.
All the best,
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