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the-spot.net
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"What you need...to know."
"What you need...to know."

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It has already been a year since I started full-throttle work on the latest version of the site. I can’t believe how quickly time flies the older I get. And as time marches on, so does technology, along with the needs of the adopting audience. The…
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The proposed design for the new redesign.

The Spot
This page is called "The Spot". It is designed to be the primary entry into the forums for a user, creating "the spot" to view all the information at a glance, sorting active threads to the top of the stack, with priority given to other users marked as "friends".

Comments, Questions, Suggestions
This design is open to comments, suggestions, and questions. Questions will be answered if able; comments and suggestions will be considered as the process iterates.

Concept
The concept for the page is to function more like a social community while still existing as a forum, providing the user an easier experience for engaging in the community.

Problems Being Addressed
First issue This redesign attempts to address is an issue with the current version where a returning user visits and it seems as though the site is empty when nothing has been posted new since their last visit. This manner of presentation (showing only "new posts") ignores the 84,000+ posts that have been made on the site which simply aren't new.

Second issue This redesign also addresses an issue that didn't exist a decade ago when the original "My Spot" page was created, where the majority of users are visiting sites via a Mobile interface. Mobile visitors aren't prone to type long-form responses in comment or article form, and may sometimes feel compelled to avoid short/informationless posts. This design promotes the short response, with the option to move to a full editor experience for long-form writing.

Design Considerations
Reinventing the forum display concept is challenging in that there are many conversations involving many people, with varying degrees of conversational awareness (read: "post unread-ness"). The challenge is similar to a shared email inbox maintaining state for individual users with access to the email conversations.

The approach with this design is to create a more fluid experience for the user, allowing as much interaction to take place without leaving the page as possible...while consolidating all the information available into only what needs to be displayed at the time.

tsnSpecialReport is only displayed when the user hasn't seen it before. Additional updates posted to it will be in the form of "unread posts" that show up in the My Spot section.

My Spot is a chronological ordering of the threads/topics posted in the forum. The viewing user will have the ability to alter their My Spot sort order, giving priority to other forum users the viewer marks as "friend". This listing of posts will be an infinite scroll experience, as the user traverses back through all accessible topics.

tsnForums will still be available to navigate to the full forum concept to view the topics in their natural state: categorical conversations.

Technical Challenges
Implementing this design will require a layer of technology that doesn't currently exist for the phpBB forum system: a template that turns the content into an API request so content can be built from the existing forum logic. This type of template will have to be created for the data to become available, in addition to the templating involved in the visual display. More details on this will be available at thepizzy.net as work proceeds.
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Come with me, and see why the Looking Glass was chosen as the theme for tsn8.
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It's been a long time...but the-spot.net is back! Visit the all new tsn8: Through the Looking Glass

#ns
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Major progress, finalized forums, and MOBILE READY!
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It took some time and a lot of work, but the My Spot page is back, and built on brand new and/or refactored code! #tsn8

The styling will continue to evolve during the creation of the tsn8 theme, but the feature that was the cornerstone of the site has been restored!
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Updating to php 3.1.2 was merely a setback...all the way back to 2004
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Hooray! We have https now on the forums! It breaks the tsn8 subdomain, but that's ok. You can still get to the new forums while they're under development here: https://the-spot.net/phorums/tsn8/phorums/
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Want to listen to the musical inspiration behind tsn8? Check out my playlist here!
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