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I use these forums quite a bit to discover how to use Affinity better. These forums however… I'm not sure what is powering them, I guess InVision? I think this is a sub par experience for a number of reasons:

 

- Does not respond effectively to mobile devices

- login/lout out is clunky and I often loose my session and have to re-login

- Feels super old

 

This last point is hard to nail down but should be fairly apparent. It feels like using a bbs/phpbb form from 2002~ish. There are a lot of great tools for managing communities and forums and as someone who used to work with clients who used InVision is not a good option. 

 

To put it simply This (https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/) and This (https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php) feel like they come from a different century.

 

Some alternatives:

 

https://muut.com

http://www.discourse.org

- http://zendesk.comexample>>> https://support.todoist.com/hc/en-us 

Apologies if this sounds overly negative, affinity designer is awesome.

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The current forum isn't optimal but it's pretty good, even on mobile. Despite what you say, it has a mobile theme.

 

Discourse is very modern looking and out of the ones you list above, it is the one I'd pick. But it feels very disjointed to me. Just scroll through this example thread. I find it hard to follow who is talking to who, etc:

 

https://discourse.omnigroup.com/t/omnifocus-vs-2do/13882/

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I hope Discourse has other themes, because the default one is just a huge wall of text on a white background. It burns my eyes, I get dizzy and blinded and don't have energy to read anything in the example thread I linked to (https://discourse.omnigroup.com/t/omnifocus-vs-2do/13882/).

 

The issue is that Discourse lacks contrast. There needs to be contrast, colored headers/dividers for each post, bigger avatars, etc, to make the content easier to skim through (knowing when to stop scrolling , seeing at a glance who wrote something, etc). If I want to read a Discourse forum, I need to constantly keep my eyes on the avatar column to the left to see where the post dividers are, and then skim back to the right to check if the post seems worth reading, then back to the left, etc. I think that's why I get dizzy and fatigued so quickly on their forums.

 

It has really modern features like infinite scroll, but it's honestly the worst readability of any forum I've seen since the internet first arrived. I can't think of anything worse ever before. Maybe that is why it's so rare to see it used by companies; I've only seen it by the Omni Group and I was active on their forum in 2014 and it was absolutely tedious to constantly have to scroll around and try to follow the discussions. Forums are tedious enough, with so much useless noise in all discussions. Let's not make it even harder to follow what's going on.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing Affinity re-skin their current software, though. A dark, "pro photography" theme matching their slick website would be awesome. It's glaring to say the least, to go from https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/to this bright forum.

 

I browsed many other alternative forums now and discarded them all until I found XenForo, here are examples of responsive themes for it: http://xenfocus.com. If I started a forum I'd use that one. It's got great contrast and the link I provided is just one of many theme makers. Discourse on the other hand has no themes, just some people doing CSS reskins manually.

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Hehe, check out what I just found. A dark photography theme. Imagine this with a custom Affinity background. Slick slick slick, and its responsive design works on all devices:

 

http://www.xenfocus.com/skins/aperture/index.php

 

In use:

http://xenfocus.com/demo/index.php?misc/style&style_id=17&redirect=/demo/index.php

 

Example of a thread (there's only one demo user posting, it'd be even better with lots of different avatars):

http://xenfocus.com/demo/index.php?misc/style&style_id=17&redirect=/demo/index.php%3Fthreads/this-is-the-topic-title.1/

 

And you can do tagging of threads in XenForo which seems to be the way Affinity links threads to bug reports.

 

Best of all?

https://xenforo.com/help/importing/

 

You can import all current IP.Board users, threads, tags, etc to XenForo. It can even redirect all old forum traffic to the new one (see the bottom of the last link).

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It can be quite hard to change colors since other GUI elements often clash as a result, and you end up making lots of deeper theme edits and compromises, but I hope they do something. Their main site is so slick and the forum is so bright. :D I've thought that from day one of joining this forum.

 

PS: LOL I had forgotten about the complaints about the Dark UIs for the Affinity Apps. Those users were in a tiny minority though. There's nothing better than dark UIs for photography. It lets the content pop from the screen without distracting you with a bright "frame" around it.

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With all due respect, I don’t believe “those users were in a tiny minority,” aitte … ;)

 

After all, the request for a choice between a light and a dark user interface has found its way to the official list of most requested features:

 

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/10410-common-feature-requests-index/

 

Honestly, if this forum went black and there was no choice between a black and a white skin, I don’t believe I would be able to participate any longer. Reading white on black is simply too straining for my eyes. Nevertheless, a choice is always the best solution, as everyone can adjust his or her reading and writing environment as desired …

 

Cheers, Alex  :)

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I'm one of that "tiny minority" who keeps advocating...choice!  We're not trying to convert anyone to our viewpoint, or putting down anyone else's preferences, or in our case, needs.  We just want the option to use whatever interface works best for us.  

 

In terms of this forum, I have to agree with Alex.  Again, choice is the optimum.  But if it should go black only, I would no longer be as frequent a visitor.  I don't need the eyestrain.

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Looking at a white background is literally the same thing as staring into a lightbulb or the sun. The displays are tuned to the same color temperature. The backlit LCD display fires at maximum brightness when displaying white. That is why all the "flashlight" phone apps display a white background. It is horrible for your eyes and eyestrain.

 

That is also why the iBooks app for iPhone has various white-on-black and dark gray backgrounds to help avoid burning eyes when reading.

 

Black text on a white background is perfect for a newspaper, because a newspaper isn't printed on a lightbulb. A screen is.

 

When I said that a tiny majority complained about the dark UIs of Affinity's products, I'm just reporting what I saw on this forum. The thread was very long but it was only a handful of people talking about it. Affinity has won Apple design awards and have tens of thousands of customers, so the white on black GUI is working for most people. And it's the defacto standard color scheme of pro apps, including video editors, 3D modeling and photo management.

 

White on black has been confirmed in studies to cause less eye fatigue and helping make better decisions about color/photo editing. However, the same studies also revealed that black on white helps people with astigmatism (irregular corneas) when reading. Blurring black text on a white background is easier for them to read than blurring white text on a black background. It makes sense when I think about it. A blurred white blob on a dark background is less distinct/recognizable than a blurred black blob on a white background. Especially after a life of getting used to the shapes of the blurred black text in newspapers.

 

I haven't got astigmatism and greatly prefer darker color schemes to avoid burning eyes, but there's actually another solution for this "staring into the sun of a white background" hell: Install https://justgetflux.comto protect your eyes from the white backgrounds, by making the computer screen reduce its color temperature to avoid damaging your eyes. They've got hundreds of links to research about the effects of white, bright computer screens on melatonin (sleep hormone) production, and how it actually inhibits the production, leading to worse sleep and later hours: https://justgetflux.com/research.html

 

I recommend installing f.lux no matter what you guys do. It's free. :) I used to have it on my phone and had forgotten about it until now, and remembered that they have a Mac version too. I Installed it now and... WOAH! Instant relief from this forum and all other bright windows currently on the screen. Seeing the screen temperature fall to a natural, gentle color felt like I was sinking into sweet honey and the burning eyes stopped immediately. This will be a permanent installation on my machines from now on, and I'll only turn it off when editing photos. Wow.

 

Even if this forum stays "black on white", try a darker background. I am a regular reader of the largest music production forum in the world at https://www.gearslutz.com/and while it isn't the prettiest forum theme, the colors themselves work very well. Most of the site has dark backgrounds, except the posts themselves, and those are slightly gray/blue which avoids some of the excessive brightness.

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@MBd Wow thank you for that news. I have missed f.lux on my phone ever since I quit using jailbreaks.

 

Every time I have to check my phone at night I wish I still had f.lux, and I have very often wondered why Apple never copied it.

 

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/125029/20160116/f-lux-to-apple-let-us-back-in-developers-plead-for-ios-app.htm

 

I bet Apple's Night Shift will have the usual Apple polish, and it sounds like it will have all of the major f.lux features: Setting the normal/night color temperatures manually if desired, being able to adjust the hours (so that it is not just following the sunrise/sunset of the geolocation), and being able to temporarily disable it. If it does all that, I'll be a very happy iOS user.

 

Thanks for the news!  :lol:

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That's perfect. Great to see that we can set manual daylight times and the display temperature. I bet they will get the smooth, gradual cooling/warming curves at dusk and dawn "just right" too.

 

I would not be surprised if it comes to OS X too. The f.lux developers haven't really got a product. In the words of Steve Jobs; "that's a feature, not a product". He said it about Dropbox trying to sell document syncing, which isn't unique, cannot be patented and most people wouldn't pay for it.

 

F.lux is in the same spot. It's one of the best "feature, not an app" ever, and they deserve credit for being the first to do it. But they never took it beyond "screen dimming" to paid product. It could have been expanded into a product by integrating lifestyle management like reminding you to sleep, take computer breaks to do recommended stretches, and other things to help our health at the computer.

 

I never knew why they didn't charge for it even on the Mac, but I love them for being gracious enough to give it out for free for all these years. I would have paid up to $200 for it. It's such an instant relief to see the screen soften at night, and I'll never uninstall f.lux unless Apple clones it. :P

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This discussion also highlights another issue with the orientation of this forum as a support section. This thread has now become a discussion of flux which is unrelated to the original post. I think it is worth considering that application support and tutorials, community, feature request, and bug tracking are all very different things and it seems like a poor choice to think that all of these product needs can be resolved by a single tool.
 
It is more likely that the best option would be to treat issue reporting & feature requests in to a specific tool. Then, in conjunction to this, some sort of knoladge base that  that empowers users to find relevant information on the topic if it already exists, and then to ask technical questions if there is no existing content. If community forums are deemed necessary, they should be a separate tool/location with explicit goals that does not attempt to be a general catch all. @MEB

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*tumbleweeds...*

 

That's why the discussion drifted on to f.lux and iOS. There wasn't more to say without an official reply about the forum design.  :lol:

 

By the way, giving users access to directly submit bug reports is a disaster (look at large open source projects). They never fill them out right. They make 200x duplicates. They lump 15 issues into 1 bug report, etc. The reason is simple: The skills necessary to properly fill out a bug report are the same skills necessary to program a solution for the bug.

 

It's better to let people talk about bugs on a forum and then developers can add them to an internal bug tracker if they're real, and simply tag the discussion threads with the internal bug IDs (which is often more than one per thread).

 

It's so far working very well for Serif's Affinity division, a small company with only a few support staff. They could start adding volunteer/community moderators if things grow out of control. That works well for 1Password's forums, where several long-term members have been given moderator access to help out. But so far the community here is really mature and well behaved. :)

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I'm one of that "tiny minority" who keeps advocating...choice!  We're not trying to convert anyone to our viewpoint, or putting down anyone else's preferences, or in our case, needs.  We just want the option to use whatever interface works best for us.  

 

In terms of this forum, I have to agree with Alex.  Again, choice is the optimum.  But if it should go black only, I would no longer be as frequent a visitor.  I don't need the eyestrain.

I am another of that "tiny minority," but to be clear about it, my problem is the low contrast of the UI in places like the background that indicates if a tool or button is selected. This is a serious, eye-straining issue for me because I am nearly 70 years old & work on a 27" iMac, so these background squares are quite small & it is hard to see small changes in their contrast. They also take up a relatively small amount of the screen & are overlaid by colored icons, so the argument that they would throw off my color perception or 'burn out my eyes' if they were higher contrast simply does not apply.

 

For that matter, the analogy to staring at the sun for black on white text is somewhat misleading because the sun is orders of magnitude brighter than a computer display. And with due respect for the differences in transmissive & reflective illumination, I have read millions of pages of books, all of which were set in black text, without experiencing any eye strain, but frequently experience it very quickly when reading text that does not contrast much with the background, whatever the color scheme or type of illumination.

 

Another thing that should not be ignored is that the computer screen is only part of the visual environment. We don't (or at least should not) spend all our time staring at the screen, & whether we do or not the illumination, brightness, contrast, & color of other things in our field of view plays a significant part in what our eyes & brains have to cope with. I am sure that I am not the only one who sometimes runs a two monitor setup or needs to refer to other things besides the frontmost app, both on-screen & not.

 

There are other things worth considering in what is quite literally the "big picture" view but as LillyG said it all comes down to choice is good.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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I've used flux, but using it is very misleading when working with color, so eventually I've stopped using it ;-) But it was good.

I use the built-in color inversion in OSX non-stop. I've found that if I alternate between black-on-white and white-on-black whenever I feel the mildest strain (some days every every few minutes), it is very soothing. I tend to press the Cmd+Shift+8 shortcut rather subconsciously nowadays... Similar with the brightness - I reset it trying to maintain a screen brightness that is just a pinch above the global lighting that is reflected the environment.

 

As for the forum, it's one of the most functional forums I've used. I wouldn't call it dated, only a bit on the generic side, which is fine by me. The team has proved on more fronts than one, that they are not generic!

I also prefer the white theme; apple computers nowadays have only(?) glossy screens, and the white background hides the reflections much better than the black ;p

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Yep, more discussion that does not address the original topic. Would prefer something like Stack exchange where at least there was some sort of voting system or problem/solution relationship and not arbitrary discussion.

 

Seems like staff has no opinion here. I cant even close this discussion so I guess I'll just unsubscribe.

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