When it comes to a nostalgia site, when do you cross the line from old to new?
The bulk of Nexopias users (and creepers) are old regs who come back to look at their, and their friends, old content. When switching over to Xenforo, not only was the style of te site changed, the users profiles were changed. They have a hard time navigating the Xenforo version of Nexopia, and then when they figure it out their profile is a bunch of broken BB code that’s nothing like the creative profile they left behind, and the pictures that do still work are generally broken due to Photobuckets new terms.
The first step to building up the nostalgia factor was to change the wording back to the old terms. What Xenforo called messages, we called posts. What Xenforo called Random Media we called Spotlight. Simple things, but a lot of them. I remembered most things, but admittedly I had to go back and find screenshots of the old nexopia for some phrases. I sifted through the site until at last, we were back to the old phrases (including the old User Ranks!)
The second thing is getting people’s profiles working again, and while I can’t do anything about broken Photobucket images, I’m hoping I can do something about broken BB code. I have yet to figure out how to do that. While we DO have the option to use BB on profiles, it has to be manually switched on by the user, and I certainly can’t go through over 300,000 profiles and do it myself.
In addition to individual profiles, Nexopia always had customizable site themes (or skins) that users could apply. Contests were held in which users even got to submit their own skin designs, and some talented users creations were options for years. This is one of my top priorities, because visuals are everything. When someone logs on and sees that big octopus across their screen again, or (my favourite) that cyan and wood aesthetic, they’re going to feel like despite the new features, this is the old Nexopia. I’m going to figure this one out, and I hope I can find the old graphics.
Lastly is new features. We have a layout that is close to the old layout, but all of the new features can add up and confuse an old user fairly quickly. So where is the line in adding in fresh features and keeping old features? Things like twitter resulted in us adding in Shouts, which haven’t taken off. Facebook resulted in us adding in Media Galleries, which majorly took off! But as the internet and social media continues to evolve, do we evolve with it or do we keep our unique forum charm? I want people who come back to recognize and be able to easily use the site, after all, they may (like me) be sick of sites like Facebook and Reddit and come back for the simplicity of a forum.