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A reluctance to move from old shoes to new

I have a comfortable old pair of shoes. They're worn out, scruffy, and they leak a bit these days but I'll still wear them and be reluctant to move onto a new pair, even though that new pair would be much smarter and make a far better first impression. And I don't think I'm the only one. Showy clothes may be one thing, but day to day, familiarity and comfort rule for many of us.

When the First Great Western CoffeeShop first saw the light of day on our site, it was decorated in a vanilla (default) Simple Machines Forum style. It's good, it's workmanlike ...and it has served well through over 50,000 posts in over 5,000 topics. But it's the same style as you'll see on many other forums and it lacks a "this is us" approach - it's more like "look who we have copied" and "we haven't altered for years" - the sort of message that a forward looking site doesn't want to predict into the far future.

So I was on a "hiding to nothing" when I applied a fresh coat of paint in the Coffee Shop ... it really was due - in fact overdue - but it's the daily workhorse of so many members that there was bound to be a reaction of "we like our old shoes" ... so what to do?

Differnt Styles for a web forumThere are now three (and it could be increased) style sheets available, and they are selected within the PHP as a page is loaded, looking at the value of a cookie (if present) from the user. So new arrivals on the site, who have never stood in the original shoes, are taken to the new look and feel. Regular guests can follow a link to the original look and feel or if they like the old heritage "Great Western Railway" colours they can have those. And, yes, there is a return to current link too.

Even underlying the apparent casualness of this, there are serious points to be born in mind. It was suggested that we paint the job in First Great Western colours, but we have decided against. We are an independent forum providing information for passengers about the company and its services, and we cannot mimic them / do anything which gives the impression that we are they. Pity in some ways - it would provide a good link, and they use some nice colours.

And the ability to provide different fonts and font sizes as well as colours helps us make our site more accessible to those who are colour blind, or require a larger and cleaner character set - such provision being a requirement under legislation. And now that the work has been done once, we can easily add extra veneers as needed.


The techniques I have used are familiar ones that I regularly teach to people - but (as Lisa just reminded me a few minutes ago) just because I find them easy to implement doesn't mean that they are clear and obvious to others. We cover the subject on our PHP techniques workshop and will be happy to have you sign up for that if you have the same requirement. We have a learning to program in PHP course too if the whole PHP subject is new to you.
(written 2009-12-05, updated 2009-12-10)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G903 - Well House Consultants - Running and moderating forums and social media sites
  [4315] Welcoming genuine forum posters quickly - but turning away off topic advertisers - (2014-11-16)
  [4307] Identifying and clearing denial of service attacks on your Apache server - (2014-09-27)
  [4283] Can a legitimate forum post become illegal a year later? - (2014-07-11)
  [4239] Facebook marketing - early experiences - (2014-01-19)
  [4234] Change to Libel and Defamation laws from 1st January 2014 - (2013-12-31)
  [4065] Handling requests to a forum - the background process - (2013-04-17)
  [4025] Backups, Codebase, Strategy and more - dealing with forum incidents - (2013-03-03)
  [4017] Acceptable User Policy / vexatious interacter - (2013-02-24)
  [3910] Identifying your real customers and keeping them well informed fast - (2012-11-02)
  [3479] Practical Extraction and Reporting - using Python and Extreme Programming - (2011-10-14)
  [2820] Netiquette for forum newcomers - (2010-06-20)
  [2781] The 500 pound question to get you started - (2010-05-26)
  [2569] How to run a successful online poll / petition / survey / consultation - (2010-01-10)
  [2527] Flying tonight - (2009-12-05)
  [2386] Computing under the influence of alcohol - (2009-08-29)
  [2254] Forum membership - a privilege not a right - (2009-06-22)
  [2177] Preventing forum spam - checks at sign up - (2009-05-12)
  [2162] Admins thoughts on banning a member from a forum - (2009-05-09)
  [2156] Stopping forum spam - control of the signup process - (2009-05-04)
  [2116] Why do we delay new forum members through authorisation? - (2009-04-03)
  [2103] Ask the Tutor - Open Source forum - (2009-03-25)
  [1972] Pettifog and forum boards away from public view - (2009-01-03)
  [1923] Making it all worthwhile - (2008-12-04)
  [1759] While the world sleeps ... - (2008-08-19)
  [1678] Software - changes and delays. But courses must run on time! - (2008-06-15)
  [1595] First Great Western Weekend - (2008-03-30)
  [1578] Please don't shout at me! - (2008-03-16)
  [1569] I dont care - goodbye - (2008-03-09)
  [1563] Guidlines for posting on a forum - (2008-03-04)
  [1539] A forum is not always the best vehicle - (2008-02-14)
  [1532] Comment spam blocked. Please comment via Forums - (2008-02-05)
  [1523] Ive just received an email from myself. Should I be worried? - (2008-01-29)
  [1485] Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26)
  [1472] The Horse goes on and on - (2007-12-15)
  [1362] No Thank You - (2007-09-23)
  [1190] Save the Forum - A regular clean sweep - (2007-05-17)
  [1088] Why use BBC code not HTML? - (2007-02-21)
  [948] Running an on line campaign - (2006-11-27)
  [923] Why shouldn't I spam? - (2006-11-13)
  [919] Freedom for X is denial of privacy for Y - (2006-11-09)
  [841] Forum help - a push in the right direction - (2006-08-21)
  [828] Freedom of speech and freedom to post - (2006-08-10)
  [806] Check your user is human. Have him retype a word in a graphic - (2006-07-17)
  [651] Please Register with Opentalk - but just once! - (2006-03-19)
  [516] Open source questions? Anyone can ask. - (2005-12-03)
  [424] How not to run a forum - (2005-08-24)
  [248] Use me, but use me effectively - (2005-03-16)
  [231] Feedback as lifeblood - (2005-02-28)
  [204] The confidence to allow public comments - (2005-02-06)
  [130] Spelling and grammar - (2004-11-25)
  [115] Expiration dates or times on web pages - (2004-11-12)
  [29] Silence is Golden - (2004-08-26)
  [22] Falling out over the silliest things - (2004-08-21)


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Flying tonight
Some other Articles
Taking a knock over Santa
Santa Special, 2009
Melksham Christmas Lights
A reluctance to move from old shoes to new
Using JSPs, Tag Libraries, Java Beans, Tomcat in one short example
An update on legal changes from the FSB?
Plan your application before you start
Integrated public Transport - what could be done for Melksham
Melksham Market - Tuesdays, 09:00 to 14:00
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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