Compared to ModernBB, Luna will feature an all new design. We’re working hard on this part of the software, as it will be an unique feature to Luna. We want Luna to be different from other board software, design is an obvious part of that, after all, it’s the first thing people see. And I can tell you, for boards, Luna will get a quit unique design. Scroll down for a TL;DR.
Boards have come a long way, nothing is doubting that. There is only 1 thing that botters me a bit. Here, have a look at phpBB as it looked like 12 years ago:
This is phpBB 2.0. Now, take a look at how ModernBB, and board software in general, look like today:
Does somebody notice something? I do. Let me give you a hint: look for the differences. Well, you’ll have a hard time, because except for the fact that it is supporting a different design, there are no differences. We’re 12 year further, and yet, nothing changed. In fact, if I was able to find a phpBB 1.0 installation, it wouldn’t make a difference either. Idem dito for basicaly every board software out there.
It’s still what it is: index with categories, forums, topics within the forums and posts within the topics. Further we have a statistics panel at the bottem, a menu with the userlist, search, admin panel and profile, and a heading with logo and additional actions. It is a design that has proven it works, yet there are better ways to do this. Just take a look at the index and realize, how useless that page is. What does it display? Categories and forums, and the last active topic in each forum, and for the people that are actual able to remember for each forum how many topics and posts there are in, they can calculate the difference at their next visit.
Seriously. We can do better?! The index page can be much more usefull. For example, display recent active topics right there! Not just 1 for the each forum. As many as you would like for every forum! For example, the 20 most recent topics for the whole board, on the front page. The categories and forums can be resized to a sidebar where you can use them, kind of, like filters.
Yes, we can do much better. And we will do much better with Luna. When designing this, I decided to not even give other forum software a glance, not even ModernBB, to come up with a fresh design, that might just work. And I think I’ve got one. Now, I’ve never made a mock-up of it, so the screenshots you’re about to see are HTML and CSS based things already! Also, keep in mind that you’re going to look at screenshots from the 0.0.4 milestone, they are a lot, but finished isn’t one of them. We barely have some design, this is more to show you guys what you can expect in the future.
Let’s kick off with a planned new feature that is coming to Luna, the notification center.
Gasp! A notification center (in recent builds, it completely different)? Yes, indeed. The notification center will be responsible for keeping track of everything that happens within Luna. For admins and moderators, it will show for example, when an user alters a settings and which one it is. It’s for admins also a kind of action list, showing what which person did. Bans, reviews, posts, everything is listened. Luna will also warn for updates in this view and tell you when something isn’t right.
That for the feature, the reason we’re here, however, is the design. As you can see, some elements may look familiar. Especialy when you’re using the ModernBB 3.5 dev version from GitHub or visit this site – which you are. The design of the menu is mostly copied from our ModernBB.be style sheet. Notice also that this is front-end, the Mainstage. The grey box at the right hand side of the menu is the notification idicator, by the way.
For Luna, we’re currently going with a simple flat design. It sure can use some improvement and we’re working on that. And again, this isn’t final stuff, the above screen might look completely different by the time we release Preview 1, let alone Luna final.
When you’re writing a new thread, you get a page with some options and so in ModernBB. In Luna, we revamped an aweful lot of this design, our goal was to make it simple, more minimalistic. And we managed to get to that goal quit well. Have a look.
This, my friends, is the design of the new thread page from Luna. As you can see, it’s quit different from ModernBB. First of all – I’m going to ignore the header, it’s not finished yet – did we remove the breadcrumbs. It’s now a back button, that returns you the the section you are posting in. There isn’t a home button anymore, for the fact that the section this button sends you to is part of the home page. When the page is loaded, the “Subject” field is selected by default so you can start typing the subject. As you can see, most of the panel that is the editor in ModernBB, doesn’t exist in Luna.
We kept the toolbar in the same order as it is in ModernBB, no reason to reinvent the wheel here. However, you might notice the button at the begin of the bar. This button makes a pinned thread, the replacement for a sticky topic. This used to be an option with a checkbox in a option menu below the post panel in ModernBB. This panel is, as you can see, gone. For the footer of the post panel, the Preview and Submit button are replaced to the toolbar, the back button has been removed, as your browser has this build in, and the BBCode indicators are also gone – for the simple reason that there is no BBCode – yet – in Luna. Result is a fresh looking design. Quick post – or “Comment” like we call it now – has a similar design.
Alright ladies and gentlemen, our next stop, the redesigned “Users” page, previously better known as the User list. For the sake of color, I added an avatar to my profile in this screenshot. Here, you can see an feature that actualy works. This page does load data from a database – a ModernBB test drive database. The User list as seen in ModernBB has a list of users, showing avatar, username, group, posts and registration date. As you can see, the new cards in the Users page displays exactly the same information, but much better, cleaner, and more users fit on this page. Which is nice. (Also, the ModernBB placeholder avatar is the only file from the ModernBB core that is in Luna) Anyway, as you can see, the search feature has been reduced to a single bar, no, it’s not capable of doing what the old search feature could do (can do, in fact), but those additional settings will return in a later update to Luna, as we told you guys before.
Talking about search, why isn’t there a “Search” option in the navbar? Well, we’re going to do search differently from what you might have gotten used to in ModernBB. Each page will feature a search bar (at least, in the default design). Index, threads, sections, they all will have their search features ready at any given time. The Users and Profile pages will have search bars to look up users. Advanced search won’t be returning to Luna, it’s not planned for now. We hope to make the new simple search a better engine to search with. In fact, I have to tell you guys, that the search function in Preview 1 will only tell you that you can’t search in that version of the preview. The ability to search on the board – you can search for users – will be added in a later version.
TL;DR: Luna is getting an awesome, fresh and clean design that evolves boards, none of the screenshots feature final design! Have fun!
TL;DR2: Screenshots are from an early concepts and design is mostly changed already.