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I'm looking for some examples for a better design of phpBB. I would like to redesign a forum which is targeted to people with a minimal experience with forums. Now the forum isn't working well. No problems with the software itself, but the interface isn't user-friendly enough for the target audience. I feel the basic styles for phpBB aren't good for this, I want a better solution.

Do you know any phpBB style which isn't prosilver/subsilver-based?
Are there any tutorials for a complete forum design from scratch to working code?
(phpBB preferred, but not required. If you can show me a more flexible solution, let's see.)

I don't want to start a forum design guidelines thread here, but there's a thing that I have to ask.
Can you recommend a development workflow for a forum design?
(My forum is on a quite small scale - think about 50-100 people, not more. Perhaps I won't have a lot of usable feedback, so I would like to use the best methods for finding the problems with the design.)

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    Is phpbb a requirement? Have you looked into more user-friendly forum software like Vanilla or punbb? – Rahul Dec 14 '10 at 1:06
  • @Rahul No, but being able to import the actual phpBB content is a requirement. – Scorchio Dec 14 '10 at 11:47
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If you decide to go with something other than phpBB, you should be able to export/import the data. For example, there are scripts to migrate from phpBB to bbPress. I would suggest you start by comparing the vanilla installations of a few pieces of forum software (this might be a starting point) and identifying which you think is most user-friendly. Next, take a look at various themes to determine any effect they might have.

You might even want to carry out some basic user-testing with your target audience - i.e. get them to register for a few forums and tell you which they find easiest to use, and why.

Personally, I find the common bbPress interface more user-friendly than phpBB. I think it's also easy to customise if you're a developer or have access to one.

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  • Yeah, I've already checked out bbPress. I was satisfied with the user experience, but I would like to use a forum software with a bit bigger userbase and a plenty of support. Nice point anyway. – Scorchio Dec 15 '10 at 10:08

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