I've switched to the ProSilver for the moment and I'm very grateful for Eban for providing this option as I would had stopped visiting the forums without it.
I'm an interface designer by trade and try to be open-minded to new designs. In times gone by I've had parts of my work criticised by forum communities or even by client reps seemingly 'just because' they feel the need to provide criticism, without any constructive comments. "That's rubbish, *I* could do better than that"... without fully apprenticing what's involved with regards to client requests, time-scales and dependencies.
By all accounts, someone has volunteered their time at no cost for the new theme? So, yes - this needs to be considered. If (say) someone volunteered to manage a cake stall at a church fate, would it be reasonable to 'have a go at them' for not pushing sales hard enough? Of course not. If you had a caterer for your event at £75 a head and the quality was sub standard, would you complain? Naturally.
Personally speaking, as long as my clients remain respectful, they can say whatever they want about my work and I'll respond - they're paying me for that privilege.
In hindsight, perhaps it would have been best to introduce the new design as a work in progress. "This is our new design, please be kind about the changes and feel free to provide suggestions to how we could make it even better".
Here's my own advice :-
- 1. Swap the message area from the left to the right pane?
2. Subtle use of blocks of colour (maybe alternate colours between posts)
3. More visual metaphors - icons, etc.
4. Balance the headings
I really hope the issues can be resolved in time as I think the foundation equally gets a lot of it's value from the folks who visit the forums and provide advice to other users at no charge.