By. Chris Stritzel
As many people know, I am in the midst of changing this website from the name everyone has come to know. However, the features remain the same but get more advanced on my end. From webpage design, to features, to the name and even to the font selected, all will be changed. The name is CityScene STL. With the name change comes a big new feature that is technically two, that's a Forum and a Project Database. Up until this point, everyone ahs grown accustomed to my "Project Update" Pages. With this new feature, built directly into the first page of a Forum thread, you'll be able to find renderings and progress update photos. It's a great feature. But the Forum will be more than that, it will be a place to discuss in detail about projects and things going on around town.
When you first open the Forum, you are greeted with a simple, yet effective, layout. Category Images direct you towards threads. If you aren't sure what the picture stands for, the name of the category is located to the right. Underneath the names is a preview description of what's featured in the category. To the right of this are the "Number of Posts" in said category. It helps you see which one has the most threads in it. To access one of the Categories, simply click the image of name and you will be taken to a page that looks like this...
The main category page presents you with a description and the name along with a blown up photo of the category image on the home screen. Each thread has a user's profile photo at the beginning of the title. In my case, it's my real name but users have the oppurtunity to change their profile name under their dashboard (which I'll talk about soon). Next to the profile photo comes the thread title followed by replies, likes and recent activity. Recent activity will never show the name of who last responded to the thread. And, if you get annoyed with the thread, you can click the 3 dots next to the "recent activity" section and click "unfollow post".
Now to the user dashboard. To access the dashboard, you can go to your profile photo in the upper right hand corner of the display in the blue band. You then click on your profile photo to access your dashboard.
You will then be taken to your dashboard where you can do a number of things. If you want, you can have a biography (like mine) so others can learn about you. You'll also have the ability to follow or block someone. Also from this page, you'll be able to access your notifications, update your information and view your posts in the Forum. To change your profile photo or username, simply click the "edit" button underneath your profile photo and username. To be taken back to the Forum, click "Forum" on the blue band at the top of the page.
If you are logged out, there will be a "sign in" button in place of you dashboard access tools that takes you to a screen that looks like this.
Simply place your email and password into the login and boom, you're logged in. If you don't have an account, you'll be able to create one with your Facebook or email account. Ans just like that, you now know the basics of using the Forum. The others are self explanatory from the "create post" button in a category to the "reply" section at the bottom of every post/thread. however, there are other features in the Forum that allow expression in more ways than one, and make the experience fun overall. These features include...
While this is currently a Forum and Database, the website will eventually become the new website replacing this one ("buildingstlnews.com"). This website will become a "archive" while CityScene STL is the successor. Overall, the Forum is more than just features, it's also speed.
Differences Between Urban STL and Skyscraper Page
There are multiple differences with the other Forums being owned by different people. In each case, one has it's pros and cons. I've discovered these pros and kept them but eliminated the cons in order to simplify and retain users. The biggest con I have found is speed and design. While Skyscraper Page blows any forum out of the water with it's insane speed, UrbanSTL does not. Here is a test to compare...
The new CityScene STL Forum, that I am introducing, relies on speed despite being more advanced than Skyscraper Page. Here are the speed test results when the Forum is in development and not running at maximum bandwidth…
When Does This Launch?
I'm sure many people are asking this question right now, and the answer is towards the end of the month. A logo has been commissioned and a few "foundational" threads are still being added to have the Forum ready at launch. Some design bugs are also being squashed. But, if you are very interested in joining and helping lay the foundation, you can click the button below to be taken to the under construction forum and database. You can sign up using the above directions. I'll only allow 10 users on in this development stage with the doors being opened to everyone else around Thanksgiving. If you submit your request after the 10 people have been accepted, you will be given fir priority once the full website launches. In the meantime, you can explore the categories and threads with what has been done.