This is just a suggestion and may the people please comment also.
For the new forum:
Not to make it feel like a jail. What do I mean by that?.
I mean that your only limited to pretty much the basics. viewing posts, making a topic and viewing profiles. no interacting,etc.. <- that is very bad, and people come to community forums to discuss,interact,and become friends and get to know each other... etc ..
So please, don't make the new IPB feel like the forum is locked with little features.
This is just general feedback, I really hope it may help.
Make the future forum software so much more community and friends enganging, make it more than just some forum posts... You can have forums and having a strong community relationship MAKES the forum complete and OVERALL so magic and awesome.
Lets say you searched something on Google, and you get a forum running IPB. Now, you choose to register, but you remember with IPB the registration page is outdated,takes long to enter and OVERALL IS NOT FUN. like the style of IPB style itself as of at avg 2012-2013, the current IPB style is not very nice. its too chucnky imo.
LOOK, ok sorry thank you.
reddit style idea:
have the main theme at default, but have a style that can be switched to a simple style.
IPB is the leading forum software by far, anyway. I would like to know first is there any forums that are social/drinks/etc , a general nice happy community forum where we can all get to know each other, do in real life meet ups, have a webcam chat feature in it,etc
Grammar - Being professional, using grammar, and punctuation is something that is needed. If you were on a company forum and saw staff writing like "lol, yeah I kno right" that will instantly make me not bother posting on the website or even browse their webste.The members look up to you and then they wish to be a staff member which leads to better members.
Atmosphere - Always try your best to have a great atmosphere. If you have trolling, offensive language or spam going on your boards, it pulls many guests away from your forums.
Appearance - This is another major one for your forums. You want to give your users first impression. Many people will x out of your website if they aren't liking your websites appearance. It's like going to your first interview or going out on a date, they will reject you. You want a skin that is clean, professional, and clear.
IPB is great, the features a good. the concept is very nice but the UI of ipb just feels very "flat" or "big", its very "thick", xenforo feels more smooth...
check out their postbit for example, everythign runs and feels more smooth.
I use to be a IPB lover with ipbforumskins but xenforo seems to be doing really good updates, their software is just really smooth and fast.
Its like IPB is old yet new. or new yet old.
its like its half 50% instead of 100% .