Dinosaurs. David Hasselhoff. Just Chat.

Just Chat has been around since March 2000. That makes us a dinosaur (any one - you choose) in internet years.

Over the past few years, I neglected the site.

As a result, Just Chat became increasingly dated, clunky, distracting and difficult to use.

The commitment of our Chat Guides wavered (entirely my fault) and many of our regular chatters felt somewhat abandoned.

That all changes today.

What you see before you is the result of months of behind-the-scenes work.

The new design aims to:

  1. Make it easier to find and access the chat forums,
  2. Make the site accessible and easy to use on all devices,
  3. Make the message boards more visible and accessible,
  4. Cut down on the clutter and distractions.
Cut down to basics:

Just Chat now runs on WordPress. That makes everything feel fancy (especially after dealing with individual static HTML pages for the past 15 years).

A padlock. Nice!

The entire website is now SSL secured.

That means all data transmitted between you and this website is encrypted - look for the padlock in your browser address bar for confirmation.

The message boards have been imported, so we can more easily integrate content from the boards throughout the site.  If you were a member on the previous message boards, your account and posts have been transferred over, but you may need to reset your password when you log in for the first time. 

This is a fresh start. If your previous message boards account was deactivated, it has now been re-enabled and will remain that way unless you break the site rules.

Using WordPress allows me to keep a regular blog on Just Chat for the first time in the site's history. I no longer have any excuses for not keeping you informed with news and updates about the site. Heck, having a blog means we can also have a bit of fun by posting gossip and sharing embarrassing stories every now and then.

I promise to do a better job of keeping you informed about the site and this blog post is one of many more to come. You can hold me to that.

"I'll admit it, I'm nervous!"

The new site design comes with a lot of risks. This is the first time I've made big changes to the design and structure of Just Chat since 2006. I don't know how the Google overlords will react. Maybe they'll drop us from the index. Maybe they'll give us a boost. They provide us with the vast majority of our traffic, so we are at their mercy.

I'll admit it, I'm nervous. The fear of losing our rankings in Google has held me back from updating Just Chat and making it a better experience for visitors. In my quest to keep Google happy I failed to see the bigger picture.

I believe the risk is worth it. Our users come first - not Google. Let's see how that new philosophy plays out for us.

I hope you like the new site. If you see any bugs, let me know. I'm sure there will be plenty that crop up over the coming days.

Until next time,


9 thoughts on “Welcome to the new Just Chat

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  • 2 December, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    It’s been strange reading all the emails received from Just Chat for the last two days referring to conversations etc over 5 years ago lol, some made sense some not

    Good luck with the change Martin, hope it all goes well, you never know I may post more than once a year.

    p.s how do I get my siggy and avator back – I feel naked without them and no smilies!!!!

    • 3 December, 2015 at 7:04 am

      Good to see you! Sorry about those notification emails – it’s something I’m currently working on.

      As for changing your avatar – look for Catmanblue’s account menu in the top right corner of the page when logged in. Hover your mouse over that and you’ll find the option to change your picture.

      Signatures are reserved for VIP members.

      Smilies – I’m looking at getting a smiley pack installed this week – but in return you have to swing by more than once a year, OK?!

  • 2 December, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    has the chat been offline all day? doesnt matter which browser i use it says site offline. yesterday i managed to get into F1 but today – nothing

    • 2 December, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      All the chat forums are currently online. Can you email me a screenshot of what you’re seeing?

  • 1 December, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Martin is this just a temp version of the boards?

    I cant see anywhere to start new threads or access personal profiles etc.

    Change will take time to adapt too but onwards.

    • 1 December, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      This is the new version of the boards. To start a new thread, scroll down to the bottom of the page of the board you want to post in. I need to make this more obvious. Any ideas?

      To access your own profile, hover over your name in the top right corner of the page when logged in and click on ‘Edit Profile’. To view the profiles of others, just click on their names.

      There will be more tweaks and improvements as the new design ‘beds in’. I appreciate your patience.

  • 1 December, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    OK I’ve signed in and I’m getting used to the new look…one question…have we lost all the messages in our inbox/sent/saved folders?

    • 1 December, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      Unfortunately for security reasons we could not import private messages. I *may* be able to retrieve any that held particular importance to you – let me know.

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