SMF is a great software: it’s extremely easy to manage and modify and I’ve ran a few Small Machine Forums before, they are wonderful. You need little modification for a diverse setting; whereas PHPBB is much better in terms of customization… The package it initially comes in is not the greatest and it takes a lot of modification to make it really nice.
We’re better off with SMF, the layout is a bit dull though.
I like the simplicity, but it reminds me a bit of something from like 10-12 years ago; where forums then were no different from Archive forums today. It could use slight rendition.
As for people thinking it will attract more members, it will attract some, but not as many as one might think. The rendition should allow not just ease of posting, but more visibility as to who are in charge, and who is well known. The post count says that, and so does the signature; but me posting a long statement such as this could also imply the same thing.
The boards could be changed a little to accommodate more for clans and separate servers; as well as having a general chat of course.
A new rendition of this site should only improve user experience as a whole, it should not JUST be for “eye candy.” Eye candy does nothing good for a user except cause an INITIAL desire to be a part of it. The next form of attachment would be a contribution of money towards this so called “eye candy.”
For example: when people buy a brand new iPhone, it’s both appealing and has a great user experience, if you don’t already love Android, but it mostly demonstrates simplicity; as should this site.
The largest factor is the user experience. If the user is enthralled by the experience he or she receives from an object or service, he or she will continue use of it; eye candy is only initial desire, it’s good for the first visit and that’s about it 9 out of 10 times.