Interactive and guided activities upon joining, entering certain categories for the first time, making information regarding the categories, and any lore pertaining to it, be explained and made it more of an “exploration” experience while also learning about the site and how to use it. Rewards such as tokens, currency, or artwork can be given as a “completion” reward. There’s obviously badges currently when you complete something, but those badges really don’t give you anything, and this way users are learning about the site and being immersed in it’s world, while also learning how to use the forum properly.
Honestly making the forum completely mobile friendly should be something that needs to be at the fore-front, as most users check the forums via mobile throughout their day, not until the evenings is when most are able to get on their laptops/desktops. Making the forum mobile-compatible probably seems like basic usability but will probably be something that’s one of the most important, since I know there’s always kinks to be worked out when it comes to new hosted platforms.
With aesthetics, I definitely think a nice feature would to be permit similar dark and light themes that also fit what the theme of Ourani, since darker and lighter themes can make a site more appealing, and also make it stand out if you’re able to customize exactly how they’re displayed and what’s displayed with them (and I don’t mean the site background image, I mean the forum itself in front of that, if I’m making sense?).
In regards to lore of the site, it needs to be very present, and I think using different pieces that are based on the lore itself and species, whether it be animalistic, foliage, or sediments (rocks/crystals/etc) should definitely be used wherever it can be, so that the feeling and vibes of the site are very prominent and stand out and make it unique. Ideas can be category and topic icons, page dolls, clickable options, reaction objects, etc. Obviously mushrooms are a very prominent theme of Ourani from the information listed, but there should and can be multiple different items and things that represent Ourani’s uniqueness and aesthetics so that people can look at the site, and know it’s different, and be intrigued by it’s visual vibes, so that they can be drawn in more to the more reader-friendly and community-based vibes.
Signatures (I know there’s a credit slot, just not the option lol)
Clickable site icons (twitter, deviantart, furaffinity, toyhou.se, etc. that would pop up in a user’s profile)
Possibly media options so that people can have music clickable on their profile? That’s be interesting I’d think (not profile cards, I mean fully going to one’s profile, not just the quick view).
Interactive chat on the forum itself so that users could talk on the forum when unable to hop online to the chat site.
This is all I have for now - I’ll try to think up and explore around a bit more to give more feedback/ideas!
Another thing I’d suggest is possibly setting up a “How To Use” for the new forum - it’s a bit different for those just switching over from phpbb, and while some of us grasp it well, others may be intimidated and want a guide!