Compared to the way the original forum was configured, what we have at present is much better, but I do think there are areas where improvement could be made. I appreciate that "Future" was not the architect of this forum system, and you might have done things quite differently from new.
I fully understand that as long as the forum is freely offered, it does have costs that need to be met and there will be other commercial consideration that Future will want to apply. This will mainly be in the form of advertising or page content, which rightly needs to be accommodated in the page layouts.
Where presently this has been a problem for forum users, and rather more a hindrance is the way the forum pages load on some platforms: From personal experience with a mini Ipad the page will start to load, then it will resize and reposition as differnt adverts appear around the forums page layout - very frustrating and highly counter productive.
My son who works in professionally developing cross platform apps, has seen it and he was shocked at the way it seems to work. You must know how much of your page will be allocated to advertising, and it is perfectly reasonable to make that space available before the page loads to the device, so the page does not resize or preposition as advert content is filled.
Page text Colours
In general I find the pale grey text colour to be a problem especially on some screens. A higher contrast layout might be worth considering.
Both the Forum and Categories listings pages could benefit from layout changes.
The columns might benefit from being restructured.
For example the last post column is too narrow and the full title of the thread is truncated. Where as the Category Index titles are considerably bolder and wider than is necessary. Do we need to know about the number of topics and number of replies?
If these column contents, widths, and font size weer addressed, the page could be less cluttered and more informative.
Topics in Category pages
In general the type of content seems to be appropriate, but again its layout leaves something to be desired.
Look at changing the font sizes on the number of replies and views columns, to free up more space for topic titles and last post details.
I do find the number out of date "yellow stickies" that are retained at the top of the pages. These need to be regularly reviewed and demoted from being a "Sticky" when no longer appropriate.
The pages associated with logging in seem long winded. Having confirmed your sign in details, you hit "Sign In" it then takes you to "Account details" which only confirms what you and us must already know, and it does not make it immediately obvious what you need to do to actually go to the forum propper.
Surely it would be more practical to have an option the sign in page to go to account details rather than a default action.
The account details page needs to have clearer accept or change option buttons.
Currently the Etiquette is buried in the New MEmbers topic area as a "sticky" Consequently new members are not automatically aware of the forums etiquette and can make inappropriate postings.
I believe the etiquette should have a dedicated page within the "Forum Signup" process, which every New user has to read and accept before being given access to post on the forum. This I think might help to limit the number of inappropriate posts that do occasionally appear. Also using an "Am I Human?" checking device at this stage will block most of the spammers which take up some of our mods time and effort.
As for the scope of the Topic Areas, I personally don't find a major problem with them.
The ability to post images directly to the forum would be very handy. Sometimes a Private messaging service might be useful, but it would have to also include controls to allow users to control whom they wish to exchange messages with.