Looking for feedback: A new look at forum user experience

Max Fridman

Well-known member
Answer with personal opinions on a broad market approach, doesn't make sense.

The point is make something useful, improving what we have.
 

Jason

Well-known member
So, I went back and read through the articles, which I enjoyed! It's been awhile since I've had a hand in helping moderate forums, much less used them.

The universal create button and feeds list are pretty nice solutions. Just some quick initial thoughts...

- It's not immediately clear what "New" and "Latest activity" pertains to, as I'm also presented with options for threads/discussions, questions, social and forum list. Perhaps allow filtering by these types within these two feeds.

- That said, I'd consider shortening "Latest activity" to simply "New"

- If the idea is to make forums more appealing to someone who has never used one, then it may be worth rethinking the terminology used. For example, "post" is what most would probably consider a "discussion thread", likewise, replies to said thread would probably be considered "comments". Though, this may be too big a change for avid forum users.

- Expanding on the point above, discussion threads, polls, questions, etc. could all be considered a "post" in the most basic sense. Rather than present the user will a wall of choices within the universal create button, this could probably be simplified to just "Create Post". The UI could then guide the user in creating the appropriate post type (for an example of what I had in mind while typing this, try creating a post on reddit).
 

Mendalla

Well-known member
- Expanding on the point above, discussion threads, polls, questions, etc. could all be considered a "post" in the most basic sense. Rather than present the user will a wall of choices within the universal create button, this could probably be simplified to just "Create Post". The UI could then guide the user in creating the appropriate post type (for an example of what I had in mind while typing this, try creating a post on reddit).
Actually, I love that it asks what they want right out of the gate and see that as one of the features I definitely want to implement. They don't have to worry about selecting the correct thread type in the editor. They just say what they want to do and it puts them in the right spot. This basically assumes someone who knows nothing about Xenforo, just what they want to post. Your proposal, as far as I can tell, just switches back to the OOB Post Thread button which is kind of what TH is trying to get away from with this project.
 

CivilWarTalk

Active member
Most people don't utilize status updates because there's no real incentive to use them. Same with forum profiles. Most don't come on the forum and the first thing they do is pimp out the profile.

Forums make the person secondary or even third and the content is more front and center.
The problem is I think, that forums haven't been able to keep up with social media in terms of user experience. Existing forum profiles are practically useless and outdated. Even on forums with better designs, it still feels like an outdated forum experience. In general, you visit one forum and it's experience, you've pretty much visited most forums of the same software and their experience.
These are interesting points, and I’ve always taken every opportunity to improve our community sense of “we are all in this together, like a big, but strange family”.

I’m wondering if most forum-leaders, and I include myself here, are missing some things we could be doing to utilize what we already have better.

I’m thinking of a community challenge to update and create the best possible personal profile page, offering some prizes, like tshirts, and other gifts for members who create outstanding profile pages.

In our history based community I’m going to suggest several different sections for the “about” section… Favorite real world sites, personal ancestry, and a favorite quote from a post on the forum or a historic figure. I’ll encourage them to post a cover photo, and any other photos they would like in that section.

It might help some with community engagement and a member’s sense of place. If I run a contest like this annually, we may end up with a lot of engaging about pages…

Status updates? Well, I still don’t know how to promote those effectively, sorry, but I’ll think about it.
 
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