After looking through the feedback from the initial forum design research, I began to create wireframes to help organize some of these ideas. Forum design is pretty standard across the web, and features don’t vary much either, so building out wireframes proved to be a straightforward task.
I wanted to stick with something basic and build from there. The forums and the topic/discussion pages are simple and straightforward. I worked through some layouts for the Support homepage and played around with the display of content in different ways.
- I made the search more prominent on the homepage. Rather than diving down into the forum topics, people are more likely to search for their issue instead.
- I provided three very prominent sections at the top for the ‘Welcome’ intro, a link to the Codex (documentation), and a third link, possibly to the Support Handbook.
- Below those jump points, the forums are separated out and grouped with their 3 most recent topics. This was done to help with discovery and ensure users find the right forum. I determined that, if the topic was popular enough to continue getting activity, then others coming to the Support page might also relate to that topic.
- The post tags are moved to the bottom along with other useful links.
The Forum Page
- The layout comes with the new subnav that’s being implemented on other parts of the site. This includes a search field, and the three main subnav links.
- The title of the forum is on the left top with a description under it.
- The list of topics in the table below display the topic title, author, author avatar An avatar is an image or illustration that specifically refers to a character that represents an online user. It’s usually a square box that appears next to the user’s name., number of participants, number of replies, latest person who replied with their avatar, and the date.
- Below the list, if logged in, you’ll see the form to add a new topic. Otherwise, you’ll see a call to action to login and add a new topic.
- The sidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. has been moved to the right. Primary content in LTR languages should be on the left, while meta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. content should be on the right. The sidebar includes: number of topics/discussions, number of replies, Last reply, and last activity.
The Topic/Discussion Page
- This page would include a breadcrumb nav to help orient the user to their location given that it’s deeper than two levels.
- The title of the forum is below that.
- The initial question is a highlighted box which includes the user’s question/title, the user info, and the detail of the question/topic.
- The comments are displayed below in a simple layout.
- If logged in, there will be a reply form below.
- Sidebar includes: number of replies, number of participants, last reply (user), last activity (date), and ‘favorite’ option.
The Search Results Page
- The question is predominantly displayed at the top.
- Search results are displayed below with pertinent information like title, desc., author, date, etc.
- Sidebar includes ability to convert the search query into a proper question (‘Ask Question’ button). Most likely transfer the user to a form page where the user can select which forum this question should be posted in.
- Sidebar also includes recent forum posts and additional meta data.
A Call for Feedback
I’d love to hear what you think about the wireframes. Please leave some feedback below! 🙂