Changing up the forum front page

The feedback period is over as of Novermber 25th, 2020, 23:00 UTC

There’s been multiple discussions about the forum front page (for the international forums, this is as, make note that it is not the support landing page, which is currently presented with what is known as HelpHub, a series of categories showing relevant user-facing documentation).

With the upgrade to bbPressbbPress Free, open source software built on top of WordPress for easily creating forums on sites. 2.x, a revamp of the forums was also in order, and this was also the baseline for the HelpHub page.

A ticket does exist for revamping the forum listing page, with a lot of input and various directions, none of which truly take us where we want to go, as evident by various discussions still held publicly on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at on a fairly regular basis.

The consensus is that it is not very forum-like, and it would be beneficial to bring it back towards its roots, to again make it clear that it is a forum, and help users find their way.

The problem to solve

There’s no reason to do anything, if it’s not to solve a problem, so let’s go over that here.

The biggest issue is discoverability, currently the landing page does not make it clear that it is a forum, to many it too tightly resembles the HelpHub landing page, and the blocks describing each forum are also very far below the fold (you need to scroll to find them).

Secondly, the aspect of clear identification. If the user does not see it is a forum, they will not know that this is a place they can interact.

The direction we want to take

Looking back at how things were, and some of the proposals in the ticket mentioned earlier, a good combination of both is likely where we want to land.

Tabular design suggestion, with current styling elements

The proposal to make it a forum listing (which it was, until HelpHub was introduced), uses the current The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. design elements of colors, spacing and fonts to keep a consistent visual feel for the tabular element here.

Classic forum front

The above is the classic forum front, used in the old bbPress 1.x days, which gives a clear indication of what forums exist, but also allows an area for providing useful information to first time visitors like linking to guidelines, showing them how to search for content.

The tag cloud might even have a new life in the future, as work with curating tags, and removing the large amount of one-off tags that users generate is completed, but that is a different task, but ties in nicely with discoverability for those looking to volunteer.

Next step

The proposition, as it stands, is to combine the two options from above, into something that follows the current design-approach, but also makes the intent clear to users who are unfamiliar with the platform.

A quick mockup of what this mashup might look like is presented below, and should be the basis for any feedback at this time.

New forum front page mockup with two columns. Left side for user information, right side has a tabular list of forums and their description

What’s next

The floor is open for feedback, and will be for the next two weeks about what information should be included, how it should be presented, and so forth.

It should also be noted that this change would also affect the support front for rosetta forums, so we would love to hear from them as well in this regard.