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¤ Forum Layout Idea ¤

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Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

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I think one huge page of forum sections can be pretty confusing for new forum users, so I figured I'd propose some changes to the RSOF layout, along with a couple of other tweaks.


FORUM HOME PAGE




The aim here was to make the forum homepage appear more compact and help new users find their way to the area of the forums they're after.

I particularly see people getting confused about which forum sections relate to the game they play (RS3, OS, Classic to a lesser extent). If the forum homepage had macrosections for each game, this could help make browsing the forums feel more logical.

Since there are also sections which relate to all the games, these would be separated into their own macrosection, such as 'Specialist' (for CLF, HLF etc), 'The Lounge' (the Off-topic, compliments etc) and the Moderator forums. Having the 'Community Support' sections more obviously available could also be very handy for people looking for help.

These macrosections would be closed by default to maintain compactness.



OPENING A MACROSECTION



(Right clicking the image, copying the location and opening it in a new tab may help visualise it since it's a large image and the forum imgur function restricts the size and makes it hard to see)


Upon opening a macrosection, the default would be to display all the sections within that macrosection, like the current forum layout. This way new users are made aware there are many forum sections with various uses.

It would be nice to have 'Hot Threads', 'New Threads' and 'New JMod Threads' options too for people who don't want to spend time browsing every section to see what's new and interesting.

Note: I forgot to put the marketplace section in the screenie above. The RS3/OSRS marketplaces would be in the RS3/OSRS macrosections respectively.
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26-Jan-2017 15:32:37 - Last edited on 27-Jan-2017 09:22:40 by Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Forum Moderator Posts: 10,882Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
HOT THREADS AND NEW THREADS




I realise the development of these is wishful thinking, but a quick comment anyway :P

I'm not a particularly avid Reddit user, but I often read it and almost always do so through the Hot Topics and New Topics functions. For the average user who doesn't feel like spending an age checking through each section to see what's new, being able to quicly see what the current hot and new threads are is really handy.


Comments on their implementation into the RSOF:

- It would be annoying to mix new/hot topics from all areas of the RS forums. We have a lot of sections across different games so the focus of the new/topics section would get quickly diluted. Therefore, it would be good to have hot/new topic areas for each macrosection at least.

E.g. The image above shows a hot topic area for the RS3 macrosection. This would ideally only compile hot threads from sections within the RS3 macrosection.

- Locked or hidden threads should be automatically removed from hot/new topic areas.

- I know little to nothing about coding, but I'd assume that creating a Hot Topics section with its own system for determining what threads are 'hot' would be much more difficult than creating a New Topic section.
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26-Jan-2017 15:32:47 - Last edited on 27-Jan-2017 08:27:39 by Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Forum Moderator Posts: 10,882Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
MOVING SOME SECTIONS AROUND




I shifted around some sections to better work with the layout proposal.

1 - Offtopic, Forum Roleplay & Stories, Forum Games, Compliments and Rants
These are currently all in 'The Lounge' section. Since they are relevant to all users regardless of the version of the game they play, these would form the base of the new 'The Lounge' macrosection.

2 - Goals and Achievements
Similar to those above, this is a bit of a shared section which could fit well in 'The Lounge'.

3 - Website and Forums
Another section that is independent of the version of the game you play. Its purpose wouldn't really fit into a macrosection called 'The Lounge' though, so I've left it in the RS3 suggestions area for the time being.

4 - Community Home
This section is a bit tricky as it kind of focuses on RS3 but doesn't always. It also contains the Forum Help and Mod Review threads, which ideally should not be found in a macrosection dedicated to a specific game. That said, if Forum Help and Mod Review were made available from all pages (perhaps as a link under the search box) that would solve that issue and also be a useful change.

Without changes to how Forum Help and Mod Review work, Community Home could fit well in 'The Lounge' macrosection so I've put it in there for now.


5 - Events and Competitions
It feels more logical to have this in the RS3 Community section so I've moved it there.
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26-Jan-2017 15:32:52 - Last edited on 26-Jan-2017 16:10:12 by Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Forum Moderator Posts: 10,882Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS AND IDEAS


1 - Remember which macrosections a user wants open by default
Vera said:
As a result, that's my only suggestion: to have tic boxes, or even locally cached information (cookies) of what macrosections each login account likes to have open by default. It's annoying enough having to expand macrosections when I log into a different account, and it would be atrocious if I had to do that every single time I logged in.


2 - Allow favouriting (or hiding) of individual forum sections
Olllivander said:
Ideally though, there would be some functionality that would let individuals hide individual forums rather than complete categories. Even better, allowing individuals to favorite certain sections and have them appear at the top would be perfect imo.
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26-Jan-2017 16:07:15 - Last edited on 20-May-2017 07:32:15 by Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

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Thanks for the positive comments so far :)

Loki said:
Maybe also reintroduce the Welcome forums for new players

Perhaps, but I'm not sure how it could avoid the same problems it ran into last time. A quick visual (perhaps video) guide that is automatically played through when a user first logs into the forums would be better imo.

Chow Chow said:
It also appears to be user friendly for active forum users

I suspect some active users could be a little annoyed by having to open each macrosection upon returning to the forum home page, rather than just scrolling down a completely open list. I'm not sure I want to suggest this, but perhaps a toggle between the old and new layout defaults could be nice for some users.

Chow Chow said:
p.s. I don't see the Marketplace getting any love. :( (I imagine that it will! Your images do do a good job in demonstrating what is being asked :p)

I had a feeling I'd forgotten something! :P Thanks for catching that. I haven't edited the open RS3 macrosection picture to add the marketplace in, but I've left a note at the bottom of that section to explain that I forgot to add it in :3

Iceberg said:
The only thing I'd argue is that community-led support should appear at the top above all else

I did consider this tbh but I've never seen a forum with player support at the top, it feels more natural to me for it to be at the bottom. However, since it's a macrosection it would be immediately visible upon opening the forums regardless of its posittion. Having it at the top or bottom wouldn't really impact its visibility. (It would definitely be more visible than it is now :P )
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27-Jan-2017 09:21:22 - Last edited on 27-Jan-2017 11:52:18 by Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

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@Tranquility - whether they're presented with many sections upon opening a macrosection really depends. The RS3 one has loads of sections, but the others would have far fewer.

Also, say you're an OSRS player. Currently, you'd have to scroll through all of the RS3 sections before finding the OSRS section of the forums. Not only that but it's not immediately obvious that RS3 sections are RS3 only, so you might mistakenly post in the wrong section.

If the forum homepage were grouped by macro section, you could immediately open up the OSRS one and be presented with all the sections related to OSRS immediately. The same logic particularly applies to players looking for the player support sections as well.

I agree opening macro sections continuously to get to your usual sections can be annoying. Vera's suggestions could deal with that inconvenience nicely though :)


@Vera - thanks for that idea, it would really help smoothen user experience :) I'll add it to the front page laterz

P.S. I'm a cheap nub so I used Paint rather than PhotoShop - was fiddly af :P
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29-Jan-2017 09:27:18 - Last edited on 29-Jan-2017 09:29:06 by Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

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Thanks for the support :)

@Torchic - for sure, without a toggle between the old and new layouts or a feature that remembers which sections you like to have open, this would likely cause annoyance to experienced forumers. In the off chance the web team takes on this idea, one of the two solutions above should be implemented as part of the project.
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22-Feb-2017 15:57:20

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Forum Moderator Posts: 10,882Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Yay more support, thanks :)

@Ollivander - although I agree that this number of forum sections can create confusion about where to post a thread, I also really like how having many forum sections allows topics to be organised better. I'm personally not too keen on having few, crowded forum sections with a jumble of stuff - instead of thread creation being confusing, interacting effectively with the forum would become difficult imo.
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19-May-2017 20:54:01

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Forum Moderator Posts: 10,882Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Ah I've finally understood what you mean by topic tags, sorry for being slow :P I can see how they could be useful in more cluttered sections, especially if you can filter by tag, although I feel it would still require the viewer more time to find his area of interest than it does currently.
For sure there are some sections that could be removed or merged without much impact. However, scanning the list there seem to be many more I wouldn't know how to merge together logically and constructively.

Olllivander said:
Ideally though, there would be some functionality that would let individuals hide individual forums rather than complete categories. Even better, allowing individuals to favorite certain sections and have them appear at the top would be perfect imo.

Great shout, I really like this idea :) Added it to the first page.
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20-May-2017 07:29:14 - Last edited on 20-May-2017 07:32:42 by Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Forum Moderator Posts: 10,882Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
I agree Invention is no longer needed. NXT, Runemetrics and Combat Council may be worth removing from a player perspective, but from a dev perspective they help keep feedback on those projects in one place which makes it easeir for them to respond to it (assuming the forums are read :P )

I'd definitely keep the market place forums separate. Although tags could alleviate things a little, they are very active sections and merging them all into one would be an absolute nightmare with people constantly bumping their threads for attention. Threads would probably remain on page 1 for minutes at most and the forums would just become impractical to use.

Clan Cup forums are added and removed each year (not sure why it hasn't been removed yet tbh). If the Cup were hosted in another section it would completely dominate and spam it up as it did in 2013. Events and Competitions threads would get completely submerged for the duration of the Cup so it's definitely worth giving it its own section temporarily.

Clan Warring I'm evidently biased on so I won't comment on too much :P Yes, activity is currently low atm but when (if) it picks back up it would spam up any other section it is in. If it had to be merged I'd suggest either PvP or Clan Central though.

News Discussion I have probably been in once ever :P It seems more geared towards just being record-keeping section which might be useful idk - I'm ambivalent on that one.

=

We have hub forums on our clan offsite and I find them terribly confusing. It feels like inception :P Idk, they might work for other people but they just give me headaches haha :P
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22-May-2017 15:33:20

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Forum Moderator Posts: 10,882Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Olllivander said:
Until they're implemented, we won't know whether their impact is good or bad so I'd say it's safe to say we can agree to disagree on how they are changed. We do, however, agree that they need to be changed. Let's just hope the discussion taking place here and throughout Website and Forums sparks innovation when the forums team finally do get around to us. lol
Indeed. I agree with your proposal to disagree for the time being :P
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23-May-2017 09:42:10

Calm Enigma

Calm Enigma

Forum Moderator Posts: 10,882Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Thanks for the support Murda and Pinta, and for the many comments there Post (they were not blunt at all) :)

@Post

The drag and drop feature you suggest would be a nice feature as part of the icing on the cake if this ever happens, good shout. I'll add it to the front page tomorrow.

Regarding the hot, new and jmod threads, they would indeed only show threads from within that specific macrosection. While it would be a jumble, as you say, the aim would be to just give a general overview of new stuff - the forums mostly move slowly so I think it would be better for them to be grouped in this case, both so you can check back relatively regularly and find new stuff, and so you get to see a greater variety of threads. If you want to see what's new/hot in a specific section there's no real need to add a feature anyway, you usually just need to see what's on the first page. Instead of having to open every section and check for new/hot threads, you could just open up the grouped area once.

New JMod threads could be a bit stagnant, true. Although I'd hope that could be an incentive for them to make it less stagnant ;) However, I don't feel just having a timestamp for new threads would be all too useful. Perhaps an improvement could be having 'Threads with new JMod posts' rather than 'New JMod threads'? That would see more activity.

I don't think I was around when featured threads existed, but I'd wager part of the reason they were removed was due to the choice being too subjective and JMods having to manually choose threads regularly. A hot topic system would be superior I think because it requires no manual work after it's set up, and choices would be made objectively by the algorithm. This would also allow hot topics to be refreshed continuously, rather than having to wait on the next time a JMod has time to survey all the forums and pick a feature.
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15-Aug-2017 23:49:51

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