Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Please give us feedback on the forum home page mock-up

We have been having lots of back and forth about the design of the SUMO forum home page. After much discussion and feedback, we have developed this mock-up:

For a general reference for comparison, please check out the SUMO homepage: http://support-stage.mozilla.org

Goals of this page:
1. To ensure that the user has searched through the knowledge base.
2. To get the user to search through the forum to find an answer to their problem.
3. If they can't get their answer in 1 or 2, we want to make it easy for them to ask their question (we are currently missing a good explanation of how the forum works-- maybe that is a call-out box that we link to-- any ides?)
4. Make it easy for people to log-in and/or track their current questions

I would appreciate your thoughts and feedback here.

To get involved with the SUMO project, check out our contributor page.


Mike said...

Since people won't know if searching the forum worked until after they've searched the forum, it seems like it'd be more useful to give them the "ask a question" option from the forum search results.

Also, providing structured input for different things like "what OS are you on?" and "does this happen every time?" in the ask-a-question section would likely give us more useful questions, and lead to more useful answers.

Mike said...

(That was me, shaver, above -- honestly, who calls me "Mike"?)

hecker said...

Maybe it's the lag of context, but I have no idea what "current forum" means here. Also, with "various below" it looks like there's a word missing.

I also agree with shaver's comments re the usefulness of structured questions.snako

JT Batson said...

i think that is very good feedback.

the ask a question will definitely appear along side the search results.

also, we will be doing something similar to this: http://userstyles.org/newpost.html to get the pertinent information to answer people's questions.

jslater said...

Hey JT...what happened to the mockups that Rhonda was doing?

JT Batson said...

john-- the actual "forum" pages that she created are done-- we just had some rethinking about the homepage. The direction we were going wasn't working.

Johnath said...

Digg does a thing where, to prevent duplicate submissions, it invites you to make your submission as normal, but then before letting it through, it looks for duplicates, and asks if your story matches any of the dupes.

Have you thought about doing the same here? A single "Ask your question here" box which will first search for existing matches, and then present a page that says "Does one of these look like the answer to your question? If not, click here to submit it as a new question to the forum."

It simplifies the front page, and removes the reliance on users behaving the way we want them to by just pipelining them instead. For users who find their answer in the search results, we just look like a search field. For users who don't, we get a positivity win because when we couldn't find an answer, we gave them this great option to create a new discussion, and add their question to the DB.

helen said...

Do you have any women's forum?