Community home page: What are some best practices?

(Gina Tyree) #1

I am in the process of wireframing a community home page and am trying to decide whether I want to keep it clean and high-level or feature the forums section of the community. In option 1 (clean and high-level), there would be a big search field and buttons to go into features like Forums, Blogs, Articles, etc (see as an example). In option 2, I would surface forums to the home page, much like how it is done here on feverbee (

Thoughts? This basically comes down to simple and clean vs. robust and functional.

(JFleetDattoCM) #2

We started out with the simple and clean approach because we wanted to see where discussions would happen organically. Now that we have a better picture of how discussions are grouped, we are going to update the layout to reflect that. Specifically we are moving from:


  • Discussion


  • Sub Category
    • Discussion

Also, we now have the benefit of asking members what they think about the new more structured layout and people seem to be on board with it.

(Sarah Hawk) #3

Simple and clean as per Autodesk LOOKS pretty, but I think if your goal is to give the feeling of people and community, then real content on the homepage is the winner, I think.

I’ve been visiting a lot of communities recently, and the ones where I immediately feel ‘at home’ are the ones where I feel surrounded by people. The rest look like pretty websites, but don’t compel me to engage.

What kind of community is it?

Edit: here are a couple of examples. I’m not suggesting that they are perfect or follow all best practices, but they feel like community and the implied actions (to join and take part) are obvious.

What’s on your home page?
(Nick Emmett) #4

I agree with @HAWK on this one.
My Community currently goes down a similar route as the AutoDesk community linked here (although not quite as pretty). We’re currently in the process of switching to a fresher version and one of the things I’m getting on the Home Page now, is conversation and people front and centre. What are people talking about right now? What are the most valuable posts in the forums? Who are the people providing the most value?

In terms of Community I’m much more a fan of function over form. If you can blend the two then awesome.

(Gina Tyree) #5

Thanks Sarah! Very helpful.

(Gina Tyree) #6


(Darren Gough) #7

I wouldn’t lose sight of what the community is about and how people visit. Categorisation is oft maligned but in the right context it’s pretty important. We’re working with a client who have some very clear paths into the community but serve mainly “latest” content. Actually, whilst seeing this community vibrancy is essential, it’s also essential to help people easily find what is relevant to themselves.

If I go to a money community for credit card help, and the latest posts are all about savings, I need to clearly know how to find what I’m looking for. I’m probably impressed by the activity in credit cards and it sets a positive expectation of what to expect in savings but, actually, the fact it’s latest is less important to me than relevance.

Likewise some users can find stepping into lots of activity intimidating. I’d ensure that, as @Nick_Emmett says, blending is key. Make sure the right navigation and signposting is fundamental, and support it with great activity showing how awesome the members are being.

Appearance and descriptions of categories at a Discourse site: thoughts please