Do you use bookmarks? Does your community?

Help me untangle a chicken and egg conversation I’m having with my community management team.

We have a bookmark function in my community. It appears and functions similarly to the bookmark feature used here (Discourse). It’s an action hidden behind the 3 dots (…). The discussions or posts bookmarked are found in the member’s profile listed in reverse chronological order. For members who bookmark regularly (less than 1%), it can easily become unwieldy and then less useful.

Note: many of my community members are not tech savvy and often stressed due to a health crisis.

Before investing dev time to improve UX, we’re going to conduct some A/B testing, knowingly at the expense of sending users to a sub-optimal experience temporarily.

So my questions:
Are people not using bookmarks because of a sub-optimal user experience (i.e., they don’t even know they’re there)?
Do you use bookmarking personally?
Do you have a bookmark feature in your community? Is it used by members?


In Discourse I used to draft a message to myself with all my “bookmarks” grouped by topic because the simple lists used for actual bookmarks didn’t include notes on why I thought they would be useful references.

My answers:

  1. Yes, users often miss or misunderstand features like this. But I think that our actual experience of bookmarks is often underwhelming because bookmark features are usually just lists. This appears to be the problem you have. The current Discourse bookmarks, as used here, are much more useful and can now activate reminders:
    Improved Bookmarks with Reminders - announcements - Discourse Meta
  2. Yes, even with a less than optimal experience. Some topics or comments are simply too good to trust that I can remember the right search terms to find them easily.
  3. Yes, as I always use Discourse for my communities but they’ve all been small.
  4. Yes, they are used, I think because they are covered in the basic UI tutorial.
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@remah, many thanks. This is super helpful. Discourse is certainly a model model. :slight_smile:

I think my question is also somewhat answered by the lack of response from others. @hawk @macat @vertiago @Nick_Emmett @lizcrampton @rhogroupee any thoughts on bookmarks. Do your community members use them? Do you?

I almost started to write an answer, and then got sidetracked LOL. Bookmarking is a very requested, but not very used feature. I feel as though most people stay on top of conversations they’re interested in by “following/subscribing/getting alerts” rather than bookmarking.

In our Crowdstack Pro platform, we don’t include bookmarking, but we rather offer a way to see everything you’ve reacted to in a tab on your profile (so some people use this as a way of bookmarking).

In our streamlined new Crowdstack platform, we do support bookmarking (and it’s called “saving”). Those saved discussions are visible from the left bar on every page.

I personally never use bookmarking because I tend to just follow discussions I’m interested in staying updated on, or I use the search function to find it again. The one exception is on TikTok, where I have detailed bookmarks with collections organized (air fryer ideas, etc.). I really like the way TikTok has implemented bookmarking.

I guess my bottom line is that bookmarks are most useful in a community that provides a lot of “reference” type information, content that members need to refer back to at a much later date.

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So true. Thank you @rhogroupee for the food for thought.

Hi @colleenyoung!

As @rhogroupee mentioned, bookmarking was also a requested feature but it is not used much mainly because the button is a bit hidden (also behind three dots, in a post menu). I think it’s a useful feature for my community and I believe it would be used much more if the button was located in a more prominent place. Our platform also has a ‘my activity’ section where the users can see all the posts and comments they’ve made and this is used much more.

I personally use it a lot on IG and FB so I like having this feature and I go back to my saved posts quite often.

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I’m super late to this convo but I can tell you that bookmarks are pretty heavily used in Discourse communities that focus on internal collaboration. We saw a big uptake in usage when we added timers on bookmarks (so they remind you on a specific date) and the ability to add a note to a bookmark so you can remember what it is specifically for. You also need granularity so that you can bookmark posts as well as topics.

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