What’s on your home page?

(Mark Williams) #14

I recognize that I am resurrecting an old thread, but since I’m considering a similar move, I wonder if you can give us any update? It looks like you made the change to “latest”. Did you see any change in engagement? Thanks!

(Sarah Hawk) #15

No problem at all.

Are you asking @Priscilla?

(David Powles) #16

Resurrecting this again although my question might be better off in a new thread.

We’re currently adding a community homepage to our enterprise support website. The community is only one section of the site, and unfortunately it’s under a tab rather than featuring content on the main homepage, but I still want the landing page under that tab to be a dynamic and useful community hub.

Firstly, the website includes community features integrated into many sections of the site - for example there’s a typical support forum, and then comments on knowledgebase articles, videos, blog posts and so on. I want to collate some of this dispersed activity under a “trending activity” section on the community landing page. In a separate column there’s a simple “Latest discussions” view showing the most recent threads posted to the forum.

There’ll also be separate leaderboards for the most helpful contributors, most active users for the past week, and most active internal (employee) members. There’s a small section for a featured community member, and then static links to the main forum view, blogs, etc. It sounds a little busy already, and it might be, but I have this opportunity to customize the homepage and I want to make sure I get it right. So my question is - is there anything else you’d like to see on an at-a-glance overview page for a community? Anything you’d remove from what I’ve listed?

(Sarah Hawk) #17

Do those things change with enough regularity to make them interesting?

And is this sustainable on an ongoing basis without it becoming a chore?

Assuming both answers are yes, and you can get a design working that doesn’t look distracting, then this sounds interesting IMO.

My only concern would be stale or static data.

Would you have flexibility to remove sections later if they don’t get traction?

(Richard Millington) #18

Agree with @HAWK here.

I’d probably consider removing the most active members, most helpful members, leaderboards etc in favour of the latest activity, trending activity etc…

I wouldn’t worry so much about it being busy. The biggest thing really is that people can see things they want to make a contribution to. That’s the critical thing. Maybe this might help.

(David Powles) #19

thanks @richard_millington and @HAWK. One issue is that we have a very broad range of software products so there’s no guarantee that anything showing up in the list of latest or trending activity will be directly relevant to a given user browsing.

(Sarah Hawk) #20

Heh, that’s an interesting situation. Are there some boards that are general?

(David Powles) #21

No, there’s just a single board. We used to have subforums but the range of topics is so broad that some of them tended to look like ghost towns. We got great boosts to activity by moving to a single forum space with optional sub-filtering by product (and making it mandatory to tag new threads with a product).

(Sarah Hawk) #22

What platform are you using? Do you have the flexibility to fill the feed based on the tags or something else smart along those lines?

(Priscilla McClay) #23

Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been on holiday.

No problem at all about resurrecting it, I was planning to do this myself at some point to give an update. I want to get three months of data on it before I draw any final conclusions, but, yes, so far it is looking as though there has been an increase in engagement in terms of number of posts, average number of pages per session and % of new users registering.

(Sarah Hawk) #24

I’d love to hear from @tobiaseigen on this one.
Tobias, I noticed today that your community defaults to the category page.
Is that a data based decision?

(Tobias Eigen) #25

It was a compromise based decision. :sunny:

I wanted to show latest based on discussion over at meta on the topic, but many people in my community (including my superiors) wanted categories because it showcased their various fiefdoms.

I had set it up to show latest as a month-long experiment and it went so well we decided to keep it at latest.

But then when the new combined category/latest view was made available I decided to switch to it so everyone can be happy. :rocket:

(James Higginson) #26

Hi, hope it’s ok to open this up again!

Having recently moved to Discourse (2 weeks ago) I’m considering changing the landing page to TOP (weekly) instead of LATEST.

My reasoning is simply that the latest view is not necessarily trending and if visitors land on trending (TOP) topics then they are more likely to engage. Plus they show as being busier which I think has an upside in itself, the fear of missing out on something that is important to the community perhaps?

Does this sound like a sensible change to you?

(Richard Millington) #27

I think it’s definitely worth trying.

We’ve never run any studies on this so I don’t really know. My guesstimate would be that TOP makes the most sense in large online communities where it’s harder to separate high value from the low value discussions whereas LATEST might be better for smaller communities where most people want to see what’s new.

But i’m purely guessing.

(Sarah Hawk) #28

Yup, if it’s relevant again, it’s always ok to bump.

Heh, I’m really interested in this idea. If I apply it here, this would be what you’d see as the weekly TOP

and this is what you’d see as latest

Latest includes the primary CTA / initial discussion topics, which could potentially be considered noise. Which of the above would be more attractive to you?

I think this would be a great thing to measure, but it would be quite hard to do so without being able to split test it.

(James Higginson) #29

Actually I think I prefer your latest feed, there are more people engaged in topics and it looks busier.

I wonder why your top feed does not contain "Meet your fellow classmates’. Instead you have ‘How to calculate…’ which has a lot less interaction, at least based upon comments and views. (Maybe time viewing those topics is a factor)

In any case what I think would be better is the ability to generate a custom view (similar to how Ning did it)

A feed where we can choose what appears, something like this;

  • Top content (customise what that may be)

  • Latest comments (customisable summary length)

  • Profile update (x has uploaded a photo to their profile, added usercard image, enhanced their profile in some way) to encourage others to do the same.

  • User x has been awarded a badge

  • User x liked user y topic/comment

  • User x shared y on Facebook Twitter Instagram etc (Share visibility is very low key on Discourse and that is costing us easy traffic)

  • New topic x has been created in category name

  • New user x has recently joined, welcome them…

  • x new users have joined in the last x days

  • Topic x has received x likes from the community and been awarded top content badge (this could be customisable too to avoid overloading the feed)

A feed like this would highlight what is going on behind the scenes, new users etc. Currently Discourse is surgically brilliant but I feel it could do with a more social/sharable/likeable feed which would encourage interaction/interest.

What do you think?

(Sarah Hawk) #30

I don’t think all of those things are relevant for all communities but I think a widget style setup that allowed you to choose and arrange content pieces would be cool.

Discourse is missing the ‘people’ side of things IMO (which has been hotly contested for a long time but doesn’t look set to change).

(James Higginson) #31

That’s unfortunate for those communities that could do with it but on the upside it is a technically brilliant piece of software.

(Alessio Fattorini) #32

Discourse devs are working on a new latest+category page. Take a look at it :slight_smile:
It depends on the kind of user you are.
For active users latest is better becausey they check all discussions trying to reply for first to newest ones.
For not active users instead, top or categories are better because they can find most interesting discussion right away.

(Graham Perrin) #33

Discourse: Latest by default

From the opening poster:

I’d love to learn more from @Priscilla and anyone else who might have observed a significant postive or negative change in engagement following a change to Latest at a home page.



The presence of multiple avatars alongside a subject line is, in my experience, a subliminal but powerful attractor when a view such as Latest is chosen (by the reader) or promoted (as a default by administrators).

Alternative views such as Categories + Latest do also benefit from avatars, however the solo appearances are (to me) somewhat lonely. I suspect that the eye – especially when speed reading – does not always scan far enough to the right to properly take in one of the two numbers in a way that will allow the brain to guess whether each topic is (a) relatively long (high number at far right) with maybe few participants, or (b) relatively short (low number) with maybe many participants.

If anyone knows of research to support (or invalidate) my suspicion, I’ll be glad to learn.

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