General Feedback and Suggestions
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Layout suggestions

Bill Hassell
Honored Contributor

Layout suggestions

  • The large amount of whitespace on the pages makes it difficult to scan the questions/posts without extra scrolling. The old ITRC Forums could show 15 to 20 topics whereas the new Community layout shows perhaps 10-15. Reducing the leading between lines will increase the number of posts per screen.

  • In addition, far too much width is allocated to the Replies & New number columns. These are small numbers that are occupying a lot of space that could be given to the Subject. Reduce the width of the number columns to about 20% of their current size and give the added width to the Subject column. This will make the Subjects faster to read and with less multi-line Subjects. The space given to the status bubbles could also be reduced. At least left-justify the bubble and give the extra space to the Subject.

    Note: I do like the bold=unread in the Subject line.

  • The bubbles have small hover area so it is easy to miss the online help with bubble colors. This is especially true close to the right edge of the bubbles. Increase the hover area to beyond the visible bubble outline.

  • The Search boxes on all the pages are unlabeled, almost invisible. The box needs a label and perhaps some grayed text such as:   Search...

  • And after a search, a second mystery search box comes up. This is apparently a refine-your-search box and not a start-a-new-search box. Again, some grayed text will identify the purpose:  Refine current search…

  • Once you move to Profile, navigation back to the Forums is lost.  A Forums navigation bar across the top would be much more useful than the logo, especially in this utility section. The

  • In Profiles, there are several tabs without explanations: Tagging and Macros. Adding a footnote or a What is this? button would be very useful. Note that telling users to read a centralized FAQ to find the answer is not useful. Subscriptions & Bookmarks needs a bit of clarification too.

  • When posting a note, if you want to check something in the original thread, the old ITRC Forum would leave the form intact if you used the browser back arrow. In Lithium, all of your posting is wiped out (without warning). It would be very useful to popup a choice: return to topics and drop the current response, or, offer to start a new window with the current thread. With the new rich text editor, it is easy to spend a lot of time with a good looking response and lose it all with a previous page button in the browser.

  • Copy-paste of rich text seems to allow hidden characters:
    Copy-paste the "nsquery hosts" line and you'll see either .hosts (html) or []hosts in Notepad. This is particularly problematic for exact command-line examples. Is there a way to sanitize the text? Or perhaps a font choice that disallows special characters?

  • The old ITRC references all end up on the main Community page with no explanation. I would (quickly) create a special referral page that explains why the link points to the Community, and provide a link to the Community. I would also add a suggestion to use the same search criteria that found the old URL in the Lithium search engine. This (quickly) finds a similar set of Forums postings. Leaving the old ITRC Forums pointed to the main Community page is not helpful, just as URLs point to a useless We-have-moved message.

  • The Rich Text default Font values (family, size and color) do not have any identification. So if some enhanced text is written, the same formatting is applied to subsequent text. It would be useful to have a Default Font button that resets or applies these 3 features, especially color.


All is not doom-and-gloom...the new Community is much more flexible and certainly has lots of new choices and features. Thanks to everyone that made this possible without loss of the millions of answers in the old Forums.

Bill Hassell, sysadmin