I want to share a layout I’ve been doing for a community project. I’ve been working on abstracting some of it’s ideas and would hope it gives some general inspiration for non-profit, open-source, chapter-based or otherwise distributed community setups.
The design has two main goals:
always suggesting place and common intent around conversations
framing conversations within a wider context of featured content and work areas
About how it’s done: the conceptual template is just a mockup, I do these with Figma. It’s not specific to Discourse.
For the Couchers.org community I implemented it on Discourse bundling styles in a theme and using theme components (Header Search, Category Banners, Custom Nav Links, Featured Cards, Category Showcase, Modern Category Boxes, Easy Footer). I added some custom code to get distinct banners on the Homepage and the Latest route.
The final layout and working of the community then depends on adjusting settings: site-wide, on the components, on categories, for tags. So you couldn’t implement the template by only sharing a bundled theme and components.
Conceptually I don’t see this as a theme but rather a template, layout or model. Not sure about the best term yet. It’s objective is not so much to just change looks, but to change the workings and ux in order to support a specific use case or community model. I’m also working on other templates and wonder what would be the best way to share them. You’d need a way to export and import all overridden settings. Right now the only way I know is using a backup, but it would be great to find a way that just targets settings and not site content.