Alternate home page 'digest' layout


(Ted Strauss) #1

I am proposing the following design concept as an alternative to the current home page or the current /category page. This design is inspired by Google News and other sites with digest-ee layouts. I’ll quickly describe the 3-column layout.

  • Column 1: Hierarchical category listing; uses indentation to show hierarchy.
  • Column 2: A scannable list of top topics, showing preview of text & image, with normal inclusion of stats.
  • Column 3: Category listing; based on the current /category page.

For those who would like to iterate on this layout, you can download my balsamiq mockup file.

The main motivations for this kind of layout are to provide content previews that will tease users a bit more than the current topic listing. Also, displaying the full category hierarchy is helpful to give users a better sense of the content. In general this layout gives users more information about the content of the site and individual posts directly from the home page.

This layout certainly would not be appropriate for all Discourse sites, so how it is to be activated in settings or elsewhere is unclear to me.

(Jeff Atwood) #2

This is interesting, can you post screenshots of the source sites that are inspiring the design choices here?

(Charles Walter) #3

Interesting. Curious to see how this would translate to mobile.

(Sam Saffron) #4

Can you expand on how you expect this to work when you drill down to a category? Does it filter down the view or take you to a new spot?

(Marco) #5

In my opinion, the current Discourse interface is the best there is in circulation…
Very nice your disposal in screen, but in my opinion, we should not come out of the schemes…

(Tom Newsom) #6

I can see where this is coming from actually. As I recently mentioned, we have a situation where new/infrequent visitors want Category view, but regulars want Latest. This mockup shows that a “best of both worlds” might be possible…

(Jeff Atwood) #7

No, it’s not really possible. The best solution, as I have said at some length, is for first visit to hit categories, then subsequent clicks/taps to the logo go to latest. See it in action at

Another idea is to start suppressing category descriptions from the category page at trust level 2 (or similar). Presumably you do know what categories mean after you’ve read the names and descriptions a million times…

(Marco) #8

The topic to describe the categories, should be deleted regardless of the trust level in my opinion…

(Ted Strauss) #9

The Google News layout is the closest analog, so I’ll just include that one. The treatment of information from left to right is the big idea: (1) top-level overview of content via hierarchical category listing; (2) main content digestified to surface skimmable contents of posts; (3) widgets that provide shortcuts to interesting content, generated based on the user’s history on the site.

Good question… I was hoping noone would ask. I guess the options are:

  • Open the category page (as it is currently designed)
  • If there’s enough content, reload the digest view filtered for that category. This might mean hiding the third column altogether.

(Ted Strauss) #10

So if I or someone were to try to implement this idea, where would be a good place to start, @sam, @codinghorror?
Is there a past PR that deals with similar kind of feature set, to use as reference?

(Tom Ruh) #11

@trudat Was there ever any progress on this?