Essentially I need some text that is displayed prominently so that new users can be less disoriented, but that can be dismissed by experienced users if it takes up useful screen space. I guess there is a feature in Discourse to enable this, but I can’t find out how to tweak it on a site running Discourse 1.8.0 on which I am an admin.
Here’s what a new user sees on meta.discourse.org:
If someone refers this site to me, I don’t really know what I’m looking at… it says “Discourse” at the top, there’s a logo, there’s a big blank space and Sign Up and Log In, and if I read down further, it says “Welcome to meta, our official discussion site for Discourse. You’ll find topics on features, bugs, hosting, development, and general support here.” Okay.
Now if I log in, that post is still there and it takes up screen space. I figured out that I could unpin it for me, but clicking on the “pin” icon, but that wasn’t obvious for me. Also the text isn’t very large and it kind of blends into the other content unless you start reading.
I would much rather be able to create a very visible text message at the top of the page with an obvious “X” area to close it. Below is what our corporate intranet Confluence page looks like; the content of the message itself is poorly written, but the form is exactly what I am looking for:
Is there any way to add a dismissable text banner like this? Or even a very short text title after the site logo, in the blank space, so that I could say “Discourse forum” with a smaller text below it like “Click here for instructions” and a link to how to use Discourse.
If you don’t have something like this, you get dumped into a new environment and it’s confusing what’s going on. Here’s an example (I don’t frequent this site, but @codinghorror mentioned it as an example of a banner, and unfortunately it seems to be no longer in use; if I were referred to the site I would have no idea what’s going on and I’d have to figure it out myself.
Now, I personally am a good problem solver, the kind of person who figures out software without any instructions, and it doesn’t present much of a barrier to me. But I work with people who aren’t as adept, and if they get to any kind of psychological barrier, even one as simple as visual disorientation, it represents a risk that I will lose their interest, and/or one of my team leaders will have to take time to push them towards using the Discourse forum. (You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.)
Edit: It looks like the birmingham.io site does have this: