Feedback needed: best desktop homepage view?

Hello everyone!

Long story short, I’m struggling to choose the best default view to kickstart my community. I’m not worried about the volume of registrations, but I’m facing difficulties to organize the homepage of my instance.

  • User interviews basically told me that the categories / latest topics split views was the best, however I find there’s some awful limitations on it. I managed to remove the post count but having only the latest poster’s portrait on the right gives the impression that there’s basically only one person active on the forum (as I’m answering every post).

  • Latest post view is useful to provide the feeling of “populated forum” on the early life of the forum, but I have been told by my users it’s difficult to read and use.

  • Last option, which IMHO is my best bet, is getting the “Box categories” on top of the page, then the latest topics displayed below. However, I will need some custom devs for this.

Here’s my question: from your experience, have you, despite user feedbacks and only looking at data, noticed a layout that performed better than the others?

Thank you in advance and have a great day!


I’m curious if the feedback gets any more specific than this… what’s difficult about it?

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The main feedback was “Messy” and “I don’t know where I’m supposed to look at”.

I will be clear: I’m not necessarily aligned with these comments, however it makes me believe there is a gap between the Categories + latest topics display and the Topics only display that the Box categories doesn’t fill.

I’m asking for your feedback because I don’t have any analytics installed on my forum (for GDPR reasons at the moment) to confirm or infirm this theory :confused:


That makes sense, one fix could be to show more avatars in your theme for this layout instead of the single, large avatar → image

For inspiration, we have a mixture of various layouts at Discourse customers | Discourse - Civilized Discussion, and another option seems to be Featured Topics + Categories (see MS Society, Glamour).

Without custom devs, you can still get a lot done with our official theme-components. For example, Homepage Feature could be a nice addition to any existing layout.

Finally, there is the category boxes with topics option in the wizard:

Thank you. I already managed to add some custom components and theming, I want to go further but sadly handlebar templating is a bit confusing for a noob like me :frowning:

I also followed your recommendation and updated to Categories box

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I know where you are because I was there.

When people know what a community is (plus internet, forums, e-mails, civilizated debates, discuss, dialectic) it’s so different when people just don’t knows and joins into some Discourse instance.

Discourse is a forum and you probably need to point a single or no-more-three point/s on your homepage and then show the default Discourse approach.

You probably need to explain how to search, how to contribute and why the forum is good for your community.

If you record some little video, that could be the all-in-one solution for keeping the crowd sharing and not expecting others do things.

You can try all the plugins around but no-one will change the concept that Discourse is a forum and not a Social Media instance.

That’s good, they will love to discuss.